ENGLEWOOD – Not sure how they reacted on Day 1 of training camp in Houston or St. Louis or Los Angeles or Minnesota.
But journeyman-turned-The Man Case Keenum was impressed with how Broncos fans greeted his training camp opening practice here Saturday morning at UCHealth Training Center.
“You guys saw those fans, they're crazy,’’ Keenum said. “This is fun. I've been here before. We practiced against the Broncos' training camp when I was with the Texans (in 2014). But it was nice to get the reception that we got today from those guys. I really appreciate all of those guys coming out and we got some good work in.’’
All that from a relatively modest opening-day/first -Saturday crowd of 3,417. They folks to have left encouraged by Keenum's practice.
In one 11 on 11 scrimmage, Keenum lofted a deep right flag pattern to Emmanuel Sanders for a probable touchdown. A couple plays later, Keenum and Sanders connected on another deep ball, this time down the left sideline before the receiver fell out of bounds inside the 5.
For a first day, the timing between the Broncos’ new quarterback and his receivers, tight ends, running backs was well ahead of the curve.
“Yeah, we had some good ones today,’’ Keenum said. “Some ones I want back, but I feel good. I think the thing is you want to pick up where you left off in the spring. And so that's kind of the summer, everybody working on their own stuff. But you want to make sure that you show you’re ready to go and you're picking up where you left off from that minicamp.”
Keenum made sure offseason momentum was maintained by conducting at least two, off-campus passing sessions with his receivers. One was held at a local high school (Regis) and the other in Newport Beach, Calif.
"Half of it is just getting together and seeing guys outside of the building,’’ he said. “Just building chemistry, having fun."
Peyton’s star power
Practice was a little more than halfway finished when former Broncos quarterback great Peyton Manning walked onto the sidelines accompanied by his two children. Manning entered, and left through the players parking lot, which is off-limits to the media.
Bradley Chubb saw Manning along the sideline but couldn’t work up the nerve to meet him.
“I was kind of star struck,’’ Chubb said. “I was telling Shaq (Barrett), ‘That’s Peyton Manning.’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, I know.’ He played with him, I didn’t. I don’t know where he went though.”
Chubb added he was too nervous to introduce himself. Apparently, No. 5 draft picks are people, too.
Von gets two classes
In a twist this year, Broncos edge rushing outside linebacker Von Miller is spending about 25 percent of his meeting-room time with defensive line coach Bill Kollar’s group, and the rest with linebacker coach Reggie Herring’s players. The time with Kollar's defensive linemen is new.
“I think it’s good that way,’’ Miller said. “I spend most of the game rushing with (defensive end Derek) Wolfe, so why wouldn’t I spend my time in classroom sitting next to Wolfe talking over games and schemes and stuff? We have a different format in terms of coaching. Everything is great. I like it.”
Five players who missed either all, or the end, of the offseason practice sessions with injuries – left guard Ron Leary, right tackle Jared Veldheer, tight end Troy Fumagalli, outside linebacker Shane Ray and defensive lineman Clinton McDonald – were full participants on the first day of camp Saturday. …
Two players didn’t participate Saturday: Fourth-round rookie linebacker Josey Jewell and Boulder’s own receiver Kenny Bell. Both were out with hamstring pulls suffered during the rookie minicamp earlier this week. …
No. 2 quarterback Paxton Lynch had a good day. His best pass was a deep cross completion to Isaiah McKenzie. …
Undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay was the fifth back to get a rep but he flashed with a couple nice speed plays, including a deep catch for a touchdown.
“Obviously he’s a Buff, so I’ve watched Phillip for three years as a starter in a major conference,’’ head coach Vance Joseph, himself a former Colorado Buffalo, said about Lindsay who hailed from Denver South High School and CU. “He was a great player. We were all surprised he didn’t go to the Combine, and obviously signing him as a free agent was tough because we drafted two backs. We pursued him heavy and he stayed home.”