09/03/2005 - Tempe, Ariz. - As he walked off the field Friday night, Jerry Rice sounded like a man who had just played his final game. "I don't know what's going to happen, but if it doesn't work out, I'm OK with it," Rice said. "I came here and gave it my best shot, and if it doesn't work out, I'm sure these guys are going to do well." The Broncos had just capped a perfect preseason by whipping the Arizona Cardinals 30-21 at Sun Devil Stadium, a game in which so many receivers going by names other than Jerry Rice had big nights. With starting receivers Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie watching securely from the sidelines, Darius Watts, Rice's primary competition for No. 3 receiver, caught two touchdown passes. Charlie Adams, capping a terrific training camp and preseason, had two catches for 22 yards, and had three punt returns for 46, a 15.3-yard average.
Upbeat, unbeaten - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
September 3, 2005 - TEMPE, Ariz. - An impassioned coach Dennis Green appeared at the Arizona Cardinals' preseason luncheon in downtown Phoenix on Friday and tossed down the gauntlet that only one team would leave Sun Devil Stadium as the league's only unbeaten in dress rehearsals. Well, he got that right. And so it went as a Denver Broncos team that played with 22 regulars tied behind its back and already had turned the majority of its attention a week ago to the regular-season opener Sept. 11 in Miami was still too much for the perennially rebuilding Cardinals. Denver came away as the NFL's only undefeated team in the ones that don't count with a 30-21 victory. It completed the Broncos' first undefeated preseason since 2000, when they went on to finish 11-5 and lost in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
Bullish Broncos ready for the real
deal - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 3, 2005 - TEMPE, Ariz. - The sweat of summer is officially over, and the warm-up act otherwise known as the preseason is history. It's time for the Denver Broncos to get the real thing started, with kickoff of the organization's 46th season only eight days away in Florida.
Watts finally lights up offense with his high-voltage receiving skills - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 3, 2005 - TEMPE, Ariz. - Before leaving for the desert, Darius Watts didn't want to overthink what he needed to do in the final preseason game, or consider what it might take to get his job back as the No. 3 receiver. "I'm just going to do what I have to do and get the job done and let them handle that," the Denver Broncos wide receiver said. His main goal entering Friday's contest: carrying over his practice performances into games, because he has been plagued by dropped balls all preseason, five in all. "Everything looks good," he said Wednesday. "I'm getting open, running good routes. I've just got to finish." Watts did more than that against the Arizona Cardinals. completed its first undefeated preseason since 2000 but sure-handed, too.
Lincicome: Rice and Van Pelt: Out one era and in another? - Rocky Mountain News - Bernie Lincicome
September 3, 2005 - TEMPE, Ariz. - Bring on Miami. Please. The summer frolic of the Denver Broncos exhausted itself Friday night amid the heat and irrelevance of an Arizona evening, before fans with fans, the consolation not that it was a dry heat but that all the burning questions have been answered, or will be by the time Mike Shanahan makes his final cut today. With the starting offense and defense lounging on the sideline without pads, concerned more about keeping their underarms dry than anything that happened on the field, the bottom of the Broncos food chain sorted itself into paper and plastic, 19 of whom shall be scrap by this afternoon. It is not likely that any name announced by Shanahan will cause gasps beyond the close relatives of . . . oh, Cecil Sapp, possibly the most prominent name on the endangered list, and how nice of Shanahan to give the CSU running back a final start, if nothing to do but block. No surprises are expected unless Jerry Rice has seen the season ahead, gloomy and bleak if this summer is to mean anything.
Broncos win preseason finale - Daily Camera
September 3, 2005 - TEMPE, Ariz. — Bradlee Van Pelt and the Broncos are the unofficial preseason champions. The former Colorado State standout started for Jake Plummer on Saturday night and completed 16 of 26 passes for 129 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in leading Denver to a 30-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals (3-1) on Friday night at Sun Devil Stadium. The Broncos (4-0) were the only team in the NFL to finish the exhibition portion of the schedule unbeaten, despite the fact that their second-team players went against Arizona's starters for most of the first half.
