Broncos Player Notes

The first game against Cincinnati was an example of what the Denver Broncos anticipate doing at tailback.

The first game against Cincinnati was an example of what the Broncos anticipate doing at tailback. Starter Correll Buckhalter gained 22 yards on his first two carries, but after the first series he didn't get another carry until after the two-minute warning in the first half.

That's because the Broncos had a plan to use Moreno. Buckhalter gained 46 yards to Moreno's 19, but that didn't change Denver's thinking during the game. Buckhalter and Moreno split time and each finished with eight carries.

The Broncos also have Peyton Hillis and LaMont Jordan, but those two combined for only three carries against the Bengals.


--QB Kyle Orton didn't have a good opener, although he pulled out a win with a fluky 87-yard touchdown to Brandon Stokley. Orton will have some good games but also games like the opener in which avoiding turnovers and taking what the defense gives him is the plan.

--RB Correll Buckhalter likely played well enough in the opener to keep his starting spot. He had 46 yards on only eight carries. Knowshon Moreno will probably become the starter this year, but he has a ways to go in his development before that change happens.

--RB Peyton Hillis played a lot more than expected against Cincinnati because the Broncos used plenty of two-back sets. The Broncos will often go with one-back sets and use an extra receiver instead of a fullback. Still, even with more playing time Hillis got only one carry and one catch.

--WR Brandon Marshall should continue to become a bigger part of the offense as the season progresses. It is telling that with the game on the line in the final minute against Cincinnati, Kyle Orton's first two throws were to Marshall. The second pass was tipped to Brandon Stokley for a long touchdown.

--WR Jabar Gaffney said his broken thumb gave him no problems against the Bengals. He had three catches for 25 yards and should be fine going forward.

--TE Daniel Graham would have led Denver in receiving yards if it wasn't for Brandon Stokley's last-minute 87-yard touchdown. Graham caught all three balls thrown to him and could be developing a chemistry with Orton, who will often look to throw short.

--K Matt Prater hit both of his field-goal attempts against Cincinnati. He has not missed a field goal in the game this season, including the preseason.

--CB Champ Bailey played well against Cincinnati's Chad Ochocinco in the opener. However, the team did not move Bailey around to match up with Ochocinco. The Broncos kept Bailey at left cornerback. That could be a nod to Cincinnati's depth at receiver. Cleveland doesn't have that kind of depth, so the team will have to decide whether to match Bailey on Braylon Edwards.

--S Brian Dawkins led the Broncos with 12 tackles in the opener. The Broncos were thrilled with his activity on the offense, and the longtime veteran looks like he has a lot left in the tank.

--LB Robert Ayers played in passing situations but not in the base defense. Ayers is still learning the NFL game and hasn't shown that he is ready to displace either of Denver's two starting outside linebackers in the base defense.

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