You found the spot – from now through the end of the season Bronco Update will be providing daily practice updates, as well as up to the minute injury and transaction reports from syndicated columnist Michael John Schon.
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Saturday, November 25, 2006
Still now word yet on who'll be running the show for the Broncos next Sunday – Mike Shanahan bailed from his post game press conference so quickly reporters barely had enough time to formulate their questions, let alone ask them. The media did catch up with the head coach later in the locker room, but Shanahan refused to make any additional comments, leaving reporters with the "you missed your chance" impression.
Jake Plummer, on the other hand refused to duck questions –
"If I was ever a quitter, I never would have made it this far, and wouldn't have done what I've done in the league," he said. "All I can try to control is what I do on the field and I battled my a** off today and just didn't make a few plays. I feel like I let the guys down, but I think a lot of guys feel that way."
Tatum Bell is hoping to return to the lineup after two straight weeks on the bench with turf toe. His return could be huge to the Broncos struggling running attack. Denver's 38-yards on the ground was the teams lowest total since the 2004 season against San Diego. Rookie Mike Bell led the team in rushes against the Chiefs with 20.
If you've got some extra cash lying around, the NFL has the " Ultimate Christmas Gift " for Broncos fans, currently up for auction. The package includes four club-level tickets ($1,000 value), full access to Mike Shanahan's post game press conference, an official game-used football autographed by the player of your choice, pregame field passes and tour of Invesco Field and a Broncos goodie bag. Monies raised from the auction will be donated to local Broncos charities.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Playing on Thanksgiving Day drew mixed reviews from the players I talked to in the locker room – but nobody's complaining about the extra time off heading into Seattle's game on Dec. 3rd.
"I don't like turning around and playing in four days, but it's nice to have a long weekend and have a few days off," said tight end Stephan Alexander.
Despite Mike Shanahan's denials, rumors continue to swirl around Jake Plummer. The NFL network is reporting that Thursday's game against Kansas City will be Plummer's last starting assignment and with ten days between games, Jay Cutler will get the call against the Seahawks.
Broncos held a short one hour practice today before catching the flight to K.C.. One area they've tried to address this week is special teams. Chiefs return ace Dante Hall has burned the Broncos more than once – Hall holds the Chiefs franchise record with ten kicks returned for touchdowns – two of those came against Denver.
Mike Bell, Tatum Bell, Kenard Lang, Brandon Marshall and Rod Smith have all been upgraded from questionable to probable. Darrent Williams and Cooper Carlisle still remain as questionable; Carlisle was the only player who did not participate in today's team portion of practice.
While this marks the first televised game for the NFL network, local fans who may not receive the network through their local cable company can still view the game live on KDVR FOX-31 – kickoff is scheduled for 6:15 MST. Bryant Gumbell and Cris Collinsworth will will handle the play by play action for NFLN.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
More bad new for the Broncos defensive secondary – Nick Ferguson was placed on injured reserve list this afternoon after an MRI revealed a torn meniscus in his left knee. Ferguson, who underwent surgery this morning, will require up to three months rehabilitation before returning to the field. To help fill the gap the team signed free-agent safety Quentin Harris to the roster, although it's expected that second-year veteran Curome Cox is next in line for the starting position.
Tom Nalen's wallet took a significant hit today when the NFL fined the thirteen-year veteran $25,000 for blocking below the knees of defensive lineman Igor Olshansky.
Nalen hit the Chargers lineman low as Jake Plummer spiked the ball to stop the clock late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game. Olshansky was fined $10,000 by the league for retaliation after punching Nalen in the head. The punch drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and an immediate ejection.
Darrent Williams came clean regarding the altercation with officials on Sunday. Williams says he approached the officials asking why Ian Gold had been flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when, according to Williams, the referee began to curse him out, telling the second-year cornerback to "Shut the F-up."
"I've never had a problem with a ref since I've been playing football. I've never been cussed out by a ref, so it caught me by surprise."
Mike Shanahan listed the following players as questionable for Thursday's game against Kansas City - Mike Bell, Tatum Bell, Cooper Carlisle, Kenard Lang, Brandon Marshall, Rod Smith and Darrent Williams. Listed as probable are Patrick Chukwurah, Cedric Cobbs, Kyle Johnson and Al Wilson.
Carlisle, Lang, Marshall, Smith and Williams all missed a portion of team pratice today.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Less than 24-hours after getting slammed by the San Diego Chargers, Denver went back to work – with a heavy emphasis placed on studying game film, to try and figure out exactly what went wrong Sunday night and how they can prevent a reoccurrence Thursday.
"What you do basically tomorrow is you put in your game plan except for short yardage, goal line and red zone," Mike Shanahan said during today's media session.
"Then you put that in the next day, and you get about an hour of practice on Wednesday before you take off to fine tune that. So it's a little bit different, kind of a combination. In about a day and a half, you're trying to get three days worth of work in. Both teams have the same schedule, so we're even."
Players were quick to try and put last night's loss behind them –
"I think it's good in the sense that we do have to turn around and play on Thursday," Stephan Alexander said. "We don't' have a whole lot of time to sit and sulk about this one.
"That's the best thing about having this game so close. We're still going to have some of that anger and bitterness in us so we can carry that on over to Kansas City." - Kenard Lang
Rookie tight end Tony Scheffler was deactivated for the second straight week yesterday and there doesn't appear to be a timetable for his return to the lineup - Shanahan says he hasn't given up hope and thinks he can still play a major role with the team given a little more practice.
"We throw a lot of different things at them, these young guys, in their game plans. It's not easy sometimes, especially at that position, but he's got a lot of potential. I still believe in him. He's going to be a great player here. He's just going to have to keep on working at it."
The NFL's new flexible schedule has struck again – the Broncos – Seahawks matchup originally scheduled as a 2:15 MST kickoff has been changed to the 6:15 slot, and will be televised as part of the Sunday Night Football lineup.
Nick Ferguson underwent an MRI on his left knee today – results of which will be made public tomorrow. Preliminary reports look favorable and at this point he's scheduled to be ready for Thursday.
If you look at the numbers it's not real encouraging - Kansas City holds a 12-4 record against the Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium. Denver holds a 3-6 record for Thanksgiving Day games.
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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