ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Quarterback Peyton Manning has often spoken about how the Broncos' defense, with its speed all over the formation, can make the team's offense better during training camp.
That the first-team against first-team work -- the kind that rarely, if ever, is done during the regular season as a team gets ready for an opponent each week -- can be revealing for a playoff hopeful.
"Because you've got a lot of talent over there [on defense] and they compete hard on every play, they don't give you anything,'' Manning said. "That's what you want.''
Safety Rahim Moore believes turnabout helps just as much. That a Broncos defense good enough to finish second in the league in points allowed last season, is getting as much, or more, from dealing with Manning every day.
"Wes Welker is a great receiver, I believe he will be a future Hall of Famer one day, [Demaryius Thomas] is a rising star, Eric Decker is a rising star and Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback to ever touch a football to me,'' Moore said. " ... You feel like you go against those guys every day, makes you ready for anything.''
It doesn't always go without the rough spots at times, however. Wednesday Moore and running back Ronnie Hillman got into a brief post-play scuffle in a particularly heated set of team drills.
"I look at it like if you're not really out there fighting, having some kind of controversy, you're not really playing,'' Moore said.
"It's like two brothers fighting ... you slap 'em on the side of the head and move on,'' coach John Fox said.
In other Broncos news:
Broncos rookie running back C.J. Anderson, who led the team in rushing in the preseason opener in San Francisco last week, believes he got an advance look at what an NFL no-huddle offense looks like in his last season at California.Anderson, who was signed by the Broncos as an undrafted rookie immediately following the draft, rushed for 790 yards in his senior season with the Bears. And in the summer before the 2012 season began, former Cal coach Jeff Tedford spent a week with the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick.
Tedford, at the time, said he was looking for some inspiration to use tight ends and running backs more ways out of a spread look.
"I think it gave me a glimpse of what that kind of offense would like in the NFL,'' Anderson said. "It gave a feel for what it looks like on Sunday. ... I think it's helped me some here.''
Anderson got a few additional plays in Wednesday's practice because Knowshon Moreno was out with a bruised right knee. It meant Anderson got to run a few plays with the second-team offense. The Broncos have liked Anderson's work with the ball in his hands, but want to see him far more consistent in his assignments and avoid the concentration lapses he's shown at times.
At times Manning takes practice to the next level when it comes to trying to cover every scenario in training camp. the Broncos will, despite the expected presence of a few thousand fans at the last open-to-the-public practice of camp Thursday morning, likely break out the jumbo speakers for the workout.The Broncos use the speakers to pump in crowd noise during the regular season -- when the offense has the ball in the days leading up to road games and when the first-team defense is working in the days leading up to home games. The Broncos want to give the offense a little taste of a road atmosphere before the team heads to Seattle Friday afternoon for Saturday night's preseason game.
In the bad is good department, Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman made a big play out of a botched one during team drills. Hillman fumbled the ball forward as he tried to turn the corner around the right end and the ball bounced twice before he scooped it up on a dead run. Hillman then outraced all of the defenders, including safety David Bruton, for what would have been a scoring run.
Rookie wide receiver Lamaar Thomas, who left Tuesday's practice after a blow to his helmet in a red zone drill, is being treated for a concussion. He was held out of Wednesday's practice. ... In addition to Moreno, safety Quinton Carter (knee), running back Jeremiah Johnson (toe), wide receiver Quincy McDuffie (hamstring) and wide receiver Greg Orton (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. ... Former Broncos coach Red Miller, who guided the team to its first Super Bowl appearance to close out the 1977 season, was at Tuesday's practice. ... NASCAR veteran Kurt Busch is expected to visit Thursday's practice.