Schon: Broncos Daily Update - Friday 11/10

Jake Plummer reiterated that despite having a 6-1 record against Oakland –he's not about to underestimate this year's Raider defense – or the rivalry between teams in the AFC West.

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Friday, November 10, 2006
Very focused session today – Friday before a Raiders matchup is always pretty intense.

Jake Plummer reiterated that despite having a 6-1 record against Oakland –he's not about to underestimate this year's Raider defense – or the rivalry between teams in the AFC West -

"Their defense is really playing well. They're limiting teams, not letting them score – I think three touchdowns in four games. So right there is a challenge no matter what their record is… and as far as the most dreaded team in the conference – "I think more people still hate the Raiders the most."

Mike Shanahan gave the thumbs down for Ian Gold, Ebenezer Ekuban and Patrick Chukwurah on Friday – officially they're listed as doubtful but the head coach made it clear that unless there's a significant turnaround they won't be playing.

A slew of other players were upgraded to probable –
Tatum Bell (toe), Kyle Johnson (ankle), John Lynch (concussion), Cedric Cobbs (ankle), Rod Smith (shoulder), Al Wilson (concussion), Al Wilson (concussion), Nick Ferguson (concussion), Gerard Warren (toe) and Darrent Williams (shoulder).

Good read on the team's official site – tight end Nate Jackson's got this running journal that chronicles his life with the Broncos. Check it out…. Don't forget - Paul Ernster will be hanging next week answering readers' questions – got something you want to know drop me a line at the link below,,,



Thursday, November 9, 2006
Rod Smith drew quite a crowd in front of his locker – the walkway was so crowded with the media it prompted a chorus of "Welcome to the Rod Smith Show" from tight ends Stephan Alexander and Nate Jackson.

The traffic jam began when Smith revealed that he'd gone to Mike Shanahan after the first Broncos – Raiders matchup in Week Six, to express his feelings on the teams' struggling offense and find out just how far he should go as team leader in working with his teammates.

"We had a personal conversation, just what my thoughts were on some things that I can do down here (in the locker room) as well as making sure that I had the latitude to say certain things. He's the guy that pulls the trigger, so I wanted to make sure that I was on the right page of what I was thinking, and the way I was relaying that message to the guys."

Kicker Paul Ernster got some good time on the field today, special teams looked strong on return coverage.

Speaking of Ernster – the kid's looking forward to his first trip to the "Black Hole" – although he does have his trepidations. When I related to him that I'd lost track of how many people I saw drunk in the parking lot – at 10:30 in the morning – he seemed genuinely surprised. What a rookie…

Darrent Williams returned to practice today and said he expects to play this Sunday, despite suffering a separated shoulder last week against the Steelers.

"Sometimes when I make certain movements it hurts. Sunday, I should have everything back, hopefully. I plan on playing on Sunday, so I think I should be alright."

Wide Receiver Domenik Hixon completed his second straight day of practice on Thursday, Hixon's recovering from a a broken bone in his foot that was surgically repaired in May. The Broncos have three weeks to decide if he's strong enough to make the roster or they'll be forced to place him on the injured reserve list.

Tatum Bell and Gerard Warren should both see some time in Oakland this week - Tatum will more than likely split carries with Mike Bell.

Patrick Chuckwurah (hamstring), Ebenezer Ekuban (thigh) and Ian Gold (hamstring) missed a second straight day of practice – all are listed as questionable for Sunday.



Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Broncos are gearing it up to face the Raiders this Sunday in the Black Hole – but the main topic of conversation at Dove Valley was Raiders defensive end Tyler Brayton, who delivered a brutal knee to the biscuits shot on Seattle tight end Jeremy Stevens – caught live on Monday Night Football.

"A lot of stuff goes on down there (in the trenches) anyway, he just got caught out – I'm not saying he was right or he was wrong – but if anything, you try to get him (Stevens) on the next play when nobody can see you."

Today the league cracked down on both Brayton and Stevens – Brayton gets tagged for $25-grand while Stevens gets popped for $15,000 – neither player received suspensions.

No news on the injury front just yet - Ian Gold, Patrick Chukwurah, Ebenezer Ekuban, Rod Smith and Darrent Williams will all be reevaluated throughout the week to determine their eligibility.

Official Injury Report - Wednesday

S Sam Brandon – Knee – Out
RB Tatum Bell – Toe – Questionable
DE Patrick Chukwurah – Hamstring – Questionable
DE Ebenezer Ekuban – Thigh – Questionable
S Nick Ferguson – Concussion – Questionable
LB Ian Gold – Hamstring – Questionable
FB Kyle Johnson – Ankle – Questionable
S John Lynch – Concussion – Questionable
WR Rod Smith – Shoulder – Questionable
CB Darrent Williams – Shoulder – Questionable
LB Al Wilson – Concussion – Questionable
RB Cedric Cobbs – Ankle – Probable
DT Gerard Warren –Toe – Probable

Patrick Chukwurah, Ebenezer Ekuban, Ian Gold and Darrent William all missed at least a portion of today's practice.

With hundreds of television and music channels available to choose from – the Broncos locked the monitors on the "Maury" show – providing their own running commentary on exactly who the baby's daddy really was.

