Denver Broncos' training camp moves into Day Six with an interesting battle seemingly taking place.
Cornerback Jack Williams, selected in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft is doing anything and everything in his power to maintain the "nickel" position he currently possesses, and he is doing a great job of it.
In Tuesday's evening practice session, Williams picked off two passes; one that went for a 98-yard touchdown score.
"It's man to man," Williams said. "You've just got to play the man first and be in position to make the interception. I got lucky and did."
Prior to his interception, Williams was called for pass interference in the end-zone on wide receiver Brandon Stokley, but the sophomore corner more than made up for it by jumping a quick Kyle Orton pass.
Head coach Josh McDaniels has taken notice of the great strides Williams has made this offseason and in training camp, and he thinks he can have a big role in the 2009 defense and beyond.
"We have gotten our hands on a bunch of balls and made some interceptions," McDaniels said. "Jack, I think, had his first couple today. It is great to see improvement from our younger players, and he is one that we are counting on."
With youngsters like Williams, Alphonso Smith, Josh Barrett, David Bruton, and Josh Bell among others learning from great players such as Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins, this Bronco secondary appears to be set for quite a while.
In addition to the secondary being given a big boost, the Broncos' hybrid linebacker group grew by two on Tuesday as joining the team were Jarvis Moss and rookie Robert Ayers.
Moss was gone on personal business, and contemplated retirement. McDaniels did not seemed very worried about Moss on the surface, and said he was pleased with the former first-round pick's effort during practice.
"We talked this morning, and he is ready to go," he said. "He went out there and had a good practice today. That is what you need to see, and that is what he gave us."
If Moss can impress at camp and have an impact this season, the Broncos will more than welcome it. He has not yet played a full season for Denver, and is already being considered a "bust" by some.
The Broncos' defensive staff wasted no time getting Ayers into action either, and the first-round pick saw time with the first-team defense in his first full-padded NFL practice.
"They want to see me match up against the first-team offensive linemen," Ayers said. "They want to see me go against the second team, just to see how I compete against different guys. It's not necessarily going with the first team. It's more so just trying to get matchups."
When asked about Ayers being in camp, McDaniels was blatantly honest about the youngster.
"Doesn't know what to do half the time, yet. But he's very physical. Has a long way to go, but great to have him here."
There were two not-so-highlights of Broncos camp on Tuesday, as running back Knowshon Moreno remained unsigned, and newly-acquired linebacker Nick Greisen was pronounced to the injured reserve, and he will miss the 2009 campaign entirely.
Greisen will be replaced on the Broncos' roster by undrafted rookie linebacker Braxton Kelley of Kentucky, who will begin his second stint with the Broncos after being waived earlier this offseason.
Adam Schefter, now of ESPN, reported that Moreno's deal was to be finalized by Thursday morning at the very latest, so the Broncos and their fans should expect to see No. 27 in uniform at the Invesco field practice then, if not earlier.
Reportedly, team officials are working out a deal that will be for five years and over $12 million guaranteed. The only obstacle is figuring out how much more he will receive in the deal.
Another fun part of Tuesday's camp was that Broncos fans welcomed the infamous Ed Hochuli to officiate three days of practices.
Hochuli is known best not for his 20 years of NFL referee experience, but for his botched call Week Two against the San Diego Chargers.
Tim Crowder is also now practicing with the first-team defensive unit at outside linebacker.
I will be updating after tomorrow night's 5:30 practice session, so check back for more news!
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