Schon: Broncos Daily Update 10/27

Linebacker Al Wilson claims the team has to play its best game this season in order to win, Javon Walker hits "Rome is Burning" and six former Broncos make the list of Hall of Fame nominees. Check out all the stories in today's edition of Broncos Daily Update...

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Friday, October 26, 2006
What do former Broncos Terrell Davis, Steve Atwater, Karl Mecklenburg, Louis Wright, Randy Gradishar and Gary Zimmerman all have in common? They're part of the class of 2007 preliminary Nominees for the NFL Hall of Fame.

From this preliminary list, Hall of Fame selectors will choose twenty-five candidates who will advance as semi-finalists. The list of semifinalists will be announced later next month.

Understanding the bias that most Hal of Fame voters have for the Broncos – it would be hard to ignore Davis and his contribution during back-to-back Super Bowls. But then again, nothing surprises me…

Former head coach Dan Reeves, who coached the Broncos from 1981-1992, is also among the nominees.

Javon Walker was a guest on the show "Rome is Burning" this afternoon, his segment being simulcast from Dove Valley. Walker demonstrated how he's been working on fingertip control – utilizing a device that straps to his hands and, with solid ball attached to the palms, forces him to catch using only his fingertips.

The fifth-year veteran appeared guarded when discussing a possible lack of throws coming his way – but stressed that when the opportunity comes, you have to be ready.

Indy' injury report continues to grow out of control – and I'm still not buying it. Twenty-three different players are listed as questionable which, according to NFL guidelines, means they have only a 50% chance of playing.

The Broncos come in much more believable with Gerard Warren listed as questionable and Tatum Bell, Cedric Cobbs, Kyle Johnson and Al Wilson all listed as probable, 75% chance of playing.

Speaking of Wilson, the linebacker met with the media following practice but refused to discuss the condition of his left thumb, which was heavily taped.

As far as the game goes, he was more than willing to share his thoughts –

"A lot of people give us a chance to win the game, so we're going to show up and see what happens. We have to play our best game in order to win."

Thursday - 10/26/06
With nearly a foot of snow on the ground the team decided to head indoors, just down the road from Dove Valley to the Family Sports Center Dome (otherwise known as "the bubble"). Nice place – pretty sterile environment.

…Tatum Bell developed a little "turf toe" last week against Cleveland, but participated in full practice today and is listed as probable on the team's official injury report. Another probable is Cecil Cobbs, who's nursing a sprained ankle. Kyle Johnson, who was deactivated against the Browns, is working his way back from an ankle sprain but is still not 100%. Rounding out the injury list is Al Wilson (thumb / probable) and Gerard Warren, who sat out practice for the second straight day (toe / questionable).

…If I thought they were being honest about it I'd take the time to list each of the twenty-two players that Indy claims have only a 50% chance of playing this week. If it really matters, scroll down a day and add tackle Charlie Johnson (thumb) to yesterday's list.

Think this one out…twenty-two players out of a possible forty-five, have only a 50/50 shot of playing this Sunday? Is anyone really buying this?

…Defensively the team is gearing up for Manning's No-Huddle attack and may counter-attack with a No-Huddle defense of their own, but as Mike Shanahan and John Lynch have been pointing out all week – Crowd noise could play out HUGE in the Broncos favor – and when it comes to crowd noise, Broncos fans rank among the best.

…One concern for defensive coordinator Larry Coyer is the Colts rushing game, on pace for an easy 1000+ yards - despite the loss of Edgerin James. Dominic Rhodes and rookie Joseph Addai have split time nicely, putting up a total 653-yards and four rushing touchdowns.

Indy's challenge will be facing a Broncos ‘D' that's only given up two touchdowns the entire season. Peyton Manning's offense against the NFL's stingiest defense – this will play out huge…

Wednesday - 10/25/06
Pretty loose day at Dove Valley this morning. Following the standard Peyton Manning / Tony Dungy conference calls, the team geared up by cutting jokes and listening to the Hip-Hop blaring through the locker room speakers.

With all the importance surrounding this mid-season match up, it's surprising that there weren't more members of the national media on hand to cover the event. Maybe there's is something to the so-called Broncos bias after all.

Vegas is calling it pretty tight for this weekend's game – the Broncos are favored by 2 ½ as of Wednesday afternoon.

Gerard Warren did not participate in today's practice session and indications are tomorrow may be more of the same. Warren's still in pain after spraining the big toe on his right foot during Sunday's win at Cleveland. Warren dislocated the same toe on his left foot during the first week of training camp and did not return until opening day in St. Louis.

Weather will turn cold tomorrow, with an expected 6-12" of snow scheduled to slam the Dove Valley area. Look for the team pack up and relocate to the bubble if it gets too strong. The storm is expected to only last a day or two, with temperatures forecast to be in the 60's for Sunday's kickoff.


T Matt Lepsis – Knee - Out
DT Gerard Warren – Toe - Questionable
RB Tatum Bell – Toe - Probable
RB Cedric Cobbs – Ankle - Probable
FB Kyle Johnson – Ankle - Probable
LB Al Wilson – Thumb - Probable

The Indianapolis injury report looks like a roster sheet – twenty players are listed as questionable with only one, Montae Reagor, classified as definitely out. Reagor busted his head when he hit collided with another car and flipped his SUV en-route to the game on Sunday.

