Monday, July 30, 2012

Visit to Bronco Training Camp

On a hot Monday morning in late July I made my annual visit to the Broncos training camp at the team's practice facilities in Dove Valley.  Here are some pictures I took along with my impressions of the practice.

My son Andy and I arrived one hour early only to be greeted by a long line of fans waiting for the gates to open:

Soon we were inside the practice fields.  The Broncos allow fans to sit on a hill adjacent to one of the fields.  On this morning the sun was right in our eyes.  I did not bring sunscreen and had a nice sunburn to show for it afterwards!


We settled around the 20 yard line, which gave us a great view of the action later on.

The star of the show, of course, was Peyton Manning.  Peyton looked like his old self to me.  He started out a little slow but as the practice wore on he displayed his quick release and accuracy from the pocket.

Or working on the running game.  Here Peyton is handing off to Willis McGahee.

Peyton was engaged during the whole practice.  When not on the field he'd be discussing formations and strategy with the coaches:

Wide receiver Eric Decker made connections on and off the field.  I predict a big year for Decker!

Here Peyton is talking with ex-Colt teammate tight end Jacob Tamme:

The Broncos even had Peyton lineup at cornerback in one non-contact drill.  And of course after the play Peyton had some suggestions for Matthew Willis.  Peyton Manning is the most vocal practice player I've ever seen in my years of going to Bronco Training camp.

We did get hot sitting in the sun for 3 hours.  Thankfully the Broncos provided an onsite refreshment stand with bottled water and soft drinks for $1/bottle.

A team store was also open adjacent to one of the fields.

Back to the practice, let's take a look at some of the other players.  I heard an interview with safety Rahim Moore (#26) on radio station 104.3 while waiting for the practice to begin.  Rahim says he's much more comfortable this year, and the defense that coordinator Jack Del Rio is implementing is similar to the system Moore played in at UCLA.

Rookie quarterback Brock Osweiler, at 6' 7", was the tallest bronco.  Here Osweiler (#6) is shown next to 6' 5" Julius Thomas (#80).  I was impressed with Osweiler's accuracy and strong arm during the practice.  I thought he looked better than the other backup qb's (Caleb Haney and Adam Weber)

Rookie running back Ronnie Hillman is short with thick legs and quick moves.  He looked like he could be more than just a 3rd down back to me - he showed surprising power.

Don't write off Knowshon Moreno just yet!  Moreno participated in drills for the 1st time after offseason surgery and hooked up with Manning on short passes out of the backfield.  Moreno has good hands and can be a receiving threat in this offense.

Wide receiver Brandon Stokely adds a veteran presence.  Here he's talking with Demaryius Thomas and Matthew Willis.

For a closeup look at Bronco football attend a training camp session at Dove Valley.  I recommend it!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Inside look at Broncos' Dove Valley

Tonight I was treated to an inside look at the Denver Broncos training facility at Dove Valley along with 40 other members of the Denver Broncos Quarterback Club.  The Broncos hosted the Broncos Quarterback Club as a thank you for the many years of support the members have given the team.

It was a beautiful sunny July day in Denver as we approached the main offices of the Broncos:

Inside the lobby:

The Broncos championship banners were prominently displayed:

As well as the team's two Super Bowl trophies:

Next we were shown the Broncos weight room:

Our guide explained that 90% of the equipment is new for 2012 as the Broncos are implementing a new strategy for weight training:

Closeup look at one of the machines:

Then we were escorted outside for a look at the practice fields.  Two grass fields were well groomed in anticipation for the opening of training camp in a month:

Then it was off to the locker room and the team meeting rooms:

Inside a mural of all the Denver Broncos head coaches in franchise history was prominently displayed:

There are those Super Bowl trophies again (a second copy) right outside the locker room:

Our guide showed us team photos displayed on the wall from every Broncos squad:

We were not allowed to take photos inside the locker room.  It was a thrill to stand right in front of Peyton Manning's locker!

Next it was off to the team meeting and film room.  This is also where the Broncos hold major press conferences:

The walls are covered with more motivation:

We were the first members of the public to see the 2011 Denver Broncos highlight film.  30 minutes of memories from the amazing 2011 season, highlighted by the 80 yard TD pass from Tim Tebow to Demaryius Thomas to beat the Steelers in overtime in a playoff thriller.

The highlight film featured the big plays of the 2011 season, with many comments from players in game action.  The future hope of Peyton Manning's arrival was emphasized.  "2011 was a good year, 2012 could be great!"

Overall the evening was a fascinating look at the inside workings of the Broncos.  The Denver Broncos Quarterback Club is one of the best kept secrets for Denver area fans.  Members are treated to exclusive events like tonight's, speakers from current players and media, and even a chance to see a live broadcast of the coaches show during the season.  See the club's website for more details and membership info.