Denver Broncos News Blogs - Friday, Aug. 26

Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Rice returned to practice after a three day absence and made the most of his day. Read about Rice and the battle for number three receiver in today's news reports.

Battles require reserve power - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
08/26/2005 - The Broncos' major remaining challenges have to do with backup players, and they have eight days to decide. The first cuts are Tuesday, and rosters must be finalized by Sept. 3. Players hoping to be part of the 53-man roster have two exhibition games - the next on Saturday against Indianapolis at Invesco Field at Mile High - to make their case.

Battle intense for No. 3 receiver - Denver Post - Mike Klis
08/26/2005 - First the linemen went in, followed in no particular order by the receivers, linebackers and just about everybody else. Staying back on the Broncos' far practice field was Darius Watts, who was catching footballs shot out of a machine from about 30 yards away. "I just have to work at what I've been doing wrong," said Watts, who has failed to haul in six passes that touched his hands through two preseason games.

Rush of excitement - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
August 26, 2005 - It was the kind of play the Denver Broncos envisioned when they rebuilt their defensive line in the off-season. With the San Francisco 49ers facing a third-and-6 on their second offensive series Saturday, rookie quarterback Alex Smith dropped back to pass. Defensive ends Patrick Chukwurah and Ebenezer Ekuban pressured off the edge and sealed off his outside escape routes. Defensive tackles Gerard Warren and Trevor Pryce pushed the pocket into Smith's face. The pressure got so intense that Smith fell down by tripping over the feet of his linemen, who were backpedaling furiously.

Rice is back with healthy attitude - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
August 26, 2005 - Jerry Rice was trying to make up for a little lost time Thursday. After missing three days of practice this week to be with his daughter as she went off to college, Rice was back on the practice field and stayed a little late to work a little overtime. Rice said he is looking for plenty of work Saturday in the Denver Broncos' preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Invesco Field at Mile High (6 p.m., CBS 4). The receiver took some extra throws from quarterbacks Matt Mauck and Bradlee Van Pelt after practice and ran some additional sprints. He also said his sore left foot, which kept him out of a smattering of practices early in training camp, has improved.

Lincicome: Soon enough, we'll raise a stink - Rocky Mountain News - Bernie Lincicome
August 26, 2005 - They being the Broncos and the Broncos being reason enough, faith needs no appointment. Only the best may be thought of the Broncos until the worst happens, and plenty of time for that. Thus it is with two sketchy preseason rehearsals down and two more to go, all that needs to be known about the Broncos is apparent. The local NFL franchise has the aroma of sweet cologne. Or maybe that is merely deodorizer. Time will tell. And contrary to common belief, that time does not start Saturday night when Indianapolis drops by Invesco Field. Listen not to ominous blather about the Colts. We know what we know. This is not a game to measure the future, correct the past or suffer the present.

Broncos' LB corps bids to be best in NFL - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
August 26, 2005 — The best linebacking group in the NFL? A lot of players on Denver's roster believe the Broncos are in the discussion — Al Wilson included. "If we go out and play our game it's going to be tough for a team to even move the football on us," the veteran middle linebacker said during training camp. "The one thing that we have to work on is our communication. If we can do that ... there's no question that we can be the best in the business. No doubt about it." Expectations are high because of the two men flanking Wilson — D.J. Williams (strong side) and Ian Gold (weak side).

Colts, Broncos well-acquainted - Indianapolis Star - Mike Chappell
August 26, 2005 - Introductions won't be necessary Saturday night at Invesco Field at Mile High. The Indianapolis Colts and host Denver Broncos are separated by more than 1,000 miles but have become as cozy as next-door neighbors. Saturday's preseason game marks the third time they've met in the past eight months and the seventh time since Tony Dungy's arrival as Colts coach in 2002. "We've played them . . . as much as we've played our division teams," Dungy said after Thursday afternoon's practice at the Union Federal Football Center. "I love playing them in the preseason because it's a good test. You're playing against a system with really good players . . . in a really exciting environment. It will get us ready, for sure." The Colts have won four of the six meetings, including the two that meant the most. They routed the Broncos 41-10 in the 2003 playoffs and, on Jan. 9, beat them 49-24 in the '04 postseason. Quarterback Peyton Manning passed for 835 yards and nine touchdowns in the two postseason games.

