Denver Broncos News Blogs - Thursday, Aug. 18

The special teams get chewed out, Darius Watts is trying to claw his way back up the depth chart, and Maurice Clarett's roster status is coming into jeopardy - all in today's news stories from the Denver Broncos training camp.

Is Clarett worth it? - Denver Post - Thomas George
08/18/2005 - Terrell Owens was welcomed (snicker) and embraced (ha!) back into Eagles camp Wednesday after creating more ruckus for that franchise than it ever absorbed from losing three straight NFC title games. Remember, that was the reason the Eagles took risk/reward to a novel level in reaching for Owens last season. Without him they were thrice one game short of the Super Bowl. With him they made it, even though they lost it. This has been a perplexing question in sports and particularly in the NFL over the past few years: Is star talent more valuable than team chemistry? Can a supreme player with a troubled past and present blend into a mix of players with strong character and successfully push a wedged team to lofty heights? The talent level of the player dictates how far a team goes. Which brings us to the Broncos. To Maurice Clarett.

Offensive line looks to keep run going - Denver Post - Mike Klis
08/18/2005 - Among the traditions the Broncos try to uphold, the heaviest may belong to the offensive line. The national perception of the Broncos is anybody can rush for 1,000 yards behind their five-man wall of blockers. "That's the media writing stuff," said left tackle Matt Lepsis, who will be starting for a seventh year. "We don't look at it that way. People will try and say, 'It's just the offensive line; anybody can do it.'

Tight ends key targets in red zone - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
08/18/2005 - Tim Brewster is aware of the value of the tight end inside the 20-yard line. His guys have to come through in the red zone. It's their jobs. "That's what the tight end does - he scores in the red zone," said the Broncos' new tight ends coach, who helped San Diego become the best red-zone offense in the NFL last season. "If you don't score, we're all not doing our jobs." Heading into the 2005 season, the Broncos' biggest offensive issue will be to improve their scoring in the red zone. The Broncos were anemic inside the opponent's 20-yard line last season, scoring touchdowns just 45.3 percent of time - third-worst in the AFC and fifth-worst in the NFL.

Flickering Watts seeks consistency - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
August 18, 2005 - Welcome to the rest of the story. Welcome to the NFL, to the world of get it done. Welcome to where OK isn't really OK and sometimes doesn't get you a pat on the back. Welcome to it all, Darius Watts. "People keep asking me if it's hard and all that," the Denver Broncos receiver said Wednesday. "But it's not really that hard because you really can't think about that kind of stuff. You worry about one thing, then you have to worry about everything. I know what they want me to do and that's keep working. I'm working and I'll just keep on going." Watts is the guy who was bumped down the depth chart at receiver Monday in favor of Jerry Rice.

There's yell to pay from Shanahan - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
August 18, 2005 - Linebacker Keith Burns didn't have to witness the play that incensed Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan to know one of his teammates was in big trouble. "You just hear him yelling," Burns said Wednesday afternoon. "And if he calls you by your whole name, your first name and your last name, obviously, you did something bad." The name Brandon Browner crossed Shanahan's lips during a punt-return drill. Browner, a rookie safety, was on the scout punt team and Shanahan was angry the player wasn't hustling like the coach thought he should.

Broncos camp report, August 18 - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
August 18, 2005 - The Broncos practiced twice, and the crowd was large enough during the morning workout that some spectators had to wait until more than halfway through the practice to be let in closer to the field because there was so little room to stand. In the morning practice, receiver Rod Smith caught a nicely thrown corner-route pass in the end zone from quarterback Jake Plummer. Rookie cornerback Darrent Williams was in good position, but the ball was where only Smith could reach it. Safety Nick Ferguson and rookie cornerback Karl Paymah each had interceptions in the afternoon practice.

Pryce: Colts game will be true test for Broncos - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
August 18, 2005 — With apologies to Houston and San Francisco, Trevor Pryce's true preseason test will be on Aug. 27. That's the date of the Denver Broncos' third exhibition game when the starters are expected to play for three quarters to tune-up for the regular season. The opponent that night also happens to be Peyton Manning's Indianapolis Colts. Due to a back injury, Pryce watched helplessly as Indy kicked Denver again in the first round of the playoffs.

