Broncos Update Insider - 11/25

Now that the AFC West lead is gone and a 6-0 start is a distant memory, the Broncos have to focus on simply getting a win.

Things have changed dramatically for the team during a four-game losing streak, and the road won't get easier with the New York Giants coming in for a Thursday night game.

While many of the mistakes made during the early part of the losing streak were simple football issues, such as not stopping the run and giving up big plays on special teams, things seemed to get worse for the Broncos against the Chargers. Defensive end Vonnie Holliday said he was upset at how the team lost its composure.

There was a now well-documented shove from running back Knowshon Moreno to receiver Brandon Marshall on the sideline. The Broncos took a couple personal foul penalties after the Chargers baited them with some trash talk. Holliday acknowledged the Broncos are a pretty young team but said it was no excuse.

"This is not who we are," Holliday said. "We're a blue-collar team. We're not filled with 10, 12 Pro Bowl guys, that's not who we are. The first six games of the season, we won games together, guys going out putting it on the line. It wasn't always pretty, and it's not going to be pretty. We have to find a way to claw back, get back in the game."

Denver's offense hasn't maintained drives to help the defense out, while the defense has failed to stop the run lately and has forced only two turnovers during the four-game losing streak. The team simply has lost any momentum it gained early in the season.

The good news for the Broncos is they don't have long to dwell on the failures from Sunday. The short week presents obvious challenges in preparation, but the Broncos simply want to move on.

"I'm done feeling the loss, I'm sick of it," quarterback Kyle Orton said. "And I know everyone else is. It's been a long time since we've won, so let's get back on the field and win a game. That's all we're talking about from here on out is winning."

The Broncos apparently will have Orton much closer to full strength after he didn't start Sunday. Orton has a left ankle injury, but he looked sharp after he relieved an ineffective Chris Simms. Orton said his ankle is improving every day, and he never expressed any doubt he'd be ready to start in a game the Broncos need to turn around their fortunes.

"Feeling good, feeling better," Orton said. "Should be ready to roll."

NOTES, QUOTES

--This week will be the Broncos' third Thanksgiving appearance in the past five years, a pretty high number for a team not in Detroit or Dallas. Denver beat Dallas in 2005 and lost to Kansas City in 2006.

--This will be the first time the Broncos have hosted a Thanksgiving game since 1963. The Broncos are 3-7 all time on Thanksgiving.

--The Broncos aren't concerned about having a short week of preparation before facing the Giants.

"You've got to try to put your best stuff out there and get your players to understand who you are playing as quickly as you possibly can and then go forward," coach Josh McDaniels said.

--The Broncos are unsure if safety Brian Dawkins will be able to play on Thursday. He was knocked out of Sunday's game in the first half with a neck injury and didn't return.

"(Dawkins) is doing better, and he's doing everything he can do to be ready for Thursday," McDaniels said. "We'll monitor that situation. We don't have an answer for what's going to happen on Thursday."

--McDaniels wasn't discussing an incident in which he reportedly told Chargers linebackers, "We own you" before Sunday's game.

"I have no comment on that," McDaniels said. "I've moved on to the Giants."

BY THE NUMBERS: 0 -- Times the Giants have played at Invesco Field at Mile High since playing the first regular-season game at the stadium in 2001.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We've got a few days to prepare for a really good team. We know we need to get back on track and win some games. I think that's our focus." -- Coach Josh McDaniels.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The Broncos won't have an easy time installing their typically complicated game plans on offense and defense during a short week. The Broncos took it easy on the players Monday, not holding a practice, but Tuesday and Wednesday were key for the team.

Denver coach Josh McDaniels likes to wipe his game plan clean from week to week and construct a plan from scratch based on the opponent's weakness. That isn't as easy with only three days to prepare.

McDaniels' challenge will be figuring out how much his players can process in a short time.

PLAYER NOTES

--TE Daniel Graham has just two catches over the Broncos' last three games. Graham has 17 catches for 198 yards this season.

--WR Brandon Stokley hasn't played much this season as the team's fourth receiver. He hasn't had more than one catch or 15 yards in a game during the Broncos' four-game losing streak.

--LB D.J. Williams leads the Broncos with 79 tackles. He has not had fewer than five tackles in a game this season. He has added 2.5 sacks.

--K Matt Prater is having a solid season. He has hit 15 of 19 field goals and is on pace to score 99 points. He has also been very good on kickoffs.

--DL Marcus Thomas had a season-high three tackles against San Diego. Thomas hasn't started a game this season but has been a valuable contributor at nose tackle and end.





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