Broncos Update Insider - Wednesday, Oct. 18

Through five games, Denver Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith is nowhere near his usual receiving pace. He led the Broncos in receiving yards every year since 1997, but only has 16 catches for 136 yards in five games. Read about Smith as well other personnel in today's edition of "Broncos Update Insider."

Through five games, Rod Smith is nowhere near his usual receiving pace.

Smith, who has led the Broncos in receiving yards every year since 1997, has 16 catches for 136 yards in five games. He had only one fourth-quarter catch against Oakland on Sunday.

Smith has never complained about his own statistics or role and didn't do it after the Raiders game.

"I'm not going there, man." Smith said.

Smith did insinuate, however, that he wanted a bit more action.

"Of course I always want the ball, but I'm not going to go there," Smith said. "They already know that."

Javon Walker has become Denver's No. 1 receiver this year. Walker had four catches for 75 yards against Oakland and has 388 yards this season.

"Right now he's the only one making some big plays," quarterback Jake Plummer said. "And Tatum (Bell) is making some big plays in the running game. We'll keep giving him the ball, and hopefully we'll keep moving the ball."

Smith said he didn't have any problems with Walker making plays in the offense.

"I'm always looking for the opportunity," Smith said. "But at the same time, I'm rooting for my teammates to take advantage of their opportunities."

NOTES, QUOTES

--Denver is 30th in passing offense, and players and coaches are admittedly disappointed in the offense's production. WR Javon Walker admitted he was frustrated and wanted to get the ball more.

"We're happy to get the win, but it's frustrating," Walker said. "I know I'm frustrated."

--FB Kyle Johnson's ankle sprain isn't as bad as first feared. Johnson left Sunday's game in the first quarter and didn't return, but he will be re-evaluated this week to see if he can play at Cleveland.

"There's a chance he'll be ready to go this week," coach Mike Shanahan said.

--CB Champ Bailey hadn't had many passes thrown his way this season, but he saw more action against Oakland. For the first time this season Bailey didn't stay on the left side. He moved around to shadow Randy Moss, which meant more opportunities to make a play. He had an interception.

"Previous games, quarterbacks hadn't thrown my way," Bailey said. "They had no choice (Sunday)."

PLAYER NOTES --FB Cecil Sapp will start at fullback if Kyle Johnson is out with an ankle injury. Sapp entered training camp as the starter, but his own injury problems cost him the job. Sapp is a gifted player who has tailback skills but is also a tough blocker.

--RB Tatum Bell had an average game against Oakland, with 83 yards on 23 carries. The Broncos have to monitor Bell to make sure he doesn't wear down as the season goes on. Bell has never had so many carries in his pro career.

--LB Ian Gold made a great play against Oakland RB LaMont Jordan on Sunday night. Jordan caught a swing pass, and in the open field, Gold stripped him of the ball while making a tackle. Gold is a fast playmaker that has a knack at getting his hands on the ball.

--P Paul Ernster didn't have a great gross average against the Raiders, but his high punts allowed Denver's coverage team to get downfield against dangerous returner Chris Carr. Carr had minus-1 yard on punt returns.

--TE Stephen Alexander has five catches this season. He is the starter because of his ability in the running game, but the Broncos need to find another option in the passing game. Only four players caught a pass for Denver against Oakland -- starting WRs Rod Smith and Javon Walker and RBs Tatum Bell and Cecil Sapp.



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