SAN DIEGO -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of San Diego Chargers training camp:

For a second straight day rookie Chris Watt worked with the starters at right guard, with Johnnie Troutman working at right guard with the second unit. Both are filling in until last year’s starter, Jeromey Clary, returns from the physically unable to perform list after offseason shoulder and hip surgery.

For the most part, Watt has been assignment correct and held his own during one-on-one pass drills. But another measuring point for the third round selection out of Notre Dame will be how he performs against Dallas on Aug. 7 at Qualcomm Stadium.

Speaking of rookies, second-round selection Jeremiah Attaochu continues to flash speed and athleticism in his first week of training camp. The Georgia Tech product has been used as a pass rush specialist in passing situations.

However, at times Attaochu has been a little overzealous in pursuing the ball carrier. Attaochu was beat on a wheel route by Ryan Mathews and tackled him by legs, a no-no during team drills when players are supposed to keep hitting above the waist.

And while rushing the passer, Attaochu pushed tackle Michael Harris back in to quarterback Kellen Clemens, who hit his hand on Harris’ helmet following through on a pass down the field. But the Chargers can live with Attaochu’s enthusiasm, as long as he’s playing aggressive and making plays.

Jarret Johnson, Dwight Freeney and Antonio Gates returned to practice after taking rest days on Sunday. Receiver Vincent Brown remained out for a third straight day with a calf injury. And Melvin Ingram also did not practice, apparently taking a rest day for his surgically repaired knee. Clary remains on the PUP list.

Mathews moved well working with the offense in two-minute drills on Tuesday. After catching a pass out on the flat, Mathews made a nice open-field move to avoid an oncoming Manti Te'o. Mathews also showed nimble feet finding cutback lanes in the run game.

Perhaps Mathews had some extra motivation with LaDainian Tomlinson on hand for Monday’s practice. Now an analyst for the NFL Network, the former San Diego running back talked with his former teammates like Rivers and Gates, along with Mathews and Dwight Freeney, after practice.

The Chargers wore pads for a third straight day on Monday, but will take a day off on Tuesday. San Diego returns to practice on Wednesday, beginning at 5:50 p.m. ET. Wednesday’s practice is open to the public.
NAPA, Calif. – With the Oakland Raiders a bit thin at cornerback as DJ Hayden recovers from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot, the team addressed a depth concern in the secondary.

But rather than bring in another cornerback, the Raiders signed a converted safety in Rutgers product Jeremy Deering, who originally signed as an undrafted free agent with the New England Patriots in May before being waived.

The 6-foot-1, 209-pound Deering began his college career on the offensive side of the ball for the Scarlet Knights as a running back and receiver, rushing for 578 yards and two touchdowns on 130 carries while catching 21 passes for 415 yards and a TD in his college career. He also returned 41 kickoffs for 1,100 yards with a score.

Deering transitioned to safety as a senior and finished with 39 tackles (22 solo) and an interception.

The signing brings the Raiders’ roster to the camp limit of 90 players, after the team cut linebacker Kevin Burnett last week.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Just a few days ago, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said because no fans have been able to attend the team’s training camp practices this year due to construction at the Broncos' complex, that the players might need something to boost them "especially when you get into that third or fourth padded practice and it’s kind of the dog days of training camp."

Well, Monday morning marked the team’s third padded practice of training camp and Manning took it upon himself to give the workout a little kick start. The Broncos routinely play music out of a speaker roughly the size of a Smart Car while the team stretches.

Each day brings a different musical selection from a different player or coach, ranging all over the genre map. Monday’s offering was "Rocky Top," a remember-when country song played at almost every play stoppage and/or touchdown by the University of Tennessee marching band – Manning’s alma mater.

So, as the song played Monday, Manning offered up the dance steps to go along with it. Punter Britton Colquitt, also a former University of Tennessee player, joined in as well.

The video of the five-time NFL MVP is already making the social media rounds.

