ENGLEWOOD — Ready or not, the Denver Broncos will play their first game of the season Friday at San Francisco.

Coaches have acknowledged players are still learning new schemes on offense and defense, so the first game could be interesting. The Broncos had a light practice Wednesday as they finished up preparations.

The games will be important for the new staff in evaluating many new players.

“You really find out who knows kind of what’s going on and if they can handle their role and their responsibility without us being in their ear every play,” Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said. “You’re definitely going to find out some things about players that you may not have already figured out.”


Alphonso Smith dropped a pair of punts during the afternoon practice. He is slated to return punts and kickoffs Friday. … Receiver Kenny McKinley also returned punts during practice. … Quarterback Kyle Orton spent some time holding for kicker Matt Prater. Punters Brett Kern and Britton Colquitt are Prater’s usual holders. … Kern and Colquitt alternated plays during punting drills.


“I want to get off a good start, but the reality is it’s the first preseason game, and I want to come out healthy and just keep on building for the first game when it really matters.” – quarterback Kyle Orton.


The Broncos announced they will not have a practice today. They travel today to San Francisco for the preseason opener.


Peyton Hillis, running back. Hillis had a great start to camp, but rookie running back Knowshon Moreno has been eating into his repetitions this week. Hillis will get a chance to prove his versatility during the preseason and carve out a role.


“McDaniels said he will be keeping a close eye on the progress of the special teams when the Broncos start the preseason Friday at San Francisco.” For reports visit gazettebroncos.freedomblogging.com.


“Broncos not in full pads today. Light one as they get ready for san francisco” Get The Gazette’s camp coverage as soon as something happens on Twitter. Join and follow us @fs3142.