Around the League - Saturday, Sept.17

Ashley Lelie was hoping to improve on last year's 1,000-yard season, but he didn't start 2005 in that direction. Read about Lelie and other Hot Topics about the Broncos in today's edition of "Around the League."

Ashley Lelie was hoping to improve on last year's 1,000-yard season, but he didn't start 2005 in that direction.

Lelie had a poor season opener against Miami. He caught two passes for 17 yards. He had one pass on a third-and-goal go through his hands. He misplayed another deep pass that probably would have been a touchdown and let it go over his head for an incompletion.

"Ashley has been very consistent this year throughout the preseason and camp," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "He didn't play one of his better games. He has to look at it, be tough on himself and get ready for the Chargers."

Lelie was pretty consistent last season. Only once was he less productive than he was in last week's game against Miami, when he had one catch for 3 yards at Tampa Bay in Week 4.

Lelie wanted to become a better all-around receiver after becoming one of the best deep threats in the NFL, and he said that aside from the obvious mistakes, he did improve in some areas.

"I blocked well, I was physical, I didn't let myself be guarded," Lelie said. "They didn't do a great job covering me, I just didn't make the plays like the easy catches or the read with Jake downfield."

Lelie said he was happy with his effort against Miami. He also said there won't be a repeat of the many mistakes he had.

"No, no, no, no," Lelie said. "There's going to be dropped balls and stuff like that, but I don't think it's going to be as bad as it was."

PLAYER NOTES

--CB Champ Bailey, who dislocated his left shoulder in Denver's season opener, practiced on Thursday and proclaimed himself ready to play Sunday against San Diego as long as he doesn't have a setback before then. Bailey said he was able to do everything during practice, including jamming receivers.

--RB Mike Anderson practiced Wednesday but was not at practice Thursday because he was attending a funeral. He is questionable with separated rib cartilage. The Broncos have said Anderson can't make the injury worse but he'll have to deal with pain if he plays.

--QB Jake Plummer has been bad in his three season openers with the Broncos, with three touchdowns and seven interceptions. He had two interceptions against Miami last week. But in his two Week 2 games with Denver, he has three touchdowns and no interceptions.

--TE Jeb Putzier might never be a great blocker, but he is a dangerous receiver at his position. His seven catches last week tied a career high. The Broncos haven't gotten much out of Putzier in the red zone, however, and that is an area in which the team has struggled.

--DE Courtney Brown has practiced all week after being inactive last week. Brown missed all of the preseason with a dislocated elbow but could be ready to make his Broncos debut this week.



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