"I love it," said defensive end Malik Jackson, another former Vol on the Broncos’ roster. "They need to play it every day. ‘Rocky Top’ is awesome. Go Vols."

"It was his day to pick the music so it wasn’t a surprise to me what it was going to be," Broncos linebacker Von Miller said.
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Dave Toub has been fortunate to work with some great return specialists in his years as a special-teams coach. Toub has another such candidate this year in Chiefs rookie De’Anthony Thomas.

Thomas is fast and quick but has more going for him than that as a punt returner.

“His ability to make the first person miss, he’s got that,’’ said Toub, whose returners over the years have included Devin Hester in Chicago. “It’s the same thing Devin Hester had. The thing we need to work on with [Thomas] right now is his catching and his ball reads. You’ll see him in practice occasionally have to run late to make a catch. It’s just a matter of him seeing the ball where it’s going to be and have the ball chase him and not him chase the ball.’’

The presence of Thomas and Knile Davis as their leading kickoff returner has the Chiefs thinking they can match or surpass the four kick return touchdowns they scored last season. Davis returned one kickoff for a touchdown, as did Quintin Demps. Dexter McCluster scored twice on punt returns.

Demps and McCluster now play for other teams, but the Chiefs are in a good spot with the addition of Thomas. He had five returns for a touchdown in his three collegiate seasons at Oregon.

While Davis will be the main kickoff returner, the Chiefs plan to use Thomas there on occasion.

“There might be a situation where you might have Knile and him in the game at the same time and have a special return designed specifically for De’Anthony,’’ Toub said. “He can do a lot of different things that Knile can’t. Knile is more of a power, speed, straightahead [runner]. That fits our scheme but you can do other things with De’Anthony.’’

 
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A day after being pulled from practice due to a lower right leg bruise, Denver Broncos defensive end DeMarcus Ware missed Monday's morning practice, too.

The injury isn't significant, but the Broncos were in full pads so they simply held the 10th-year veteran out as a precaution.

"Just a leg bruise; he’ll be fine," said Broncos head coach John Fox.

Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who has been excused since Wednesday night after the death of his grandmother, arrived at the Broncos’ complex with about 30 minutes remaining in practice, but did not participate. The Broncos do have a walk-through practice Monday evening.

The Broncos' players have Tuesday off.

Cornerback Chris Harris was also not at practice after he traveled to see Dr. James Andrews, the surgeon who repaired Harris’ ACL. Harris said this past weekend he believed the visit with Andrews was a formality and that he expected to be cleared to participate in practice at some point this week.

The Broncos will have to move Harris off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list before he can participate in practice.

Also not practicing Monday morning were: defensive end Greg Latta (right hip), safety John Boyett (back), tight end Jameson Konz (left hip) and defensive end Chase Vaughn (right knee).

