Pryce eyes return

Denver Broncos defensive lineman Trevor Pryce talks about his impending return to the lineup in today's news reports. Also - running back Tatum Bell has been nominated for a couple of weekly awards.

Big offensive numbers don't add up for Broncos - Denver Post - Patrick Saunders
Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - With the game on the line in the fourth quarter earlier this month, Jake Plummerís pass to wide receiver Rod Smith is intercepted in the end zone by San Diego Chargers defender Jerry Wilson, left, after Drayton Florence, center, deflected the pass.The Broncos' basic raw numbers suggest an offensive juggernaut. Their offense ranks fifth in the NFL, averaging 383.2 yards a game. Only five quarterbacks have thrown for more yards this season than Jake Plummer, who has thrown for 3,248. Plummer's 22 touchdown passes rank sixth in the league. The Broncos have run for 138.2 yards a game, fifth-best in the league. The Broncos average 6.2 yards on first down, second-best in the AFC. On average, the Broncos have the ball 32 minutes and 9 seconds of every game. Only the Tennessee Titans (32.36) are bigger ball hogs. And yet the Broncos (8-5) head into Sunday's game in Kansas City with their playoff lives hanging in the balance.

Surging Johnson could start - Denver Post - Doug Tucker, Associated Press
Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - Kansas City, Mo. - Larry Johnson is going from the doghouse to the starting lineup. The second-year running back, who didn't suit up the first few games and has clashed publicly with coaches, likely will start Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs host Denver, coach Dick Vermeil said Tuesday. Johnson, a first-round pick out of Penn State in 2003, has had two 100-yard games since star running back Priest Holmes went out with a knee injury Nov. 7.

Come on, Jake, come clean - Denver Post - Mark Kiszla
Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - Wearing a grungy ski cap, a backwoods beard and the devil's haircut, Jake Plummer is the face that defines Denver. In a celebrity-starved city, the closest we claim to royalty are Gov. Bill Owens, TV anchor Adele Arakawa and some shaggy quarterback who seems to have stolen his grooming tips from the Unabomber. But it's a good look. On Plummer. No, really.

Come on, Jake, come clean - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - This is no time for a secondary to be slowed by injury. But that's the situation the banged-up Broncos are in this week as they prepare for the pass-happy Chiefs. After losing their second experienced nickel cornerback in two weeks, the Broncos (8-5) will have to regroup to deal with one of the most explosive passing games in the NFL when they play Sunday at Kansas City. The game is pivotal in the Broncos' quest for a wild-card spot.

Air-raid siren sounds for the Broncos - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
December 15, 2004 - Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Larry Coyer knows what's coming; he has cable and all. He knows that, as the Broncos try to hook their fingernails into one of the AFC's playoff spots in the final three weeks of the regular season, he is looking at three offenses that throw the ball even before they leave the hotel. And he knows the Broncos must find a way, any way, to crank up the heat on quarterbacks like Trent Green and Peyton Manning. "Don't read them too many times, I might throw up," Coyer said with a smile. "Now the tests get sterner; we all know that."

Baker eyes sweet revenge after sour debut - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
December 15, 2004 - Jason Baker couldn't pick a better time than the present to rebound from a difficult Broncos debut. Not only would it help boost Denver's confidence that Baker can handle the punting and kickoff roles he inherited last week but struggled with Sunday in a win against Miami, but he'll be doing it against the team that gave up on him this summer and cut him again in October, the Kansas City Chiefs. "I'm going to do my best to not get caught up in all that," Baker said. "I obviously know how good the guys on the other side of the ball are and how well-coached they are and how good they are in the return games. That's all that matters on Sunday." That doesn't mean it won't be emotional for Baker, only that he must keep those feelings in check.

Lincicome: Jake just needed a more subtle sign - Rocky Mountain News - Bernie Lincicome
December 15, 2004 - If a hunter shoots a bird in the forest, does it make a headline? Discuss. The number of pixels necessary to disguise Jake Plummer's finger are fewer than required to camouflage Janet Jackson's breast, though we saw what we saw in each case, and, in any case, we see much worse on the Discovery Channel. Apologies pour out for bad judgment and wardrobe malfunctions, while neither nature nor television offers excuses for romantic lizards and ravenous anacondas.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback: Arrowhead difficult place to find get-well tonic - Denver Post - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
December 14, 2004 - The Broncos have lived, though barely, to fight another day. It just so happens that day is Sunday, at Kansas City, where they have been, let's just say, less than stellar in Mike Shanahan's tenure. And though the Broncos have yet to show they consistently can slug it out in the season of Uglyball, a Sunday afternoon jaunt into Arrowhead Stadium presents some potholes for a team that can't afford any more jostling the rest of the way. Especially considering the Broncos have gone 2-7 in regular-season games there since Shanahan was hired in 1995.

