Broncos Update Insider

After starting out the season on a promising note, the Denver Broncos are quickly facing an uphill battle.

One of the few pieces of good news the Broncos had in a 41-7 loss to New England was that quarterback Jay Cutler's right index finger wasn't broken.

Cutler hurt his hand on the first play of Monday's game, when his hand hit New England defensive tackle Vince Wilfork's helmet. Cutler held his hand in pain and did come out for a series near the end of the second quarter.

"We took him out at the end of the half just to make sure the finger isn't broken, and it's not," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said.

Cutler said his finger shouldn't be a problem going forward. He came back in the game in the second half and played the rest of the way.

"No option, I was playing," Cutler said.

Cutler didn't appear very sharp, completing 17 of 26 passes for 168 yards and a pair of interceptions. He also had a touchdown pass, which came in the fourth quarter with the Broncos trailing 34-0.

NOTES, QUOTES
--CB Champ Bailey left Monday night's game with a groin injury. He said he has never dealt with an injury like that and didn't know if he would miss any time.

"Hopefully it's just pain," Bailey said. "I hope that's all it is."

--The Broncos have sprinkled in some 3-4 defensive looks this season, and they used that alignment a majority of the time Monday against New England. Coach Mike Shanahan indicated it wasn't a permanent switch.

"We will mix it up," Shanahan said.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
PLAYER NOTES
--LB Boss Bailey missed the second half of Denver's game against New England with a knee injury. Bailey said he didn't think the injury was serious. He just couldn't get the knee to loosen up after twisting it.

--RB Andre Hall might be buried deep in the bench after his performance against New England. Hall fumbled on each of his first two carries and didn't play tailback the rest of the game.

--LB Jamie Winborn played extensively against New England, as the Broncos used a 3-4 look for much of the game. He had eight tackles and half of a sack.

--CB Jack Williams could get a promotion to the starting lineup if Champ Bailey's groin injury knocks him out for a while. Williams, a rookie, doesn't have much experience, but the Broncos don't have many other options.

--DE Ebenezer Ekuban replaced John Engelberger in the starting lineup. He had a sack on New England's first possession of the game.





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