01/11/2006 - Foxborough, Mass. - Entering the 2005 season, the New England Patriots had something of a "coaching situation." After winning a second consecutive Super Bowl and third in four years, both of the team's coordinators, offensive guru Charlie Weis and his defensive counterpart, Romeo Crennel, left for new jobs. For the defensive position, Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn't hesitate, naming Eric Mangini the new coordinator soon after Super Bowl XXXIX. After working alongside Belichick on three staffs, the move to Mangini was perfectly natural. But when the reigning NFL champions come to Invesco Field at Mile High for Saturday night's AFC divisional playoff game against the Broncos, there won't be an offensive coordinator calling plays from up in the coaches box or along the sideline. There hasn't been one for New England all season.
Patriots will see healthy Bailey - Denver Post - Bill Williamson
01/11/2006 - Yes, the New England Patriots appear to be much healthier than the most recent time they played the Broncos, but the Broncos have one significant medical upgrade going for them: Champ Bailey is feeling as good as he has all season. "That definitely wasn't the case the last time we saw them," Denver's all-pro cornerback said Tuesday as his 13-3 team prepared for Saturday night's playoff game. "I can't tell you how much better I feel now compared to back then." Denver's 28-20 victory over the Patriots on Oct. 16 was Bailey's first game back after missing two-plus games with a hamstring injury. He left with the Broncos leading 28-3.
Time for Broncos QB to save face - Denver Post - Mark Kiszla
01/11/2006 - From his matinee-idol eyes to the winning lines of a strong jaw, Tom Brady is the face of the NFL. Jake Plummer is some goofy dude in a beard. From all appearances, this looks like a mismatch. With Brady as their quarterback, the New England Patriots needed to build a bigger trophy case. He has the look. From corporate America to actress Bridget Moynahan, everybody loves Brady. With Plummer as their quarterback, two teams have won one lousy playoff game during his nine-year NFL career. Forget the Lombardi Trophy. Jake can't get his hands on an 89-cent comb. But it is Plummer's image as a clutch performer that's scruffy. He's all hair and no substance. When Denver plays the defending league champs in the playoffs, it's a must-win for only one quarterback. This is the chance for Plummer to stop being regarded as an NFL slacker.
Game of this magnitude worth wait - Denver Post - Domonique Foxworth
01/11/2006 - The playoffs are finally here. It's an inexplicable feeling of excitement and anticipation. It may seem as if we have been waiting only a week to make a splash in this year's postseason, but that is far from reality. Anyone who knows this team knows that we have been playing this entire season with our eyes on the ultimate prize. Now the time is here to play the games that really matter and can get us to where we know we belong.
Belichick says Pats need "best game" - Denver Post - Anthony Cotton
01/11/2006 - Foxborough, Mass. - Although their hands practically drag along the floor from the weight of their championship jewelry, it was clear Tuesday that, given a rare chance to portray themselves as underdogs, the New England Patriots were going to play it to the hilt. "When you get to this point, you kind of think about what a team has needed to do to be in the position they're in. That's very easy to see in Denver's case," coach Bill Belichick said in opening his daily news conference. "They really do everything well. They do so many things well in all three phases of the game. They're strong across the board. We're going to have to play our best game of the season to beat them."
New England carries a secondary concern" - Denver Post - Mike Klis
01/11/2006 - There may come a time Saturday when the primary responsibility for Broncos running backs Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell will be to get out of the way. They might get a chance to gain a couple yards here and there. Establish the running game, whatever. But unless there has been a memory fritz across Colorado, the fun should begin in the AFC second-round playoff game when the Broncos start attacking the New England Patriots' secondary through the air.
Patriots a team on the take - Rocky Mountain News - Lee Rasizer
January 11, 2006 - Champ Bailey's response probably summed it up best. Presented with the New England Patriots' staggering plus-21 advantage in turnover ratio during their postseason run of three Super Bowls in four seasons, the Denver Broncos cornerback merely shook his head and smiled. "That's sick," he said. "In the playoffs? That's not even the whole season. That's 10 games. And about 10 of them came from one person." Peyton Manning is only one of the many quarterbacks who have been victimized by coach Bill Belichick's creative schemes in January and February.