Chiefs Camp Report: Day 5

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
1:40
PM ET
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Kansas City Chiefs training camp at Missouri Western State University:
  • Those eagerly anticipating the Chiefs to unveil a pass-rush package that includes Pro Bowl linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali and first-round draft pick Dee Ford will have to wait some more. The Chiefs worked extensively in the nickel defense in practice, but Ford wasn't with the first team. He played with the second unit as the left end in pass-rush situations. A promotion for Ford in the nickel may be coming soon. "Any time you have a skill, a unique skill, whether it is cover, rush, whatever, we are going to try and find a way to use that, and whether we have to create a little personnel group to do that or whatever, we are going to attempt to do that," Sutton said. "I'm sure down the road we are going to try and figure out a way to get all those guys on the field. They're all good players."
  • An intense kicking battle between the incumbent, Ryan Succop, and rookie free agent Cairo Santos is well under way. Both players made their field-goal attempts from 45, 48, 48 again, 50 and 52 yards. "I think he’s an NFL-caliber kicker," special teams coordinator Dave Toub said of Santos, who played collegiately at Tulane. "I think he’s going to be in the NFL, whether it’s on our team or on another team. The competition is real and we’re excited about Cairo and what he’s able to bring. Succop has the advantage of experience, but his contract is more expensive than Santos'. Succop would be due $2 million this year in salary and bonuses, Santos $422,000.
  • Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery look solid as the starting wide receivers, and Junior Hemingway and A.J. Jenkins will probably make the Chiefs as backups. An interesting battle has developed for the other one or two roster spots. Frankie Hammond Jr., Kyle Williams, Mark Harrison and rookie free agent Albert Wilson are all making strong claims for a spot. The Chiefs will probably have to let at least two of them go. Hammond, Williams and Wilson are fast and could play as slot receivers. Harrison, at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, is bigger and has caught everything thrown near him. Hemingway hasn't practiced recently because of a sore hamstring, but coach Andy Reid said he would return when the Chiefs next practice on Wednesday. Bowe returned to practice after missing the final portion of Sunday's session with cramps.
  • Tight end Travis Kelce returned to practice after being held out of Sunday's session because of a sore knee. One of the big stories of camp for the Chiefs is whether Kelce can consistently practice. He's an important component in the passing game.
  • Recently signed offensive tackle Ryan Harris is getting a lot of work. With the starting group, he has provided a rest for left tackle Eric Fisher and has been the replacement for the injured Donald Stephenson on the right side. Harris may or may not make the team, but the Chiefs did well to bring him to camp. They don't have much depth at tackle, and Harris may be the only one who comes off the bench capable of playing left tackle.
Examining the Kansas City Chiefs' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)

The Chiefs could go a lot of different directions here. The only certainty is a healthy Smith will start. Daniel, the veteran backup, could be traded if the Chiefs determine that either Bray or their other developmental prospect, Aaron Murray, is ready to be the No. 2. That’s unlikely, so the Chiefs need to determine what to do with Murray. They didn’t draft him to release him, so he could go on the injured reserve list. The Chiefs could also keep four quarterbacks. Whatever they do, the Chiefs should keep Bray, who is too talented to turn loose.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

There’s room for another player here if the Chiefs believe they need to keep two running backs in addition to Charles and Sherman, the fullback. They needed three in last season’s playoff game in Indianapolis. Thomas is listed as a back and has been getting some work as one, but he’s too small to be an every-down player if that’s what the Chiefs require. So Cyrus Gray, a useful special-teams player, could also stick.

WIDE RECEIVER (6)

Other than perhaps Bowe, the Chiefs don't have a top-level receiver but they have some interesting roster candidates. Hammond and Williams are among them and each is off to a strong start at training camp.

TIGHT END (3)

Kelce’s troublesome knee could impact the roster decisions here. If his knee remains balky, the Chiefs could keep Richard Gordon.

OFFENSIVE LINE (10)

One starting tackle, Stephenson, injured an ankle while the other, Fisher, is limited because of a balky shoulder. So the Chiefs may have to keep an extra tackle and Harris could be it. He's getting a long look in training camp.

DEFENSIVE LINE (6)

There’s no need to keep more linemen, not with Poe playing so many snaps and the Chiefs occasionally using only two linemen, and sometimes one.

LINEBACKER (9)

At no other position on defense is the starting lineup so set with Derrick Johnson and Mays on the inside and Houston and Hali on the outside.

 

CORNERBACK (5)

For the time being, at least, Cooper and Parker are the starters and Smith, their most accomplished cornerback, is running with the second team.

 

SAFETY (4)

Commings has yet to practice at training camp because of an injured foot. If he doesn't return soon, the Chiefs may be forced to look for additional help here.

SPECIALISTS (3)

Rookie Cairo Santos has an impressive leg, but it’s difficult seeing the Chiefs going with a rookie kicker instead of the veteran Succop.
Examining the San Diego Chargers' roster:

Quarterbacks (3)

Nothing has changed here. Sorensen still clearly the No. 3 quarterback at this point.

