Broncos News Briefs - Thursday, September 30

Quarterback Jake Plummer will no longer be able to wear a decal on his helmet to honor fallen ex-teammate Pat Tillman. Read about Plummer in today's news reports.

Griese's new outlook - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Thursday, September 30, 2004 - Unless there are a couple of unexpected injuries, Brian Griese will not face the Broncos on Sunday. However, Griese will be on the field for the first time against his former team, the team that designated him successor to the greatest player in franchise history. On his second team since being released last summer by the Broncos, Griese is trying to work his way back into the position he held in Denver.

Stingy defense limits long drives - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Thursday, September 30, 2004 - Give the Broncos defense a long field to protect, and an opposing offense's odds of going the distance are pretty steep. The defining attribute of the Denver defense - ranked No. 1 overall in the NFL - has been its ability to prevent teams from establishing long drives. Thus far, if teams are going to score on the Denver defense, it is with a short field. "That's the sign of a very good defense," middle linebacker Al Wilson said. "Teams aren't flying down the field on us."

Plummer looking for way to honor Tillman - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Thursday, September 30, 2004 - Jake Plummer wants to make sure no one forgets Pat Tillman. That's why Plummer has been wearing a No. 40 decal on the back of his helmet. But the NFL has told Plummer he must remove the decal and find another way to honor Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinals safety who walked away from a lucrative NFL career to join the U.S. Army Rangers. Tillman was killed in action in April in Afghanistan.

Tampa Bay hardly easy to recognize - Denver Post - Anthony Cotton
Thursday, September 30, 2004 - To look at the numbers - an offense that has but two touchdowns in three games, a team ranked next-to-last in scoring in its conference, a squad that has yet to win in 2004 - the first thought would be you were looking at perennial losers like the Chargers or Cardinals. However, the team in question is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Less than two seasons removed from a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII, and days from Sunday's contest with the Broncos, personnel turnover and injuries have left the once-proud franchise foundering.

Broncos receivers hit ground running - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 30, 2004 - Collectively, the Denver Broncos' receivers seemed to suffer from a case of separation anxiety last season. According to Stats Inc., Denver finished 24th in yards after the catch (YAC) with 1,330 yards - a 741-yard drop-off behind league leader Kansas City. Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, while not resembling a caged bird suddenly released, the Broncos were able to take off on several occasions and run in the open field at times during a 23-13 victory.

Broncos have difficulty generating gaps - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
September 30, 2004 - Right now, the queries are met with a things-will-change gaze, but three games into the season and the Broncos' customary exclamation point on offense - their well-nurtured run game - suddenly is their biggest question mark. Especially after a 37-yard rushing day against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday - the worst single-game output in Mike Shanahan's tenure as coach.

Tillman tribute intercepted - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 30, 2004 - If Jake Plummer continues paying tribute to his former college and pro teammate Pat Tillman by wearing a "40" decal on his helmet, he soon could be paying through the nose. Plummer, the Broncos starting quarterback and twice a former teammate of the late Tillman, was in violation of the NFL's uniform code when he donned the sticker during the Broncos' victory Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.

Adams: For Elway, Montana, Father Time's at bay - Rocky Mountain News - Sam Adams
September 30, 2004 - At one time, it was a marquee showcase for the NFL - John Elway matching throws against Joe Montana. Now, the Hall of Fame quarterbacks are headliners in the "Game of Fame" flag football game Friday at Invesco Field at Mile High. But it's really a matchup of two fathers trying to enjoy life while their children grow into young adults.

NFL injury report, September 30 - Rocky Mountain News
September 30, 2004 - NFL injury report, September 30

Bell confident his time will come soon - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 30, 2004 - Tatum Bell's time is coming. At least that's the way the confident rookie is thinking entering Denver's game against Tampa Bay on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. If only he can stay healthy. Bell, the Broncos' second-round pick from Oklahoma State, missed most of training camp with a fractured finger and was inactive for last Sunday's win over San Diego due to a rib injury.