Broncos taking rookie route on the corner - Mercury News - Frank Schwab
Thu, Aug. 25, 2005 - The Denver Broncos will have at least one rookie cornerback play a lot this season. Depending on their luck with injuries, two more rookie corners might see playing time with the defense. For better or worse, the pace that rookies Darrent Williams, Domonique Foxworth and Karl Paymah develop will be a factor in how Denver performs on defense this season. Denver used its first three picks in April's draft on those three cornerbacks. "It's kind of hard to play a rookie and not lose a step," defensive backs coach Bob Slowik said. "There's a lot of growing pains, unfortunately, when they have to step in. But these guys have made tremendous progress." Denver got a glimpse of how important the rookie cornerbacks might be this season when cornerback Champ Bailey missed Denver's first two preseason games with a hamstring injury. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who said Wednesday he figured Bailey would miss all four preseason games, gave Bailey a slight chance to play Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts.

Notebook: Goal to Get Bailey Ready for Dolphins - Denver Broncos.com - Andrew Mason
Friday, August 26, 2005 - Head Coach Mike Shanahan refused to completely rule cornerback Champ Bailey out for Saturday night's game against the Indianapolis Colts, saying Thursday that "the chances are pretty good he's out." But if the All-Pro cornerback can't play, it won't cause any great stress. "He doesn't need the game situations as much as he needs to be 100 percent," Shanahan said. "I'd worry about him if he hadn't practiced. People forget that he'd been practicing with us except for the past week to 10 days, so even though he hasn't played in a game, he's been practicing a lot on a day-to-day basis. So if he's 100 percent, he'll be ready to go against Miami." Shanahan would just as soon not risk Bailey re-injuring his hamstring, which has been hurt to some degree for nearly three weeks.

Rice Returns, Plays Catch-Up - Denver Broncos.com - Andrew Mason
Thursday, August 25, 2005 - It was 20 minutes after practice on a warm Thursday afternoon. Most of the Broncos had already ventured inside to the locker room, to showers, air conditioning and an early afternoon away from the field and from football as a whole, befitting the usual routine of two days before gameday. Jerry Rice was having none of that. The fields were vacant save for the 21-season veteran and young quarterbacks Matt Mauck and Bradlee Van Pelt, neither of whom has ever played in a regular-season game. In experience, they couldn't be further from the 303 games of work Rice has amassed in the past two decades. Thursday, they were bound by a desire to maximize their work and preparation; the 90-minute practice that had just concluded was barely enough. "There's always room for improvement," Rice said. "I'm still searching for that perfect game and I haven't been able to get that perfect game."

Broncos' season-ending losses to Colts figure in preseason - USA TODAY- Skip Wood
8/25/2005 - Despite the NFL's insistence that full-uniform gatherings before the regular season be deemed "preseason games" and nothing else, Saturday night's outing between the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos should be quite the exhibition. We're talking about a couple of teams that don't much care for each other. They play in different divisions but have met the past three regular seasons, and physical play has led to bruised and bitter feelings among each squad. Not only that, the Broncos have exited the playoffs for two consecutive years courtesy of the Colts.

Broncos still in search of turnover key - Grand Junction Sentinel - Eddie Pells, AP
Thu, Aug. 25, 2005 — Watching them in training camp, it looked like the problem was over for the Denver Broncos. They stripped the ball, recovered fumbles, deflected passes into teammates' hands. In short, the defense was a turnover machine. Once the games started, though, it was the same old story. The Broncos are the only team in the NFL that has yet to create a turnover this preseason. "We can't hide from it," defensive coordinator Larry Coyer said. "You have to start getting them in games." The Broncos had the fourth-ranked defense in 2004 but was fourth-lowest in the league in creating turnovers with 20. That put the offense on a long field much of the time and helps explain how the Broncos ranked fifth in overall offense but only 10th in touchdowns scored.

Anderson in position to be Broncos' lead back - Mercury News - Frank Schwab
Wed, Aug. 24, 2005 - Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan usually uses one back, a "stud buffalo" as he once called it, to take almost all of the carries at tailback. This year three backs - Mike Anderson, Tatum Bell and Ron Dayne - have played well enough in preseason to seemingly deserve a shot at some carries in the regular season. Will there be a running back by committee this season? The No.2 back, Bell, isn't expecting it.

Colts using Broncos game as regular-season test - San Luis Obispo Tribune - Michael Marot, AP
Thu, Aug. 25, 2005 - When the Indianapolis Colts look at the Denver Broncos, they see the team they'll face in the season opener: the Baltimore Ravens. Both the Broncos and the Ravens prefer running first, passing second, and try to overpower opponents. Both teams are considered playoff contenders and create hostile environments for visitors. Not surprisingly, the Colts will use Saturday night's preseason game at Denver as a test run for their regular-season opener at Baltimore.

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