This morning at 8:43 a.m., Peyton Manning jogged onto the practice field at Dove Valley.
(That’s not him. That’s Von Miller. But we continue.)
No. 18′s arrival let everyone know: Broncos training camp can start now.
Play of the day: From a fan’s perspective, Wes Welker slipping past Chris Harris for a deep touchdown pass down the left sideline — from Manning — drew the loudest cheer.
“It’s just one-on-ones. You can’t take it too (hard) in one-on-ones,” Harris was quick to point out. “If that was 7-on-7s or teams I would take it hard.”
Welker was beloved in New England. He will be beloved in Colorado.
The long catch by Welker was an exception. The defense seemed to hold the upperhand for much of the 2 1/2-hour workout. And that means… nada. First day of camp.
Newsworthy: Von Miller, who could face a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s drug code, was received warmly by the thousands of fans who packed the grassy hillside to get the earliest peek at their new squad. The star linebacker worked with the first-team defense, like usual. Support from his teammates was unanimous, like usual.
“Von Miller’s back, we have everybody on our organization’s back,” Manning said when asked about the team’s tumultuous offseason. “That’s when you find out a lot about people is who sticks with you when the times are tough. You find out who the rats are; who is going to jump ship. It’s easy when you are rolling along, an 11-game winning streak, everything is good.
“You have a little adversity come your way. How do you respond? How do you handle it? I think the organization has responded.”
The untrained eye saw: Derek Wolfe. It’s hard not to. In a game of giants, Wolfe is built like a tank. Who knows if that translates into productivity during the season. But it’s hard to miss Wolfe.
“It’s fun knowing what to expect (in his second camp),” Wolfe said after practice.
Considering the Broncos likely will be without sack-machine Miller for the first four games on the schedule, others need to pick it up in his absence. That includes Wolfe, the second-year lineman out of Cincinnati.
Overall: This was a cheery, sunshiney (though clouds cooled the temperatures), optimistic first day of camp. About what you’d expect from a team eager to forget a forgettable summer of news. Estimates from veteran beat writers suggested between 2,500-3,000 fans were in attendance. I would say closer to 3,000. Think there’s some interest in this Broncos team?
Next: Camp runs from 10:25 a.m.-1:05 p.m. on Friday.
We’ll have a daily training camp update from Dove Valley on this blog, at least on the days when I’m there, which will be most days.
-Photos: Day One of training camp.