Running backs (4)

Kerwynn Williams and Branden Oliver have shown flashes, but I still think Grice is ahead at this point.

Receivers (5)


Inman has been the most consistent of the young receivers trying to make the back end of the roster. Seyi Ajirotutu is still in the mix, and rookies Tevin Reese, Javontee Herndon and Torrence Allen all have made plays.

Tight ends (4)


You could go with three tight ends here in order to pick up another receiver.

Offensive linemen (9)


With Jeromey Clary still on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and not practicing, the Chargers need depth here.

Defensive linemen (6)

Tenny Palepoi and Damik Scafe and Chas Alecxih have made good impressions.

Linebackers (10)

Williams has been one of the more impressive young players in camp. It will be hard to keep Thomas Keiser off of the roster after how he played last season.

Cornerbacks (5)


At times, Marshall has been the best cornerback in camp. He's playing with a lot of confidence right now.

Safeties (4)

These four appear to be clearly ahead of rookies Alden Darby and Adrian Phillips.

Specialists (3)


Interested to see how rookie punter Chase Tenpenny performs in exhibition play if he gets an opportunity.
Examining the Denver Broncos' roster:

Quarterbacks (3)

The Broncos carried three here last season and thought enough of Dysert to keep him despite a long list of injuries on defense that eventually saw five starters on injured reserve. It could be more difficult to use that third spot on Dysert again. The Broncos would like to, but it might be a luxury they can’t afford this time around, especially if they want a return specialist.

Running backs (4)
The Broncos kept five at this spot as recently as 2012, but this position shapes up to be a quality camp battle, and last year’s rookie to make it -- C.J. Anderson -- could certainly hold off this year’s crop. It would be a rarity to have two undrafted rookie running backs make the final 53, but Clay’s pass-catching ability is intriguing, and the 225-pound Thompson would give the Broncos a bigger back with an understanding of pass protections to go with some special-teams ability. Anderson has worked as the No. 3 for the most part in the first days of camp, but Clay has taken some snaps with the second team offense and Thompson has worked with the 3s as well.

Receivers (5)

The Broncos have two undrafted rookies at this spot who have turned some heads already -- Isaiah Burse as a returner and Bennie Fowler at wideout -- but Latimer will be the youngster on the depth chart barring an unexpected injury. Latimer and Caldwell give the Broncos some insurance against any potential concussion issues for Welker. Latimer figures to get plenty of quality snaps. The Broncos have kept five here for the past three seasons, although last year's five included returner Trindon Holliday.

Tight ends (3)

The Broncos kept four last season -- they kept three in 2011 and three in 2012 -- and Dreessen's knee troubles and his release just before camp opened means three is still the most likely number.

Offensive line (9)

The Broncos have kept nine players at this position for the opening week roster in all three previous seasons of the John Fox/John Elway regime, but with all of the shuffling in the search for swing players, they may feel the urge to add one here just in case. But the starting group up front looks to be Clady, Franklin, Ramirez, Vasquez and Clark. However, Montgomery could push hard at center and Justice got a long look at right tackle in offseason workouts and rookie Schofield should get a shot there as well. Perhaps Ryan Miller or Ben Garland could earn the extra (10th) spot.

Defensive line (9)

The Broncos kept 10 here in '11, kept nine in '12 and had eight on the opening night roster last season. They could trim to eight again if they have a glaring need elsewhere, but Vickerson and Smith are both coming back from stints on injured reserve.

Linebackers (7)

The workouts when the pads go on will mean plenty for this group, and there is room here for a wild card, including a late roster pickup, to make the depth chart. McCray likely would have made it as an undrafted rookie last season had he not been injured in the preseason. As it stands now, the final slot may be a battle between Brandon Marshall, who spent much of ’13 on the Broncos’ practice squad before being promoted to the active roster, and Chaney, who was a 16-game starter for the Eagles as recently as 2011.

