If coach Josh McDaniels has his way, he'd like the group to attack what has been that major issue with a 3-4 alignment rather than a heavy four-man front that's recently been employed in conjunction with the three-man front and necessitated by recent injuries.
"When we've played our 3-4 front, we've played it pretty effectively," McDaniels said. "That's what we spent all training camp doing. That's what we spent the preseason doing. That's what we spent the first month and week or two of the season doing. We are eager to have an opportunity to get back to that."
The return of Kevin Vickerson from a groin injury should shore up the starting trio up front, flanked by Jamal Williams and Justin Bannan. The linebackers are still in a state of flux, given Robert Ayers' continued absence with a foot injury, but Denver hopes that better execution of fundamentals will allow for better results with Mario Haggan and Jason Hunter manning the outside and D.J. Williams and Joe Mays playing the interior linebacker spots.
"I think if we can get back to playing the 3-4, (it's) certainly been more productive for us over the course of the long haul than the 4-3 personnel group was. We did some decent things from that grouping, particularly in the Jet game, but we didn't put the roster together, we didn't do what we did with our linebacking corps and our front to play that group."
The Broncos will practice both fronts this week, due to Ayers' absence and some concern over whether Vickerson is completely healed. Still, "We'd like to get back to that 3-4 mold as much as we could."
However schematically Denver attacks Kansas City this week, it's imperative the Broncos don't let the Chiefs control the line of scrimmage and the game's pace via the run. In the last meeting between the two AFC West rivals, in Denver to cap the 2009 season, Jamal Charles rushed for 259 of Kansas City's 317 yards in a Chiefs blowout.
The last time the Broncos played at home this season, they allowed 328 rushing yards and five TDs in a 45-point loss to Oakland on Oct. 24.
"It's a challenge," Bannan said of the prospect of facing a Kansas City offense that's No. 1 in the NFL at 179.6 rushing yards per game behind Charles and veteran Thomas Jones. "But if you're a competitor you should welcome this challenge and see how you stack up."
Denver has faced 269 rushing attempts, second-most in the league behind only Buffalo (295). It isn't surprising with a per-carry yield of 4.6 yards.
Bannan added that while the 3-4 has been used most frequently, the alignment isn't the overriding issue.
"The bottom line is whatever we're doing or whatever we're in we have to be consistent at it and focus play in, play out and do the job that needs to be done," he said.
--The Colquitt brothers spent plenty of time together last fall.
Britton, having recently been released by Denver late last summer, lived with his older brother, Dustin, in his suburban Kansas City home for about six weeks.
Britton cared for Dustin's three children; in return, he received free room and board, while working out at a local high school to see if he could get another shot at the NFL.
"I was realistic in that I knew it was possible that I could end up not having a career playing football and I had kind of accepted that," Britton said. "But I'm an optimistic person, too, and I was confident it would be just a pit stop in life."
The latest layover will be in Denver on Sunday.
The punting siblings will compete against each other for the first time after years as teammates at the University of Tennessee, where the younger Colquitt watched his brother play as a redshirt before taking over the reins.
Britton credits Dustin's encouragement in his NFL purgatory as one of the biggest reasons the matchup is even taking place. He made sure that his younger brother conducted his workouts and weight trained on a daily basis.
"My brother knew the talent that I had. He was like, 'Dude, I've seen you kick' and he'd always say you're ahead of me at my age. Keep working at it. He wanted me (to live with him) because he knew that was a period where he wanted me to focus on the football part and not just, 'What do I do now?'"
Britton Colquitt had tryouts in Cleveland and Miami, landing on the Dolphins' practice squad for a week before Denver acquired him and added him to the active roster. Colquitt went unchallenged in camp and now ranks 14th in the NFL with a 44.4-yard average, a half-yard ahead of Dustin, who's in his sixth season with the Chiefs.
"It's really cool and a dream come true that we can be on the same field playing against each other in opposite uniforms," Britton said. "It's something that's so rare."
Britton and Dustin's father, Craig, won two Super Bowls with Pittsburgh as a punter and was a huge influence on both current players. Dad and mom will be on hand at Invesco Field, but unlike the Manning parents, don't necessarily have to choose sides.
Essentially, they're rooting for field position.
"It's different with punters. You can root for both punters to have a great game," Britton said.
--It was announced this week that Tim Tebow will pen an inspirational memoir with author Nathan Whitaker called "Through My Eyes."
Tebow said he plans on the book to recount his childhood and college years, leaving room for a sequel covering his NFL life.
"It's just something to share stories of my life and an opportunity to share my side of the story for once, too, which is kind of intriguing for me, as well," the ex-University of Florida star explained.
"A lot of different people tell a lot of different stories about me, so it's an opportunity to talk about myself. I'm kind of excited about it."
Tebow noted the content will be a hodgepodge -- off the field, different aspects of his life, his childhood, some on-field tales and "some things people might not know."
Asked what the biggest misperception he hopes to clear up about himself, Tebow responded there isn't just one.
"It's just, in general, getting a chance to tell it your way."
BY THE NUMBERS: 125, 1,821 -- Number of catches and yards that Broncos WRs Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal have combined for over the season's first eight games. The trio is first among NFL receiving trios in yardage; tied for first in receptions.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You still come back to reality even though we had a break. ... You don't realize how much four days means in the long haul of playing the season. So it was good to have the bye week in the middle of the season. But you come back and we still have two wins and need to improve." -- WR Brandon Lloyd.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
It figures to be a chess match between coach Josh McDaniels and two of his former mentors during his New England days, Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel. Having studied tape of the Chiefs, McDaniels is well aware of what the two Kansas City coordinators are trying to accomplish, and given that familiarity, knows that there will be some Chiefs tweaks on both sides to make sure the Chiefs' approach isn't too predictable.
There isn't much that's secret about what Kansas City should try to do against Denver's 31st-ranked run defense -- pound the ball with the NFL's top-ranked rushing attack. That will allow Matt Cassel to take chances judiciously and cut down the chances of mistakes.
But with Denver's offense, it's evident both by the changes along the offensive line and the talk this week, that the Broncos are hell bent on getting some balance back to their offense. Denver's 61.7 yards per game rushing is restricting the offense and exposing QB Kyle Orton to too many hits in obvious passing situations.
A solid start would help -- Denver has scored just seven points in the first quarter and falling behind is an enemy to offensive balance. The Broncos must also be more disciplined since penalties have too often created long-yardage situations. Denver has drawn 28 flags for 299 yards during the team's current four-game losing streak.
--CB Perrish Cox will likely start in place of Andre' Goodman opposite Champ Bailey. Cox missed the 49ers game with a concussion but has been cleared medically to return. He's already started four games as an injury replacement and leads all rookies with 10 pass breakups.
--RB Lance Ball, the team's leading rusher in the preseason, was moved to the active roster after there were inquiries from other teams. Ball becomes the team's fourth tailback behind Knowshon Moreno, Correll Buckhalter and Laurence Maroney.
--TE Dan Coats was cut one day after his arrival in Denver to make room for Ball on the active roster.
--LG Zane Beadles officially will be switched from right tackle to the position he played for the entirety of the preseason to make room for Ryan Harris' reinsertion to the starting offensive line.
--OL Russ Hochstein goes to the bench after starting four straight games at left guard and five overall in eight games.
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