ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Spirals soared through the blue sky in Dove Valley on Monday as the Broncos returned to the field after having Sunday off.
Quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler, Zac Dysert and Ryan Katz filled the air with footballs as receivers worked against defensive backs in 1-on-1 drills, providing some entertaining matchups.
Meanwhile, the day also saw cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's return to participating in team drills, Julius Thomas and Virgil Green making big plays at tight end and a slew of impressive interceptions.
Here's a rundown of how things happened on Day 19.
Tight end Jacob Tamme returned to practice in pads for the first time since July 28.
As noted, Rodgers-Cromartie worked in team drills for the first time since his ankle injury on July 31 – he returned to the field in pads on Saturday.
Left tackle Ryan Clady worked out in team drills once again.
"It was good to see those guys," Head Coach John Fox said after practice. "We're starting to get guys back."
Fox noted that there were no new additions to the injury report.
Between them, Peyton Manning and Champ Bailey have appeared in 24 Pro Bowls over the years. On Monday, the best of both players was on display. In 7-on-7 drills, Manning threaded a pass with pinpoint precision to wide receiver Eric Decker, who caught the ball in the back of the end zone with Bailey draped in coverage. Bailey got the next laugh, however. Later in 7-on-7s, the 15-year pro leaped up in front of wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and picked off Manning's pass to a loud ovation from the crowd.
Rodgers-Cromartie also made his first interception since returning from injury, picking off Manning in 1-on-1 drills after wide receiver Gerell Robinson slipped and fell down on the route.
Julius Thomas and Virgil Green put in their share of work at tight end, as Manning hit both players for touchdowns in team drills. In a different series, Green made a nice adjustment on a ball thrown behind him from Osweiler, turning his body in midair and hauling in the catch.
Middle linebacker Stewart Bradley made a leaping, one-handed interception of Osweiler in team drills.
Manning hit Demaryius Thomas and Andre Caldwell for touchdowns on deep balls in one-on-ones.
On successive plays in team drills, defensive linemen Robert Ayers and Derek Wolfe both batted down Manning passes at the line of scrimmage.
In team drills, safety Rahim Moore made a nice adjustment on the ball in midair and knocked Manning's pass away from Demaryius Thomas at the last second in the back of the end zone.
Rookie cornerback Aaron Hester ignited one of the most entertaining plays of the day in team drills when he stepped in front of receiver Tavarres King and tapped away Osweiler's pass. The ball ricocheted directly into the arms of safety David Bruton, who made the interception and took off on a return.
- Rookie running back C.J. Anderson got behind coverage and hauled in a high, lofty throw from Dysert for a touchdown in team drills.
- Robinson made a nice catch in front of safety Duke Ihenacho during team drills, diving to the ground and bringing in Manning's pass.
- Wide receiver Lamaar Thomas hauled in a touchdown from Dysert just over the outstretched arms of cornerback Kayvon Webster in one-on-ones. Earlier, in 7-on-7s, Webster stepped in front of Thomas and batted down an Osweiler pass.
The most entertaining drill of the day belonged to special teams. Trindon Holliday's shiftiness was on full display as he lined up on one sideline, then raced towards the other sideline and tried to catch punts that had been launched out of the JUGS machine before they hit the ground.
The team will be back on the practice field for a session free and open to the public Tuesday at 8:50 a.m.