He previously said his two turf toe injuries would mean he wouldn't be 100 percent all season. But after running hard and strong against Seattle on Sunday, Bell said he should be fine for the stretch run.
"The toe's good," Bell said. "I'm back, man."
Bell had 133 yards on 23 carries against Seattle. That was a much-needed boost for a running game that had struggled without him. Bell was inactive three times in a four-week span because the toe injuries were slowing him down.
The Broncos need to be effective running the ball down the stretch, especially with rookie Jay Cutler at quarterback. The running game sets up most of Denver's passing plays, including the bootleg plays they are well known for.
Getting Bell back and having him run well was a relief. The only issue was in the second half, when Denver's offense had problems moving the ball. Overall, the performance was encouraging.
"We were pretty good in the running game," coach Mike Shanahan said.
--QB Jay Cutler had a rough debut, and Mike Shanahan admitted he made the game plan too complicated. Expect a simpler approach this week at San Diego, which could help the rookie making his second start.
--RB Tatum Bell will be a key for the Broncos this week. Denver ran the ball well against San Diego in the first meeting, and now Bell is healthy after sitting out some games with two injured big toes.
--WR Javon Walker caught only two passes for 17 yards against Seattle. The Broncos tried a few deep passes to him but Jay Cutler couldn't connect with him. Walker's production might dip in the last month with a rookie throwing him the ball.
--WR Rod Smith had one catch for six yards against Seattle and fumbled on the play. Like Denver's other receivers, he probably won't see a spike in his production with a rookie at quarterback.
--WR Brandon Marshall had a spectacular 71-yard touchdown in the final minutes against Seattle. Marshall, a rookie, is big and fast and the Broncos raved about him during the offseason workouts. Marshall missed most of the preseason with a knee injury but appears to be getting comfortable late in the season.
--TE Tony Scheffler got back into the lineup against Seattle. He caught a slant pass for 15 yards and was the target on a few others. He and Jay Cutler had a good connection in the preseason and Scheffler could become a viable receiver down the stretch for Denver.
--CB Champ Bailey had another interception against Seattle. It came in the end zone on a deep pass. All six of his interceptions this season have come inside Denver's five-yard line.
--LB Al Wilson could practice Wednesday. He sprained his neck against Seattle. The Broncos will be careful with him and he won't practice unless some tingling in his shoulders has gone away.
--LB Nate Webster was inactive against Seattle, but he would likely
start at middle linebacker if Al Wilson can't play. Webster is a
valuable backup at all three linebacker positions but he doesn't play special
teams so he hasn't been inactive most weeks.
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