Denver Broncos News Blogs -Saturday, Aug. 26

The Denver Broncos will play their starters well into the third quarter in Sunday's game against the Texans. Read all the latest from the Broncos in today's news reports, including more on the Ashley Lelie trade.

Broncos regulars will play more than a half vs. Texans, rest vs. Cardinals - Rocky Mountain News – Jeff Legwold
August 26, 2006 - The Broncos roll into their final preseason appearance for most of their regulars looking to maintain a smooth ride. "We've been efficient so far," quarterback Jake Plummer said. "And we're looking to stay that way. Go in, perform well, move the ball and get out of there. That's about all we can hope to get out of it." The Broncos starters will play into the third quarter Sunday night (6, KDVR-Channel 31, NFL Network) against the Texans at Invesco Field at Mile High. Coach Mike Shanahan has said if the first-teamers are playing well, they will only play the first series on offense and defense after halftime, but if they are not playing well, they will go the whole quarter.

Broncos' way has worked, so Kubiak quick to tap into it - Rocky Mountain News – Jeff Legwold
August 26, 2006 - It's been like, well, new home week for Gary Kubiak. Kubiak, who spent just under two decades working with Mike Shanahan as a player and assistant coach, will bring the Houston Texans to Invesco Field at Mile High on Sunday to show his former colleagues and city what he has been up to the past eight months. And for Kubiak, the mirror has a lot of faces, because the first- year head coach will face the team and the staff he would like his team to grow to be. "No question," Kubiak said. "It's important to see how far some of these young kids can go for us in a short period of time, and we need to find some guys to make plays.

An Opportunity Maximized - – Andrew Mason
Friday, August 25, 2006 - Sometimes, a problem can lead to an unexpected solution. Within the span of a week earlier this month, the Broncos lost Courtney Brown and Gerard Warren for the balance of the preseason due to knee and toe injuries, respectively. But all that did was give Kenard Lang and Demetrin Veal the opportunity to start at end and tackle, and provide extra repetitions for players behind them like end Elvis Dumervil and tackle Antwon Burton. The Broncos found out last year that Brown and Warren could do well as starters; they helped the team have the league's second-best run defense. Last Saturday, when the first-team defense sacked Titans quarterback Billy Volek three times, they learned that Veal and Lang could play at a first-string caliber, too. Given the fact that Brown and Warren are expected to return soon, were the injuries a blessing in disguise?

Texans-Broncos game a family affair - – Andrew Mason
Aug 26, 2006 - Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan and his son, Kyle, the Houston Texans' wide receivers coach, were careful not to say too much to each other on the eve of their preseason matchup. The younger Shanahan said his dad was too sneaky and would undoubtedly pry something out of him, so he wasn't willing to say much more than "Hey, Dad. See you Sunday night." The elder Shanahan said it was his son who was the spy in the family.

Cuts coming to Broncos - Denver Post – Bill Williamson
08/25/2006 - The Broncos' coaching staff will spend the next eight days making final tweaks to a roster that appears to be one of the deepest in the NFL and that was only one game from the Super Bowl last season. There are few openings available and there could be a few surprise cuts, unlike recent years. The final pieces of the 53-man roster likely will come down to how many players Denver wants to keep at talent-heavy positions such as wide receiver, defensive back and running back.

Lelie receptive to starting over - Denver Post – Mike Klis
08/24/2006 - To begin his second NFL life, Ashley Lelie was given jersey No. 15 by the Atlanta Falcons. There is a chance he could later get his No. 85 back. Dwayne Blakley, an Atlanta backup tight end, has the number Lelie wore the past four seasons with the Broncos. Lelie is not expected to play in the Falcons' final two preseason games, but the plan is to have him ready to become their No. 3 receiver for the Sept. 10 season opener at Carolina.

Broncos' player rep blasts Gumbel comments - Denver Post – Bill Williamson
08/24/2006 - Count Rod Smith among the growing list of NFL employees who are upset with Bryant Gumbel. Thursday, the Broncos receiver - and player representative for the NFL Players Association - said he was "disappointed" with Gumbel after derogatory comments the broadcaster made about NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw.