Adams: Smith quietly nears another milestone - Rocky Mountain News - Sam Adams
December 14, 2004 - Denver Broncos receiver Rod Smith does not like the limelight. Smith will tell the media time and time again that he doesn't care for the spotlight, adulation or notoriety. Regardless, it is time to shed some light on Smith's achievements. He could reach another milestone Sunday, needing six catches to become the 20th player in NFL history to have 700 career receptions.

Krieger: There's a time to flip this switch - Rocky Mountain News - Dave Krieger
December 14, 2004 - From my radio, the deep community concern about Jake's bird engulfed me. I began to weep for the children. I hadn't heard sanctimony like this since the last time Bud Selig held a news conference. AdvertisementOddly, there was barely a peep about it in my e-mail, which made me weep some more. Apparently, the people most offended can't read or write. Let me tell you something straight out, and if you don't like it, feel free to grab a crayon and make your mark on a piece of construction paper: Some people just flat need to be flipped off.

Pryce downplays difference he'll make for Bronco defense - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
December 15, 2004 - The Broncos are ranked fourth in the NFL in overall defense. Imagine how good they will be down the stretch when Trevor Pryce comes back. Don't hold your breath. Even if Denver's best defensive lineman does get back on the field, his mere presence is not going to make everything better for a team that is 3-4 in its last seven games.

Will a losing team make playoffs? - Daily Camera - Associated Press
December 15, 2004 - In 1982, the NFL season was shortened to nine games by a strike, and the playoffs were expanded to 16 teams, including a pair that went 4-5. That is the only time a losing team made the postseason, although given the sorry state of the NFC, there's a possibility it will happen for the first time in a full season. In fact, if the playoffs started now, the Carolina Panthers (6-7) would be the final wild-card team. At least they would be somewhat deserving.

Bell Nominated for Two NFL Awards - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - Gaining 123 yards on 17 carries in barely more than two quarters of action didn't just allow Tatum Bell to help lift the Broncos to a 20-17 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. It also gave him a chance to cash in on some of the NFL's individual awards. Tuesday, Bell was nominated for both the FedEx Ground Player of the Week and the Pepsi Rookie of the Week awards, both of which you can help him attain by voting on NFL.com.

Pryce Looks to Take Next Step - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - Among the Broncos and their followers, there seems to be unanimity on one subject -- that defensive lineman Trevor Pryce can make the defense at least a little bit better whenever he returns to action. But try telling that to Pryce himself. "I think a lot of y'all set me up for failure because I'm going to come back and really I'm not going to make any difference," Pryce said. "I think the guys playing my position are doing a great job. I mean, look what they've done without me. They're the fifth-ranked defense in the league, and I'm not playing. So what do you think I'm going to do?" At the very least, he can provide the Broncos another contributor in the team's defensive-line rotation.

Pro Bowl Voting Concludes on Friday - DenverBroncos.com
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - With less than three days to go in the 2005 Pro Bowl balloting, two Broncos lead at their positions in the AFC and three others are in the top five. Cornerback Champ Bailey and safety John Lynch are the top dogs among AFC players at their respective positions. Jason Elam, Kyle Johnson and Tom Nalen are all in the top five at the kicker, fullback and center positions. On-line fan voting concludes this Friday, Dec. 17 at 10 a.m. (MST). You can cast your ballot today by clicking here. You can also vote in person at any NFL stadium.

Fantasy Review: Week 14 - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Tuesday, December 14, 2004 - Just keep your eyes and ears tuned to the Broncos' situation at running back this week as Reuben Droughns and Tatum Bell each attempt to get ready after suffering a pinched nerve and separated shoulder, respectively. They, or perhaps Garrison Hearst or Cecil Sapp, will attempt to record the fifth straight 100-yard rushing game for a Broncos running back at Kansas City. Clinton Portis had three in a row in 2002 and 2003, and Quentin Griffin pipped the Chiefs for 156 yards in Week 1. But note that on Monday, Head Coach Mike Shanahan reaffirmed Droughns' status as the Broncos' No. 1 back.

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