Denver Broncos Hot Topics - Sunday, Oct. 1

Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey has had a boring season so far. Against New England in Week 3, the Patriots decided they'd target Darrent Williams and completely ignore Bailey. Read the latest on the Broncos in today's edition of "Hot Topics."

Cornerback Champ Bailey had a boring game against New England in Week 3. The Patriots decided they'd target Darrent Williams and completely ignore Bailey.

New England passed Bailey's way only twice, and both were incomplete. The second time, Bailey drew an offensive pass interference call.

Bailey might not be very active this season. Bailey had eight interceptions last year and figured he'd have less passes his way this season.

"They're not going to try me too much," Bailey said. "But I thought I'd get a little more action."

The Broncos don't plan on moving Bailey around to match up with opposing receivers this season. Last year he stayed on the left side almost all the time, and the Broncos want to keep him there again this season.

That might mean more uneventful games for Bailey.

"They're finally, really giving him his respect," Williams said. "They respected him, but now it's like he's Deion over there. They're not even looking to his side."

The key to the defense if teams ignore Bailey is how well Williams plays. He is in his second year, played very well during training camp and is off to a solid start during the regular season.

"I kind of like that, now I can make a name for myself," Williams said. "I know what type of player I am, and I'm going to make them pay pretty soon."

GOOD NEWS

Denver's defense is playing historically well. The Broncos kept the opponent out of the end zone for the first 11 quarters of the season. That was the longest streak not allowing a touchdown to start a season in the NFL since 1942.

The Broncos brought almost the same defense back from last year. The only major change was they released end Trevor Pryce. Ebenezer Ekuban, who played a lot as a backup, replaced Pryce in the starting lineup.

The defense is keyed by the linebackers. Outside linebackers Ian Gold and D.J. Williams had a dominant game against New England's running backs in Week 3. Middle linebacker Al Wilson is the team's leader and is still playing at a high level.

The Broncos are also playing a more basic scheme than last year. They aren't blitzing as much as last year and letting the defensive line get after the quarterback. The defensive line is rushing the passer well enough that the plan is working.

BAD NEWS

The Broncos' breakout game on offense, against New England in Week 3, was worth only 17 points. Compared to the first two games, that was a windfall. Denver is running the ball well but the passing game has been inconsistent.

Jake Plummer played well against the Patriots, but visions of his four-turnover game against St. Louis are still fresh for Broncos fans. Plummer is the key to Denver's season. When he plays well and under control, the Broncos can be very good.

The Broncos also have many issues on special teams. Their return game has been horrible. They haven't covered punts and kickoffs well either. The Broncos don't have the players to make major changes in special-teams personnel. They'll have to execute better to make any improvements.

The Broncos also face a very difficult schedule this season. They already had road games against St. Louis and New England, but still have tough matchups against Seattle, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, among others, and a pair of games against AFC West leading San Diego.

PLAYER NOTES

--DE Elvis Dumervil has been inactive all season. He didn't show enough in preseason to earn a spot in the defensive line rotation.

--LB Nate Webster has been inactive for all three Broncos games. However, if middle linebacker Al Wilson missed any time, Webster would likely take his place in the lineup.

--S John Lynch is off to a good start this season. He turned 35 on Sept. 25, but he is still at the top of his game. Lynch has made the Pro Bowl each of his two Broncos seasons.

--WR Javon Walker has taken Ashley Lelie's role as the team's deep threat. Expect the Broncos to take a few chances downfield each game to Walker, who is very good adjusting to the ball in the air.

--WR Rod Smith had to return a punt after Darrent Williams strained his neck. The Broncos don't want to risk the 36-year old on returns so don't expect to see Smith back deep too often.


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