DT Montae Reagor - Head - Out*
DT Raheem Brock – Elbow - Questionable
DE Dwight Freeney - Shoulder - Questionable
G Dylan Gandy - Shoulder - Questionable
LB Gilbert Gardner - Thumb - Questionable
DB Nicholas Harper - Ribs - Questionable
DT Dan Klecko - Low Back - Questionable
DE Ryan LaCasse - Foot - Questionable
G Ryan Lilja - Knee - Questionable
WR Aaron Moorehead - Back - Questionable
LB Keith O'Neil - Ankle - Questionable
DT Darrell Reid - Chest - Questionable
S Bob Sanders - Knee - Questionable
C Jeff Saturday - Low Back - Questionable
P Hunter Smith - Right Groin - Questionable
WR Brandon Stokley - Knee - Questionable
DE Josh Thomas - Ankle - Questionable
TE Ben Utecht - Low Back - Questionable
K Adam Vinatieri - Right Groin - Questionable
WR Terrence Wilkins – Shin - Questionable

Tuesday - 10/24/06
Beautiful turnout for the Bonfiil's annual "Drive for Life" community blood drive, held today at Invesco Field. Over three-thousand turned out to drop a pint, grab some autographs and check out the cheerleaders. Everybody from Billy Williams to Rod Smith to a pair of the most beautiful blonds I've ever seen, were on hand hanging with the fans.

...Broncos report to work tomorrow after two full days off. Whether or not that helps kick this offense into gear is anybodies guess – it's going to take more than seventeen-points to drop one on Manning and the Colts.

...Rookie Elvis Dumervil was selected as one of the finalists for NFL Rookie of the Week honors. His five sacks in the last two games mark the most by an NFL rookie in a two-game period since 2001 when the Bengals' Justin Smith recorded five in two games. He now has a team-high five sacks this season, second-most among NFL rookies.

...The team signed tackle Doug Nienhuis to the practice squad today, Mike Shanahan announced. Nienhuis was a seventh-round pick in last years draft and spent some time with the Jets and the Houston Texans before being released.

…The Browns canned offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon today, although those in the organization are calling this a resignation. Sources claim the 17-7 loss to the Broncos was the last straw for Carthon, whose spent the last two years with Cleveland.

…Former Broncos punter Todd Sauerbrun, released after serving his four-game suspension for steroid use, was hoping to land a gig in Tampa Bay, but walked out without inking a deal and is now headed to the Motor City. Good kicker – lots of baggage.

Monday - 10/23/06
The news out of Dove Valley was not good this afternoon – an MRI performed earlier revealed that starting left tackle Matt Lepsis suffered a torn ACL during yesterday's 17-7 win over the Cleveland Browns, and will be sidelined the remainder of the season.

T,According to head coach Mike Shanahan, the injury will require surgery in about 10 days, followed by months of rehabilitation.

What direction the team will go in is still anybodies guess, but Shanahan indicated that plans are already underway for a replacement.

"We could go with Erik (Pears), or we could move Cooper (Carlisle) over and move (Chris) Kuper up (to right guard). We could go in a couple of different directions. We haven't decided exactly what we're going to do for sure."

Lepsis' spot on the roster will be filled by undrafted free agent rookie WR Brian Clark, who led the team this preseason in kickoff returns with a sweet 23.3-yard average.

…Gerard Warren's sprained big toe is causing the defensive lineman some problems and his status against the Colts will be a game time decision.

"I think it really has to do with pain threshold," Shanahan said. "We won't know until later in the week exactly whether he'll be able to go or not, or whether he'll be able to practice or not. So we'll wait a couple of days, see how it heals up, and hopefully he'll be ready to go."

…Bad news out of the Cleveland camp – Browns DB Gary Baxter tore the patellar tendons in both knees on Sunday and may be sidelined for up to a year or more. Blowing out both knees is so rare, head coach Romeo Crennel told reporters he'd never seen anything like it in his career.

…Indianapolis DT Montae Reagor, who played with the Broncos from 1999-2002, has been ruled out for this weekend after flipping his SUV while driving to the game on Sunday. The Colts are keeping pretty quiet about Reagor's injuries, listing it simply as a head injury.

…Shanahan gave the team the day off today, and with tomorrow's regularly scheduled day off, the team will have two full days of rest before they have to deal with Peyton Manning and the Colts. On the plus side, the Broncos bring in an NFL best 13-game regular-season home winning streak.

…Can you believe how solid Elvis Dumervil's been on the front line? Five QB sacks in three games and the dude's a rookie – amazing.

…Has Jake Plummer's recent performance become a concern for the Denver coaching staff? Shanahan addressed the issue with local media today and re-emphasized that each and every position would be filled with the best possible player for that position. When pressed, the head coach would not elaborate other than to say that Plummer would be the teams' starting quarterback this Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

"What time is kickoff anyway?"
Mike Shanahan's attempt to change the subject after being barraged with questions on a possible change at quarterback.

Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past ten years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio stations around the country.

Schon can be reached at

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