Cornerbacks (5)

Last season, the Broncos kept seven cornerbacks on the opening night roster, including the injured Champ Bailey, but this time around Carter will enter camp squarely on the bubble, especially if one of the younger corners with some additional size, like rookie Louis Young, shows promise and some special-teams chops. But the top four spots are solidly in place, and the Broncos can sport the four-cornerback look they’d like to in the dime.

Safeties (5)

If Carter’s knee holds up in camp as it has through the team’s offseason workouts, he should be among the final group. Duke Ihenacho made the roster last season but will have a tougher road this time around. Bolden’s ability to be a swing player at corner and safety as well as having some potential as a returner gives him the edge as well.

Specialists (3)

The only question here is if a returner such as Burse or a player to be named later can show enough pop to lure the Broncos into keeping a return specialist.
Examining the Oakland Raiders' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)
Schaub is the Raiders' franchise quarterback. Period.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

In order to keep both McFadden and Jones-Drew healthy, expect the Raiders to dole out a healthy dose of Murray and CFL Grey Cup MVP Kory Sheets in the exhibition season. Atkinson's best shot at making the roster remains as the kickoff returner.

FULLBACKS (2)

Neither Reece, a two-time Pro Bowler, nor Olawale are the prototypical fullback, but both has skillsets that are fits for the Raiders offense.

RECEIVERS (6)

Little has flashed enough in the early days of camp to supplant last year's draft pick, Brice Butler. At least for our purposes here.

TIGHT ENDS (2)

The job is Ausberry's to lose, it would seem.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

No changes here, though it's no secret the Raiders are hoping the rookie Jackson wins the left guard spot for a line that would average 6-foot-4, 326 pounds.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)

No changes here either, even if McGee and Wilson might be behind a tad dealing with injuries.

LINEBACKERS (6)

Dennis Allen likes this group. A lot. So much that veteran Kevin Burnett was expendable enough to cut.

CORNERBACKS (6)

An early, ahem, doomsday prediction that's not reflected here yet? Hayden to Injured Reserve, with Chimdi Chekwa taking his roster spot.

SAFETIES (4)

Usama Young being on the PUP list to start camp keeps him in the danger zone .

SPECIALISTS (3)

Dennis Allen believes Janikowski's "trust" issues with King as his holder are a thing of the past.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos have a loaded roster with a future Hall of Fame quarterback and a revamped defense talking like it believes it can be every bit as good as the team's historical offense.

The defense has star power and big plans. They also had one major, front-burner goal for this training camp.

[+] EnlargePeyton Manning
John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty ImagesPeyton Manning played with his children, Marshall and Mosley, after the fourth day of training camp.
"No news, man," said cornerback Chris Harris Jr. "No news, get to work and just start the season."

Plenty of folks come to the mountains to get away from it all but it isn't a stretch to say the Broncos, after last year's tumultuous offseason/summer of headline grabbers, are looking to produce a six-week snooze-fest.

And after their first week of camp they have succeeded. New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is back on the field, New York Jets cornerback Dee Milliner says he's the league's best at his position, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended for two games and Johnny Manziel is the most chronicled backup quarterback since Tim Tebow.

The Broncos? They are conducting training camp as an invitation-only affair this year. Fans have had to take a rain check of sorts on the annual rite of summer on the Front Range as a massive construction project at the Broncos complex has forced the team to keep fans away for all but three practices inside Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

"It makes it easier when they're around, for sure," defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson said. "So it's a little weird this year. But, man, we want to just get to work and get to the season. I think a lot of guys have thought that all offseason, get to work, grind it, keep our head downs, get through it and go play ball."

Last summer the Broncos had two front-office employees arrested on DUI offenses. The revelation of linebacker Von Miller's six-game suspension to open the regular season came down as camp got underway. Toss in some additional traffic violations to go with Miller's potential suspension appeal and last year's training camp was anything but quiet.

