SANTA CLARA, Calif. --Full pads were off. Aggression was on. And it didn't take long for that aggression to cross the line during the Broncos' second joint practice of the week with the San Francisco 49ers.
... As Justin Simmons returned an interception for a touchdown, the real action was happening between Aqib Talib and Pierre Garçon.
"Aqib just made a block, just a regular block that we do on interception drills," CB Chris Harris Jr. explained. "We get an interception, you always block the intended receiver. Then Garçon just tackled him.
"It was definitely dirty."
A scuffled ensured, but Talib downplayed it.
"It wasn't nothing major, man," Talib said. "I've been in real fights, man. That was nothing."
Nevertheless, the speed at which teammates came to help showed the togetherness of the unit.
"We've all definitely got each other's back," Harris said. "We've been playing together for a number of years now, so it's like a brotherhood. We just wanted to bring a little bit more intensity and make more plays."
... On the other field, a full-scale fracas broke out between the Broncos' offense and the 49ers' defense after a red-zone play.
Head Coach Vance Joseph knew that the work with the 49ers would be intense, but he didn't expect it to boil over as it did.
"Expected? No. But it happened," Joseph said. "We didn't want that, but we got past it and finished practice. Both sides were being really competitive. It's football.
"It's a physical sport, so some of that stuff is going to happen. Both sides kind of caught their composure and were able to finish practice. That's what's important there."
... QB Paxton Lynch built off the momentum from a solid Wednesday session with one of his best practices. All of his passes during team and seven-on-seven periods were complete, including a pass to Demaryius Thomas near the right sideline that saw the receiver pluck the ball out of the air, giving the defender no chance at making a play on the ball.
"Very impressed," Joseph said when asked about whether this was Lynch's best day since the start of training camp. "His best day? I'm not sure, but he made three or four big-time throws today.
"He looked relaxed, and hopefully that carries over to Saturday."
... The two days of practice with the 49ers were "very productive," Joseph said as he looked back on the work.
"[Wednesday] was really good. It was organized. Both teams were compliant with the rules that we put into place," Joseph said. "Today was a little chippy, but it was great work for us to see a different color jersey and a different kind of scheme on both sides of the ball."
... After some fits and starts in a red-zone period to open practice, the offense clicked with much more consistency than it did during Wednesday's practice.
"Yesterday wasn't bad, but today was better," Joseph said. "It's the first time seeing that scheme, so it takes time to kind of get adjusted to that scheme. We're more of a man team, more of a match-type coverage team, and that's more of a zone, kind of drop-in-certain-spaces coverage team. So it takes time to adjust."
The first day of the Broncos' joint practices with the 49ers was a success, as each side drove the other to hone their skills. (photos by Gabriel Christus, unless noted)
... TE A.J. Derby was held out of practice because of a lower back contusion. Joseph said the injury was "nothing serious at all."
... WR Emmanuel Sanders was held out of practice after falling on his shoulder during Wednesday's practice. Joseph said he wasn't sure whether Sanders would play Saturday. "He's a little sore, but he's better today," Joseph said.
... ILB Brandon Marshall was in uniform, but he was held out of team-period work because of a rib contusion suffered Wednesday. "He's fine; we're just being smart," Joseph said.
... ILB Todd Davis continues to be held out of team periods as he works his way back from a sprained shoulder.
... With Davis and Marshall both watching the team periods from the sideline, Corey Nelson and Zaire Anderson handled first-team repetitions.
... WR Cody Latimer sat out a second consecutive practice because of a hamstring injury, but was on the sideline wearing a jersey. "He's feeling a lot better today," Joseph said, adding that he wasn't sure if Latimer would play Saturday.
"If he's still sore, probably not," Joseph said.
... DE/OLB DeMarcus Walker also missed a second consecutive practice because of a hip-flexor injury. Joseph said that Walker will not play in Saturday's game.
"His MRI came back pretty normal, but he's sore," Joseph said. "Hopefully we can get him back in practice Monday or Tuesday."
... DE Derek Wolfe (lower ankle sprain), OLB DeMarcus Walker (hip flexor), S T.J. Ward (hamstring), WR Carlos Henderson (thumb), DE Jared Crick (back spasms), RB Bernard Pierce (hamstring) CB Dontrell Nelson (concussion) and OLB Shane Ray (wrist) did not practice.