Thorburn: Familiar finish ahead for Broncos - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 3, 2005 - According to Forbes Magazine, the Denver Broncos are worth $997 million. Not a bad little investment for Pat Bowlen, who bought the team in 1984 for an estimated $65 million. Now that Bowlen and the other NFL owners are finished lining their deep pockets with another preseason schedule that used regular-season prices, it's time for the coaches and players to start earning their money. So let's look ahead to some football that counts in the standings. First, a quick review of last year's prediction. I was a little off, having written that the Broncos would be 10-5 entering the finale against Indianapolis, figuring that game would determine whether or not Invesco Field hosted a playoff round.
Jerry Rice could be cut by Broncos on Saturday - Mercury News - Frank Schwab
TEMPE, Ariz. - (KRT) - After the Denver Broncos finished their fourth and final preseason game, Jerry Rice was like many players who couldn't be too sure he'd be on the team when cuts are made Saturday. The Broncos beat the Arizona Cardinals, 30-21, at Sun Devil Stadium on Friday, improving to 4-0 this preseason. The Broncos must release 19 players by 4 p.m. MDT on Saturday to finalize their 53-man roster. Rice, who wasn't guaranteed a roster spot when he signed with the Broncos in May, had four catches for 24 yards this preseason, including two catches for 10 yards against Arizona. After the game, he sounded like any other player who was going to sweat out a roster spot Friday night.
An Opportunity Seized - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Saturday, September 3, 2005 - TEMPE, Ariz. -- For the Broncos' second-teamers, Friday night's 30-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals was not merely another preseason game; it was an opportunity -- the kind that is not often afforded around the National Football League. It was their chance to start. The first-teamers left their shoulder pads in the locker room and turned into the backups' most ardent boosters. "(Head) Coach (Mike Shanahan) preached before the game that the second team has to be as great as the first team," said first-team safety Nick Ferguson, who sat out, "and out there tonight, there was no first, second or third, it was just the Denver Broncos." With the entire first unit shuffling to their seats on the bench after warmups, the Broncos ceded the night to the understudies, while the Cardinals kept their first team on the field until shortly after the close of the first quarter.
Back on Track - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Saturday, September 3, 2005 - TEMPE, Ariz. – Darius Watts was in the midst of a sophomore slump. The second-year receiver entered Broncos' training camp with a world of opportunity. But that began to change as the preseason evolved. He lost the No. 3 spot on the depth chart and had three quiet games leading up to Saturday's preseason finale at Arizona. Then, in the bowl of a nearly empty Sun Devil Stadium, Watts put the past behind him. He made his last chance before the regular season count and became a reliable for quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt. Yes, the starters sat out the 30-21 win over the Cardinals. Yes, it was the last tune-up before the regular season. But Watts made the most of the game and his playing time, catching three passes for 32 yards and two touchdowns. Watts said this game was long overdue.
Broncos-Cardinals Notebook - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Saturday, September 3, 2005 - TEMPE, Ariz. -- After a game in which he caught two passes for 10 yards, 21-season veteran Jerry Rice dressed and headed back to Denver at peace with how he fared in the preseason and what it might mean for his professional future. "I'm not worried about anything," he said. "I'm just happy to be here and be a part of this and I'm having a great time. If it doesn't work, I'm okay." Rice started as part of the second team during Friday night's game, and came close to making a key third-down catch on the first drive, but he couldn't quite get his feet in bounds after snaring a high pass from Bradlee Van Pelt up the left sideline. "If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. I'm not going to hold my head down," Rice said. "I feel like all the receivers made plays and everybody really deserves to be on this team. We'll see what happens." Rice ranked sixth among Broncos receivers in preseason receptions with four and seventh in yardage with 24, giving him an average of 6.0 yards per reception.
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