Broncos Update Insider - 10/10

Someone will catch the ball for the Denver Broncos this week against Jacksonville, and someone will handle a majority of the carries. It's a little unclear who might be in those roles, however.

The Broncos ruled tight end Tony Scheffler and running back Selvin Young out of this week's game. They each have groin injuries. Also, receiver Eddie Royal has a bone bruise on his ankle. The team hasn't ruled him out, but there's a chance he'll miss a game.

The Broncos aren't going to ditch their pass-heavy offense just because of the injuries. Last week Jacksonville's banged-up secondary allowed more than 300 yards passing to Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

The Jaguars have a good run defense, but the Broncos won't completely abandon the run either. At tailback, Michael Pittman has been reliable in a situational role this season, and is coming off a game against Tampa Bay in which he was Denver's most effective runner. He should see a lot more playing time with Young out.

"I'm just going to practice hard like I do every single week and if my role is expanded, I'll definitely be ready for that," Pittman said.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said there was a possibility Pittman could get more playing time before Young was ruled out. Pittman has impressed the coaches with his willingness to put his shoulder pads down and get physical.

"He ran over some safeties, ran over some corners," Shanahan said about Pittman's performance against Tampa Bay.

At tight end, Nate Jackson will step in for Scheffler and the outlook at the position won't change too much because Jackson and Scheffler are similar players.

At receiver, Darrell Jackson is an option if Royal can't play, but Jackson hasn't played in a month. He hurt his calf in a practice after Week 1 and only returned to a limited practice last week. He has plenty of tests to pass before he can be counted on for a significant role.

At the beginning of the week, Jackson was noncommittal about whether he would be ready.

"We'll give it a shot, see how it goes," said Jackson, who had a full practice Wednesday. "If it's good, we're going to go with it."

SERIES HISTORY: Seventh meeting. Broncos and Jaguars are tied 3-3 in series, with Jacksonville holding the most recent win. The Jaguars won 23-14 at Denver last season. The Broncos and Jaguars have met twice in the postseason, splitting the two games.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Broncos K Matt Prater was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after a fantastic game against Tampa Bay. He hit all three field-goal attempts, including a 55-yarder, and four of his five kickoffs were touchbacks.

Prater was in the unenviable spot of replacing Broncos' all-time leading scorer Jason Elam this season, but has done well. He has missed only one field goal. Still, he realizes things could change fast.

"I did good this week, but next week I could go out and miss one or two and it would be the complete opposite," Prater said.

--The Broncos were relieved to hear news that a suspect, Willie Clark, was acquitted by the Denver Police Department in the killing of CB Darrent Williams. Williams was shot and killed on Jan. 1, 2007.

"Hopefully they have all their ducks in a row and everything will work out the way we hope it will," Broncos tight end Mike Leach said. "I hope in some way it brings comfort to 'D-Will's' mom and his family. You can't do anything to bring him back but if after all these years, hopefully it gives a little comfort to them."

--The Broncos are hopeful that rookie RB Ryan Torain will be back in the lineup soon. He suffered an elbow injury in training camp. Torain didn't even play in a preseason game, so he will need to adjust to the NFL game, but the Broncos kept him on the active roster instead of putting him on injured reserve because they think he can contribute this year.

"There is a chance that he could start practicing next week, according to doctors," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "I would say that the earliest he would be available would be after the bye week."

BY THE NUMBERS: 400 -- With a win on Sunday, the Broncos can become the second original American Football League team to reach 400 total wins, including playoffs.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We have a great crowd that helps us with crowd noise. It was very indicative vs. Tampa Bay." -- Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, whose team is 3-0 at home this season.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The Broncos signed TE Chad Mustard and cut G Dylan Gandy. The move was made because TE Tony Scheffler has a groin injury that will keep him out this week.

Mustard has been cut and picked up by the Broncos many times. He is primarily a blocker, and spent some time at offensive tackle with the team. He is also smart and knows the system well, so he can go right into the lineup without any transition period.

PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES

--OT Ryan Clady leads an offensive line that has allowed only one true sack of Jay Cutler all season. Clady has been very good at left tackle and has the chance to be one of the better left tackles in the NFL once he gets more experience.

--WR Glenn Martinez could return punts for the Broncos again this week. He took over that role against Tampa Bay after Eddie Royal got hurt. Even though Martinez had been signed only a couple of days before the Buccaneers game, he spent all last season and this preseason with the Broncos and the coaches didn't mind giving him that responsibility.

--TE Daniel Graham probably won't see many more targets in the passing game with Tony Scheffler out this week. The Broncos use Graham as a blocker and a second tight end as the receiving threat. That's usually Scheffler, but it will be Nate Jackson with Scheffler out.

--RB Andre Hall should see some extra playing time with Selvin Young out this week. Hall might not see a huge spike if Michael Pittman gets more playing time as expected, but he is averaging 4.5 yards per carry in a limited role.

--DT Kenny Peterson has a pair of sacks this season. He has been a solid member of the team's defensive line rotation, which was a little unexpected considering he spent more than a month last year unsigned after the Broncos released him.



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