ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –As the lightning and thunder cracking in the distance drew closer and closer to the practice fields on Friday, Head Coach John Fox decided to move everyone inside.
Players and fans cleared the field for a brief delay, but any hopes of making it back onto the Dove Valley practice fields ended when a few more lightning bolts forced the team's hand.
The team moved its practice to the South Suburban Sports Dome, an indoor facility just down the street from the team's headquarters.
"(It's) not really (a problem)," Fox said about having to move mid-practice. "I feel bad for the fans, there were a lot of people out there, but we're interested in their safety. There was a lot of lightning, and we were back-and-forth for a while. Finally we just had to do the right thing and bring the team (inside), and make sure the fans were safe."
Due to space limitations, moving practice indoors meant that the 2,917 fans in attendance were not able to watch the team's Friday session.
Players didn't mind moving indoors, but were disappointed that they didn't get a chance to perform in front of many of the same fans that set a Dove Valley attendance record yesterday.
"The only thing (the weather) changed was us coming out here and practicing out in front of the fans," linebacker Joe Mays said. "That's something that we enjoy doing and something they enjoy, to come out and watch us. We were a little disappointed that we weren't able to come out here and practice in front of them, but we still had a good day."
Fellow linebacker Wesley Woodyard also expressed his regret that fans who waited to see the team practice weren't able to watch.
"It's sad that we couldn't give our fans what they came out to see today by having to move inside," Woodyard said. "It's good to see that they support us day-in and day-out and continue to come behind us."
Players arrived to the indoor facility on a pair of buses and immediately picked up where they had left off before the thunderstorm.
While practice space is more condensed on the one indoor field than it is on the three outdoor practice surfaces, the team still went through its planned script.
"I commended our guys for their focus," Fox said. "We brought them in, we brought them back out, we threw them on a bus and came here. They kept their focus; we had a good day's work, and we'll be back at it tomorrow in pads."
Receivers noticed the smaller space the most as they had to stick with shorter routes to avoid nearby position groups during the individual portion of practice.
"Well, it was a little different," wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said. "There wasn't much room, but we got a lot of work done. We had to go out and do what we had to do. We had to make sure the little things are right—make sure you line up in the right spot, read the coverages, get hot routes right—and I feel like we did a good job today."
Other than the smaller space, Mays said practice is practice regardless of where it is held.
"It didn't throw us off balance at all," Mays said. "We're still coming out here, still looking to come out and have productive days, try to get better each and every day we come out here on the field. No matter where it is. Whether it's on the grass or in the bubble, it doesn't matter."