The Denver Broncos got their team scrimmage in, in weather wetter than a car wash.
Practice was delayed and cut short, but for the roughly 12,000-15,000 out of 44,439 fans who stayed, they were rewarded throughout. Players jogged, splashed, and belly flopped onto the field before practice, and high-five the drenched fans in the front rows. Knowshon Moreno was the ring-leader, going out first in his sunglasses. Who says only baseball players know how to make the most of a rain delay?
Peyton Manning said that in between the slip-n’-slide action and the scrimmage, the Broncos watched the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It gave him a chance to text Bill Parcells during his speech.
Once the lightning cleared, heavy rains made the team decided to forgo the hour-long individual drills portion of practice. They warmed up for about 15 minutes and got their full scrimmage in though, which included each group running 12 plays as planned.
“Football is football and sometimes you have to operate in tough conditions,” head coach John Fox said after the scrimmage. “Like I said, it’s good practice in case we have to play in those conditions.”
First up, it was the second team offense against the first team defense. The defense held their ground, with Von Miller getting a “sack” if quarterback contact were allowed.
Next it was the first team offense against the second team defense. Manning was back with the black gloves and gave fans something to cheer about when he threw a touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas.
“He made a really nice move, the one down the sideline, and had a go-route and then made a heckuva catch, kind of all spread out to the right where he was kind of the third read and he’s coming across the end zone,” Manning said. “To hold on to the ball was a heck of a play.”
“The main thing with the touchdown was that I just wanted to get off the field,” Thomas added. “I wanted to score and get off the field because it isn’t easy to try to beat guys in the rain.”
Wes Welker was also the recipient of a Manning pass, a 15-yard gain off a screen pass. Manning went 4-for-6 for 56 yards, and three of his pass attempts went to Welker. For the record it was Manny Ramirez snapping the ball to Manning.
Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman ran with the first team and picked up some nice yardage to move the group downfield and into scoring position. Hillman had a carry for 12 yards while Ball had one for 9 yards.
Finally the third teams got their turn, which was led by rookie quarterback Zac Dysert. Dysert hasn’t looked great in practice, but he showed composure during the scrimmage, running out of bounds when necessary, and even completing a couple of passes.
Saturday night was a success. There were no new injuries and the players got to see that Denver does in fact have the best fans in the league.
“With the lightning, I would have been gone,” Eric Decker admitted. “I would have been gone in a heartbeat. I’ll tell you that much, but it tells you how much they support this team and how excited they are.”
The Broncos have Sunday off, but they’ll be back on the practice field Monday and Tuesday before playing out to San Francisco on Wednesday for their first preseason game.