Watts was inactive for the first time in his career against the New York Giants last Sunday. Watts slid behind Charlie Adams on the depth chart before the season started and Adams has been Denver's third receiver all year.
On Sunday the Broncos decided that Watts, who had two catches and 22 yards this season, wasn't playing enough on offense to justify a spot on game day if he doesn't play special teams. Todd Devoe, who was on three NFL practice squads last year and made the Broncos' roster as a long shot in training camp, was active ahead of Watts because he does play special teams.
"I'm sure he's a little upset," Shanahan said. "I would be, too. But what we've got to do is play the top 45 guys, and sometimes it comes down to special teams."
Watts fell out of favor because of dropped passes. He had some costly dropped passes as Denver's third receiver last year when he was a rookie, although he also showed the ability to get open and make plays. His inconsistency allowed Adams to win the third receiver job.
Shanahan said Watts would probably get another chance to prove himself this season.
"It's a long season," Shanahan said. "I'm sure we'll ask Darius to step up before the season's over and make some plays for us."
--QB Jake Plummer's streak without an interception reached 21
quarters after he didn't throw an interception against the Giants. But he
hasn't reached 200 yards in four of Denver's seven games, including last
week's 194-yard performance against New York.
--QB Bradlee Van Pelt didn't play against the Giants and he hasn't played yet this season.
--RB Mike Anderson is quietly having a solid season. He has 478 yards, is on pace for 1,000 yards and is averaging 4.3 yards per carry. He is overshadowed by his backup Tatum Bell, who is also on pace for 1,000 yards.
--RB Tatum Bell is averaging 6.9 yards per carry this season. He is averaging 6.0 yards per carry for his career. This season he has seven 20-yard carries on 66 attempts.
--WR Rod Smith had a 37-yard gain against the Giants. He had a 72-yard catch the previous week. Smith can still beat a defense deep at 35 years old.
--WR Ashley Lelie caught five passes against the Giants, which is as many as he had in Denver's three previous games combined. Lelie has 145 yards in his past two games and is slowly snapping out of his slump that started the season.
--WR Charlie Adams hasn't caught a pass in two weeks. But he has spelled punt and kickoff returner Darrent Williams, who is starting at cornerback for the Broncos.
--TE Nate Jackson was active for the first time this season. The Broncos used a three-tight end set often against the Giants. It gives Denver a little more size in the running game and all three of their tight ends are good receivers.
--K Jason Elam is slumping. He missed a critical 49-yard field goal in the fourth quarter against New York. He is hitting only 64.7 percent of his attempts this season.
--CB Domonique Foxworth gave up New York's game-winning touchdown to Amani Toomer, although he didn't get any help on the play. Foxworth, a rookie, is mentally strong and should bounce back.
--CB Lenny Walls' groin injury hurts the Broncos with depth. Walls had slid to fourth on the depth chart among Denver's cornerbacks but there's not much experience after him.
--CB Darrent Williams hasn't broken any punt returns since Week 2. Teams are aware of Williams' speed and haven't been giving him many chances to make a big play.
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