Denver Broncos News Blogs - Tuesday, Aug. 23

As the Denver Broncos prepare for their next game against the Colts they are running thin in the secondary. Read about who's on the sideline in today's news reports.

An air of uncertainty - Denver Post - Anthony Cotton
08/23/2005 - With the autopsy on San Francisco 49ers lineman Thomas Herrion failing to disclose a definitive cause of death, the NFL remained in uncertainty Monday. The Denver coroner's office said the reason for the 23-year-old's collapsing in the visitors' locker room after Saturday's preseason game at Invesco Field at Mile High and subsequent death couldn't be determined until toxicology tests are performed.

D. Williams sure to help Broncos' D - Denver Post - Jim Armstrong
08/23/2005 - The biggest story of Broncos training camp? Bradlee Van Pelt. The most controversial story of Broncos training camp? Maurice Clarett. The story no one is talking about, but should? Darrent Williams. Forget that stuff about Williams contributing as a kick returner as a rookie. He's going to do a lot more than that. Williams has all but locked up the nickel-back job, which means he'll be on the field for almost half the plays - more than half, with his kick-return duties.

Question hangs over NFL - Denver Post - Thomas George
08/23/2005 - Minutes before the Broncos-49ers kickoff Saturday night, I was visiting with a trusted friend and the conversation unexpectedly, inexplicably veered toward funerals in sports I had covered. My list included ones for George Halas, Derrick Thomas, Rodney Culver and Korey Stringer. A few hours later, 49ers offensive lineman Thomas Herrion died. I will not be attending his funeral in Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday, but NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue plans to be there, as do 49ers owners John and Denise York, 49ers coach Mike Nolan and his wife, Kathy, a few 49ers players and other 49ers officials. In essence, the entire NFL cadre of players will have Herrion in mind with extra thoughts that turn extremely personal: Could this happen to me?

Game of life bigger than game of football - Denver Post - Mike Klis
08/23/2005 - The thing about football is it can make a man feel alive like no other sport. Linemen have their muscles, shoulders and legs jarred on almost every play. NFL Films doesn't have to be around to know every snap ejects grunts from 22 sets of lungs. The sudden explosions, from the defensive end barreling forward to the quarterback tiptoeing backward, pump the heart. There's nothing like bumps and bruises, soreness and sweat to help a guy become familiar with his body. It's when a young man drops dead minutes after playing a game that football begins to stir emotions and the mind.

Secondary banged up for Colts game - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
08/23/2005 - If the Broncos' secondary is looking to make a statement, albeit a preseason one, against their aerial nemesis Peyton Manning on Saturday night, they might have to do it at half strength. Several of the Broncos' defensive backs were noticeably absent from Monday's workout, including star left cornerback Champ Bailey. He has missed Denver's two preseason games and hasn't participated in a full practice in more than two weeks. Coach Mike Shanahan on Monday continued to label the injury as a "tweak."

A growing concern - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
August 23, 2005 - It is the question that follows in the wake of grief and sorrow. Why? Why did 23-year-old Thomas Herrion collapse in the San Francisco 49ers locker room Saturday at Invesco Field at Mile High? Why did tragedy strike only seconds after the team had recited the Lord's Prayer? Why did one so young, so happy, die, mere moments after joking with a team official? Those are the questions being asked in the NFL, and until a Denver County coroner's investigation is completed, the answers might not be found. But Herrion's death has been felt throughout a game of contact between some of the largest, fastest humans on Earth.

To brother, Herrion was 'a good kid' - Rocky Mountain News
August 23, 2005 - Love Savior, the older brother of San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Thomas Herrion, said Monday the family has received phone calls from Dallas Cowboys running back Julius Jones, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, 49ers coach Mike Nolan and University of Florida coach Urban Meyer, among hundreds of others. "It makes me feel happy," Savior said. "It's justification of who he was. I'm just glad he's getting what he deserved as a person. He's been a good kid."

Quarterbacks zip it and tuck it - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
August 23, 2005 - It is simple advice, that eat-your-broccoli kind of self-help for Denver Broncos quarterbacks. When in doubt, run. Run for daylight, run for the hills, run for the sideline. Whatever, just run. "Oh, yeah, you can use that," Broncos starter Jake Plummer said. "We all like to make big-time plays in the pocket, but defenses are coming hard now, and instead of throwing it in there, maybe making a mistake, just tuck it and run. "I think we all can do that."

Cornerbacks caught playing flag football - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
August 23, 2005 - They can't say they weren't warned. All three Denver Broncos rookie cornerbacks have been called for pass interference during the first two preseason games, wearing the flabbergasted look of a surprise-party's guest of honor after each call. But in a meeting with game officials before the Aug. 13 game in Houston, they were advised about an increased emphasis on contact, which mirrored the warnings of their position coaches all off-season.

Bronco backs picking up pace - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
August 23, 2005 — In Houston, the Broncos' offense had a problem. And it was on the ground, not through the air. During Denver's first exhibition game, Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell combined to rush for 23 yards on 14 carries against the Texans' first-team defense. The race for the No. 1 spot was more like a crawl. But on Saturday night, the two tailbacks were back in the productive form Broncos fans have been spoiled by for the past decade. Anderson averaged 7.8 yards a carry before handing the baton to Bell, who added 62 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.

Broncos don't stop revolving-door system - USA TODAY - Larry Weisman
8/23/2005 — Buy 'em, collect 'em, trade 'em with your friends. This works best with trading cards, bobble-heads and assorted memorabilia. But Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan prefers to deal in running backs. Mike Anderson, left, and Tatum Bell may both play roles in the Broncos running attack by the end of the season. The Broncos never expend a first-round draft choice on a back, preferring to shop the NFL's discount racks. They've had a different leading rusher in five of the last six seasons and traded two of them. Yet they never fail to move the ball on the ground. In Shanahan's 10 seasons in Denver, the Broncos have ranked in the top 10 in rushing nine times, leading the NFL in 1996 and finishing second in 1998 and 2003 and third in 2000. Plug in a back and the Broncos will continue to pound away, right?

Notebook: Bailey 'Feeling Better,' But Not All Way Back - Denver - Andrew Mason
Monday, August 22, 2005 - Champ Bailey was back at practice Monday afternoon, but his work was limited. The All-Pro cornerback "warmed up" prior to practice, Head Coach Mike Shanahan said, but did little more as he continues to recover from the hamstring injury that has bothered him for two weeks and kept him out of the last two preseason games. "He didn't practice with the team," Shanahan said. "So he's feeling better, but not full speed enough to go." Bailey was not the only cornerback to sit out. Roc Alexander "was still a little bit sore," so he returned to the sidelines with his sore hamstring after trying to practice. Shanahan also said that a "sore knee" also kept rookie Darrent Williams sidelined Monday. Safety John Lynch also did not practice, but Shanahan noted he should be able to return Tuesday afternoon.

Players' Thoughts Focus on Herrion - Denver - Andrew Mason
Monday, August 22, 2005 - Dark clouds gathered over the Broncos' facility late Monday afternoon, an apt metaphor for the mood surrounding the Broncos as they returned to practice Monday for the first time since the death of 49ers offensive lineman Thomas Herrion, with whom the Broncos dueled during Saturday night's 26-21 preseason win. As the players went through their practice paces, their minds wandered to thoughts of Herrion, who collapsed in the 49ers' locker room just moments after he'd been in action during San Francisco's final drive.

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