ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Late in Monday’s practice, with the offense in a four-minute drill scenario against a defense trying to prevent a first down, penalties began to mount. Flags flew on three consecutive snaps — two for pre-snap infractions, and one for what an official on the field signaled as a holding penalty. But after the session, Head Coach Vic Fangio revealed that the flags were not what they appeared to be.
“The last two penalties were planned by me. I told them to do that,” said Fangio, who added that the reason why he called for the penalties was a “code secret.”
“Some of them that looked like penalties, they were actually clean plays, the center snapped the ball before he was supposed to. They’re bad plays, but they aren’t penalties. But the quarterback is going to get clobbered.”
While the timing on some snaps needed refinement, the accuracy of shotgun snaps, which was an issue last week, improved, but was not perfect. One team-period play saw a low Connor McGovern snap that Joe Flacco quickly recovered and threw away. There was also a mistimed under-center snap with the No. 3 offense.
Still, there has been growth, although McGovern may be one of the first-teamers who makes an appearance in Thursday’s preseason opener with Atlanta.
“[McGovern] may play a little bit on Thursday, but if you noticed at the stadium practice the other day, that was his best day for that,” Fangio said. “And most of the snap issues that we’ve had have been in the [shot]gun.”
With few starters expected to play Thursday, the game could be a showcase for young tight ends Noah Fant, Troy Fumagalli, Austin Fort and Moral Stephens, none of whom have played a preseason snap.
Tight end Jake Butt, meanwhile, remains on the sideline as he deals with a knee injury. Bug Howard is also still out with an ankle injury.
Fangio admitted that he is “concerned” about Butt’s health.
“Jake keeps having these little potholes. He starts feeling good, moves a little, does something, and then it doesn’t feel so good,” Fangio said. “All things that we’re led to believe that are to be expected.
“The important thing is keeping his spirits and seeing where he develops and where it goes. It’s unpredictable.”