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 the Chicago Bears for Pro Bowler Jay Cutler in the biggest NFL trade of the offseason, was booed by some of the 13,402 fans watching 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, who returned the second interception for a long touchdown.
"I had a good day," Goodman said in a lonely sentiment afterward.
Orton also was jeered when he threw a pass behind wide receiver Chad Jackson, again when he missed a wide-open Jabar Gaffney in the end zone and also when he floated a pass that cornerback Champ Bailey busted up down the middle.
"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 booed Brett Kern for two poor punts and also let Matt Prater have it for missing consecutive 43-yard field-goal attempts -- one to the right and one way left -- at the end of the scrimmage.
"I heard a few boos," Prater said. "I had heard them during other boos, and then I missed a kick and really heard the boos. That's part of the business."
Prater hit three straight kicks to end the scrimmage and drew polite applause.
"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 McDaniels 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."
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, who's in his first season with the Broncos after 13 years with the Philadelphia Eagles, was 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 has replaced Dawkins at strong safety with the Broncos' first unit, and he fueled the speculation that the veteran's injury was more serious than the team is 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 rookie running back Knowshon Moreno, who was the 12th overall pick in the draft.
"I'd love for the guy to sign," said running back Correll Buckhalter, who has been backing up starter LaMont Jordan at training camp during Moreno's weeklong holdout. "It's another added dimension to our offense."
And Buckhalter shrugged off all the boo-birds.
"The booing doesn't bother me at all," he said. "I played in Philly -- you get consistent boos there. You have to have thick skin."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press