Going into Saturday’s inter-squad scrimmage, Broncos head coach John Fox reminded everyone that the players are in control of their own destiny.
“They dictate who’s where on the depth chart,” Fox said. “This is another opportunity for them to move up or down…As far as the depth chart goes, we remind them all the time, it’s not where you start the race, it’s where you finish.
The Broncos drew a record crowd for a scrimmage with 41,304 walking through the gates at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Fans, young and old, wanted to see the highly anticipated new-look Broncos.
“This is unbelievable,” Fox said after the scrimmage. “I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this for this point and this type of scrimmage atmosphere. I think they’re (the fans) ready for some football.”
More than anything, the Broncos used the scrimmage to get accustomed to game day. They used it to get familiar with the locker room, pregame routines, and the home crowd.
Both Fox and Peyton Manning were happy with the work day overall.
“I thought it was pretty good by both first units,” Fox said. “I thought we started a little slow offensively, but once we got in the groove of it, getting those competitive juices back, I thought we executed pretty well. I think defensively, we looked pretty good against that second unit. All in all, I thought it was pretty good for our first outing.”
In Manning’s debut at Mile High in blue jersey with predominantly orange trim, his first team offense went three-and-out the first two possessions in the 11-on-11 drill. Then, Manning went 4-for-8 with a touchdown pass to Eric Decker.
“It really felt like a game atmosphere with the crowd,” Manning said after the scrimmage. “I know it was good for me and a lot of the players before going into the game against Chicago on Thursday.”
One might think that for a veteran player such as Manning, this game didn’t mean much. That was not the case
“Preseason is important,” Manning said. “I’ve always believed there are different phases of training camp. I think there’s a lot that we can try to get out of preseason. You want to try to see different scenarios.”
The Broncos will have Sunday off and resume work on Monday. The team’s first preseason game is a road game on Thursday against the Chicago Bears.