Broncos News Blogs - Thursday, Oct. 13

When the Denver Broncos meet the New England Patriots on Sunday, the outcome of the game may hinge on the feet of the two of the best kickers in the game. Read about the matchup between the Broncos' Jason Elam and the Pats' Adam Viniteri in today's news reports.

Mental match - Denver Post - Mike Klis
10/13/2005 - For the record, even when his Broncos were winning Super Bowls, Mike Shanahan never did cozy up to those double-edged Mastermind references. "I would say, 'Hey, if you're a genius, you surely wouldn't be coaching football,"' he said this week. Not that a genius is necessarily ordained to build rockets or dominate cable TV debate programming. Ivy League scholars will argue in the name of Oliver Wendell Holmes that one of the world's brightest minds happens to be coaching the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick is widely acclaimed as the NFL's best coach, a mantle he yanked away from Shanahan by guiding the Patriots to three of the past four Super Bowls.

Elite kickers realize their importance - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
10/13/2005 - Sunday's game between the Broncos and the New England Patriots offers the offensive schemes of Mike Shanahan vs. Bill Belichick's defensive innovations. Denver's high-caliber defense also will try to solve Tom Brady's fourth-quarter magic. But it all could come down to Jason Elam or Adam Vinatieri. "It very well could," Elam said Wednesday. "It seems like a lot of games are coming down to a field goal." Elam and Vinatieri have become standard-bearers for accuracy and clutch kicking. Elam, 35, is a three-time Pro Bowl selection; Vinatieri, 32, has been to two Pro Bowls. Since 1996, Elam ranks first in the NFL in scoring with 1,107 points. Vinatieri is second with 1,092 points. In that time, Vinatieri has the most field goals in the NFL with 250, and Elam is third with 238.

Throwing caution to the wins - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
October 13, 2005 - On Monday morning, just hours after the Denver Broncos moved to 4-1 this season, wide receiver Rod Smith let it be known that simply being good isn't good enough. Smith, at a players-only film session with the entire offense before a similar breakdown with the coaches, alerted the group about avoiding getting too caught up in the team's fast start based on recent history. In the past, the Broncos inevitably have fallen off at some point after opening eyes in the season's early stages. "The last three or four years we've always started out 4-1 or 5-1 and then things happen and we're 5-3 or 6-4 and we don't win the close games that we're winning right now," Denver wide receiver Charlie Adams said. Smith's message to the assembled players: "We need to figure things out before we get to that point," Adams added. This is the fourth consecutive season Denver has started with at least four wins in five weeks.

Quite the kickers - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
October 13, 2005 - They are the end of the line. When the pushing and shoving are over, they are the ones who trot into the fray and often decide things. The snap, the kick, it's up and it's . . . "If it comes down to the end of the game and a kick, I'll take my chances with Jason Elam any day," the Denver Broncos' Keith Burns said. "And you look at it this week, if it comes down to putting the game in the kicker's hands, I think both teams will feel pretty good about that." That's because the two most prolific kickers in the league during the past decade - the Broncos' Elam and the New England Patriots' Adam Vinatieri - will be on the field Sunday.

Patriots offense relies on Graham's catching, blocking - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
October 13, 2005 - A Buff has added to the usual polish of the New England Patriots' offense. Tight end Daniel Graham, a former University of Colorado star, had his best game of the season Sunday at Atlanta. That he caught five passes, including a 45-yard touchdown reception, was only half the story. He opened holes like a can opener. "The kid from Colorado right now is the most improved player, I think, on their team, because he's become a dominant blocker," Broncos defensive coordinator Larry Coyer said. "I haven't seen anybody knock guys on their back like Graham this year. It's a little scary, and he's played against some pretty good guys."

Displaying a brave front - Rocky Mountain News - Lynn DeBruin
October 13, 2005 - FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - His silver helmet, smudged with red from some past collision, still hangs outside his locker. Shoulder pads are visible on the top shelf, and every week a new defensive playbook, replete with information about the upcoming game, is placed in his stall. While Tedy Bruschi looks more fit than ever and smiles broadly as he walks through the New England Patriots locker room, it remains to be seen when - or if - he can return from the mild stroke he suffered in February. Those close to Bruschi say it's simply a matter of when - at least in the linebacker's mind. But his wife, Heidi, doctors and team officials also will have a say in the matter. Bruschi's teammates simply await the final decision.

