ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – ** After their day off, the Broncos returned to the practice field on Monday to prepare for their first preseason game.
Chase Vaughn (knee), Greg Latta (hip), Louis Young (groin) did not participate. Montee Ball was diagnosed with appendicitis and did not participate. He had an appendectomy Monday afternoon.
Emmanuel Sanders left practice early with a right quadriceps strain. Sione Fua (hip) and Tony Carter, who incurred a slight groin strain, also left practice early.
T.J. Ward showed his physicality during 1-on-1's. Although Jacob Tamme caught a five-yard pass from Peyton Manning, Ward was all over him, creating a difficult reception. Later during the drill, Ward maintained pressure on Julius Thomas and knocked the ball out of his hands, preventing a catch.
Tamme showed his consistency in making that catch and two others, one on a post route from Manning. He later added a jumping catch to beat Rahim Moore.
The offense had two strong plays in a row during 1-on-1's. First, Manning found Sanders, who was covered by Aqib Talib. Later, Manning hit Demariyus Thomas on the same route, but on the opposite side.
Omar Bolden had a strong showing during 7-on-7's, dropping into coverage and making key tackles on Andre Caldwell and Jordan Norwood. He also knocked Andre Caldwell out of bounds to prevent him from gaining a few extra yards after his catch.
Check out the best photos from Monday's practice at Dove Valley.
Manning and Julius Thomas connected on multiple occasions throughout the day, one being a touchdown catch on a seam route down the left side with Kayvon Webster in coverage. After being held out of the team's Summer Scrimmage on Saturday, the fourth-year tight end appeared to be fully recovered from his thigh bruise as defenders had a hard time covering him.
Demaryius Thomas and Manning also showed some 2013 magic today. With Rahim Moore covering him, Thomas found his way in the end zone for the score.
Kenny Anunike and Cody Larsen had back-to-back "sacks" of Zac Dysert.
Ronnie Hillman made a nice run up the middle during a team period, finding a hole and then dodging multiple defenders until eventually running into Moore.
DeMarcus Ware and Sylvester Williams kept consistent pressure on Manning throughout the day, forcing a "sack" during the final 11-on-11 period.
Jerome Murphy made a great play after a pass from Brock Osweiler to Greg Wilson was a little high, forcing both Wilson and Murphy to jump for it. Wilson appeared to come down with the ball with a solid hold on it, but Murphy didn't give up on it and forced the ball out of his hands.
Talib finished the day with a few key plays under his belt, showing his speed and ability to keep up with sneaky receivers. He also intercepted Manning towards the end of practice during team drills.
David Bruton had a big day. He picked off Osweiler and helped stuff Juwan Thompson and Brennan Clay at the line of scrimmage on different occasions.
Kicker Mitch Ewald was the first player at practice today. Linebackers L.J Fort, Jerrell Harris and Jamar Chaney were the last three players to leave.
With Ball out, running backs saw more reps, especially C.J. Anderson and Hillman.
The Broncos finished the day with a "Hail Mary" drill.
Some of the rookies shaved their heads, but a few still sported their rookie haircuts.