This year the snapshot of camp is not an intense position battle or a player wrestling an impending suspension from the league. Instead the 1,000-yard picture of camp's early going may be quarterback Peyton Manning's children -- twins Marshall and Mosely -- tackling Manning with smiles all around following Sunday's stadium practice.

What it all means is a discussion for another day perhaps, like say sometime in February. Last year the Broncos fought through the waves of events that followed them through the season, including coach John Fox's heart surgery eight games into the season, and ended up rewriting a section of the league's record book on the way to a Super Bowl appearance.

Granted the title game is an evening they'd rather forget for the most part and the Broncos have both noted, and publicly dismissed Seahawks' linebacker Bobby Wagner's claim they were "intimidated" and "timid" in Super Bowl XLVIII.

But in the end the Broncos have been boring thus far. Or just the way they wanted it until the games get played for real.
SAN DIEGO -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of San Diego Chargers training camp:
  • Ball magnet Eric Weddle showed why he’s one of the best safeties in the game, twice corralling interceptions during team drills and running them back for scores. The first pick came on an out route thrown by Philip Rivers intended for Keenan Allen in the red zone that Weddle stepped in front of for a turnover. And the second occurred later in practice on an errant throw down the middle of the field. Even though the team drills aren’t full-go, Weddle talked about why he ran both interceptions back to the end zone. “I’ve been in the end zone a few times in my career, so I like to feel that I can get in there if I get a pick,” Weddle said. “It’s just always if you get a pick let’s go run it in. They’ll sub you out. Just get that feeling of the guys blocking for you, and go score. Don’t settle for running out of bounds. Don’t settle for a 20-yard gain. Let’s try and go get points on the board.”
  • Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes were both a force up the middle rushing the passer during defensive drills, much like the duo performed last season. But a couple of undrafted rookie free agents also flashed during inside pass-rush drills -- Tenny Palepoi and Jeremiah Sirles. Both players showed the ability to push the pocket from the interior against second-and-third unit offensive linemen. Defensive linemen like Sean Lissemore, Lawrence Guy, Kwame Geathers, Damik Scafe and Ryan Carrethers rightly remain ahead of Sirles and Palepoi on the depth chart. But the play of that young duo shows the overall improvement of San Diego’s defensive line so far through the first four days of camp. Along with those interior pass-rushers, second-round selection Jeremiah Attaochu is being given a lesson in how to get to the pass-rusher off the edge of the defense by going against two of the more mammoth tackles in the NFL in King Dunlap and D.J. Fluker. And although he’s struggled at times against the bigger offensive linemen, Attochu’s motor keeps churning. “That’s as big as it gets,” Attaochu said. “So I’m just working my technique against that, and trying to get around those guys. They’re like mountains.”
  • Offensive lineman Jeromey Clary (shoulder, hip) remains on the active, physically unable to perform (PUP) list. His replacements, Johnnie Troutman and Chris Watt had to leave the field at the end of practice on Saturday due to dehydration but returned to practice on Sunday. Inside linebacker Andrew Gachkar (unknown) and center Nick Hardwick (rest) also returned to the field after missing practice. Receiver Vincent Brown (calf) remains out. Outside linebackers Jarrett Johnson and Dwight Freeney, along with tight end Antonio Gates took rest days. “They kind of did some things on the side, just the three of them, with strength and conditioning just to rest them,” San Diego Chargers coach Mike McCoy said about the veteran trio. “They’ve played plenty of football in their lives. So we’ll just keep them fresh.”
  • The Chargers installed red zone offense and defense for the majority of the team drills during Sunday’s practice, a point of emphasis after the team’s struggles on both sides of the ball last season. “Like every practice, there was plenty of give and take,” McCoy said. “The defense created some turnovers there. There were some big plays by the offense. We did a nice job at times of stopping the run, and then the last period the offense did a nice job of running the football.”
  • “He actually asked me as soon as we picked him on the first day, ‘Can I go back on punt returns?’ So we’ll see what happens down the road.” -- Chargers head coach Mike McCoy on first round selection Jason Verrett returning punts for the first time during training camp on Saturday.
  • The Chargers practice at 8:50 a.m. ET on Monday and will take Tuesday off. Monday’s practice is closed to the public.

