Broncos Update Insider - Tuesday, Nov. 30

The way the Broncos lost on Sunday night, blowing an 11-point lead to the Raiders in the fourth quarter with failures on offense, defense and special teams, could linger for a while. Coach Mike Shanahan couldn't mask his disappointment when asked if a loss like Sunday night's takes more out of him than a normal loss.

The Broncos lost cornerback Lenny Walls for the season when Walls dislocated his right shoulder for the third time this season.

Walls, who re-injured the shoulder in the first half of Sunday night's game against Oakland, will undergo surgery to fix the problem and will be put on injured reserve. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said Walls should be able to return for all of Denver's minicamps next year.

"Anytime a guy has a dislocated shoulder and it pops out three different times the doctors recommend you go in there and have surgery on it so it doesn't happen again," Shanahan said.

Walls, a starter last year, was in and out of the lineup because of the injury this season, but he was playing better in the past couple of weeks. Walls reclaimed the nickel cornerback spot from Willie Middlebrooks two weeks ago when he outplayed Middlebrooks in a game at New Orleans, and was Denver's nickel back against Oakland before he left the game with an injury.

"Lenny was really playing well when he came back off his dislocated shoulder," Shanahan said. "The last couple weeks he was playing at a very high level. It's disappointing to lose a guy that was playing at that level."

Middlebrooks, a former first-round pick who played well early in the season but has struggled in the past couple weeks, goes back to being the nickel back. Shanahan said rookie Roc Alexander, who has been a valuable special-teams contributor, will become Denver's dime cornerback.

"I have a lot of confidence in the other players, that they'll come in and do a good job," Shanahan said.

NOTES AND QUOTES

The way the Broncos lost on Sunday night, blowing an 11-point lead to the Raiders in the fourth quarter with failures on offense, defense and special teams, could linger for a while.

Coach Mike Shanahan couldn't mask his disappointment when asked if a loss like Sunday night's takes more out of him than a normal loss.

"Yeah, it does," Shanahan said. "Anytime you lose it's pretty tough but when you lose and have an opportunity to put the game away so many times, it's difficult."

--The Broncos are a game behind the AFC West leading Chargers heading into a matchup on Sunday at San Diego, and Shanahan admitted that his team likely needs a win this week to win a division title.

"Oh, probably," Shanahan said. "You never know what's going to happen obviously down the line, and I hate say that for sure, but your mindset has to be that."

--Running back Reuben Droughns fumbled twice on Sunday in snowy conditions, once in the first half with Denver in field-goal range and another in the second half that led to a Raiders touchdown. Shanahan wouldn't let Droughns off the hook by blaming the conditions.

"That's just an excuse, weather-related," Shanahan said.

--DE Trevor Pryce will visit his doctor in Los Angeles this week for another update on the unresponsive nerve in his hip that has kept him from playing, but the Broncos still have no idea when or if Pryce will return this season.

--DT Luther Elliss has a calf injury that has kept him out of two games, and Shanahan said on Monday that it's too early to know whether he will be ready for Sunday's game at San Diego. The team will evaluate the situation after seeing how Elliss feels on Wednesday.

--RB Reuben Droughns had five stitches in his left hand after Sunday's game, but Shanahan said that Droughns would be fine for this week's game.

--WR Darius Watts had a chance to win the game on Sunday when he got open in the end zone with less than a minute to go, but the rookie had the ball go through his hands. Although it wasn't an easy catch, Watts said he should have come down with it.

--DE Reggie Hayward had Denver's only sack on Sunday night. After an early-season slump, Hayward has been coming on lately as a consistent pass rusher, something Denver needs in Trevor Pryce's absence.


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