Bronco 'D' can't afford lapses vs. Patriots - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
October 13, 2005 — Larry Coyer just started laughing. It lasted for about 10 seconds that seemed like 10 minutes. The reason for the pre-interview emotional release was unclear. Perhaps Denver's defensive coordinator was anticipating questions about how the 3-2 New England Patriots are vulnerable this season. Or how the loss of Charlie Weis and all the injuries are catching up with the two-time defending Super Bowl champions. Or how the 4-1 Broncos are favored to win Sunday's game based on homefield advantage and past success against Tom Brady. How funny. Just ask Bill Cowher or Jim Mora Jr.

Graham garners Broncos' praise - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
October 13, 2005 — How do the New England Patriots do it? "I think it's coaching, I think they've got a great quarterback, and I think their players are very resourceful," Denver defensive coordinator Larry Coyer said on Wednesday as preparations for Sunday's game against the two-time defending champions began. Daniel Graham falls into that "resourceful" category. The former Colorado standout was a first-round pick after putting together an impressive highlight reel during the Buffs' Big 12 title run in 2001, but the Broncos believe he has made himself better in the run game than Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez.

Bound By Success - Denver - Andrew Mason
Thursday, October 13, 2005 - It would have been fine enough with either Darrent Williams or Domonique Foxworth if one or the other had garnered the chance to become a starting cornerback in their concurrent rookie seasons. But for both to do so -- and, last Sunday, to comprise the Broncos' first-team cornerback tandem -- was something else entirely. The joy of the moment was compounded by the fact that it represented another step forward in a shared journey they began when they first met on draft weekend. "We've been going through this whole process together, and kind of growing at the same pace," Foxworth said. "It's a nice course of events."

Broncos' cornerbacks face tough test against Brady's Patriots - Mercury News - Frank Schwab
Wed, Oct. 12, 2005 - Rookies Darrent Williams and Domonique Foxworth have each started two games for the Denver Broncos, but defensive coordinator Larry Coyer hasn't stopped worrying about starting them at cornerback. "Never," Coyer said. "That's part of the growing process until you establish yourself." Coyer has good reason to be concerned if cornerback Champ Bailey doesn't return from a hamstring injury this week and Williams and Foxworth have to start again. Bailey did some work at practice Wednesday, but like last week he was not able to go full speed. Coach Mike Shanahan said he didn't know if Bailey will be able to practice full speed at all this week.

Belichick to work OT on Broncos - - Michael Parente
10/13/2005 - FOXBORO, Mass. -- The prospect of facing Bill Belichick and his complicated def-ensive sc-hemes usually keeps opposing co-aches up all night trying to figure out his plan of attack. Belichick will be the one losing sleep this week. The New England Patriots are playing the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field on Sunday, which means Belichick must find a way to slow down Mike Shanahan's powerful offense. Since he took over 11 years ago, Shanahan's Broncos have been the best rushing team in the NFL and they're also tied with the Green Bay Packers for the highest points-per-game average. They're currently 4-1 this season with the league's second-best running game behind the Atlanta Falcons. "I'm just trying to compete against him," Belichick said Wednesday. "I've coached defense a long time and it's hard. He puts more pressure on you than anybody else. Coaching defense is a lot different than coaching offense. On defense, your just reacting to what they do.

Pryce right back on track, dominating for Denver - - Eddie Pells, AP
Oct. 12, 2005 - The best new player on Denver's revamped defensive line could very well be the guy who never left. Healed from back surgery and inspired by a new group of players around him, Trevor Pryce is dominating in the trenches, a big part of the improvement of the Broncos defense. "I think he's played the best ball he's played in his career this year," defensive line coach Andre Patterson said. "I think he's playing as well as anyone in the league." Pryce's domination is not so much about the stat sheet as it is about what he's been doing on the line of scrimmage. A player with 60 sacks over his nine-year career doesn't have one yet in 2005. His 12 tackles rank 12th on the team. But he lines up at every position. He has drawn, Patterson estimates, no fewer than six holding calls this season _ "blatant calls that anyone can see" _ and can often be seen making plays on the opposite side of the field to where he lines up.

Wednesday Notebook: Status Quo for Bailey - Denver - Andrew Mason
Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - Another week of practice for Champ Bailey began in the same situation as last week -- with him questionable on the injury report, on the field for the day's work, but not running at full speed. "I think it's probably the same question and probably the same answer as last week," Head Coach Mike Shanahan said as he greeted local media following Wednesday's practice, keenly aware of the question that was perched on the lips of all those with microphones and tape recorders. "He's getting some practice time in, but until he tests his hamstring, we won't know for sure."

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