Denver dives as starters rest

For the first time in his Denver Broncos stint as head coach, Mike Shanahan's team posted a losing record in the preseason. The Broncos, playing without most of their starters, fell to the Arizona Cardinals 33-21.

Few players shine in loss - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Friday, September 03, 2004 - If Thursday's performance was the final judgment, the Broncos may want to trim the roster by 32 players, not 22 by Sunday's deadline. In an uninspiring end to the preseason, the Broncos, who were represented by many players who won't be on the final 53-man roster, were pounded by visiting Arizona 33-21 at Invesco Field at Mile High. The Broncos ended the preseason 2-3, the first time since Mike Shanahan took over as coach in 1995 the team has finished preseason with a losing record.

Special-teams breakdowns prove costly - Rocky Mountain News - Patrick Saunders
Friday, September 03, 2004 - The special teams weren't. With units staffed with second- and third-teamers hoping to make their mark and win a roster spot, the Broncos' special teams stumbled Thursday night in a 33-21 preseason loss to Arizona. On the first punt of the game, the Cardinals' Karl Williams split the Broncos' coverage team for a 39-yard return to the Denver 31. Punter Micah Knorr had to make a saving tackle. The Cardinals came away with a 45-yard field goal.

Van Pelt makes most of chance - Rocky Mountain News - Adrian Dater
Friday, September 03, 2004 - There were Broncos quarterbacks who wished they could have had a couple of quarters back Thursday night. Former Colorado State quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt was not one of them.

Broncos' preseason in the books; Chiefs will be first course - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
September 3, 2004 - Like sixth-graders hopped up on the last day of school, the Denver Broncos bolted out the doors of the preseason Thursday night, their eyes squarely on the Kansas City Chiefs instead of their preseason finale. As a result, the Arizona Cardinals, who played their regulars all the way through the first half, easily dispatched the Broncos reserves 33-21 in front of a crowd of 60,108 at Invesco Field at Mile High. The Broncos finished 2-3 in the preseason, making it coach Mike Shanahan's first losing preseason in his Broncos tenure.

Bell worth the wait as Denver assesses his skills - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold and Lee Rasizer
September 3, 2004 - The Broncos have waited to see what running back Tatum Bell could do against an opposing defense, and Thursday night in their preseason finale they finally got the chance. With virtually all of the team's regulars taking the night off, Bell was one of the busiest players on the field. The rookie, who missed time in training camp with a fractured middle finger on his right hand, played the entire game.

Solid night for Mauck, but it's not enough to unseat Kanel - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 3, 2004 - Matt Mauck began the summer as the talk of Denver Broncos training camp. The buzz has been reduced to a whisper. The backup quarterback job will be manned by Danny Kanell, there's little doubt about that now. Mauck has settled in as the No. 3 as the Broncos officially begin preparations for the Sept. 12 opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Broncos starters take night off; Cards win preseason finale - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 3, 2004 - If you gave the tickets to Thursday night's game to the neighbor as a practical joke, well done. If you attended the Broncos' exhibition finale against Arizona at Invesco Field, well, then the joke was on you. Unless, of course, you're a Bradlee Van Pelt fan. The former Colorado State standout, a very good college football player, had a brief but memorable professional debut Thursday night during Denver's 33-21 loss to the lowly Cardinals at Invesco Field.

Bell rings for Broncos - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 3, 2004 - No. 26 was in the end zone again for the Broncos on Thursday night. Rookie running back Tatum Bell, the second-round pick who hopes to help replace Clinton Portis this season, scored his first NFL touchdown during the garbage time portion of Denver's 33-21 loss to Arizona in the exhibition finale at Invesco Field.

Ex-Ram plays in 'big' game - Greeley Tribune - Matt Schuman
September 3, 2004 - Bradlee Van Pelt is used to preparing for the BIG game this time of year. The former Colorado State quarterback is usually gearing up for in-state rival University of Colorado and along the way throwing a few verbal barbs along with footballs at the Buffaloes. So Thursday's preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals felt a little different to the Denver Broncos quarterback. That doesn't mean it wasn't just as important to him as throwing a touchdown pass against the Buffaloes. The meaningless preseason game for the Broncos was anything but for Van Pelt.

Broncos-Cardinals Notebook: For Whom the Bell Tolls - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Friday, September 3, 2004 - As Tatum Bell dolefully strode to the sidelines after his apparent third-quarter fumble on Thursday night a feeling of dread washed over the rookie running back. A 22-yard run into the open field seemed to have ended in disaster when Arizona safety Adrian Mayes swooped in from behind, grabbed Bell's left shoulder and poked the ball out of his right hand, allowing Coby Rinehart to recover at the Cardinals 5-yard-line. Bell thought the plan of using him throughout the full game was about to fall from his grasp, just as the football itself had just seconds earlier.

A Flying Start - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Friday, September 3, 2004 - The buzz in the stands and roar from the crowd at INVESCO Field at Mile High when Bradlee Van Pelt entered Thursday's game with 5:13 remaining was completely unlike what one would expect from a preseason contest in which the home team trailed 33-14. But Van Pelt's debut was no ordinary beginning. It was precisely the event for which many fans had hoped and waited. Throughout the evening, occasional chants of "Bradlee! Bradlee!" and "Van Pelt! Van Pelt!" rose from the stands.

The Hardest Part - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Friday, September 3, 2004 - There are two ways to deal with the excruciating uncertainty that is the NFL's final roster cutdown. One is to remain tranquil, lean back, relax and wait. The other is to obliterate the means of communication by which the team can reach you -- the cellular phone, the constant companion of football players in all leagues. "I'm going to throw it real far, hope it breaks and hope it doesn't ring," wide receiver Nate Jackson quipped in the locker room following Thursday night's 33-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Denver Broncos vs. Arizona Cardinals - DenverBroncos.com
Thursday, September 02, 2004 - Denver played its final preseason game without the services of Terry Pierce and Luther Elliss who are still recovering from knee and chest injuries respectively. There were many changes to the starting lineup as most of the team's opening day starters were help out of action to prevent injury. Denver won the coin toss and received the opening kickoff.

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