Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dallas vs Denver Training Camp Observations By Bronco Fan

This is posted on a Bronocs board and thei is the fans commentary from camp today.

Beating jam coverage

the first portion of practice involved the teams split up doing their warm up drills. The Broncos corners and receivers spent a lot of time working on the jam. Royal was the hardest to jam at the line. Paymah and Bly were actually the best at bumping their guy and then hanging on his pocket. The others had mixed results. Jackson had trouble being very physical at the line. After this exchange the horn blew and the drills shifted with the lines working on gap recognition as well as the next drill I watched.

One on one
The Cowboy corners came over to practice against Cutler, Ramsey and the Broncos receivers one on one. It was a great chance to see how our guys reacted to the Dallas secondary. Right out of the gate they have Marshall on Adam Jones. Marshall made a move on a comeback and Jones slipped making it an easy catch. On their next outing, once again Marshall blows past Jones and is able to make the catch on an incut. Jones looked a little confused. Their next outing must have been a miscommunication because Marshall runs by Jones and then Cutler threw ten yards behind both of them. Their last go against each other, Marshall makes a little move and Jones bit hard and Marshall streaked past him into the endzone. After practice Jones was saying that TO is so much better than Marshall so I guess we can take that as high praise of TO considering how badly Jones got worked over

The other Cowboys defensive backs faired much better. Royal went against Alan Ball and de-cleated him so bad he fell down. Orlando Scandrick had a couple where he was very physical and was able to keep his receiver off balance. On one play Parker had trouble losing him and even when the ball him him in the hands, he dropped it because Scandrick was staying with him so well.

On another play Stokely beat Alan Ball at the line but recovered almost immediately and swatted the pass away. It was the most impressive play of that drill. Evan Oglesby had some nice plays. He got beat a few times, but had one deflection and the only interception of the whole scrimmage when he locked onto Taylor Jacobs and Ramsey threw it behind him as Oglesby stole it. Keary Colbert put a nice move on Mike Jenkins that had him in his wake. Clifford Russell ran right past Roy Williams for a long bomb. I don't know why Williams was taking reps in this drill as he's a run stuffing safety and not a coverage guy - especially in man coverage. Anyway it was clearly a drill where the Broncos out-classed the Cowboys secondary. Ball, Oglesby and Scandrick were the most impressive to me.

Field goals

Next they worked field goals withe Broncos kicking against the Cowboys special teams. Prater was 10 of 11 (I think. Oskie can confirm more exactly later). Overall he did pretty good. They rotated holder's and Kern showed better hand dexterity (to me anyway).

Next they had the Broncos punt to the Cowboys. I was surprised how much trash Pacman was talking. After each punt he was cursing at the Broncos talking about how he's taking it to the house. It was a little bizarre especially with all the cameras around on all sides. The punts were from the twenty five and Sam Paulescu was more consistent than Kern. Kern had the kick of the day though as he booted one from the twenty into the endzone where Danny Amendola muffed it. The next punt Kern made was not near as far but was muffed again by Patrick Crayton but there were no Broncos around and it bounced into his hands. He ran with like without even slowing down. Coverage favored the Cowboys as they frequently had guys in good position to run them back (when they were returnable).

Oskie will have the full seven on seven pass drills as I chose to watch the offensive line vs defensive line.

Denver O-line Vs. Dallas D-line

This was really interesting to watch. The Dallas line seemed to have more power but not as much speed or agility as ours did. Tank Johnson had some nice plays where he blew up Holland and PJ Alexander both. I think Holland is just rusty as he hasn't played in any drills to this point and pass-pro is usually his strong suit. Kory Lichtensteiger had his trash handed to him by Chris Canty but he recovered and was able to stonewall Marcus Spears. The biggest blow up was DeMarcus Ware on Ryan Clady. He just made a slight move and then was around Clady in a heartbeat. Clady didn't even touch him as he scrambled to get around him. It was definitely a "welcome to the NFL" moment for Clady. The good news is Clady was never beat that bad again the whole practice and it happened in a drill without anyone behind center. Hamilton and Kuper seemed to be the most consistent of the players during this drill.

I did get a chance to watch our D-line against the Cowboys offensive line, but only for a couple of minutes and it was glancing over from the drills above. Generally speaking it looked like we rarely got any outside pressure and if we got anything at all it was up the middle. Their line is much bigger than what our defensive line is used to and it appeared in the brief time I watched them that this was going to cause some trouble for us.

Cowboy Offense Vs. Broncos Defense

They merged all the units and had them go against each other. It's pretty clear how much both sides raised their intensity level with the other team here. None of them want to look bad and both sides played very hard. Oskie had the luxury of Watching our O against he Cowboys defense. Here's what i saw.

-1's V 1's
Expecting us to get stonewalled because of the brief observations of the line drills I saw, I was shocked to see how well we did against the vaunted Cowboys offense. We played a fifth guy on the line almost every down, but didn't always blitz and even when we did we didn't blitz the guy on the line necessarily. First down DJ blitzed and both he and Dumervil broke through. Falling away, Romo threw to where his TE was supposed to be but it was too far way to catch. Next was a run play where Barber picked up three yards on an Iso. Marcus Thomas blew through pretty effectively. Third down Bly was playing nickel and held who I believe was Isaiah Stanback and Romo threw a pass that was almost an int but it was defensive holding on Bly. The next play romo threw a pass with good protection and no blitz that hit Miles Austin dropped as it hit him in the hands. He would have one other drop later in this drill that would screw them on third down and would have been a conversion. The next play we again only rushed four and got no pressure and TO ran right by Foxworth for a big catch. It was a pretty throw and Foxworth was burned bad. The rest of the plays the Broncos defense did pretty well. What really surprised me was how many times they hurried Romo into bad throws. They rarely got sacks but there were quite a few incompletions that were a result of him getting rid of the ball early.

In particular I noticed that Dumervil got some good pressure. Moss had a nice play where he stunted and split his guys and came through causing an overthrow. DJ made some nice plays in the run game where he cut inside and took down Barber for a three yard loss. On play-action the defense still over-pursues but the backside contain was much better protected than it was in the Texans preseason game. On one boot Romo pulled it down and then nailed Martellus Bennett on a nice play that looked familiar to our PA boot/pass to tight end or running back play we always run. There were no turnovers, just two dropped ints from Romo. One was Tyrone Poole jumping a route he read perfectly but dropped because he was thinking about the run.

Brad Johnson was much better at handling the pressure than Romo. There were a couple plays where we had guys breathing down his neck and Johnson was able to dump the ball off to a guy accurately right before the sack. Even on a screen we blew up, Johnson was shifty enough to fall away and still complete the pass to the back.

I would say overall our defense didn't get consistent pressure unless we were blitzing. The run defense was good, but it was like we were focusing on it so much that we gave up some plays. They mostly had to pick us apart. The throw to the TE and the TO TD were the only big plays to speak of. After watching our D-line get hosed by their offensive line, I was expecting the vaunted Cowboys offensive to make us look ridiculous (and they still may!) but we flustered Romo way more than I thought we would be able to.