Go figure: Redskins playing crazy role - Denver Post – Mike Klis
08/24/2006 - Win one here, lose one there, 992 trades on the wall. Peter Schaffer, the Denver-based agent for the no longer Denver-based wide receiver Ashley Lelie, called the three-team deal involving Lelie "the most complicated trade in the NFL of the past 10 years." Schaffer may have been understating matters - it may have been the most complicated ever. So complicated, the NFL briefly considered nixing the deal out of pure confusion. According to Broncos salary cap guru Mike Bluem, the draft-pick trade options between the Washington Redskins and the Broncos have 992 scenarios, based on where the teams finish this season.

Broncos have opened-door policy - Rocky Mountain News – Jeff Legwold
August 25, 2006 - There have been plenty of coaches in plenty of places over plenty of years who have said a player just can't lose his job because of injury. Mike Shanahan is not one of those coaches. And Denver is not one of those places. "I don't say it, never have," Shanahan said. "I tell our players right from the beginning that you're not guaranteed anything, that no job is guaranteed. If you get injured and you're the starter and a guy comes in and plays better than you were playing, then you do lose your job. "So, I don't know who made that up."

Elam certain he still has leg to excel in job - Rocky Mountain News – Pat Rooney
August 25, 2006 - Jason Elam is not about to deny age is catching up with him a little bit. The offseason workouts are a little more important and also a little more grueling. The post-practice stretching routine is a little more necessary. And the aches that come with his profession sometimes are a little harder to shake off. But fret not, Broncos fans. The veteran kicker believes the power in the right leg that has delivered so many critical points for the Broncos the past 13 seasons is as strong as ever. Despite missing a 51-yard field- goal attempt Saturday against the Tennessee Titans, Elam does not believe it is a sign of diminished skills, even though he struggled to convert long-range field goals last season.

A puzzle to Shanahan - Rocky Mountain News – Jeff Legwold
August 25, 2006 - In his first public comments since the team traded receiver Ashley Lelie to the Atlanta Falcons, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said Thursday he remains surprised Lelie took such a hard-line stance about playing for Denver this season. "I really believe somewhere down the line he got some bad advice," Shanahan said. "Ashley wasn't like that, he wasn't like that the four years he was here, I don't know why. This happened way before we even thought about talking to Javon (Walker). . . . I just really can't figure out why he went in that direction, but I wish him well."

Trading Lelie all about Walker - Denver Post – Mike Klis
08/24/2006 - In the end, the Broncos essentially traded Ashley Lelie for Javon Walker. Straight up. Muddle through the three-team deal that sent Lelie to the Atlanta Falcons, running back T.J. Duckett from Atlanta to the Washington Redskins and the complicated draft-pick formulas from the Redskins to the Broncos, and that's what this was all about for Denver. Walker for Lelie. A first-round 2002 draft pick for a first-round 2002 draft pick. Disgruntled wide receiver for disgruntled wide receiver. May the best man have the best 2006 season.

Dayne hits key stretch to get back in race - Denver Post – Bill Williamson
08/24/2006 - With his turf toe injury healed enough for him to get back on the practice field for the first time in nearly two weeks, Broncos tailback Ron Dayne has two exhibition games to make his push for more playing time. Dayne, who slid from No. 1 on the depth chart early in training camp to No. 3 when undrafted rookie Mike Bell was moved to the top, may need a strong game Sunday against Houston at Invesco Field at Mile High to help his position. Dayne practiced Wednesday for the first time since he suffered a turf toe injury at Detroit on Aug. 11, when he had five carries for 12 yards.

Texans a mirror image of Broncos - Denver Post – Terry Frei
08/24/2006 - Houston - Over there. W-a-a-ay over there. In the far corner of the Houston Texans' huge practice bubble, across the street from Reliant Stadium. Could that be ... the Barrel Man? Could he have made the move, too? Upon further reflection, that's only a guy behind a garbage can. Everywhere else, from head coach Gary Kubiak standing behind the offense, to general manager Rick Smith watching on the field, and on down the organizational chart, there are reminders that the Texans' organization has become Denver South.

Denver focuses on present after Lelie is granted his wish - Rocky Mountain News – Jeff Legwold
August 24, 2006 - The Broncos officially turned the page Wednesday on their stalemate with wide receiver Ashley Lelie. The Broncos players were back on the field for the first time since Tuesday, when three teams agreed to a trade that sent Lelie to Atlanta, Falcons running back T.J. Duckett to Washington and two Redskins draft picks to the Broncos. "That's what he wanted," said Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith, whose locker was next to Lelie's at the team's Dove Valley complex. "I haven't talked to him yet - I will, but that's what he wanted. It took him a while to get it. I guess the club got what it felt was good compensation for us. But it's over. Nobody will have to deal with it any more."

