ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --It wasn't quite a regular-season practice schedule, but this week's work represented the closest thing to it on the preseason calendar.
"It's really getting the whole team used to what we do on a regular-(season) game basis," said Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips after Thursday's practice concluded. "We won't do everything we do during the regular season, [but] we look at the other team a lot more; we look at tendencies and all of those things."
That meant a week of using the No. 3 offense and defense as the scout team.
"We went through our normal week, but we didn't work our ones like they would work if we were playing Carolina, so they were taking a little bit [fewer snaps]," Head Coach Gary Kubiak said. "Obviously I will work the heck out of them next week because of how we play the last game."
Next week, the starters are not expected to play in Arizona, as is the custom for the preseason finale.
This week's dispersal of snaps meant double work for Paxton Lynch, who took the bulk of the scout-team repetitions while also seeing some first- and second-team looks throughout the week, including during Thursday's practice. That meant he had to run the Los Angeles Rams' scheme, as well as that of the Broncos.
"What he had to do this week -- run the Rams offense, and then get in there and run ours -- that's hard to do," Kubiak said. "And he really had a good week of practice. I think he's very confident in what he's doing, and I think he has confidence in us to do what he does best."
... Saturday's starting quarterback, Trevor Siemian, had extensive work Thursday, two days after he didn't throw in practice because of a sore shoulder suffered while trying to tackle San Francisco's Kyle Reid on the pick-six that opened the second quarter last Saturday. "Is he ready to play his full load and go? It sure looks that way to me," Kubiak said.
... Kubiak said he had not made a decision as to whether Lynch or Mark Sanchez would be the second quarterback on the field Saturday. "I'm going to take a look at how long I'm going to play the starters, and then it has to do with what I'm going to do with those other guys," he said.
... As he did last week, Kubiak lauded the growth shown by Lynch, who appears to be more comfortable in the offense with every passing day.
"I'm very excited about the progress he's made," Kubiak said. "We knew he had ground to make up. We knew he had a ton of talent. But he's really adapted to under center. Making the calls, he's better."
... LT Russell Okung has seen full first-team work at practice the last two weeks, and Kubiak believes the seventh-year veteran is ready to play a full game. "Watching him in practice, I think he's about there," Kubiak said.
... Kubiak said that WR Jordan Norwood is expected to handle kickoff and punt returns during the first half Saturday, with Kalif Raymond and Bralon Addison getting the second-half repetitions.
... CB Aqib Talib will make his 2016 preseason debut Saturday after missing the last two games. "Talib looks good," Phillips said. "He's moving well; he's making plays." Thursday, Talib prevented a touchdown with an end-zone deflection during a red-zone period.
... OLB DeMarcus Ware is not expected to play Saturday, but saw a full workload on the first-team defense this week. "He says he felt better than he did last year at the end of the year, and at the end of the year he was DeMarcus Ware, Hall of Famer."
... Phillips added that he still plans to keep Ware on a play count in the regular season this year, especially early in the season as the Broncos evaluate how his back responds. "He's such a force on third down, and we've been able to get [opponents] in third downs. We hope to again," Phillips said.
Wrapping up the week of practice before taking on the Rams, the Broncos met members of the military to greet them and sign autographs. (photos by Gabriel Christus)
INJURY REPORT: **
... WR Bennie Fowler and OL Ty Sambrailo remained sidelined with elbow injuries.
... TEs Garrett Graham (shoulder) and Jeff Heuerman (hamstring) worked out with a strength and conditioning coach. Neither has practiced this week; both did not play last Saturday against the 49ers.
... C James Ferentz is expected to miss "a few weeks" following a knee scope Monday.
... DE Derek Wolfe missed practice for a third consecutive day as he continued attending to a personal matter. Kubiak said he expected Wolfe to return Thursday night, but was evaluating whether he would play against the Rams or not. Henry Melton worked in place of Wolfe on the first team.
... C Dillon Day continues to work in place of Ferentz on the second team. Connor McGovern is also expected to see some work at center Saturday.