09/08/2005 - The wine has aged well, but the Broncos haven't. As they launch their fifth season at Invesco Field at Mile High, the Performers Formerly Known as World Champions remain in search of their first playoff win of the post-Elway era. Used to be that people talked about the Broncos in mythical terms. They even had a phrase for their dominance in the altitude - the Mile High Mystique. Now that six seasons and three playoff losses - by an average of almost 25 points a game - have passed, it's Mile High time to ask the question: Is the Mystique past its peak? As in, will Denver ever again be a no-man's land for opposing teams?
Turning it around - Denver Post - Mike Klis
09/08/2005 - There is no need to overanalyze. The primary problem with the Broncos' defense in recent years wasn't necessarily the lack of a pass rush, overall speed or pass-coverage breakdowns. All the flaws can be condensed into one missing word. Ball! There is no sweeter sound to a defensive player's ears. The problem with the Broncos' defense the past three years was more often than most teams, they heard silence.
Blessed West - Denver Post - Anthony Cotton
09/07/2005 - To get a sense of where it's at in pro football today, one merely has to go to the people - more specifically, the shirts on their backs. There are Priest Holmes and Tony Gonzalez, LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates. If you look carefully, you can even spot Rod Smith and, in a blast from the past, Clinton Portis. And of course, there's Randy Moss. Somehow, some way, there's always Randy Moss. The common thread? They're all offensive players, like the top 15 best-selling NFL jerseys, paced by the Oakland Raiders' new wide receiver. The numerous 19s and 21s and 80s confirm what the league's competition committee, television executives and the most casual fan have known for a while now: Everybody - boys, girls and Joe Six-pack, too - digs the big play.
Parent duty can tackle big man - Denver Post - Mark Kiszla
09/08/2005 - The cellphone rang. Heartache on the line. Cancer had killed a loved one, leaving behind the tears and a funeral to plan. Trying to look tough, Mike Anderson quietly placed the phone in his locker, tugged at his Broncos jersey and got ready for some football. "You can just cut me in half," Anderson said Wednesday. "I got to be here for my team. And I got to definitely be there for my family." Sometimes, the strongest effort a 230-pound tailback can make is to put one foot ahead of the other. Ignore the pain. Move the pile. At age 31, on the heels of serious injury, a humbling suspension and years of NFL grunt work, Anderson won the starting job as Denver's top running back, one of the best gigs in the game. But that's not the most remarkable part of Anderson's comeback story. Denver's starting tailback is Mr. Mom.
Bailey back from layoff - Denver Post - Mike Klis
09/08/2005 - There was no exchange of pleasantries, no need for small talk. There wasn't even time to present the question. There was merely the mention that Champ Bailey was back at cornerback for the Broncos and before another word was uttered, John Lynch beamed from ear to ear. "It brings a smile to my face," Lynch, a Denver safety, said of Bailey's return. "Anytime you've got a guy like him who's at the top of his profession, you have to have him on the field."
Breaking down the AFC - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
09/07/2005 - The Broncos need their special teams to improve. Quarterback Jake Plummer has to cut down on mistakes, and the offense has to punch in touchdowns in the red zone. The team must create more turnovers and sacks. What you need to know: The Broncos have a tough schedule. Thus, it is paramount that Denver doesn't blow games late, as it has in recent seasons. Last year, the Broncos could have won the AFC West if not for squandered games against Jacksonville and Oakland. Overall, Denver can't make mistakes and survive. The offense has to take advantage of its yardage totals, the defense can't give up big games in the air and the special teams have to make a positive impact instead of a negative one.
Breaking down the team - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
09/08/2005 1- Quarterback Jake Plummer - The focal point of Plummer's offseason was to cut down on what he calls "bonehead" mistakes. Plummer throws too many interceptions and takes too many ill-advised chances. He knows it, the coaches know it and the fans know it. Denver coach Mike Shanahan says Plummer can improve. There were good numbers last season: Plummer tied John Elway's single-season record for touchdowns (27) and broke the Hall of Famer's record for yards (4,089).
