Broncos News Briefs - Friday, Nov. 5

Darius Watts is having an up and down season - typical for a rookie. Read about Watts in today's news reports. Also - the Denver Broncos face another quality wide receiver in the Texans' Andre Johnson, and get some advice from their own star receiver Rod Smith.

Broncos have to catch rising star in Johnson - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Friday, November 05, 2004 - The Houston Texans will provide no respite for the Broncos' battered defense. Two games ago, the Broncos were beaten by the Cincinnati Kid - Chad Johnson - who torched them for 149 receiving yards and a touchdown in the Bengals' 23-10 victory. Last weekend, the Michael Vick Experience left the Broncos reeling. The Falcons' phenom threw for 252 yards, including two touchdowns to Peerless Price, and Vick rushed for 115. Arriving in town Sunday is a Texas-sized 1-2 punch, featuring quarterback David Carr and wide receiver Andre Johnson. Carr and Johnson have connected on eight receptions of 25 yards or longer this season.

Smith: We have to play for each other - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Friday, November 05, 2004 - If Rod Smith becomes the Broncos' all-time leading receiver Sunday - a likely scenario - it will be a coaching highlight for Mike Shanahan. Shanahan counts Smith as one of the special players he has coached since joining the NFL as an assistant in 1984. Smith, a former practice-squad player, made his NFL debut in 1995, the year Shanahan took over as the head coach.

Chris to Champ: Stand - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Friday, November 05, 2004 - Has anyone tried to explain why Champ Bailey tends to fall down a lot. Twice this year he has fallen down, leading to two TDs. I don't recall other CBs falling down as much as Champ? For $63 million I would like him to stay on his feet and at least draw a penalty. Is he hiding an injury or just clumsy?

Watts enjoying rookie roller coaster - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
November 5, 2004 - One minute, Darius Watts was riding high with his first pro touchdown; the next, the Denver Broncos receiver was lying on the ground, panting after dropping a critical fourth-down pass in the end zone that essentially ended his team's comeback hopes. Welcome to the NFL, rookie. Ups and downs are what being a first-year player is all about. Watts got to experience two beauties in the span of 51/2 minutes Sunday. But dwell on it? Hardly. Watts has a short memory. Either that or amnesia. It's hard to tell, hearing him talk about the play.

Quick deficits thwart Droughns - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
November 5, 2004 - A surefire way to stop Reuben Droughns has emerged. Put the Denver Broncos into a substantial second-half deficit. The past two weeks, the Broncos have been able to run on only 16 of 76 snaps in the third and fourth quarters in losses to Cincinnati and Atlanta. That lopsided pass-run ratio includes only four rushes on 45 plays in the fourth quarter. That type of imbalance runs counter to just about any solid game plan and is particularly damaging to the Broncos.

Big and tall order awaits Broncos' Bailey - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
November 5, 2004 - Another week, another top-shelf receiver is on deck for Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey. But Bailey has taken a long look at the Houston Texans' Andre Johnson on video this week and sees the potential problems. Johnson is big (6-foot-3, 219 pounds), fast (a 4.34-second timing in the 40-yard dash) and leads the NFL in yards after the catch. And the Broncos will ask Bailey, who has been assigned to one specific receiver in four previous games, to slow him.

NFL injury report, November 5 - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
November 5, 2004 - NFL injury report, November 5

Smith: Broncos must 'stick together' - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
November 5, 2004 - Rod Smith broke his silence on Thursday, albeit briefly. The Broncos veteran receiver, usually a vocal leader in the locker room, had refused all interview requests since Denver's 41-28 loss to Atlanta on Sunday. Smith muted himself despite finishing with a career-high 208 yards receiving and an 80-yard touchdown that tied him with Shannon Sharpe for the most receiving touchdowns in franchise history (55).

Broncos look for swagger - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
November 5, 2004 - If the Denver Broncos would have had a healthy Trevor Pryce on the field for the last two games, then things would have been different. Right, Mr. Pro Bowl? "Nope, nope, nope," insisted Pryce, who has not played since the opener and is scheduled to visit his doctor in Los Angeles today for an update on how well his recovery from back surgery on Sept. 22 is going. "It's easy to speculate, but ... that makes our guys look like they're not doing their jobs and they're waiting on me to come back and I'm going to save them. No, that's not going to happen." Don't worry, Pryce plans on playing again this year, perhaps returning to the lineup as soon as the Nov. 21 game at New Orleans. The defensive end's point is that problems Denver's defense has been having the last two games have nothing to do with the absence of his talents. Larry Coyer's crew simply needs an attitude adjustment. Despite dropping to fourth in the league's overall rankings, the defense needs to believe it's still No. 1.

Texans linebacker on way to best season after switching sides - Houston Chronicle - Carlton Thompson
Nov. 5, 2004 - When Kailee Wong dreamed of sacking quarterbacks the night before he signed with the Texans following the 2001 season, he never envisioned himself lining up on the left side, and, quite frankly, the Texans never planned on playing Wong at left outside linebacker when they made him one of their initial free-agent targets. Things change. The Texans were able to add Keith Mitchell later that offseason, and because Mitchell wasn't a good fit on the left side, where size matters, Wong had to take one for the team. Three years into his Texans tenure, Wong finally is at home at right outside linebacker, and he's dreaming again. Not just about sacking the quarterback, but about putting together the best season of his seven-year NFL career.

Coyer: Defense Has 'Got to Fight Out' of Slump - - Andrew Mason
Thursday, November 4, 2004 - Larry Coyer won't hear of tap-dancing around a problem. That's not how the Broncos' defensive coordinator operates. Ever a straight shooter, he understands that there is only one path out of a slump like the one his defense faces right now -- by confronting the root issues honestly and head-on. "There's only one way you get out of a funk -- you've got to fight your way out," Coyer said. "There's no other way. Anybody that tries to hide from that fact, they will not get out of that funk. You've got to fight out." Denver's defenders must fret about nothing except themselves, Coyer believes.

Bronco Dan's Week 8 Fantasy Preview: Big Weeks - - Bronco Da
Thursday, November 4, 2004 - WR ROD SMITH: Sure, it's the easy pick. He's coming off of a career day. But I get an exemption from going with the hot hand because I went with Smith last week. This Sunday, I'm sticking with him for all the same reasons. Coming off of two straight losses, the Broncos desperately need a win against the Texans. Given the situation, a veteran leader like Smith will rise to the occasion. Plus, he's set to break two franchise receiving records. With two catches, he'll pass Shannon Sharpe for most receptions in Broncos history. And he's one touchdown away from standing alone atop the team's annals for touchdown receptions, needing one to move ahead of Sharpe. With the same kind of focused determination he exhibited last week, there's a good chance Smith breaks both marks on Sunday against Houston.

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