Broncos Camp Report: Day 4

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
6:19
PM ET
DENVER -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Denver Broncos training camp:
  • The Broncos took to their home stadium Sunday for a practice that was open to the public. There were 21,993 folks on hand at Sports Authority Field at Mile High for what would have the same kind of workout the team would have done at its facility. The players genuinely liked getting away from the relative peace and quiet, at least when it comes to crowd noise, and from the construction going on at the team’s complex. Because of that construction, no fans will be able to attend the Broncos’ practices there during this year's camp. “They do miss the fans on a daily base there at Dove Valley,’’ head coach John Fox said. “I know they appreciated it and enjoyed it.”
  • It was the second consecutive day the team practiced in full gear and Sunday’s practice was choppy at times because of it. But Fox’s practice plan gave fans plenty to look at as the team put a heavy emphasis on red-zone drills. Those on hand got to see a variety of plays featuring the first-team offense against the first-team defense inside the 10-yard line. Quarterback Peyton Manning was ruthlessly efficient, in 7-on-7 and full team drills in the red zone. Manning connected on scoring passes to Emmanuel Sanders, Wes Welker and Jacob Tamme in one 1-on-1 drill between receivers and defensive backs alone.
  • The Broncos have shown already they are going to continue to expand tight end Julius Thomas’ role in the offense. So much so, that even in the sunshine and rainbows environment that is the routinely the optimism that surrounds training camp, Thomas continues to show he’s in line to improve on the 65 catches and 12 touchdowns of last season. Sunday, Manning threaded a ball in between Kayvon Webster and T.J. Ward to hit Thomas for a score just minutes after Manning had put a ball up high in the back of the endzone for Thomas to snag for a score. On the play in the back of the endzone, Thomas reached over the Broncos best coverage linebacker, Danny Trevathan, for the touchdown. Trevathan was in good position, but the ball placement was right on and Thomas, a former basketball player at Portland State, knows how to work in traffic.
  • Given that running back is a crowded position with plenty of youth -- Ronnie Hillman, entering his third season, is the most experienced of the group -- those looking for a spot may want to take a page from Hillman’s work Sunday. The Broncos didn’t tackle live on special teams, but Hillman returned some kickoffs and showed good burst doing it. And with the kickoff return job wide open, some of the running backs looking for a roster spot may be wise to lobby for their chance to return kicks in the coming weeks.
  • Some of the Broncos players lost their footing at times early in practice, especially closer to the sidelines at the south end of the stadium. But several people with the team, including Fox, attributed it to how the field was prepared for the Manchester United-AS Roma soccer game at the stadium Saturday afternoon. “It wasn’t bad, they cut it a little shorter than we’re accustomed to, we had some slippage outside the numbers a little earlier.’’
  • Odds and ends: Broncos backup quarterback Brock Osweiler hit two long throws during the stadium practice, the first to a diving Greg Hardin in 7-on-7 drills early in practice and another to tight end Gerell Robinson in team drills later in the day. ... Hardin made another diving grab, on a throw from Zac Dysert later in practice. ... Webster may have had the biggest hit of the practice when he plowed into running back Montee Ball as Ball reached high for a swing pass from Manning. ... Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who has been excused since Wednesday night due to his grandmother's death, was slated to return to the team Sunday night and be on the practice field for Monday morning's workout.
DENVER -- The Denver Broncos went public Sunday as they held their first training camp practice of the season in front of their loyal followers.

