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Minicamp odds and ends by Lindsay Jones on June 12, 2009

DOVE VALLEY - Though most of the buzz through the media ranks on Friday morning was about the player who WASN'T at the Broncos' Dove Valley headquarters, there was plenty of action going on with the players who were there.

Here's a couple of notes and observations:

- Your first-team base defense throughout Friday's workout: linemen Ryan McBean, Ronald Fields and Kenny Peterson; OLBs Tim Crowder and Robert Ayers; ILBs D.J. Williams and Andra Davis; DBs Champ Bailey, Andre Goodman, Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill. Second team: linemen Matthias Askew, Marcus Thomas and Nic Clemons; OLBs Darrell Reid and Elvis Dumervil; ILBs Mario Haggan and Louis Green; DBs Jack Williams, Alphonso Smith, Vernon Fox and Darcel McBath.

- The special teams units practiced onside kicks and pooch punts, and "gunners" on punt coverage, like Alphonso Smith and David Bruton, practiced downing the ball just short of the goal line. Kicker Matt Prater also hit two long field goals in a drill simulating the final seconds of a game.

- 2008 draft picks, corner Jack Williams and safety Josh Barrett, continue to practice with the first-team nickel defense. That package also included Dumervil at linebacker with Ayers, and Reid as a down lineman with Peterson. On one snap, Williams got to Kyle Orton on a corner blitz and swatted the ball out of the quarterback's hand. 2007 draft picks Jarvis Moss and Crowder each played with the second-team nickel, and Crowder - lined up as a down lineman in that package - snagged an interception off Chris Simms.

- The team lined up briefly in a traditional I-formation, with LaMont Jordan at tailback and Peyton Hillis at fullback. Good to know they can do that, though I would be it will be a rare sight come September.

- I heard "Sweet Child of Mine" by Guns and Roses coming from the practice field when I got out of my car an hour before practice started. Little did I know then it was a sign of things to come. In a welcome change (for me at least) from the previous regime, a full McDaniels practice includes plenty of music to simulate crowd noise. Friday's playlist included "Eye of the Tiger", "Crazy Train", "Beat It", "Born to Run", "Live Your Life" and even the old "Monday Night Football" theme music.

- Right guard Chris Kuper was excused from practice to get married, and rookie Seth Olsen took all the first-team repetitions in his place. Kuper is one of the toughest players on the team (remember last year, when he played all training camp with a broken hand?), so it only made sense that his absence had something to do with his personal life. Kuper, like Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler, was part of the Broncos' 2006 draft class, and a television reporter joking asked McDaniels after practice if Kuper, too, was holding out. "He might be nervous, but he's not holding out," McDaniels said, laughing.

The team will hold its final two practices of the offseason Saturday and Sunday.

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