... The pads were off and nearly all of the Broncos' Pro Bowlers had a rest day, but Friday's work was crisper and punctuated by two big plays -- one each for the offense and defense. "I saw some good things. We rested some guys; a lot of young guys stepped up and made a lot of plays today, so we got a lot done," Head Coach Gary Kubiak said.
... The defense's biggest moment came first, on the third play of the initial team period. QB Mark Sanchez rolled right and found Garrett Graham 20 yards downfield. Justin Simmons was in coverage and after being beaten, reached into Graham's grasp and simply snatched the football away without it even touching the ground.
.... The next period of practice saw Trevor Siemian get the initial first-team repetition, with the offense back at its 1-yard line. Thanks to an adept Anderson-on-Anderson blitz pickup by C.J. on Zaire, Siemian had time to locate Bennie Fowler down the left sideline. Two defenders slightly trailed Fowler, and Siemian uncorked a gorgeous deep pass that Fowler grabbed, getting both feet in-bounds for the 48-yard gain.
... When C.J. Anderson had room to run, he made plays happen. On the second snap of the nine-on-seven period, Anderson had a hole up the middle and made a perfect cutback and burst to it for one of the best runs of the day.
... More Anderson stuff: ILB Zaire Anderson continued his good work against the run Friday. During one team-period play, he burst through a hole and blew up what was set up to be a long run for Devontae Booker.
... OL Connor McGovern isn't seeing the first-team repetitions he had earlier this week, but he did set up RB Kapri Bibbs for one of his best runs of the day Friday, successfully guiding NT David Moala out of the picture and allowing Bibbs to burst through a hole up the middle for a long gain.
... Defensive pressure led to some errant passes Friday. On the second play of the first team period, DE Jared Crick worked inside LT Russell Okung to force Sanchez into an incompletion intended for TE Jeff Heuerman. Dekoda Watson, Shaquil Barrett, Shane Ray, Kyle Peko, Sadat Sulleyman and Adam Gotsis were among the defenders who disrupted throws.
... There were two team move-the-ball periods Friday. The first one was a red-zone period, and it began with the Sanchez-led No. 1 offense going three-and-out against the No. 1 defense. A first-down incompletion under pressure from Gotsis, a false-start penalty and a second-and-15 pass deflection by Darius Kilgo doomed the offense. The units had another go-around moments later, and Sanchez guided the offense on a four-play drive that ended in a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Norwood.
... Siemian and Paxton Lynch led the No. 2 and No. 3 offenses, respectively, to red-zone scores. Siemian used passes of 5 and 6 yards to Jordan Taylor to move the sticks and set up a 5-yard scoring strike to Graham. Lynch capped his drive with a beautiful 2-yard touchdown pass to Mose Frazier, who ran a perfect fade route. The ground game powered the Lynch-led drive; Booker and Kapri Bibbs combined for 18 yards on four carries, including a tough 3-yard burst by Bibbs on third-and-2 from the 12.
... Both move-the-ball periods in the two-minute drill ended in field-goal attempts. With possession at the 50, one timeout and 45 seconds remaining, Siemian led the No. 1 offense to the 21-yard line, with most of the yardage coming on a 25-yard strike to Norwood that saw him step up beautifully out of the edge rush to find Norwood; it was as smooth a moment under pressure as Siemian has had this summer.
The Broncos got after it on a cool Friday morning with some of the veterans getting the day off. (Photos by Eric Bakke unless otherwise noted.)
**... Lynch led the No. 2 offense to one first down and a Brandon McManus 55-yard attempt that hit the right upright. (He subsequently hit a rekick from the same distance.) Lynch found Taylor for a 7-yard gain on third-and-3 from the 43-yard line to set up the attempt.
... The team had one walk-through goal-line period in anticipation of Saturday's padded practice which is often the most ferocious of training camp.
... Ring of Fame LB Karl Mecklenburg attended practice.
... CB Kayvon Webster returned to practice after missing two days because of a thigh bruise. He immediately saw plenty of first-team repetitions as Chris Harris Jr. had the day off.
... OL Ty Sambrailo continued to sit out because of the right elbow injury he suffered last Sunday in practice.
... OL Robert Myers Jr. was back on the field after sitting out Thursday.
... TE John Phillips missed a fifth consecutive practice because of the sprained ankle he suffered last Saturday.
... Key first-teamers who received a day off Friday included TE Virgil Green, CB Chris Harris Jr., center Matt Paradis, ILB Brandon Marshall, WRs Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, safeties Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward and defensive linemen Vance Walker, Sylvester Williams and Derek Wolfe.
... With the entire first-team defensive line getting a rest day, Gotsis, Crick and Kilgo handled the first-team work up front. Gotsis' progress has been solid, to the point that Kubiak expects him to play in the preseason opener at Chicago next week.
... LG Max Garcia returned to practice and saw some first-team repetitions as he is eased back into full work after suffering a sprained ankle during Monday's practice.
... James Ferentz worked on the first team at center in place of Paradis.
... Darrion Weems saw first-team repetitions at guard for the second consecutive day. Injuries, the rest day for Paradis and the gradual ramping up of work for LT Russell Okung also gave some first-team repetitions to Kyle Roberts.
... Simmons and Shiloh Keo filled in for Ward and Stewart at safety.
... Fowler and Cody Latimer saw the bulk of the first-team work at wide receiver in place of Sanders and Thomas.
... Jeff Heuerman, Garrett Graham and Henry Krieger-Coble all saw first-team work at tight end in various packages with Green taking the day off.
WEATHER REPORT:A morning more like what you'd expect in Portland or Seattle greeted the Broncos Friday, with cloudy skies and pleasant temperatures hovering between 64°F/18°C and 66°F/19°C. Spits of rain fell late in practice.
ATTENDANCE REPORT:A crowd of 5,587 watched practice. It was the largest ever to see a Broncos practice at their training facility since the team moved camp to its headquarters in 2003.