Broncos Update Insider - Tuesday, Oct. 19

If the Broncos avoid a midseason slump like they've had the past two years, they should win the AFC West easily. At 5-1 through six weeks the Broncos have a two-game lead on surprising San Diego, and the Raiders and Chiefs both have losing records.

The Broncos have a win over each AFC West team, meaning they can't lose the first tiebreaker of head-to-head record, and they have a big edge in the second tiebreaker, which is divisional record. Denver is 3-0 in the division, no other AFC West team has won a divisional game yet.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he doesn't think his team will focus on how good of a position his team is in because he has prepared his players for this kind of situation.

"You kind to talk about this before the season starts, you talk about all the teams that started 4-0, 5-0, 5-1, 6-1 and you go through a bunch of scenarios of people that didn't make the playoffs," Shanahan said.

The Broncos haven't won a division title since 1998, and have wasted strong starts the past two years. Denver started 6-2 in 2002 and 5-1 last year and didn't win the division title either season.

Shanahan said he knows how tenuous a good start can be.

"You got to have a sense of urgency, every game you play," Shanahan said. "If you start thinking you're good in the National Football League and you don't prepare yourself, you get embarrassed quickly."

NOTES AND QUOTES

The Broncos defense might be starting to get out of its slump in causing turnovers. Denver forced two turnovers last week at Oakland, including its first interception since the season opener. Kelly Herndon's pick off of Kerry Collins snapped a 20-quarter streak without an interception for the Broncos.

"It seemed like quarterbacks come in and throw 10,000 interceptions and when they play us they want to check the ball down to the backs and find the open receiver and doesn't want to throw us the ball," Broncos safety Kenoy Kennedy said. "It's nice to get a couple turnovers."

--Quentin Griffin has lost his starting tailback job to Reuben Droughns and he has gone from a headliner for the offense to an afterthought. Griffin hardly played on offense until garbage time against the Raiders and it's hard to envision him getting many carries with Droughns playing as well as he is.

"Reuben had an excellent game (against Carolina), had an opportunity to start and he took advantage of it," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "I still have a lot of confidence in Quentin."

Griffin could be a significant contributor in his new role as the team's kickoff returner. Griffin's elusiveness in the open field could make him a dangerous threat.

"We thought he had the shiftiness and elusiveness to do some things most guys can't do," Shanahan said.

--CB Jeff Shoate has been inactive most of the season, but the rookie might see some playing time on defense. Lenny Walls and Willie Middlebrooks could miss Monday's game at Cincinnati with injuries, so Shoate and fellow rookie Roc Alexander will likely have to play in Denver's nickel and dime packages.

--S Nick Ferguson got some playing time with the defense in the fourth quarter. The Broncos rested John Lynch in a blowout and Ferguson, a special-teams standout and starter last year, got in the game. The Broncos love Ferguson, but Ferguson is stuck behind Kenoy Kennedy and Lynch.

--TE Dwayne Carswell has been suspended one game for violation of the league's personal conduct policy. He was charged with battery after a disagreement with a female acquaintance in Atlanta and was sentenced to one year of probation.

--CB Lenny Walls hasn't been ruled out of next Monday's game despite a dislocated right shoulder. Walls has dislocated the same shoulder twice this season.

--RB Garrison Hearst was inactive against Oakland and it will probably take an injury or two for him to be active for most games the rest of the season. Tatum Bell will be Denver's No. 3 running back because unlike Hearst, he can play on special teams.

Voice your opinion on our Broncos Hardcore Message Board


Mile High Huddle Top Stories

\r\n\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"The Broncos have a win over each AFC West team, meaning they can't lose the first tiebreaker of head-to-head record, and they have a big edge in the second tiebreaker, which is divisional record. Denver is 3-0 in the division, no other AFC West team has won a divisional game yet.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he doesn't think his team will focus on how good of a position his team is in because he has prepared his players for this kind of situation.

\"You kind to talk about this before the season starts, you talk about all the teams that started 4-0, 5-0, 5-1, 6-1 and you go through a bunch of scenarios of people that didn't make the playoffs,\" Shanahan said.

The Broncos haven't won a division title since 1998, and have wasted strong starts the past two years. Denver started 6-2 in 2002 and 5-1 last year and didn't win the division title either season.

Shanahan said he knows how tenuous a good start can be.

\"You got to have a sense of urgency, every game you play,\" Shanahan said. \"If you start thinking you're good in the National Football League and you don't prepare yourself, you get embarrassed quickly.\"

The Broncos defense might be starting to get out of its slump in causing turnovers. Denver forced two turnovers last week at Oakland, including its first interception since the season opener. Kelly Herndon's pick off of Kerry Collins snapped a 20-quarter streak without an interception for the Broncos.

\"It seemed like quarterbacks come in and throw 10,000 interceptions and when they play us they want to check the ball down to the backs and find the open receiver and doesn't want to throw us the ball,\" Broncos safety Kenoy Kennedy said. \"It's nice to get a couple turnovers.\"

--Quentin Griffin has lost his starting tailback job to Reuben Droughns and he has gone from a headliner for the offense to an afterthought. Griffin hardly played on offense until garbage time against the Raiders and it's hard to envision him getting many carries with Droughns playing as well as he is.

\"Reuben had an excellent game (against Carolina), had an opportunity to start and he took advantage of it,\" Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. \"I still have a lot of confidence in Quentin.\"

Griffin could be a significant contributor in his new role as the team's kickoff returner. Griffin's elusiveness in the open field could make him a dangerous threat.

\"We thought he had the shiftiness and elusiveness to do some things most guys can't do,\" Shanahan said.

--CB Jeff Shoate has been inactive most of the season, but the rookie might see some playing time on defense. Lenny Walls and Willie Middlebrooks could miss Monday's game at Cincinnati with injuries, so Shoate and fellow rookie Roc Alexander will likely have to play in Denver's nickel and dime packages.

--S Nick Ferguson got some playing time with the defense in the fourth quarter. The Broncos rested John Lynch in a blowout and Ferguson, a special-teams standout and starter last year, got in the game. The Broncos love Ferguson, but Ferguson is stuck behind Kenoy Kennedy and Lynch.

--TE Dwayne Carswell has been suspended one game for violation of the league's personal conduct policy. He was charged with battery after a disagreement with a female acquaintance in Atlanta and was sentenced to one year of probation.

--CB Lenny Walls hasn't been ruled out of next Monday's game despite a dislocated right shoulder. Walls has dislocated the same shoulder twice this season.

--RB Garrison Hearst was inactive against Oakland and it will probably take an injury or two for him to be active for most games the rest of the season. Tatum Bell will be Denver's No. 3 running back because unlike Hearst, he can play on special teams.

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