Bronco fans boo Orton, team at practice
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The largest crowd ever to watch a Denver Broncos practice didn't much like what it saw.
New quarterback Kyle Orton, acquired from Chicago for Pro Bowl passer Jay Cutler in the biggest NFL trade of the offseason, was booed by the crowd of 13,402 at his unofficial debut at Invesco Field when he threw two interceptions and several bad passes during a structured scrimmage Thursday night.
Orton drew the fans' ire when he was picked off twice by cornerback Andre' Goodman, the second of which was returned for a long touchdown.
"I had a good day," Goodman said in a lonely sentiment afterward.
Orton also was jeered when he threw behind receiver Chad Jackson, again when he missed a wide-open Jabar Gaffney in the end zone and also when he floated a pass down the middle that Champ Bailey busted up.
"Fans can cheer. They can boo," Orton said. "We've got good fans, and they're passionate about their football, that's for sure."
Orton wasn't alone in the fans' disapproval.
The crowd also booed punter Brett Kern for a pair of poor punts and also let kicker Matt Prater have it for missing consecutive 43-yard field goal attempts at the end of the scrimmage, one to the right and one way left.
"I heard a few boos. I had heard them during other boos and then I missed a kick and really heard the boos," Prater said. "That's part of the business."
Prater hit three straight kicks to end the scrimmage to polite applause.
New coach Josh McDaniels was disappointed in a lot of things about the scrimmage but certainly not the fans' reactions.
"It's the National Football League and that's what people do, and they'll cheer you when you should be cheered and boo you when you should be booed," McDaniels said. "Hey, I've been around for a while. I understand that that's going to happen and it doesn't surprise me and it doesn't disappoint me."
What disappointed him was the slew of mistakes all over the field, not that he wasn't expecting to have mixed feelings.
"I learned a long time ago -- in the spring -- that as a head coach you never have a good practice when you practice offense vs. defense," McDaniels said, "because someone's always going to make a good play and then the other side is on the other end of it.
"So there's a lot of mistakes made tonight on both sides. Kyle obviously made a couple but he certainly wasn't alone and we'll go back to work tomorrow morning and fix what's wrong."
As for Prater, McDaniels isn't planning on bringing in another kicker to push him.
"Hey, I have confidence in Matt Prater, he's made a whole lot of kicks, too," McDaniels said.
McDaniels declined to comment on rampant speculation that safety Brian Dawkins, the cornerstone of his defensive overhaul, has a broken hand and needs surgery.
Dawkins, is in his first season in Denver after 13 years in Philadelphia, got hurt Tuesday. The Broncos have declined to reveal the nature or extent of Dawkins' injury, saying only that he'll be out a few days.
Rookie safety David Bruton of Notre Dame has replaced Dawkins at strong safety with Denver's first unit, and he fueled the speculation that Dawkins' injury was more serious than the Broncos are letting on when he said after the Thursday morning walkthrough: "What happened with Dawkins, it's sad, but you get your call, it's time to step up ... and hope for a speedy recovery."
Dawkins wasn't on the field Thursday. He plans to skip Friday's workout to attend a memorial service in Philadelphia for former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who died last week.
McDaniels also declined to confirm reports that the team was close to signing its top draft pick, Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno, the 12th overall pick in the draft.
And Buckhalter shrugged off all the boo-birds.
"The booing doesn't bother me at all. I played in Philly, you get consistent boos there," he said. "You have to have thick skin."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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