Broncos Update Insider - Tuesday, Nov. 15

Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan likes the path his team is on. The Broncos improved to 7-2 after a decisive win at Oakland on Sunday. They lead the AFC West by two games and they might arguably be the best team in the league outside of Indianapolis.

"We've got a lot of veteran leadership, a lot of character and now hopefully we can translate that to wins during the season, but yeah, I've got a good feeling about this team," Shanahan said. "I did from day one, even after the Miami game."

The Broncos went on the road and were destroyed by Miami in their first game this season, but Shanahan said he never had any doubts that his team would bounce back strong because of what he had seen through the preseason.

"We went through preseason and we did some good things with our first unit in the preseason on offense and defense," Shanahan said. "You go through four games like we did and you finish as the No. 1 offense and you're doing some great things on defense, you know that you've got the capability to play well."

The Broncos also have had their fair share of luck through a strong start. They haven't had many tough injuries, and the ball has bounced their way a few times. Against Oakland, a sure interception and a possible touchdown in the fourth quarter was dropped by Raiders linebacker Kirk Morrison.

"It's a different vibe this year," safety Nick Ferguson said. "It was just one of those things where, 'Things are not going our way.' Now they're going our way. Everybody is welcoming those things, and to me it's a sign of things to come."


--Broncos coach Mike Shanahan was fired by the Raiders four games into the 1989 season. He is 16-5 against the Raiders as Denver's head coach and seems to take delight in beating Oakland, but he downplayed that after his team beat Oakland 31-17 on Sunday.

"To be honest with you, that was a long time ago, that other stuff," Shanahan said. "But anytime you play someone in your division, it's a big win."

--Cornerback Champ Bailey got through the entire game against the Raiders on Sunday and appears to be turning the corner with his injured left hamstring.

"I got to the end and I'm still standing," Bailey said.

Shanahan said he expects Bailey to continue to improve physically as the season goes on.

"The good thing about Champ right now is he's starting to get back in football shape and he will get better the more he practices," Shanahan said.

--Cornerback Roc Alexander returned kickoffs for the Broncos against Oakland. Alexander was a solid returner in college at Washington, and using him in that role will keep Darrent Williams fresh to play cornerback and return punts.



--OT George Foster is rotating at right tackle. He has been slowed by a knee injury, but coach Mike Shanahan said he is rotating Foster and Cornell Green at tackle because both players are not separated by much on the depth chart and he wants to keep Foster fresh.

--OT Cornell Green has been splitting time with George Foster at right tackle. He is an athletic veteran who fits in Denver's scheme, and he is Denver's most reliable backup lineman.

--CB Champ Bailey got his fourth interception of the season against Oakland on Sunday. Bailey, who has been slowed by a hamstring injury, is being thrown at a lot this season, so he's getting more chances for interceptions.

--WR Charlie Adams didn't return any punts against Oakland, but he still could be used in that role depending on Denver's plan in a given week. Adams is solid on punt returns but doesn't have the breakaway speed that Darrent Williams possesses.

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