ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – Denver Broncos right tackle Chris Clark took exception when J.J. Watt pushed him around in a 1-on-1 pass-rushing drill and kept right on motoring toward the imaginary quarterback.
Clark finally broke free with a swipe at the Houston Texans star that sent the pass-rusher’s helmet bouncing on the ground.
“Don’t get mad when you get beat,” Watt hollered at Clark.
That turned into the theme of Wednesday’s joint workout in full pads, one which ended with a lot of jawing and posturing after Texans safety D.J. Swearinger loudly celebrated his interception of Peyton Manning in an 11-on-11 drill.
“I picked off Peyton today and I guess that got them a little chippy,” Swearinger said. “The offense did great, ran the ball down their throat, so, hey, I would get mad, too. That’s all it is: players making plays and people getting mad.”
Broncos cornerback Chris Harris said it’s one thing to pick off Manning and quite another to go all gaga over it.
“His swag just went to another level,” Harris said.
So did the Broncos’ indignation.
“There’s about 200 guys out here,” Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib said. “It’s hard to avoid.”
No punches were thrown, however, as is so often is the case in these types of get-togethers. After all, players realize it’s a little too close to final cuts and the start of the season to risk fighting at practice.
“We wanted to stay clean out here,” Swearinger said. “We’re not out here to start nothing with nobody, we’re out here to get good work. Both teams got good work. It got a little chippy at the end but it’s all football. It’s part of the game.”
Broncos safety Rahim Moore said the chippy moments were actually a good sign.
“They’re no punks and neither are we,” Moore said. “So at the end of the day you do all your talking with the pads. Today they had a great day, we had a great day. So I actually like it because they’ve got a bunch of competitive guys that we would love to go against each other every day. It’s a great way for us to see how we match up, so we love it. It’s fun.”
It wasn’t all frayed nerves and trash talking, either.
Top draft pick Jadeveon Clowney and star left tackle Ryan Clady battled to a draw several times during the 1-on-1 pass-rushing drills that proved the highlight of the two-hour practice.
Clowney sought out Clady afterward and the two exchanged a fist bump in a show of sportsmanship.
The Clowney-Clady matchup was one of the many benefits of the four hours of joint practices so far this week that both head coaches insist far outweigh the inevitable emotions that come with them.
“You can’t really simulate this when you go against each other,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “The competition level rises, you see different schemes. You hear different communication on both sides of the ball. The coaches work together. We’re able to talk to Denver’s coaches and vice versa about some of the things they’re doing, what they’re looking for, what we’re looking for. I thought both teams worked very well together.”
Despite the pick at the end, Manning and the Broncos’ offense played much better than they had 24 hours earlier when Manning called out his teammates over a sloppy practice.
“I’m sure a lot of our guys noticed that he wasn’t happy on the field,” offensive coordinator Adam Gase said. “I spoke my mind in the meetings. I’m not really going to do it out here for everybody to watch, but I said my piece. We made sure that we came out here and had a better day.”
The teams have one more joint practice Thursday, this time in shells and shorts, which should further reduce any extracurricular activity, before their preseason game Saturday night.
Notes: Broncos WR-PR Jordan Norwood tore his left ACL when he landed awkwardly while going up for a touchdown catch and battling with Texans CB Brandon Harris in a red-zone drill. … Broncos RB Montee Ball participated in his second straight day of workouts following his Aug. 4 appendectomy. Ball said he’s lost six pounds but likes the way he feels at 209: “I feel a lot faster, a lot more agile,” he said. … Broncos LB Jamar Chaney (hamstring) sat out and TE Jameson Konz left practice after hurting his neck.
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– By Arnie Stapleton, AP Sports Writer
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