Denver's 17-13 preseason win over the 49ers is a perfect example - Jay Cutler, Travis Henry and Javon Walker - add it up and you've got two passes, five runs and one reception. Not exactly the kind of numbers to get your heart racing - but the eight play, 67-yard touchdown drive did restore a little faith in Mike Shanahan's system (at least temporarily). After that it was like a bad American Idol marathon.
"We finally got to go up against somebody other than ourselves and Travis ran the ball well,'' Cutler said. "We had time to throw the ball and make plays, so it went well.''
Offensively the starters were done after the first series - giving way to backup QB Patrick Ramsey and RB Mike Bell. The pair finished the showcase with respectable numbers against San Francisco's 'B' squad - 4 of 10 in the air for 45-yards, one touchdown, one interception and ten carries for 51-yards. Overall the Broncos finished with 270-yards to the 49ers 386-yards.
On the flip side Jim Bates defense needs work - giving up 144-yards on the ground to a team who rested starter Frank Gore with a fractured bone in his hand. Rookie Thomas Clayton broke loose for 55-yards, Maurice Hicks added thirty and Michael Robinson tacked on twenty-five.
"We've got a long ways to go with our rush defense," Shanahan told reporters. "They ran the ball extremely well and, obviously, we've got to get better in that area."
NEWS & NOTES
Defensive tackle Gerrard Warren's days as a Bronco are numbered, in fact his hours are probably numbered - the 330 lbs., seven-year veteran didn't make the trip to the Bay area and will more than likely be relocating within the week.
"I'm not going to get into detail, but we thought we had a trade done and I'll talk about a little bit more (Tuesday) and things are finalized," Shanahan said. "We kept him home because we thought there was a trade."
Miami and Washington appear to be the frontrunners for Warren's services.
LB Nate Webster only lost his helmet twice during Monday night's contest - that's got to be some kind of record.
The team returned to Denver immediately following the game, will break down film Tuesday morning, then head to Dallas for joint practice sessions on Wednesday and Thursday against the Cowboys. The two teams face each other Saturday night in the second preseason game of the year.
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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