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Smoke, silence welcome Broncos to training camp

COVID-19 protection wasn't the only reason masks were recommended. No fans meant Day 1 was just another practice for Broncos on Friday.
Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio looks on as players stretch before drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Englewood, Colo.

DOVE VALLEY, Colo. — The first Denver Broncos' full-squad training camp practice Friday was an assault on the human senses.

The air we breathe was full of smoke from the Glenwood Canyon fire. And by "we" we mean the few media members who were allowed to watch. And the sound we heard was silence.  

Good football. But a strange environment with a hazy sky and no fans.

“I didn’t notice the smoke,’’ said Broncos’ head coach Vic Fangio, who may have been too busy singing out loud to the tune “Volare" during team stretch to notice the smoky air he was breathing. “I just thought it was a hazy day."

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"Fans, I’ve watched golf on TV, baseball on TV, little bit of the basketball," Fangio said. "And we always knew how important the fans were and are. But even in watching golf you miss the fans being out there. Fans are a very, very important part of pro sports and we all knew that, I knew that. To me it’s very obvious when you watch sporting events without the fans. Not just because of their support but they’re part of the action. We miss them and can’t wait to get them back whenever that will be.”

As a whole, that young offense looked surprisingly efficient.

One month from today, the first day of training camp, the Broncos open their season against the Tennessee Titans. Fans in the stands or not, the Broncos are off to good start towards being ready.

Credit: Mike Klis, KUSA

“For me, it’s just a challenge of having such a short time,'' said second-year tight end Noah Fant. "I’m thinking ahead like, ‘OK, we play the Titans in close to a month.’ We’re going to have to be out on the field playing full speed. We don’t have any preseason games, so that kind of puts your own fire underneath you.

"Obviously, everybody wants to be prepared when we hit the camera on Monday night. That’s kind of a self-driving force for our team right now. Everybody wants to be prepared and we don’t want to look bad at any aspect from the get-go. That’s going to be the main force driving us with fans or no fans."

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Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Denver Broncos outside linebacker coach John Pagano directs players as they take part in drills at the team's NFL football training camp Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Englewood, Colo.