ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The last glimpse of the Broncos by media before training camp was perhaps the best glimpse of third-year quarterback Brock Osweiler, whose touch and accuracy dominated the day.
1. As with many young players, Osweiler has had his good and bad days in practice. But never has he looked as consistently effective as he did Monday. Last week, I touched on his ability to connect deep and hit targets in stride. He did this again Monday, and toward the end of practice, he connected on a pair of picture-perfect, in-stride catches up the sideline, to Jacob Tamme past Lamin Barrow, and then to Greg Wilson for a touchdown past Jordan Sullen.
It was against the No. 2 defense, but his ability to place the ball in precise spots and through narrow gaps was a glimpse of what the Broncos want -- and need -- to see if he is asked to step in and relieve Manning. Osweiler looked composed and decisive. He completed passes all over the field. He showed touch on those sideline passes. But he also knew when to break out the howitzer, as he fired a strike to Cody Latimer in the back of the end zone for which the rookie made a leaping grab.
2. Tamme is still a factor in this offense, catching multiple passes from Manning and Osweiler in the last four practices. As we saw in New England last November, his value is as a quality replacement for Julius Thomas in the event of injury. Tamme doesn't need much separation to catch the football, which makes him ideal for Manning and Osweiler lofting the ball through narrow windows.
3. If Lerentee McCray is going to be of value as a backup strong-side linebacker, he needs to be adept in coverage. He did well in this area Monday, playing conservatively when facing Wes Welker one-on-one, keeping the speedy slot receiver in front of him.
4. Steven Johnson and Bradley Roby intercepted passes Monday. Roby's was the most impressive; he jumped in front of a short throw from Manning to Emmanuel Sanders and would have returned it for a touchdown. The OTAs have been a learning experience for the first-round pick, who has been tested often by Sanders, Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker. Roby is learning to use his quickness to his advantage, and this was the strongest evidence of it to this point.
5. The duels between Winston Justice and Quanterus Smith were interesting to watch Monday. Justice's feet were quick, and he was able to get set to the point where he could keep Smith guessing. But Smith's inside moves have improved, and when he can't get around the flank, he's able to use his improved hand placement to try and work inside. It was a typical example of two players making each other better.