Broncos' Nash tries to run in one place - Rocky Mountain News – Pat Rooney
August 24, 2006 - Damien Nash probably is not yet old enough to be tagged with a cutesy nickname such as "The Travelin' Man." But, youth aside, Nash certainly has logged a lot of miles and has been immersed in several offensive schemes since he graduated from East St. Louis (Ill.) Senior High School in 2001. A junior college, a Big 12 Conference school and his first NFL team already are in Nash's rearview mirror. Just a few weeks into his tenure with the Broncos, Nash hopes he finally has found a home.

Time for a quick look for Broncos hopefuls - Rocky Mountain News – Jeff Legwold
August 24, 2006 - Time's running short for the Broncos players who find themselves on the bubble. And it'll be a little more difficult for them to make an impression this week because of the way Denver will play its game Sunday against the Houston Texans. Because it is the Broncos' third game of the preseason, the starters are expected to play into the third quarter. That leaves less time for those trying to secure a roster spot to show what they can do.

Art of the Deal - – Andrew Mason
Thursday, August 24, 2006 - From draft weekend onward, the tide of interest from teams in wide receiver Ashley Lelie rose and fell, but never completely ebbed. "There'd be different spikes on different days," General Manager Ted Sundquist said. "There might be a day where I talked to three or four clubs. There might be two days where I didn't talk to anybody, and a day where I talked to one club. There might be a day where you really think you've got a three-way (trade) going and it falls through.

Thursday Wrap: Marshall Back on the Run - – Andrew Mason
Thursday, August 24, 2006 - Brandon Marshall is right on schedule. Both he and the Broncos hope to have the rookie wide receiver back in time for next Thursday's preseason game at Arizona, and his handling of some straight-ahead running and a pair of receptions during pre-practice warmups Thursday afternoon left him on target to suit up against the Cardinals. "Basically, I started running today," Marshall said as he left the field with a stack of shoulder pads in his hands after the afternoon practice. "I was scheduled to run today, but actually I snuck in and ran a little bit (Wednesday). I think I'm way ahead of schedule."

Lelie's loss leaves big questions in Denver - – AP
8/24/2006 - Now that recalcitrant receiver Ashley Lelie is no longer their problem, the Denver Broncos will spend the next several months answering two key questions: Are they better without him? Are they better off without him? "It's tough to know right now," Denver defensive end Courtney Brown said. "Time will tell us and him." The NFL's leader in yards per catch the last two seasons could have provided the Broncos with a high-octane trio by teaming with former Pro Bowl receivers Rod Smith and Javon Walker.

Coach allows for smooth transition - Colorado Springs Gazette – Frank Schwab
August 24, 2006 - Mike Heimerdinger didn't introduce any exotic new ideas when he replaced Gary Kubiak on the Denver Broncos coaching staff. What the Broncos did was successful, and he didn't want to mess that up. "They have a system here, a way of doing things, and I knew what that was," said Heimerdinger, who was Denver's receivers coach from 1995-99. Kubiak, Denver's offensive coordinator since 1995, was hired as the Houston Texans' head coach in the offseason. Nothing else seemed to change for Denver's offense. Longtime offensive line coach Rick Dennison was promoted to offensive coordinator but his main role is overseeing the running game, which wasn't a big change. Heimerdinger oversees the passing game in his role as assistant head coach.

