After the Broncos signed Peyton Manning in March, they turned their attention to free-agent center Jeff Saturday, Manning's former triggerman in Indianapolis. That appeared to put incumbent center J.D. Walton on thin ice.
But Saturday signed with the Packers, and Walton kept his job -- although the last two days, he didn't take all of the first-team snaps, leaving a few repetitions for Manuel Ramirez.
Ramirez, who is starting at right guard for the injured Chris Kuper, worked three consecutive snaps at center Wednesday, setting off a chain reaction that moved RT Orlando Franklin to guard and put backup Chris Clark at right tackle.
The move wasn't an indictment on Walton, said offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.
"We do that every year. You have to have position flexibility because you never know when something's going to happen in the game," McCoy said. "We've got to make sure we have the best five guys up there. That's our job as coaches."
With Kuper out during the offseason because of a fractured fibula and torn ankle ligaments, Ramirez took all the first-team right guard work at organized team activities and minicamp, allowing him to work next to Walton and learn what his calls were in case Walton is injured -- a task heightened by having Peyton Manning at quarterback.
"He's a true leader," Ramirez said. "He expects a lot from each individual player, and you've got to make sure you're on point with everything, because you don't want to make him mad."
Record crowds: The Broncos closed out their open training camp practices with a crowd of 1,840, completing a summer in which they averaged a club-record 2,871 fans per practice at team headquarters. The overall attendance of 84,380 -- including the 41,304 who watched an Aug. 4 practice at Sports Authority Field at Mile High -- shattered the previous record of 45,124, set last year.
Not practicing: DE Jason Hunter (torn triceps muscle), RG Chris Kuper (broken forearm), RB Ronnie Hillman (hamstring), CB Tracy Porter (illness), safeties Quinton Carter (knee, hamstring) and Jim Leonhard (knee), LBs Danny Trevathan (ankle) and Keith Brooking (hamstring) all sat out. LB D.J. Williams wasn't at practice for personal reasons; he missed practice Wednesday because he was on trial, where he was convicted of driving while ability-impaired.
Injured: Rookie CB Omar Bolden was treated on the sideline for a shoulder problem but remained at practice. DT Kevin Vickerson left with a concussion. CB Joshua Moore didn't finish practice because of a hamstring injury.
Back to work: DT Ty Warren returned to practice after missing three days to tend to a family matter. WR Tyler Grisham practiced for the first time since injuring his knee two weeks ago. CB Champ Bailey practiced after getting a day off Wednesday.