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Mason's Five Thoughts from Camp Day 13

Posted Aug 5, 2014

Bradley Roby's progress and Derek Wolfe's prowess were the takeaways from the 13th day of training camp.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- First-round picks are scrutinized -- even more so when they work at cornerback. In open space, every big play and flub is apparent. Against Peyton Manning, the situation is exacerbated. Bradley Roby, the Broncos' top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, has learned this first-hand. He can display perfect technique and still give up a catch.

"It can be frustrating because you can be in great coverage and he’ll still stick it in there where only the receiver can get it," Roby said. "But it only helps because in the season, those guys aren’t going to put it on there like he does. He’s a Hall of Famer, one of the greats of all time.

"So going against him, making plays against him is giving me more confidence to go against other guys."

That maturation has helped Roby in recent days. In the first few days of training camp, he didn't display the confidence he had in Ohio State, to bounce back after being beaten. That has changed in the last few days. Roby gets back up, forgets about the previous play and goes back to work.

That has helped in coverage -- and against the run. He's made more plays in space to bring down ballcarriers in recent days, and his takedown of Kapri Bibbs late in Tuesday's practice might have been his best work against the run.

Bibbs delivered a stiff-arm to Roby, who was unfazed. He held his ground against the stiff-arm and brought him down in the open field.

Roby's work against the Seahawks will bear monitoring, and if he gets the chance to face former Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson, the results should be a good barometer for both 2014 draft picks.

A few more thoughts from the day's work:

1. Facing Manning is as much of a mental and emotional examination as a physical one for the cornerbacks, who can do everything right and still get beaten. That happened in a red-zone period to Kayvon Webster, when Manning and Andre Caldwell beat him in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Manning placed the football in a perfect spot, Caldwell adjusted, and the defense was beaten.

Webster has a growing reputation in the locker room as a helpful teammate. Talib has noted Webster's knowledge of the defense and how he's picked the second-year cornerback's brain for information. And when Roby stopped for an interview with media, Webster picked up the rookie's pads and helmet.

2. It was a big day for Derek Wolfe, who terrorized the offensive line, beginning early in practice when he used an MMA-esque hand move to get into the backfield past second-team guard Vinston Painter and force what would have likely been a sack of Brock Osweiler in a game situation.

Later in practice, Wolfe got more pressure from the right side forcing what would have been a sack. Immediately thereafter, he and Lerentee McCray got to Brock Osweiler with pressure; McCray bolted through the middle and was unblocked, leading to the sack.

3. The defense's performance in a seven-on-seven period was arguably its best in that phase of practice since the start of training camp.  The high points include Nate Irving's quick read on Virgil Green to wrap him up and limit him to no yardage after the catch, Quinton Carter's deflection of a Manning pass intended for Julius Thomas and Aqib Talib's perfect break on a pass to prevent another Manning completion.

4. There was some feistiness at practice, with scuffles breaking out involving running back Juwan Thompson and linebacker Steven Johnson, and another between offensive lineman Ryan Miller and safety Charles Mitchell. A one-on-one series between Anunike and offensive tackle also got a bit chippy.

As with the donnybrooks of last week, there's no cause for concern. This was the 11th practice of training camp, not counting walk-throughs. It was the final practice before the preseason opener. Adrenaline is building. Players -- particularly those on the second and third units, who are expected to play most of the game -- have proven what they can in practice; they're eager for game work, which usually provides a bit of a shake-up to how the No. 2 and No. 3 units look, based on performance.

5. It's time for a game. We've talked enough about practice.

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