Plummer's a winner, so don't anoint Cutler - Colorado Springs Gazette – David Ramsey
August 24, 2006 - Sure, Jake Plummer has suffered through bad hair, rude driving and a nationally televised display of his middle finger, but give the Snake his due. He's led the revival of the Denver Broncos. Before Plummer's arrival in 2003, the Broncos had failed to reach the playoffs in three of four seasons, and fans were stuck in the past. Colorado was obsessed with retreating to those wonderful days when John Elway and Terrell Davis marched the Broncos to consecutive Super Bowl titles. Plummer is no Elway, but he has directed the Broncos on three consecutive playoff journeys, including last season's trip to the AFC title game. He rescued fans from their nostalgic funk and returned them to the present tense, always the best place to reside. Then Jay Cutler came riding in from the south, with his mighty arm and first-round credentials. Cutler is destined to rule as the Broncos' next starting quarterback. He could ascend as soon as next season. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. This is Plummer's season. This is Plummer's team. Lelie Will Apparently Pay Fine To Broncos - CBS4 – AP
Aug 23, 2006 - Denver Broncos players said on Wednesday that they weren't happy to see disgruntled receiver Ashley Lelie traded away to the Atlanta Falcons. Champ Bailey and Al Wilson said they like Lelie, and that know the decision was strictly a business one. "He's a hell of a football player," Wilson said. "There's no need for him to be sitting on the sidelines. I'm happy for him. I wasn't worried about it because he wasn't here," Bailey said. "He got what he wanted -- to go to a new place -- so that's good for him."

Broncos pull off Lelie deal - Denver Post – Bill Williamson
08/22/2006 - The Broncos were holding out for something good for Ashley Lelie. And they think they got it. In a complicated deal involving three teams Tuesday night, the Broncos traded their disgruntled wide receiver to Atlanta. The Falcons sent running back T.J. Duckett to Washington. The Redskins, in turn, will send what is the equivalent of a high third- round pick in the 2007 draft to the Broncos. The exact compensation Denver receives will not be determined until after the season. There are four possibilities, based on the draft-value chart NFL teams use.

Wilson growing into captain's role - Denver Post – Mike Klis
08/23/2006 - As relapses go, this wasn't exactly Mel Gibson. For the first time in years, linebacker Al Wilson was caught being late. He had come so far, emerged alongside wide receiver Rod Smith as the Broncos' primary captains, when a sleeping pill ended his streak of consummate professionalism Friday night. While tardiness may be no minor problem to Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, or anyone else with NFL authority, no one is suggesting Wilson seek out a therapist, lay down on a couch and explain his past. There was a time, however, when Wilson's habitual tardiness did place him in a chair before the Broncos' veteran players committee.

Broncos trade Lelie in three-way deal - Rocky Mountain News – Jeff Legwold
August 23, 2006 - After weeks of proposals and counterproposals in the Broncos' standoff with receiver Ashley Lelie, the trade winds finally blew through the team's Dove Valley complex Tuesday. The Broncos agreed to terms on a three-way deal that will send Lelie to the Atlanta Falcons once the paperwork is completed. The Falcons will send, according to two league sources, running back T.J. Duckett to the Washington Redskins and the Redskins will send a combination of draft picks to the Broncos. Based on the teams' finish this season, the Broncos, at best, could end up with the Redskins' first- and third-round picks in the 2007 draft if the Redskins finish with a worse record than the Broncos.

Coaches are always on the prowl - Rocky Mountain News – Jeff Legwold
August 23, 2006 - There is easy. And there is hard. Easy, in an NFL training camp, is describing what kind of player you want. "You want somebody who fits into your program and helps you win games," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "It's not very complex or anything. But sometimes there might not be enough of those guys to go around." So finding those guys? Now that's the hard part. But rest assured, the hunt is on in all 32 NFL outposts, the Broncos' Dove Valley complex included. And with the first round of roster cuts looming next week - the second and final cuts come Sept. 2, when rosters go to 53 - the names are being shuffled in search of the winning hand.

Striving for More - – Andrew Mason
Wednesday, August 23, 2006 - Last Saturday night, Tony Scheffler wanted to celebrate the first touchdown he'd ever scored in a professional game. But he couldn't enjoy the moment -- not after he'd lost the handle on a pass moments earlier. "I was still mad about that when I went to the sideline," Scheffler said, later adding, "I'm still making rookie mistakes and I'm trying to cut down (on them) obviously as camp goes on and as the preseason goes on." Such is the modus operandi of someone who has come to demand perfection from himself. If there was a moment in the past two weeks that Scheffler showed that his recent on-field pass-catching success wasn't going to lead to an inflated ego, it was after that first NFL touchdown.

Lelie traded to Falcons for draft pick - Denver Post – Bill Williamson
08/22/2006 - The Broncos were holding out for something good and think they got it. So they finally said goodbye to Ashley Lelie. In a complicated trade Tuesday night involving three teams, the Broncos sent their disgruntled wide receiver, a holdout, to Atlanta. The Falcons sent running back T.J. Duckett to Washington. The Redskins, in turn, will send what could be a high third-round draft pick to Denver.