Lynch Wary Of 0-3 Bucs - Tampa Tribune - Katherine Smith
Thursday, September 30 - QB Brad Johnson said there aren't many players in the Bucs' locker room who have gone this long into a season without a victory. Unfortunately for FB Mike Alstott, he's one of them. A member of former coach Tony Dungy's first team in 1996, Alstott remembers when the Bucs went 0-5 before winning their first game. "That was tough. There's no question about it," Alstott said. "But we put a string of games together. We got our confidence. We won one game, and we just got that momentum going. That's what we need to do here. We need to pull one out." Not since that 1996 season have the Bucs started 0-3. Only three of the 168 playoff teams since 1990 began the season 0-3.

Kept At An Arm's Length - Tampa Tribune - Roy Cummings
Thursday, September 30 - The heartbeat is strong. Even better, it is steady. It's not spiking the way it did for a stretch of days last summer when Simeon Rice threw his body into overdrive and refused to downshift. "That's not the problem," said Rice, the Bucs' Pro Bowl defensive end who in three games has recorded six tackles and only one sack - a virtually meaningless takedown of Kerry Collins in the fourth quarter of Sunday's Raiders game. "I'm playing with last year's effort," Rice said. "I'm just not playing up to last year's standards."

Lynch trying to focus on reunion tilt - St. Petersburg Times - Joanne Korth
September 30, 2004 - John Lynch is healthy, happy and headed to Tampa. One week after facing Warren Sapp in Oakland, the Bucs will line up against another former favorite Sunday in Lynch, who spent 11 years in Tampa Bay before signing with the Broncos this season. It likely will be an odd reunion. "There's a little bit of unknown to it. I've never been through this before," Lynch said Wednesday during a conference call with Tampa Bay media. "I've played in my hometown, played against my brother-in-law, but never played against my old team in the NFL. It's going to be different."

Gruden maintains optimism - St. Petersburg Times - Roger Mills
September 30, 2004 - After an 0-3 start, coach Jon Gruden is starting to hear the winds of criticism. Wednesday, Gruden said he knows that it comes with the territory but can't let it affect the team. "You get criticized when you're 0-3 and until we start playing better, we're not going to win," Gruden said. "I appreciate the concern and criticism. I've also gotten a lot of support and for that, I'm thankful as well ... We're going to keep working as hard as we can." Gruden was careful to point out that a winless streak after three games isn't a death sentence in a 16-game season.

Droughns Honored by NFL - - Andrew Mason and Doug Collins
Thursday, September 30, 2004 - Reuben Droughns entered training camp fighting off six contenders who grappled for kickoff return duties. But nine weeks later, he ends the first month of the regular season as the AFC's Special Teams Player of the Month. Droughns, who also serves as the Broncos' starting fullback, led the league in kickoff returns in September, averaging 30.5 yards per return. Droughns' returns have allowed the Broncos to place themselves among the AFC's top five in average drive start after a kickoff. The versatile fullback was taken aback by the honor.

Defense Sits Atop League - - Andrew Mason
Thursday, September 30, 2004 - The Broncos didn't make their ascent to the top of the NFL's defensive rankings until after the Washington Redskins allowed the Dallas Cowboys to gain 284 yards on Monday night. The Redskins moved down to No. 3, and the Broncos ascended to the top slot, allowing just 236.0 yards per game so far this season. The Broncos are also second in first downs allowed and in passing defense and third in yards-per per play and third-down conversion percentage.

Bronco Dan's Fantasy Preview - Week 4 - - Bronco Dan
Thursday, September 30, 2004 - FB Reuben Droughns: Maybe I'm feeling a little cocky. After all, I'm three-for-three on Broncos recommendations, going with Quentin Griffin, Jason Elam and Jake Plummer the last three weeks, each of whom was the offensive star for Denver. But I don't think that success is clouding my judgment. Droughns has been running the ball with authority on special teams, proving to the coaches that he's a threat with the rock in his hands. Couple that fact with the Broncos' struggles in short yardage and I see No. 34 getting a few carries and receptions, especially in the red zone.

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