ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Head Coach Vic Fangio and the Broncos had hoped to take Sunday’s training camp practice on the road to Empower Field at Mile High.
The plan was to bring some game-like conditions to practice and to give new players the opportunity to see the stadium, but after consulting with members of the team’s medical staff, Fangio decided to keep practice at UCHealth Training Center because of Denver’s current air quality.
In recent days, the city’s air quality has rated among the world’s worst due to smoke from western wildfires.
“I guess technically it was my call, but I was heavily influenced on what call to make by the medical people,” Fangio said. “But it was left up to me.”
Instead, the team moved practice indoors into Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse, where the session took on a different format than usual.
“I liked it,” Fangio said. “It wasn’t game-like, but we tried to make it as much as we could with the kicks in there. We wanted to make sure we got enough work in different parts of the field [with] subbing and all that. It was good.”
The format provided some highlight-reel-quality plays as the offense and defense dueled in team periods interspersed with occasional punt plays. Drew Lock found some success on deep throws with touchdowns to Courtland Sutton and DeVontres Dukes; Justin Simmons broke up a red-zone pass that likely otherwise would have been a touchdown; and Teddy Bridgewater moved the ball well in an end-of-game scenario with passes to Jerry Jeudy and Kendall Hinton.
“I thought we had good focus in that it was a little different style of practice,” Fangio said. “It got their attention a little bit. There was a good focus — knowing who’s in and out of the game and getting things changed. That’s the thing that stood out.”
While Fangio is considering a rescheduled practice at the stadium, the indoor practice still allowed the Broncos to accomplish their goals.
“I thought it prepares us and gives us a little jump on what a game might be like,” Fangio said.