ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- News and notes from Broncos training camp Thursday:
Ryan Lilja, who arrived in Denver on a Thursday morning flight and was set to sign his contract after going through a physical, did not participate in practice, but he was expected to be on the field for a Thursday evening walk-through. Broncos coach John Fox says Lilja is a swing guard/center signed for depth at the moment. But as a former teammate of Peyton Manning's in Indianapolis, Lilja has far more experience with the long list of audibles Manning uses in the offense.If he's healthy -- he had toe and knee surgeries following the 2012 season -- he could find his way into the starting lineup sooner rather than later. The Broncos coaches cited his two quality outings against the Broncos last season when Lilja was with the Chiefs.Lilja started at center last season against the Broncos on Nov. 25 and Dec. 30.
With Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie out for what is expected to be at least two weeks with an ankle sprain, the Broncos took a look at Tony Carter in the right cornerback spot in the base defense during Thursday's workout, keeping Chris Harris as the nickel corner.Harris started 12 games at right corner in 2012, including the playoff loss to Baltimore, but the Broncos prefer his toughness and quickness in the slot. Carter has a bit more speed in the open field and is far more comfortable on the outside.The Broncos signed Rodgers-Cromartie in the offseason, however, because they were looking for more size at the position overall. Rodgers-Cromartie is 6-foot-2 with a big reach, while Harris is 5-foot-10 and Carter is 5-foot-9. The Ravens went after Carter on the game-tying touchdown at the end of regulation in the divisional-round playoff game.Carter missed the jam on the Ravens' Jacoby Jones on the touchdown play.
It has potential to be something the Broncos will have to consider moving forward from time to time. Rodgers-Cromartie has had ankle troubles in the past having torn ligaments in the ankle during the 2011 season in Philadelphia.
Rookie defensive end Quanterus Smith left practice Thursday with a sore knee. That will bear watching in the coming weeks.With the departure of Elvis Dumervil and the possibility Von Millerwill face a four-game suspension for a violation of the league's substance-abuse policy -- Miller is expected to have his appeal hearing later this month -- Smith is a big part of the pass-rush plan, especially in the specialty packages.He suffered a torn left ACL during his senior season at Western Kentucky and was limited for much of the offseason workouts. Thursday was the first time he has left a practice in training camp.
The Broncos continue to work toward a contract extension for punter Britton Colquitt. Colquitt signed a one-year, $1.323 million tender as a restricted free agent in the offseason.But the two sides have had extensive talks and are closing in on a multiyear deal.
Rookie defensive end Sylvester Williams (knee), tight end Jacob Tamme (thigh) and safety Quinton Carter (knee) were among those held out of practice Thursday. Broncos coach John Fox has characterized all three as "day-to-day."