6/9/2006 — While Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan remained tight lipped about discontented receiver Ashley Lelie, he had no problem lauding a possible replacement. As the Broncos wrapped up their final voluntary offseason mini camp Thursday, Shanahan said third-year receiver Darius Watts has emerged as one of the brightest spots of the summer so far — a significant declaration from a man who isn't known to ooze praise without reason. "He really stood out," Shanahan said. "He showed a lot more confidence and was very consistent catching the ball. Hopefully, he carries that into the summer camp."
Broncos' Watts impresses coach during workouts- Longmont Daily Times-Call – Frank Schwab
June 09, 2006 - Darius Watts might be working his way back into the Denver Broncos' good graces. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan singled out the third-year receiver for his play during camps the past few weeks. Shanahan rarely singles out players for good or bad practice performances. "He really stood out," Shanahan said. "He showed a lot more confidence, he was very consistent catching the ball." Watts was a second-round pick in 2004 and had an upand-down rookie season. He was impressive in training camp and got open a lot as a rookie but had too many dropped passes. Last season he struggled in camp, lost his job as third receiver and was inactive for the last 10 regularseason games and both playoff contests.
Watts' performance may demote Lelie- Denver Post – Mike Klis
06/09/2006 - In recent seasons, Ashley Lelie has been a No. 2 receiver wishing he was a No. 1. For the 2006 season, even if Lelie ended his unofficial holdout and rejoined the Broncos, he probably would be listed somewhere behind No. 3 on the depth chart. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan sent the message Thursday that he is ready to move on without Lelie, the team's former first-round draft pick who missed the team's 14 offseason practices in hopes of forcing a trade. Asked to name one player who has surprised him most during the voluntary workout camps, Shanahan had an interesting response: Darius Watts.
Blitz book may become thinner- Denver Post – Mike Klis
06/09/2006 - Like most competitive stratagems, the football blitz is most effective when it's not expected. The Broncos blitzed like never before in 2005, and the result was a plus-20 turnover margin, one off the franchise record set in 1984. Only the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, who line up in a blitz-friendly three-lineman, four-linebacker set, blitzed more often last year in passing situations than the Broncos, who use a more traditional 4-3 alignment. Knowing film is available and that NFL coaches love to watch it, Mike Shanahan acknowledged Thursday the element of surprise may not be with his Broncos as they consider the blitz for 2006.
Hixon may add to Williams' competition- Denver Post – Mike Klis
06/07/2006 - His broken leg fully mended, Domenik Hixon nevertheless spent his first day on the job primarily watching others run. Hixon is a tall, slender rookie return specialist whom the Broncos selected in the fourth round of the April draft despite recent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left leg. Cleared to participate fully in the team's offseason workout for the first time Tuesday, Hixon still has a ways to go before he outruns the competition. "Right now, it's one of those things where I'm a little bit down on the depth chart so we'll see what happens," Hixon said. Topping the return list on kickoff and punt teams are Darrent Williams and Charlie Adams, in that order.
Lelie's limbo is trailing Broncos- Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
June 8, 2006 - As the Denver Broncos wrapped up a team camp Thursday, their last on-field work as a group until a minicamp July 6-8, the team's biggest off-season question mark still dangled in the air. What, exactly, will become of receiver Ashley Lelie? Coach Mike Shanahan was asked about Lelie after the last of six team workouts the past two weeks and said simply: "We've talked about this before; let's talk about the people that are here." Lelie, who wants a bigger role in the offense, has stayed away from all of the team's off-season activities so far. He also fired his former agent, Michael Sullivan, and hired Denver- based Peter Schaffer in hopes of securing a trade.
Eslinger a perfect fit for Broncos- Rocky Mountain News – Jeff Legwold
June 8, 2006 - Mike Munchak has the coveted gold jacket in his closet, the one that comes with induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after his career as a Houston Oilers guard. So it was significant as he watched Greg Eslinger stroll by at the NFL scouting combine inside Indianapolis' RCA Dome in February and said: "That is a ready-to-go Denver Bronco." Almost four months later, Eslinger is, indeed, a Denver Broncos player. In fact, he is likely the most decorated college player the Broncos have drafted since Floyd Little, a three-time consensus All-America running back at Syracuse University, in 1967. "He's definitely our kind of guy," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said.
Broncos' Warren hopes to scale heights- Rocky Mountain News - Jeff Legwold
June 6, 2006 - All he has to do is look west to see the rest of the story. Just scan the horizon from the Denver Broncos' Dove Valley complex, and Gerard Warren can see what awaits him. There is always another hill to climb, it seems, one peak after another. "I've been through this before," Warren said. "All I can do is go out there and continue to do my best and keep my coaches satisfied and happy and win games." Warren spent most of the 2005 season resurrecting his NFL career with a team that won 13 games in the regular season and advanced to the AFC Championship Game. In short, he spent much of the year doing what many in the league believed he wouldn't do.
Camp Impressions- DenverBroncos.com - Andrew Mason
Thursday, June 8, 2006 - It was time for Head Coach Mike Shanahan to summarize the recently completed team camp at midday Thursday, and the first question he was asked was a clear and simple one -- who impressed him the most throughout the team's 14 organized offseason sessions? Shanahan mentioned one name: Darius Watts. The 2004 second-round pick went from No. 3 wideout as a rookie to being inactive for 12 consecutive games from October through January in his second season. It was the very epitome of the cliché "sophomore slump," as Watts fell behind Charlie Adams and Todd Devoe on the pecking order and finished the year with just two receptions for 22 yards. "The guy that probably had one of the best camps was Darius Watts," Shanahan said. "He had a great 14 days and really looked good."
A Bitter Re-run- DenverBroncos.com – Andrew Mason
Wednesday, June 7, 2006 - Four and a half months have passed since the Broncos' season ended in the AFC Championship Game, and Nick Ferguson still can't let go of it. "Some of the guys in the secondary have gotten on me because I watch the Pittsburgh game a lot, and they wonder why I watch it," Ferguson said. "They say, 'Stop watching it; it's over." But to let go of the Broncos' most recent game would be to take the 34-17 AFC Championship loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and toss it into the wastebasket. He'd rather it be of some redeeming value -- no matter how many times he has to view the tape. You can call it a football version of voluntary torture. Ferguson prefers a different perception.
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