Things Get Scrappy at Broncos Training Camp

Emotions run high when the pads come on.

Share on Facebook
Tweet on Twitter
Credit: Ryan Greene, 5280SN

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.— When things get physical at Broncos training camp, things get physical at Broncos training camp.

While some veterans got the day off, those that took part in the fourth day of practices Sunday did so in full pads. It was the first such practice of camp, and when the pads started popping, the emotion started flowing.

Players jawed at one another and two scuffles broke out during the two hour session. Both brouhahas involved offensive lineman James Ferentz and linebacker Corey Nelson, whose helmet was knocked off during their first scrap. Nearly the entire team got in on the action when things heated up a second time, causing head coach Gary Kubiak to stop practice.

“We were on the back end of practice, about the last 20 minutes, and we were gassed,” Kubiak said. “We were getting a little sloppy and a couple of things were bad judgment. I just tried to calm them down and told them that we still have a long way to go, so refocus, and they did.”

It’s unusual for fights to break out this early in camp—it sometimes doesn’t happen until players begin feeling the fatigue and frustration that comes with weeks spent in training camp. In this camp, however, players seem to be feeling the pressure that comes with so many open jobs.

“That may not have been the smartest thing that we’ve done out there, but it shows we’re passionate,” Nelson said. “We’re passionate about our jobs, we’re passionate about what we’re doing out here, and that’s only making us better. But the fine line is, we do need to be smarter, we do need to be better, and not have fights like that.

Tackle Russell Okung, who is slowly working back into the Broncos’ offensive line rotation, said the early scuffle was nothing to be alarmed by.

“That’s the way we show love to one another,” Okung joked. “I think every family fights and every family has differences so long as we all come together for the common goal, we’ll be fine.”

Putting on pads allows players to hit for the first time all season, which can create tension between teammates on opposite sides of the ball.

“It comes with a price when you put on the full pads and you hear the coaches say, ‘Let’s get physical today,'” Nelson said. “You have to have the right mindset to get after each other.”

Padded practices can certainly create an extra measure of physicality, but they also come with a strict set of rules to which Kubiak and his staff must adhere. Teams are only allowed to hold three hours worth of padded practice per day. On Sunday, the Broncos only practiced for about two hours of the available three.

While they are technically allowed to hold a padded practice each day, Kubiak hasn’t been inclined to do that in the past. Last season, he spaced padded practices out sparsely throughout camp and held only two or three a week.

The Broncos will get back to work, with or without pads, Monday morning at the UC Health Training Center.

Previous articleBroncos Training Camp Notebook: Day 4
Next articleLineman Phil Taylor Placed on Injured Reserve