Broncos wary of Tomlinson

Despite a slow start this season, the Denver Broncos are still quite wary of San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

Tomlinson has only 262 yards in four games, but the Broncos have plenty of their own problems. They rank 31st in the NFL in run defense.

Denver allowed seven of Tomlinson's record number of touchdowns last season. When Tomlinson got more than 100 yards in the first half of last week's game against the Chiefs, the Broncos saw the Tomlinson of last season.

"In the first half against Kansas City, he looked like he has always looked," Broncos assistant head coach/defense Jim Bates said. "If you give him any creases, he'll take advantage of it. He's the same guy, they just haven't been in sync totally in all their runs."

The Broncos need to tighten up their own problems. Their tackling has been poor all season, which isn't a good sign against Tomlinson. Bates said he is seeing some progress.

"There are subtle improvements, but they're hard to see when you see the end results on Sunday," Bates said.

The Broncos are just hoping to limit Tomlinson's yards on Sunday.

"It's not like you're playing against a C-class runner," Ferguson said. "This is an A-plus runner. He's going to get his yards. You have to be sound and make sure that after he makes his surge, you stop him."

PLAYER NOTES

--WR Javon Walker has an injured knee and didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday. The team's plan is for him to test his injury in practice Friday.

--RB Travis Henry participated in Thursday's walkthrough, according to Broncos coach Mike Shanahan. He did not practice in the afternoon. Henry has a sore knee and ankle, and the Broncos will have a better idea if he can play after he tries to practice Friday.

--FB Paul Smith's neck injury kept him out of practice Thursday. He has a pinched nerve. Smith is a key part of many Broncos special teams units.

--WR Brandon Stokley returned to a full practice Thursday. He was limited Wednesday with a calf injury.

--S John Lynch, who has a groin injury, said he felt well the day after going through a full practice on Wednesday. Unless something unexpected happens, he will play against San Diego.


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