Schon: Broncos Daily Update 11/16/06

Intensity takes a step up at Dove Valley, John Lynch sets his sights on Philip Rivers and three former players are among 25 finalists for the Hall of Fame Class of 2007.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006
Intensity took a step up today – Broncos put in a full practice complete with piped-in crowd noise, at a decibel level not too far removed from Invesco Field's. With the AFC divisional lead at stake, Shanahan's pulled out all the stops – and while no one is ready to admit it, this game could be the make-or-break point for the Broncos 2007 season.

"Where's the Dog at now?" a sweaty Gerard Warren barked as he stepped up to the scales. Pleased with the results Warren spent the next several minutes bouncing around like a contestant on "The Biggest Looser".

I guess you had to be there…

Keith Burns is a natural behind the mic – Thursday the thirteen-year vet had players in stitches as he took turns interviewing teammates for FOX Sports – You can check out Burns act at the Soiled Dove in Lowry, where he co-hosts Amateur Night.

Former running back Terrell Davis, linebacker Randy Gradishar and offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman are one step closer to Canton today. The trio is among the 25 semifinalists eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame – Class of 2007. The Board of Selectors will cut the list down to fifteen finalists in January – making their final selections on Feb. 3rd, the day before Super Bowl XLI.

LaDainian Tomlinson may get the majority of the publicity, but quarterback Philip Rivers certainly grabbed the attention of John Lynch.

"You talk a lot about L.T. but you've got a quarterback (Rivers) that's playing probably as well as anyone in the league including Manning – these are great showdowns - you've got the number one scoring offense and the number one scoring defense, and that's why you play the game."

Tatum Bell's still nursing turf toe, but should be able to put in limited time on Sunday. The question is who his running mate will be – Mike Bell and Damien Nash each put in significant time this week, but my guess is Mike Bell takes the slot.

Looks like there may be another trip to Hawaii in Champ Bailey's future - the Broncos cornerback is the leading vote-getter in the NFL at his position with close to 185,000 votes. Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher leads all defensive players with 244,929 votes. To vote for your favorite player log on to or text message "PRO" to 7777 from a phone with Sprint or Nextel wireless service.

No significant changes on the teams injury front - Stephen Alexander, Tatum Bell, Patrick Chukwurah, Ebenezer Ekuban and Ian Gold are all listed as questionable, while Al Wilson, Cedric Cobbs and Kyle Johnson are considered probable.

Alexander, Bell, Chukwurah, Ekuban and Al Wilson all missed a portion of team practice this afternoon.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006
When you can barely find a parking spot on a Wednesday afternoon at Dove Valley, you know something's up – this week it's a divisional matchup with the San Diego Chargers and a battle for first place – not that anyone cares, but a parking spot would be nice.

Can you believe the numbers LaDainian Tomlinson's busted out this year? Fifteen touchdowns in the last five games – or to put it in perspective – more touchdowns than Buffalo, Tampa Bay or Oakland have scored the entire season. The only place he really hasn't lit it up has been Invesco Field in Denver.

"Well, they take me out of the game, Tomlinson explained by telephone this morning. "I haven't had the ball much in Denver, they end up taking me out of the game, whether we get behind and we're not running the ball much. That's been the case."

That scenario may be a little tough for Denver, considering the amount of injuries the defense has sustained over the past few weeks. Gold, Ekuban and Chukwurah did not participate in today's team portion of practice and are all still listed as questionable. The team was hoping to have a better handle on their status for Sunday, but Shanahan says it's still too early to tell.

"I really don't know yet. We will get a chance here over the next couple of days to see how guys practice. I'm not sure exactly who will practice and they will go out there and stretch today and I will give you an idea after practice of where we are at."

Rounding out the Broncos Wednesday Report - Cedric Cobbs, Kyle Johnson and Al Wilson are listed as probable.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Dove Valley was a bit more crowded than usual today with the team hosting NFL 201 – an opportunity where fans, particularly the female variety, can learn the fine art of football from those that know it best – the Coaches and Players.

Armed with laser pointers and projection TV's Domonique Foxworth Karl Paymah and Nate Jackson became the teachers, while Tatum Bell and Brandon Marshall dished out autographs and posed for some photos with the new students.

This marks the second such event this year, following up on NFL 101 which was held at Invesco Field last month.

Mike Shanahan added a couple of players to their practice squad late Monday, rookie running back Andre Hall from the University of Southern Florida and second-year safety Steve Cargile who was cut by Tampa Bay in September.

The injury situation will hopefully become a little clearer tomorrow – Ebenezer Ekuban, Ian Gold and Patrick Chukwurah will be closely evaluated to determine their status for Sunday. Tatum Bell will also be evaluated – during Shanahan's Monday press session the head coach admitted he's got second thoughts about the amount of playing time he gave Bell, considering he was still recuperating from turf toe on both feet.

"I'm a little disappointed in myself that I played Tatum Bell as much as I did …Even though he says he's healthy, I don't think he's as healthy as he says he is - and I saw that in the game."

Since 1987 Denver holds a nice 17-2 mark against the Chargers at home – but after dropping forty-nine on the Bengals last week, Shanahan will have his hands full coming up with a scheme to stop Tomlinson. L.T.'s coming in with an NFL record fifteen touchdowns in the past five games.

"If I did have the answer for that, I wouldn't share it with you."
- Mike Shanahan addressing a reporter's question on how he planned to stop LaDanian Tomlinson

Monday, November 13, 2006
Sunday's ugly win over the Oakland Raiders left Mike Shanahan facing a barrage of questions from the media today – and the coach pulled no punches when it came to discussing the recent shift in personnel on the front line as well as the offensive backfield.

When it came to the deactivation of George Foster and Mike Bell, he explained his philosophy regarding who he chooses for game day is weighed heavily on what that player is able to accomplish throughout practice.

"I'm just telling you that we're going to play the best players. It's based on practice. It's based on game day. It's something that stays in the confines, obviously, of our meeting rooms. When we do make a decision on who's going to start and who's second team, it's based on practice, it's based on game day and (it's based on) what we think is in the best interest of the team."

Still, there were those that questioned replacing Foster at tackle, with Adam Meadows, who until joining the Broncos this year, had been retired from football the past two years.

"I'm certainly not giving up on George Foster, because George Foster one of the most talented players I've been around. We've just got to get him playing at a little higher level. And if he does that, then he'll be right in the mix again. We can evaluate that on a day-to-day basis, based on practice."

The injured trio of Ian Gold, Ebenezer Ekuban and Patrick Chukwurah will be receiving treatment over the next two days and their status for Sunday night's slugfest with the Chargers will be determined Wednesday or Thursday.

Tight ends broke free with their most productive game of the year – Stephan Alexander's six catch afternoon was the highest total by a Broncos tight end since the 2005 season opener at Miami on Sept. 11.

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