ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Dove Valley was splashed in sunshine on Saturday morning as the Broncos took the field for their first practice since the team's 10-6 win at San Francisco in the preseason opener.
The morning session saw key plays from a slew of defensive backs, as well as cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's return to practicing in pads and tackle Ryan Clady taking reps at left tackle in team drills.
Here are some of the highlights from Saturday morning.
Tackle Ryan Clady was limited at practice, and Head Coach John Fox said the tackle is "easing back into it."
Wide receiver Wes Welker was not in practice today, which Fox noted was a "club decision" in his post-practice press conference.
Rodgers-Cromartie was back on the field in pads for the first time since his ankle injury on July 31.
"He did a little bit more -- he was in pads," Fox said. "We're easing him back into it."
Clady's reps at left tackle during team drills marked the first time that he's participated in team drills this training camp.
"We're obviously taking that slow," Fox said. "(We're) starting to build a base for us to work on."
Broncos defensive backs had a knack for getting their hands on the ball on Saturday. During team drills, safety Rahim Moore intercepted Peyton Manning, safety Mike Adams jumped up and picked off Brock Osweiler on a deep route, and cornerback Kayvon Webster made a leaping interception of Zac Dysert and took off up the sideline for a long return.
In the absence of Welker, wide receiver Andre Caldwell had a nice connection with Manning on Saturday. Caldwell had several catches on the morning including a leaping catch on the sideline.
In team drills, Osweiler lofted a ball to tight end Virgil Green, who hauled in the pass over Quentin Jammer in the corner of the end zone.
Wide receiver Gerell Robinson also made a leaping catch from Osweiler in the corner of the end zone.
On back-to-back plays in team drills, linebacker Wesley Woodyard stuffed running back Montee Ball in the backfield on a screen pass from Manning, then stepped in front of Caldwell and swatted away a Manning pass.
After leading the Broncos with 69 rushing yards against the 49ers, running back C.J. Anderson broke off a pair of nice runs in team drills. On one particular run, Anderson took a handoff up the middle, then made a nifty cut and found daylight, bouncing to the outside and tearing up the sideline for a big gain.
Wide receiver Kemonte' Bateman outmuscled cornerback Nigel Malone for the ball on a slant from Dysert, as Bateman pulled the ball out of Malone's hands and made the catch.
Bateman also made a nice play in special teams drills, diving into the end zone in punt coverage and swatting the ball with one hand, downing the punt inside the 2. Assistant Special Teams Coach Derius Swinton gave Bateman a high five for the play.
Several fans had an up close and personal encounter with Robinson after he ended up in the crowd while trying to catch an Osweiler pass in the corner of the end zone. Robinson was able to dodge the fans in his path, then patted several kids on the head who were in the area.
The defensive units once again practiced diving on loose balls and recovering fumbles early in the session. As Webster said after the defense notched four takeaways in San Francisco, the repetition seems to be paying off.