It's full speed ahead for Brown - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
09/08/2005 - Broncos coach Mike Shanahan had two words to describe Courtney Brown after a pivotal Wednesday practice. "Full speed," Shanahan said of the veteran defensive end, who is attempting to work his way back into the lineup after missing more than a month because of a dislocated left elbow. Shanahan said he hopes Brown will be able to play a role Sunday when the Broncos open the season at Miami. Brown has practiced for more than a week, but his work Wednesday was his most extensive since being injured Aug. 4 and missing the team's 4-0 preseason. Before practice, Brown was taking a cautious stance. "I feel great, but I just want to take it one day at a time," Brown said.
Finishing plan - Denver Post - Mike Klis
09/07/2005 - When the play on the field is transferred to numbers on paper, there was little doubt how the AFC West was won last season. The San Diego Chargers owned the red zone, a 20-yard section that ends at the goal line. It's an area where the division champion Chargers floated with light-stepping ease in 2004. To the second-place Broncos, however, the red zone became a congested territory where legs became heavier, defenders grew larger and decisions got tougher. Not only did the Chargers tie Super Bowl champion New England for the most trips to the red zone (63) in 2004, they led the NFL in touchdown efficiency (69.8). The Broncos, who lacked the quality finishers San Diego had in LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates, ranked 28th in 32-team NFL in touchdown efficiency at 45.3 percent.
What can Browns do? - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
09/08/2005 - Six months ago, the question was whether the Broncos' defensive line would have enough players to fill a starting lineup. On the eve of the season, the question is whether any players other than former Cleveland Browns will play on the line. No unit this offseason has had more of a major reconstruction than the Broncos' defensive line. The changes were intended to help the team's anemic pass rush, the biggest problem on the defense. "It all starts up front," Denver coach Mike Shanahan said. "That's why we've changed so much there."
Time to reload - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
09/08/2005 - For the second consecutive year, the secondary was a major focus of Denver's offseason. The moves weren't the high- profile variety of 2004, when Denver traded for Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey and signed Pro Bowl safety John Lynch. However, when the Broncos used their top three picks of this year's draft on cornerbacks Darrent Williams, Karl Paymah and Domonique Foxworth, they served notice. "You can't have enough good defensive backs, especially in this division," Denver defensive coordinator Larry Coyer said. "You have to reload."
Feet first - Denver Post - Mike Klis
09/07/2005 - Never mind the virtues of sacrificing heart, soul and body parts for the sake of the team. Special teams always have been about the legs. The punt team depends on the punter. The kickoff team begins with the kicker. The return teams are dependent on the speedy legs of the returner. When the Broncos addressed their needs during the offseason, priority No. 1 was to get better legs. Return specialist Darrent Williams, who doubles as a cornerback from Oklahoma State, was their first draft pick. Only 5-feet-8, 188 pounds, but with the kind of speed that warrants double takes to stopwatches, Williams will be counted on to improve a kick return team that ranked 19th in the NFL last year and a punt return team that ranked 12th. "When you need some momentum, there's nothing like a big return," Williams said.
Rules revised to tackle safety issues - Denver Post - Mike Klis
09/07/2005 - Far as anyone knows, the NFL loves the Broncos and Cowboys. It's when a Cowboy puts the horse collar on another player that the NFL has a problem. Once again, the NFL looked at plays and techniques that cross the line between clean collisions and unnecessary danger. By reaching inside the shoulder pad at the crook of the neck and yanking down prominent players to serious injury, the NFL has ruled that Dallas safety Roy Williams must find another way to tackle. Thus the "Roy Williams Rule" is the most notable of the new NFL rules for the 2005 season.
Taking in the game at Invesco Field with ... lattes - Denver Post - Mike Klis
09/07/2005 - Going to a football game used to be synonymous with tailgating and sneaking in a flask beneath the coat. Step aside, party people. Froufrou coffee drinkers, in their continuing quest to take over the world, have infiltrated Invesco Field at Mile High. "In response to public demand, there will be a Starbucks kiosk in the club level," said Mac Freeman, who heads the stadium operations at Invesco Field. Otherwise, few enhancements were deemed necessary for a building that opened four years ago. Besides better coffee, club-level patrons also will have a greater variety of fare as food-action stations, where chefs prepare fresh food, have been added.