Wilson, Bailey snooze and lose playing time - Denver Post – Mike Klis
8/21/2006 - Al Wilson had a good excuse, a perfectly logical explanation for being late. But there are no excuses when it comes to being on time in the NFL. After the Broncos' three- week, two-a-day training camp had ended Friday morning, Wilson went home and relaxed with his mom, who was visiting from Tennessee, at his Denver-area home. The Broncos' starting middle linebacker and defensive captain felt the urge for a nap before he was to report to the team's hotel later that night. Worried he would be restless and unable to nod off, Wilson took a sleeping pill, something he almost never does.

Williams a big hit with Broncos - Denver Post – Bill Williamson
08/21/2006 - Javon Walker ascended into the air to make a catch. But Darrent Williams was there to break it up. As he was against Rod Smith, Brandon Marshall and Todd Devoe. And whomever else was sent his way. Broncos training camp didn't lack for excitement. There was the arrival of Walker, a star wide receiver, from Green Bay. There was undrafted rookie Mike Bell taking over the top running back spot. There was the quarterback situation, with the poise shown by starter Jake Plummer and a look at a bright future with top draft pick Jay Cutler. But the standout player has been Williams, Denver's 5-foot-8 bulldog at right cornerback.

Broncos send Lelie to Atlanta in 3-way deal- Rocky Mountain News – Jeff Legwold
August 22, 2006 - After weeks of proposals and counter-proposals in their standoff with wide receiver Ashley Lelie, the trade winds finally blew through the Broncos Dove Valley complex Tuesday. The Broncos agreed to terms early Tuesday evening on a three-way deal that will send Lelie to the Atlanta Falcons once the paperwork is completed. The Falcons will send, according to two league sources, running back T.J. Duckett to the Washington Redskins and the Redskins will send a combination of draft picks to the Broncos.

Bailey, Wilson issue apologies for missed curfew, may be fined- Rocky Mountain News – Jeff Legwold
August 22, 2006 - It might be one of the stranger things two Pro Bowl players have had to answer for, but there were Broncos linebacker Al Wilson and cornerback Champ Bailey on Monday, explaining why they did not play with the rest of the team's starters Saturday night against the Titans. Wilson and Bailey, in a convergence of events even Wilson called "a little off," were held out of the game because they missed curfew at the team's hotel Friday night. Both players said they fell asleep at their respective homes and did not wake up until long after the usual 11:15 p.m. deadline at the hotel.

Broncos playing to strengths- Rocky Mountain News – Jeff Legwold
August 22, 2006 - Crunch the numbers and it's clear who will be the third receiver in the Broncos offense. A tight end. Always has been in the coach Mike Shanahan era, and there's a good chance it always will be. "It all depends which week, we change all the time," Shanahan said. "It's a hard offense to prepare for, that's how we look at it. You're going to go with one tight end, two tight ends, maybe three tight ends. The more personnel groupings you have the more they have to prepare for. But we like what it does for us."

Monday Wrap: Bailey, Wilson Discuss Curfew Violation - Denver – Andrew Mason
Monday, August 21, 2006 - Training camp and the preseason weeks are often about learning lessons. But eight-year veterans Champ Bailey and Al Wilson thought their learning curve had straightened out over time, especially with numerous Pro Bowl appearances and shared status on the 2005 All-Pro team. But their absence from Saturday night's preseason game against Tennessee after a curfew violation showed the need for a quick refresher course in the perils of not being at an assigned spot on time.

Broncos' Dumervil out to show he can play - Lexington Herald-Journal – Pat Graham
Tue, Aug. 22, 2006 - Elvis Dumervil enjoys hearing he can't do something. The Denver Broncos rookie has been told that his entire life. The latest chapter is that he can't play on the defensive line because he's not tall or big enough. Dumervil, who's generously listed at 5-foot-11, 250 pounds, thrives on proving skeptics wrong. "I'm fighting for those guys who are undersized in this world and need somebody to look up to," Dumervil said. "They told me I couldn't make it to the NFL. Well, I'm here now." he Broncos think Dumervil can be part of the solution to their pass rushing struggles.

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