Injuries made Patriots' attack air apparent - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
January 11, 2006 - His coaching résumé was built on run-suffocating, quarterback-rattling defenses. Yet when New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick this season was faced with his team's dilemma on offense, namely a running game that averaged 3.4 yards a carry and injuries in the offensive line and to running backs Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk, he went airborne. "They throw a lot," Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said. "And they complete a lot." Coaches with defensive backgrounds often prefer grind it out instead of wing it around. They usually prefer the formula of running the ball and stopping the run. But this season, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady led the league in passing (4,110 yards) during the regular season and was fourth in pass attempts (530). And no team in this season's playoff field attempted more passes than the Patriots - 564. Belichick said the Patriots were doing what they had to do.
New England has turned into a feel-good story - Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
January 11, 2006 - In a season in which all four divisional-round playoff games are rematches from the regular season, the Denver Broncos know the New England Patriots will go through the Oct. 16 meeting between the teams with some fine-tooth video. The Broncos, who led 28-3 late in the third quarter, won 28-20. "And you look at what you did wrong because I guarantee you they're going to know everything we did wrong," Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said. "The opportunities they missed. . . . I'm sure they're looking at that." While the Patriots listed 11 players on their injury report Tuesday as having been held out of at least some of the day's practice, they are far healthier for this game.
'Snake' has shed his past - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
January 11, 2006 — Let's face it, even if you hate the beard or were the recipient of the bird, Jake Plummer has been a winner in Denver. Once snakebitten in Arizona, Plummer has compiled a 32-11 record as the starter during his three season with the Broncos. Last season he broke John Elway's franchise record for passing yards and this season he cut his interception total down to single digits. Yet the opposing quarterback will be the signal-caller in the spotlight the next two weeks, beginning with New England's Tom Brady on Saturday and likely Indianapolis' Peyton Manning should Denver advance to the AFC Championship.
In Locker Room, Nothing But Respect for Patriots - Denver Broncos.com - Andrew Mason
Wednesday, January 11, 2006 - If the New England Patriots ever become even a tad discouraged about a perceived lack of respect, all they have to do is come to the Broncos' locker room. There, the Patriots will find nothing but respect from the Broncos regard New England's dynastic accomplishments over the last four seasons. "A lot of respect. A lot of respect," emphasized running back Mike Anderson. "Utmost respect for those guys, because they've done it and they've done it again. They've got a record. When you win 10 straight games in the postseason, you've got to take your hat off to them."
Nate Jackson's Journal: Playoff Preparation - Denver Broncos.com - Nate Jackson
Wednesday, January 11, 2006 - Mother Nature has been smiling down on Denver lately. Apparently it is supposed to be winter, but don't tell that to the celebrating daffodils. We are tiny little critters, severely affected by our Mother's every whim. In the wake of recent displays of power by her majesty both at home and abroad, we should feel blessed to be dancing underneath a cloudless sky. But when the vicious elements cometh, and cometh they whilst, we shall embrace these elements and make them our own. On Saturday evening, many of us will gather underneath the stars for one purpose: the Denver Broncos.
Broncos have no fear of Patriots - Longmont Daily Times-Call - Pat Graham
1/10/2006 — With hat pulled low and sunglasses on, Denver Broncos receiver Rod Smith slouched by his locker, ready to field questions concerning the New England Patriots. But first, Smith made one thing clear: There's a difference between respect and intimidation. The Broncos admire what the Patriots have accomplished — winning three of the last four Super Bowls — but they don't fear them. "They're like the Yankees were a few years ago when they beat up on everybody all the time," said Smith, whose team will host New England on Saturday, 6 p.m., in an AFC Divisional Playoff Game. "They're unbelievable. They're the envy of sports, period. I envy what they've done. "I'm jealous, but I'm not afraid."
Broncos hope Invesco rocks like Mile High - Eddie Pells, AP
Tuesday, January 10, 2006 - The last time the Denver Broncos hosted a playoff game, the stadium shook. Literally. Time, progress and the inevitable financial realities of the NFL forced the Broncos to bulldoze their creaky, lovable old home, Mile High Stadium, along with the significant home-field advantage that went with it. In its place is the new Invesco Field, which until this season has not given the Broncos the same kind of edge they enjoyed when Mile High was standing. "It's taken longer than I thought it would," said owner Pat Bowlen, roundly lambasted when he made the decision to turn Mile High into a parking lot. "I guess I was daydreaming when I thought we'd just move from Mile High to Invesco and it would all be the same."
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