Doing the math - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
September 8, 2005 - There always has been the look. It's as much a part of Al Wilson as breathing or smashing into a running back who finds himself in the crosshairs. Even as a 19-year-old sophomore starter at the University of Tennessee, the eyes would narrow, the jaw set, then the burden of success would be hoisted off the ground, and he would put it squarely on his shoulders. Well, the look is back. Because Wilson knows, if anyone is going to play defense in the AFC West this season, they're going to have to be badder than ever.
An open mind is edge for Broncos - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 8, 2005 - It all leads to this. Not the Miami Dolphins, specifically, but the regular-season opener itself. The minute-to-minute practice preparation coach Mike Shanahan constructed, then implemented, throughout the spring and summer all is designed, come Week 1, to allow the Denver Broncos to have everything they need at their disposal to play at a near-optimum level, then attempt to build from there as the season progresses. Elements of the game plan for the opener were sprinkled into practices midway through training camp. But that's just the finishing touch, not the end-all. "His biggest thing is having everybody prepared," Broncos linebacker Keith Burns said. "Because every year, he's coming into a situation with different guys on the roster. Regardless of whether you're a new guy, veteran or a rookie, coming into this season is always hard. So his thing is being able to have that consistency going out there into openers."
Broncos preview, September - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
September 8, 2005 - 10-6 Folks are going to feel like they have seen this movie before. The Broncos have been fairly aggressive this off-season to cure what has ailed them in successive playoff exits, but they also have the misfortune of doing their business in the AFC. And in the goes-around, comes-around world of the NFL, it is the AFC's time to shine. Most of the league's best teams reside in the conference, and many of the league's most productive offenses also reside in their division. As a result, the Broncos might be better than in 2004, they might play better than in '04 but have no more to show for it. It will take at least 10 wins to get to the postseason, but this year even that might not be enough.
Broncos will pay price to reach playoffs - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 8, 2005 - The tough is about to get going. Few teams in the NFL can boast a schedule with the kind of powerhouse opponents week to week that the Denver Broncos are about to face. The stakes seemingly have been raised in AFC West contests alone, given all the acquisitions by those teams. But that's just part of what 2005 has in store. Add in visits to Invesco Field at Mile High by the likes of New England, Philadelphia and the New York Jets - all long-lasting '04 playoff teams - along with nemesis Baltimore. Mix in Thanksgiving in Dallas, Christmas in Buffalo and Jacksonville in the heat of September, and merely reaching the playoffs should be like navigating a minefield for a Denver club that has been eliminated in the first round of the postseason the past two years.
Broncos must avoid a midseason swoon - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
September 8, 2005 - The past couple of Denver Broncos seasons have unfolded like the most recent shuttle mission into space. They've gotten above ground fast, encountered vexing problems, then fixed them in time to get to their desired destination. In 2004, the team opened 5-1, dropped four of six, then won three of their last four to finish 10-6. In 2003, another 5-1 start was followed by a 1-4 stretch and a finishing kick that included four wins over the final five weeks. Up, down and up again, both campaigns nevertheless resulted in wild-card berths. But their midseason lulls kept the Broncos from securing a home game in the playoffs and extended a seven-year streak without a division title.
AFC West scouting report, September, 8 - Rocky Mountain News - Brad Byler and Jeff Legwold
September 8, 2005 - Bravo to the Chargers, who won 12 games and a division title last season when nobody gave them a chance. But San Diego's schedule is among the most difficult around this season. Not only do the Chargers play against the AFC West, perhaps the NFL's most-improved division, but San Diego also plays New England, Philadelphia, the New York Jets and Indianapolis . . . all on the road. This is a good team, but expectations might be too high this season.
