October 2, 2004 - Matt Lepsis often wears a winter hat at Denver Broncos practices, rolled up neatly at the bottom, up to his forehead, creating a look resembling a longshoreman rather than a left tackle. Lepsis might want to switch to a hard hat this week. Sunday, in his fourth regular-season game since switching positions on the offensive line in the spring, Lepsis will be matched against Simeon Rice, one of the NFL's premier pass-rushers, when Denver (2-1) travels to Tampa Bay (0-3).
Don't tell Smith Bucs defense is a pushover - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
October 2, 2004 - Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith doesn't want to hear about statistics, injuries or the Buccaneers' 0-3 start. He still believes, at least publicly, that Tampa Bay's defense is better than Jacksonville's. Two weeks ago, the Jaguars held the Broncos to two field goals in Denver's 7-6 loss at Jacksonville, Fla. "No, they're better than the Jags defense," Smith said. "These guys have been consistent for five straight years; they've been one of the top defenses. It's going to be a lot of work for us."
Elway has his way once again - Rocky Mountain News - Alan Pearce
October 2, 2004 - It has been more than five years since John Elway announced his retirement, so one tends to forget just what an incredible arm he possesses. The Denver Broncos great restored some memories Friday night, in "A Game of Fame," a flag-football contest at Invesco Field at Mile High. Elway did not need one of his trademark comebacks to win the game, as the Broncos Legends won 31-27.
Pressure eases for Simms - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
October 2, 2004 - Chris Simms was 26-6 as a starter at the University of Texas. But what many fans in Austin seem to remember are the losses, including the annual beatings at the hands of Oklahoma and Colorado's upset in the 2001 Big 12 Championship. As crazy as it sounds, there seems to be less pressure on Simms now that he is an NFL quarterback. In his second season, Simms is being groomed by coach Jon Gruden to take over the starting job for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a transition that could take place sooner rather than later if Brad Johnson doesn't start to play better.
Shanahan Showdown: Father To Face Son - Tampa Tribune - Katherine Smith
Saturday, October 2 - It wasn't until after the red-eye flight from Oakland landed in Tampa on Monday and Kyle Shanahan went to work on the game film that it fully hit him. Since the NFL schedule was released in April, Shanahan, 24, has known the Denver Broncos were coming to town Sunday. But the ramifications of that visit didn't fully register until the images of the Broncos flashed before his eyes.
Bucs' Confidence On Offense Improving - Tampa Tribune
Saturday, October 2 - The Bucs offense had a strong finish in Oakland last week, scoring two touchdowns and gaining 226 yards in its final four series. The touchdowns, of course, were the first of the season for the offensive players, who say they now have something to build upon. "Unfortunately it all happened late, but it's better to do it late than never," C John Wade said.
Broncos' running game still a force - St. Petersburg Times - Roger Mills
October 2, 2004 - In the past two weeks, the seemingly immortal Broncos ground attack has looked quite vulnerable, totaling 143 yards on 56 carries and producing no touchdowns. Bad numbers, by most standards. Embarrassing production, considering Denver's rushing pedigree. But winless in their first three games of the season, the Bucs will guarantee themselves a fourth mauling in as many weeks if they believe Denver's running game has mysteriously disappeared.
Brooks positive wins are coming - St. Petersburg Times - Joanne Korth, Roger Mills
October 2, 2004 - The critics are growing louder, but the Bucs are trying not to listen to outside opinions on their disappointing 0-3 start. Negativity, they say, won't help turn things around. "Being negative is not going to bring anything to this locker room," linebacker Derrick Brooks said. "We have never been a negative football team. We always find the positives in everything we do. "There are some positive things that we did last week and we've done over the course of the first three weeks that we can build on. Those are the things we are going to do our best to focus on."
John Lynch Answers Your Questions - DenverBroncos.com
Friday, October 1, 2004 - This week's Q&A is with Broncos safety John Lynch. A five-time Pro Bowl selection, Lynch came to the Broncos from Tampa Bay as an free agent this past offseason, and has immediately made an impact on the Broncos secondary.
Watching and Wary - DenverBroncos.com - Ansdrew Mason
Friday, October 1, 2004 - Reuben Droughns has been where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are. He's also been to the place they desperately hope to avoid. In 2001 -- Droughns' first season on an active NFL roster -- he played for the Detroit Lions as they endured one of the most difficult seasons in NFL history. Zero-and-three became 0-4, and 0-5, and 0-6 ... until by mid-December, the Lions sat at 0-12. With each loss, the pressure and desperation mounted. But so too did the effort of the Lions. After their 0-3 start, the Lions would lose nine more games in succession -- none by more than eight points, an average of 4.2 points per harrowing defeat. Five of those nine narrow losses came to teams that would finish the year in the playoffs. So Droughns can attest to the type of tenacious effort the Broncos are likely to see on Sunday from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Friday Notebook: Seeing Burns Again - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Friday, October 1, 2004 - For the better part of a decade, Keith Burns possessed the mouth that roared in the Broncos' locker room. Rambling stories punctuated by high-pitched cackles and high-wattage smiles defined his presence on the team just as much as his special-teams work on the field -- duty that earned him team-captain honors during multiple seasons. And now, he's on the other side.
Broncology: Florida Flashback - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Friday, October 1, 2004 - When the Broncos last won a regular-season game in Florida, defense ruled the day. Neither the Broncos nor the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gained 300 total yards; the Bucs' only touchdown was on a 40-yard interception return by safety Cedric Brown, and the Broncos allowed the Bucs to gain just 10 first downs and 2.9 yards per rush. It was a long time ago -- Nov. 15, 1981, to be exact. Friday, October 1, 2004
Buccaneers At a Glance - DenverBroncos.com - Tucker Gilmore
Friday, October 1, 2004 - There is no shortage of storylines for the Broncos game this Sunday in Tampa Bay. The atmosphere should be electric as long-time Buc and new Bronco John Lynch returns to Raymond James Stadium. When the public address announcer reads down the list of Broncos defensive starters, a roar will inevitably fill the air that will be so loud it will be audible all the way across Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg. On the field, the Broncos look to find their first road win of the season against a team that has endured more than its share of difficult moments this year, fighting off injuries and the repeated threat of natural disasters from a parade of hurricanes to impact the state.
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