"X" factor back in focus

Last season's early loss against the Kansas City Chiefs was a definite turning point for the Denver Broncos. It was the punt return of Dante Hall for a touchdown that turned the tide and sent the Broncos on a downward spiral. Read how Denver is looking to handle Hall in Sunday's game in today's news reports.

'X' often a bad sign - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 11, 2004 - For NFL defenders trying to prevent Kansas City special-teams ace Dante Hall from busting a touchdown return, the goal is similar to former spouses avoiding one another following a bitter divorce. You never want to see the "X." Hall crossing his arms in earnest after another trip to the end zone is a sign the defender has been victimized - just like Michael Jordan wagging his tongue as he flies past, just like Manny Ramirez dropping his bat in admiration of a monstrous home run. Willie Middlebrooks knows the "X" all too well.

Broncos Scouting Report - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
September 11, 2004 - It might be a new year, but it's largely the same old run defenders for the Chiefs this year as in 2003, when they finished 30th in the league. The Broncos no longer have Clinton Portis lugging the rock, but they have enough speed to get it done. Also, with injuries to Mike Maslowski and Kawika Mitchell, the Chiefs will start undersized Monty Beisel (238 pounds) at middle linebacker.

Broncos injuries could have been costlier - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
September 11, 2004 - The use of "split contracts" has enabled the Denver Broncos to at least soften the salary-cap impact of already having six players on injured reserve. Players on injured reserve, though they will miss the season, count against the team's $80.582 million salary cap. Running back Mike Anderson (groin), cornerback Jeremy LeSueur (hernia), wide receiver B.J. Johnson (ankle), cornerback Jermaine Chatman (hand), running back Brandon Miree (thumb) and defensive tackle Dorsett Davis (finger) were placed on injured reserve before the preseason finished.

Can't drop his guard - Rocky Mountain News - Lynn DeBruin
September 11, 2004 - While Terrell Davis and Shannon Sharpe are just jumping into the sink-or-swim pool of broadcasting, two other former Broncos players already have proved they can stay afloat. Tom Jackson has been a regular on ESPN since 1987. And Mark Schlereth easily has made the transition from the trenches to the studio.

In a way, NFL is new kid on block - Rocky Mountain News - Lynn DeBruin
September 11, 2004 - The silly ad featuring Bill Parcells, Jerry Jones and a dozen NFL stars singing the theme from Annie was a huge hit on Super Bowl Sunday. But the NFL Network's success apparently won't stop there. "I wish they were selling stock in the NFL Network," Dallas Morning News sports TV critic Barry Horn said. "I'd put my 401(k) in." He predicted it would be the most successful start-up cable network ever.

T.D. saw opening - then ran with it - Rocky Mountain News - Lynn DeBruin
September 11, 2004 - Terrell Davis doesn't look much different than he did when he was carving up NFL defenses six years ago. And he still gets the same butterflies before games. But even with his arthritic knees, picking up blitzing linebackers probably would be less stressful than his latest venture - as a broadcaster and analyst for the NFL Network. "It's a whole different monster," said Davis, who makes his regular-season debut today as a full-time member on NFL Total Access, the network's signature show. "This is the biggest challenge I've faced in a long time. But I can't walk away from a challenge."

K.C. not sorry to see Portis go - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn,
September 11, 2004 - Dick Vermeil has already shed some tears this season, reportedly getting choked up at a kickoff luncheon for the Chiefs in Kansas City when speaking about his team earlier in the week. The emotional head coach was able to bite his lip and keep his composure, however, when news arrived in March that Denver had traded Clinton Portis out of the conference. Before celebrating, it occurred to Vermeil that coach Mike Shanahan wouldn't trade a Pro Bowl running back if he didn't believe it would make the Broncos stronger.

Baines: Chiefs, not Broncos, are darlings of AFC West for NFL analysts - Daily Camera - Gary Baines
September 11, 2004 - Every team in the NFL is a contender this time of year. It's just like March in baseball, September in hockey and October in basketball. No matter how dire things might be for a given team, hope springs eternal for hometown fans everywhere before the first game has been played. The random chance that fate might smile upon your team keeps hopes elevated in the preseason, often blinding fans to the reality of the situation. The Denver Broncos of the post-John Elway era have been a good — though far from great — team, but you'd never know they have shortcomings by listening to fans at this time of year.

Broncos-Chiefs Capsule and Notes - DenverBroncos.com
Friday, September 10, 2004 - The Denver Broncos will square off against AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs in a what could prove to be a crucial Week 1 matchup. The Broncos (10-6 in 2003) last the first game of the series last year, falling in Kansas City in Week 5 24-23 despite holding Chief's quarterback Trent Green to 128 yards passing and running back Priest Holmes to only 97 yards on the ground. The difference in the game was a Dante Hall 93-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. When the teams met again in the 2003 series finale at Invesco Field at Mile High, the Broncos thrashed the Chiefs 45-27 behind the supurb performance of Broncos running back Clinton Portis, who rushed for 218 yards and tied a club record with 5 touchdowns. The Week 14 victory was one of the four games the Broncos won in their last five contests in 2003, helping to secure a playoff berth for the team.

Broncology: For Openers ... - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Friday, September 10, 2004 - The Broncos and Chiefs are dead-even in regular-season matchups since 1997. Seven Kansas City wins, seven Denver wins. Eight of the 14 games have been decided by six points or less, and back-to-back games at Arrowhead Stadium in 2001 and 2002 went to overtime. The Broncos have won three of four season-opening games against the Chiefs, with the last win coming by a 19-3 score in 1997. But it is worth noting that all of the season-opening Denver-Kansas City clashes took place in the Mile High City. Denver's lone Week 1 loss to the Chiefs was a killer – a 59-7 thrashing to open the 1963 season.

Rod Smith Answers Your Questions - DenverBroncos.com
Friday, September 10, 2004 - This week's Q&A is with Bronco wide receiver Rod Smith. Coming in to the 2004 campaign, Smith already holds the Broncos record for most career receiving yards with 8,628, and is within striking distance of Shannon Sharpe's records for most receptions and touchdowns. Smith would have to catch 42 passes and score three touchdowns to equal Sharpe's record. A two-time Pro Bowl selection (2000-01,) Smith also averages 8.7 yards per rush over his 10-year career.

Friday Notebook: Elliss Practices - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Friday, September 10, 2004 - It all went according to plan. Defensive tackle Luther Elliss went through practice on Friday afternoon, marking his return to the field for the first time since suffering a slight tear of a pectoral muscle during the Broncos' 31-17 preseason win over Houston two weeks earlier. Elliss' return followed the timeline detailed by both the veteran lineman and Head Coach Mike Shanahan during the previous two days.

Leading the Way - DenverBroncos.com - James Merilatt
Friday, September 10, 2004 - In 1983, the Denver Broncos made headlines by trading for a quarterback from Stanford that was seen as the savior of the franchise. From the moment the deal was consummated, every move John Elway made for the next 16 years was tracked, reported and analyzed by the local media and reported to the football crazy fans along the Front Range. Elway was instantly thrust into the spotlight, learning quickly what life is like when you have the most high-profile job in Colorado. Twenty years later, the team once again created a stir in newsrooms throughout the region by acquiring a new quarterback that was expected to turn the fortunes of the franchise. This time around, however, it was via free agency, as veteran Jake Plummer left the Arizona Cardinals to become the Broncos signal caller.

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