Broncos sign WR Terrell - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
September 8, 2005 — The Broncos have signed a young former first-round pick that fell out of favor with his original team. Sound familiar? Go ahead and add the name David Terrell to the list that includes Courtney Brown, Gerard Warren, Ebenezer Ekuban, Michael Myers and Ron Dayne. Denver signed Chicago's 2001 first-round pick to the final spot on the 53-man roster that became vacant after Jerry Rice announced his retirement on Monday.
Gus has trust of Miami - Longmont Daily Times-Call - Pat Graham
9/8/2005 — If Gus Frerotte had taken out a classified ad in a paper in March, it would've read like this: Quarterback for hire. Arm in good shape, but with high mileage. Willing to relocate wife and three kids if given a chance. Will work hard to be a starter. The Miami Dolphins, in desperate need of a quarterback, elected to answer the proverbial ad. The team decided to take a chance on the 34-year-old veteran. Frerotte beat out Sage Rosenfels and A.J. Feeley to become the Dolphins' de facto quarterback. Frerotte will start for his sixth different team in 12 years this Sunday against his former team, the Denver Broncos.
Saban Era starts in Miami - Sportinglife.com
9/8/2005 — Nick Saban makes his coaching debut for the Miami Dolphins on Sunday when they host the Denver Broncos. Last year, Saban refused coaching offers from the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons, but accepted the NFL challenge when Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga came calling with a five-year deal. Saban comes to the Dolphins following a successful run at Michigan State and Louisiana State. At LSU, Saban compiled a 48-16 record, won a national championship two years ago, led the Tigers to five straight bowl appearances and produced 21 NFL draft picks.
Beware the 'Gunslinger' - Denver Broncos.com - Andrew Mason
Thursday, September 8, 2005 - Were it not for a bid from the Miami Dolphins, Gus Frerotte could have been wearing blue and orange for Sunday's regular-season opener at Miami. "We were going to get him here," Head Coach Mike Shanahan recalled. "If he didn't go to Miami and the offensive coordinator from Minnesota didn't take the job, he would have come back here. He built a house here." Frerotte considered the notion of joining the Broncos before casting his future with the Miami Dolphins. His reasoning was simple -- Miami offered the chance to vie for the starting job, and to be reunited with his offensive coordinator of the past two years in Minnesota -- current Dolphins offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.
Broncos Add Ex-Bears Wideout Terrell - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - David Terrell wasted no time in getting to work. Just moments after the former first-round pick signed a contract to join the Broncos, Terrell had donned a No. 13 jersey and stepped onto the field, getting some work in with the JUGS machine as his teammates headed for the locker room and as his head coach spoke to the media before heading inside. "We just got him signed here about 15 or 20 minutes (earlier)," Head Coach Mike Shanahan said on Wednesday afternoon. "He didn't get a chance to practice, but he'll be on our football team." Terrell joined the Broncos just five days after the New England Patriots released him at the final cutdown, and couldn't hide his excitement at getting another chance at living up to the promise that caused the Chicago Bears to invest the No. 8 overall pick in him four years ago.
Notebook: Brown Battles Back - DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - Defensive end Courtney Brown took one step forward in his recovery from a dislocated elbow by participating in last Friday night's preseason-ending game at Arizona. As he continues to practice this week, he hopes to take another this coming Sunday in Miami. "I feel pretty good," Brown said. "I'm going to continue to take it one day at a time." When Brown played last week at Arizona, he did not notch a tackle or a sack, but just playing was a promising sign; he'd only returned to practice early in the week leading up to the 30-21 win over the Cardinals.
Broncos to face the quarterback they wanted - Gus Frerotte - Mercury News - Frank Schwab
Wed, Sep. 07, 2005 - The Denver Broncos wanted quarterback Gus Frerotte back this offseason when he was a free agent, but Frerotte wanted a chance to start. Frerotte found his chance to start with the Miami Dolphins, and this Sunday against Denver he'll get his sixth start since he left the Broncos after the 2001 season. The Broncos tried to sign Frerotte to back up Jake Plummer when he was a free agent this offseason, but Frerotte didn't want to be a backup. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he thought the presence of Miami offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who coached Frerotte in Minnesota for the past two seasons, sealed the deal for the Dolphins.
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