Watton lining up for roster spot again - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
August 18, 2005 — Will work for ring. It doesn't pay as well as the NFL, but for Chris Watton the Arena Football League proved to be a great employment opportunity. After getting cut by the Denver Broncos at the end of last year's training camp, the journeyman offensive lineman wasn't too proud to ignore a call from Colorado Crush head coach Bill Dailey. And two months ago, Watton was able to accomplish something in professional football that Mike Shanahan hasn't been able to do since John Elway retired — winning a playoff game.

Broncos' Lelie sees room to grow - Mercury News - Frank Schwab
Thu, Aug. 18, 2005 - For the first time, receiver Ashley Lelie isn't a big focus of Denver Broncos training camp. He's not a rookie first-round pick, like he was in 2002. He's not battling a local favorite for a starting spot, like he did with Ed McCaffrey two years ago. And nobody's wondering if he'll ever be an impact receiver, like plenty of people were last year. This year Lelie has been keeping the pressure on himself in camp, because he's not content with what he did in 2004. Lelie caught 54 passes for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He led the league in yards per catch, and his 20.1 yards per catch was the best by a Broncos receiver in 17 years. Many receivers would be pleased with that season.

Williams takes confidence into two roles with Broncos - Grand Junction Sentinel
Thu, Aug. 18, 2005 — Darrent Williams has never lacked in the self-confidence department. The Denver Broncos cornerback isn't arrogant, just self-assured. "You've got to be in this league," Williams said. "If you don't have any confidence as a corner in this league, you're going to be out as fast as you got in." The Broncos are certainly placing a lot of confidence in the rookie out of Oklahoma State. If the season were to begin today, Williams, who was selected in the second round, would be Denver's starting nickel back. Williams knows that. He also knows his grasp on the job is tenuous at best. "I've got to show every day in practice that I deserve it," Williams said.

Day 17 Notebook: Pumping Up the Special Teams - Denver Broncos.com - Andrew Mason
Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - Tuesday morning, Head Coach Mike Shanahan stopped his charges in their tracks when he felt the team's special-teams play was not up to par. Wednesday afternoon, that repeated itself, and Shanahan acted upon the philosophy he espoused following Tuesday morning's practice. "You can have eight, nine guys doing a lot of good things, and if you have two guys who are a little off, it's very poor," he said Tuesday. A day later, one player was off -- safety Brandon Browner, and he heard all about it from the coach. Playing on punt-protection in a drill designed to give the returners some game-simulation work, Browner "wasn't going full speed," Shanahan later said, so he let the undrafted rookie know in a manner that virtually everyone observing the practice noticed.

The Pryce Feels Right - Denver Broncos.com - Andrew Mason
Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - A new season dawned for Trevor Pryce this summer -- a new season at a new position, weakside defensive end. It's not the first adjustment Pryce has made in his nine-season career; he moved from defensive tackle to strongside defensive end in 2002, and all he did that year was end his season in Honolulu, playing in the Pro Bowl. So the fact that it's taking him some time to fully adjust to the slot isn't exactly a worrisome circumstance for the Broncos, even though he admitted thinking about requesting a switch back to his old strongside slot.

Darrent Williams' Rookie Journal Week 3 - DenverBroncos.com - Darrent Williams
Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - It felt good being out there on the field in Houston. It was my first NFL game and I was so nervous at first. But then I calmed down and reminded myself that it's still football. I just play with better athletes now. I feel like I'm one of the better athletes, too. As soon as I settled down, it felt great. My family, friends and coaches thought I did a pretty good job. I thought I did pretty well, too, but I'm not where I want to be. I think I can play better than that. I made some mistakes, but I thought for my first NFL game I played pretty good. But I can always get better.

Denver Broncos vs San Francisco 49ers - Denver Broncos.com
The Denver Broncos, coming off a 20-14 win at Houston last week, host the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday, Aug. 20, at INVESCO Field at Mile High in their preseason home opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. MDT. The Broncos will face their most common preseason opponent in the 49ers, and Saturday's matchup marks the 31st exhibition meeting between the two teams. Denver owns a 16-14 all-time preseason record against San Francisco, which opened its preseason with a 21-13 win against Oakland last week.

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