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is one of six individuals that will be inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame for 2007. Bowlen, the only two-decade owner of a major league sports team in state history, is in the midst of his 23rd year as the President and CEO of the Denver Broncos. During Bowlen's ownership, the Broncos have won back-to-back World Championships in 1998 (Super Bowl XXXII vs. the Green Bay Packers 31-24) and 1999 (Super Bowl XXXIII vs. the Atlanta Falcons 34-19).

With just over twenty-four hours remaining to cast your vote for the FedEx Air Player of the Week - Jake Plummer trails Drew Brees by a whopping 47% of the vote. Jacksonville QB David Garard sits well behind the pack with only 5% total. Fans can cast their vote at nfl.com until Thursday at 5:00 pm MST.



Tuesday, November 7, 2006
All quiet on the Broncos front today with players having the day off to try and rest the war wounds gathered over the weekend – more injury info will be released tomorrow on Ebenezer Ekuban, Ian Gold, Patrick Chukwurah, Darrent Williams and Rod Smith, all of whom are considered questionable for this week's game in Oaktown. (scroll down to Monday for complete injury list).

Broncos made it official - Safety Sam Brandon was placed on the injured/reserve list - no word yet on who will fill the roster spot – expect an announcement over the next two days.

News broke that the team extended the contracts of Nate Webster and Demetrian Veal – both are locked through 2008. Broncos are mum on the deal but Webster's agent Drew Rosenhus seemed pretty happy with it.

"It was an astute move by a smart organization - You're going to find out soon why they signed him. He's going to get a chance to play."

Jake Plummer's performance against the Steelers was enough to earn a nomination for NFL Player of the Week honors the league announced. Plummer, who nailed down a nice TD afternoon on Sunday, faces some pretty stiff competition from Saints QB Drew Brees and Jags QB David Garrard. Those so inclined can log onto nfl.com and vote for your fave between now and Thursday at 5:00 MST.

Drew Brees - 24 of 32 passes for 314 yards, three touchdowns and a passer rating of 136.7
David Garrard - completed 12 of 22 attempts for 177 yards, three touchdowns and a passer rating of 120.6
Jake Plummer – completed 16 of 27 passes for 227-yards, three touchdown passes and a passer rating of 123.5

Need the perfect gift for a Broncos freak - NFL Films released a two-disc documentary today - Broncos: The Complete History - which takes us from the old brown and mustard uniform days to back to back Super Bowls.

Check out Marty Shotteinheimer's melt down in NFL's Greatest Games: The Drive: Retrospective on the 1986 AFC Championship Game - an instant classic – the box-set will be available locally as well as on-line at profootballdvd.com.



Monday, November 6, 2006
Solid win in Pittsburgh yesterday, but it came with a pretty hefty price tag – Nine different Broncos were injured during the contest, the most severe being backup safety Sam Brandon, who ripped the ACL in his right knee and will be sidelined the remainder of the season.

In addition to Brandon, the following players were hit with injuries –

Ebenezer Ekuban: Strained thigh - will undergo an MRI
Ian Gold: Strained hamstring - will undergo an MRI
Patrick Chukwurah: Strained hamstring - will undergo an MRI
Darrent Williams: Separated shoulder - will know more mid-week
Rod Smith: Separated shoulder - will know more mid-week
John Lynch: Concussion - CT scan came up negative
Nick Ferguson: Concussion - CT scan came up negative
Al Wilson: Mild concussion; no examination

…Eight of the nine players injured yesterday are on the defensive side of the ball – the lone offensive injury –Smith with a separated shoulder. The oddity of loosing so many players on one side of the ball even baffled Mike Shanahan.

"I don't think I can ever remember losing as many guys on one side of the football. I remember guys going out on offense, defense and special teams throughout the game. But I don't think I've ever had that happen just on one side where players miss playing time, especially as early in the game as it happened."

…The status of starting running back Tatum Bell, who took a seat yesterday resting turf toe, remains uncertain, but from all indications he should be ready for Oakland this Sunday.

A few notes from yesterday's win –
- Jake Plummer recorded his second consecutive game with a passer rating above 100.0 (123.5). Plummer finished with 16/27 for 227-yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

- With the win in Pittsburgh, Mike Shanahan made the record books, tying Hank Stram for 17th place in NFL history with 136 career victories.

- For the third time in his career, Champ Bailey posted multiple interceptions in a single game. Bailey now leads the NFL with 14 interceptions (13 regular season - one post-season) since 2005.

- Champ Bailey, Darrent Williams and Curome Cox each recorded two takeaways

- Javon Walker's 72-yard touchdown on a reverse marked the fifth-longest touchdown run by a wide receiver since the 1970 NFL merger and tied for the fourth-longest run by a Bronco in team history.

…The NFL announced that the Broncos – Chargers game scheduled for Nov. 19 at Invesco Field, will be switched from a 2:15 kickoff to the 6:15 slot – bumping it up to prime time as part of NBC's Sunday Night Football. The Colts – Cowboys contest will take over the earlier slot and will be broadcast on CBS. The move is part of the new "flexible scheduling" policy the league adopted earlier this year.

According to the policy, the NFL can move one game in Weeks 10-15 and Week 17 to ensure interesting late-season matchups, and with the Chargers and Broncos battling it out for first in the AFC West, it became the perfect fit.



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 Schon@prostarmediagroup.net



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