They escaped a fully-padded workout of two hours without any significant injuries and the 21,993 fans on hand got their first up-close look at the changes the team made following the 35-point loss in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Ware
'It was exciting to out there in front of them,’’ said linebacker Von Miller. “ ... We all like to show what kind of team we have."

One of those highly-anticipated free-agent signees, defensive end DeMarcus Ware, was held out if the second half of the practice with what Broncos head coach John Fox called a lower leg bruise.

“It doesn’t appear to be serious, but we did hold him out,’’ said head coach John Fox.

Defensive tackle Marvin Austin looked to have suffered a right hand/thumb injury during the workout as well. Austin has his hand taped and did return to the practice, but it appeared to still be bothering him following practice.

Because of the $35 million construction project currently underway at their suburban Denver complex, which includes an indoor practice facility, the Broncos could not have fans at their training camp practices this year. So, Sunday’s practice at the stadium was the first time they had an open practice for fans to see.

They will also have their Wednesday practice inside the stadium and Saturday will hold their annual scrimmage at the stadium. Last summer 44,439 fans attended the team’s scrimmage.
NAPA, Calif. -- For too long, it seemed the Oakland Raiders would never get here. But here they are, finally, in Year 3 of the Great Reconstruction. And the architect of the project, general manager Reggie McKenzie, says they’re right on schedule.

“From the standpoint of who we have and going to training camp feeling good about being competitive and winning some games -- you ask yourself can you go into games knowing you’ve got a defense that can pressure the quarterback, cover receivers and stop the run?” he said. "On offense, you ask do you have guys who can protect, run the ball, throw the ball and catch the ball? The answers are, yes. Now, we’ve got a lot of new guys who have to adapt to each other, but I feel like we’re right where I thought we’d be.”

The first two years of the rebuild were painful, with back-to-back 4-12 seasons. McKenzie had to get a bloated salary cap under control, overcome the absence of draft picks in Year 1 and listen to the frustration of a fan base that hasn’t seen a winning season in Oakland since 2002.

The key to this season will be good health, he said. Some of the free agents being counted on the most arrived with a recent history of injuries that caused them to miss games or negatively impacted their performances on the field. Among them, defensive end LaMarr Woodley hasn’t played a full season since 2010; cornerback Carlos Rogers ended last season with a hamstring strain that limited his play; and running back Maurice Jones-Drew was sidelined for 10 games in 2012 with a bad foot and was slowed by an assortment of injuries last year.

McKenzie says he’s not concerned by the lack of a true No. 1 receiver.

“Do we have a Larry Fitzgerald, a Calvin Johnson, a top-five guy that everybody knows the ball is going to go to him? No,” he said. “We have a spread-it-around type receiving group, and it’s a group with a lot of good receivers. Do we have that bona fide guy? No one has established himself as that, but we have some guys who are stepping up. We have proven, good football players who we are going to go to.”

He’s also not anxious about his situation at cornerback, with 2013 first-round pick D.J. Hayden out indefinitely with a foot injury.

“That fact that it’s a foot, it’s a bone, the bone is going to heal,” McKenzie said. “When it does, he has to get comfortable planting and rolling the foot. How long is that going to take? How long is it going to take for him to, not get comfortable, but get to that level he was at before he hurt it? We don’t know. But I can say this: We have some competitive guys at that group. I feel better about that position than I did last year, even with the injury. We have some other guys who are competing.”

The addition of Rogers and Tarell Brown from San Francisco were major, and the team is high on draft picks T.J. Carrie, who has looked good in workouts and the first few days of camp, and Keith McGill. Plus, a defensive back’s best friend is a good pass rush, and the Raiders have upgraded in that area with the drafting of Khalil Mack and the free-agent signings of Justin Tuck and Woodley.

Whether the moves translate into better than 4-12 remains to be seen, but for now McKenzie believes the Raiders are right where they’re supposed to be.

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