10 observations from Day 1 in Denver

10 observations from Day 1 in Denver
August 19, 2014, 7:30 pm
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Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) rushes past Atlanta Falcons middle linebacker Curtis Lofton (50) during the fourth quarter at Reliant Stadium.

(USA Today Sports Images)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Usually, Dave Zangaro handles our observations, but since he’s not here in Denver, I thought I’d try to fill his shoes for a few days in the Mile High City.

1. Dave is not here. (I’m off and running.)
2. Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and Brian Cushing all practiced. Yes, they’ve practiced before since returning, but Tuesday was by far their most active day. Johnson participated in 11-on-11 and 1-on-1 drills against the Broncos, as did Foster. Cushing was out there during team portions as well and was running the defense making all the calls at times.
3. Tons of laundry. There were refs throwing flags on what seemed like almost every play. There was a lot of dialog between defensive backs and the refs as well. T.J. Ward was actually hit with a unsportsmanlike penalty to end practice after arguing.
4. It’s sunny but not hot. Oh, and J.J. Watt said some things about his contract.
5. Rookie draft pick Andre Hal, who has shown promise at times in camp, had a great pass breakup on a deep ball guarding a Broncos’ receiver. He continues to show signs he’s figuring it out at times.
6. Sharing a sideline between the two fields, both teams had multiple opportunities to talk throughout practice.
7. Brandon Brooks returned to practice for the first time in training camp. He said the mental reps he’s taken actually have paid off.  He added he has come off an offseason injury in college before. He doesn’t know when he’ll be able to suit up for a game just yet, but took extra reps Tuesday. Brooks also wouldn’t disclose what landed him on the PUP list, saying he's "keeping it in house”.
8. The first-team offense looked like it for the first time in camp with the additions of Johnson and Foster. Johnson said it’s huge for the chemistry of this team to have him and Foster back. Tight end Garrett Graham said with those two back on the field, it opens everything up for everyone else.
9. With everyone else getting back on the field, Elbert Mack and Mike Thomas also returned. Mack had pass break ups on back-to-back plays in 7-on-7. Thomas was virtually unguardable in the middle of the field during work against the Broncos secondary in 7-on-7.
10. The Broncos have mobile, narrower-than-usual goal posts that come out on the field in front of the goal line. A man driving a little cart brings it on and off the field. They have grown up goal posts too.