ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --After 26 practices in 23 days, the Broncos training camp breaks following tomorrow morning's session – technically.
"They say training camp is over," defensive tackle Justin Bannan said. "But to me it's not over until it's the week of that first game, and all the final cuts are made and everything. I know when I was a younger player, it was always training camp. The only difference is maybe you get to stay at your home or you don't have those meetings at night. It's still the same deal."
Bannan isn't the only Bronco who's excited to move closer to the 2012 season opener.
"You get to a little bit of a normal schedule," tight end Joel Dreessen said. "There's a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. We still have a lot of work to do as far as preseason games and mastering our preparation for how it's going to go during the regular season."
Practice will still run almost every day. The most welcomed difference for the players will be getting into the schedule that will be kept throughout the season.
"It's nice because you get into a routine," wide receiver Eric Decker said. "That's big for a football player. You get to doing what you do on a regular basis to get yourself prepared for Sunday. It's good to have that schedule, be able to go home and get some extra rest. It's important for everybody on this team."
The players are certainly obliged to break from the daily grind of training camp. But when camp officially ends tomorrow afternoon, there's still plenty of work left before the season begins on September 9th. This is especially true for the many players are still vying for a spot on the roster.
"There will probably be some hugs, some big smiles," Decker said. "I think we're still in training camp so we'll still be focused as far as preseason games go. We have 90 guys and obviously we have to make some cuts and a lot of guys are fighting for a roster spot. The excitement will be there, but again, the focus will be there as well."
Quarterback Peyton Manning is grateful for the work his teammates have put in, but also knows there's more to accomplish.
"I think it's been a productive training camp," Manning said. "I think the effort has been really good. Guys have worked hard and I just appreciate that. It's been a physical camp."
But Manning reiterated that no one on the team can afford to ease up.
"We still have work to do," he continued. "It's important to continue to work even though guys are home now and out of the hotel. It's important to keep working and continue to try to improve."
Head Coach John Fox is also satisfied with the work the team has done in training camp, but continues to look at what lies ahead of them, not at what is already in the past.
"We're still in camp mode, although we won't be on the camp schedule," Fox said. "We've got a walkthrough tomorrow in preparation for Seattle. I like the way we've gone about our business, and we've got another test Saturday night."