|08-23-2006, 11:40 PM||#1|
Never say Always
Join Date: Jan 2003
By suspending arguably his two best defensive players for a preseason game, Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan sent a message that nobody is above his rules.
Cornerback Champ Bailey and linebacker Al Wilson were suspended for Denver's second preseason game against Tennessee after missing team curfew the night before. Shanahan would not discuss the specifics of what happened the night before the game, only that the players were suspended.
"We've got rules and they go for everybody," Shanahan said.
Shanahan said there would be no more punishment for either player.
The players were surprised by the suspensions. Many of them didn't find out until during or after the game. They did get the message, however.
"Rules are rules and they apply to everybody," safety Nick Ferguson said. "Coach Shanahan runs a tight ship and he knows how to handle his team."
There wasn't much angst among the players towards Bailey or Wilson. Wide receiver Rod Smith was indifferent about the two players missing a preseason game.
"It ain't regular season, I don't care," Smith said. "Champ picks the ball off every day at practice and takes it back so I don't think he needs practice at that, and Al is doing what Al does.
"It'll be something we'll definitely talk about because no one is bigger than the team. They know that. Whatever the situation was, those guys don't do things like that. It's a matter of kind of what happened and we move forward."
The common theme from the players was they understood why the discipline was handed out. They also understood that Bailey and Wilson don't have a history of transgressions, and there isn't any reason to believe the situation will linger very long.
Bailey has been a Pro Bowl player and generally accepted as a good teammate and locker room presence. Wilson is one of the unquestioned leaders of the Broncos. He has been a team captain and sets the tone for the defense. Neither player was in Shanahan's doghouse before missing curfew.
"That's something they're going to have to deal with," quarterback Jake Plummer said. "Those are two guys we're going to count on. It's not an alarming thing and we don't need to worry too much about it anymore."
CAMP CALENDAR: The Broncos broke training camp on Aug. 18, before their second preseason game.
—Javon Walker didn't have one pass thrown his way against Tennessee, but that wasn't a big deal to him. It was Walker's first game since tearing his right ACL in Week 1 last season when he was with Green Bay. Walker said he had no physical issues against the Titans.
"It felt real good to get out there and play," Walker said.
—Rookie quarterback Jay Cutler's second game wasn't as good as his first, but he still made many plays. Cutler completed six of 12 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown to rookie tight end Tony Scheffler.
"I missed some throws," Cutler said. "I'm sure there's some little things I missed."
The Broncos don't want to use Cutler during the regular season, but Cutler's play in the preseason gives them a comfort level if Jake Plummer misses any time.
—The Broncos' starting defense had a strong second game. On Tennessee's first drive, linebacker D.J. Williams and tackle Demetrin Veal had sacks on back-to-back plays. Safety Nick Ferguson got an interception on Tennessee's second drive. The Titans got a field goal on their third drive and the Broncos pulled their starters.
Denver's starting offense scored three touchdowns on three drives, and the starters outscored Tennessee 21-3.
—Denver was pleased with its attendance at training camp this year. The Broncos set a record with 26,827 fans, the most since the team moved its training camp from Greeley to its Dove Valley headquarters in 2003. The previous record was 18,671 fans last year.
—Rookie receiver Brandon Marshall, who was competing to be Denver's third receiver, might miss the entire preseason with a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Broncos coach Mike Shanahan wasn't too concerned about Marshall falling behind in picking up the offense.
"He has a good feel for the system," Shanahan said.
—Defensive tackle Gerard Warren, who dislocated his big left toe early in training camp, had a walking boot removed last week. He said he is feeling good. The Broncos hope he returns by the season opener.
"It's going good," Warren said. "We're progressing."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He did well. I am not going to blow it out of proportion like you guys (the media) do. I am sure you all think he is John Elway or something." — WR Rod Smith after rookie Jay Cutler's impressive debut against Detroit.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
—WR Ashley Lelie, a holdout throughout training camp, was traded to Atlanta. The Broncos received a third-round pick in 2007 from Washington, which landed Falcons RB T.J. Duckett in the three-team deal.
—The Broncos traded receiver Charlie Adams to Dallas for a sixth-round draft pick, but the trade was voided when Adams failed his physical. However, the trade shows that the Broncos are happy with their depth at receiver, even with Ashley Lelie traded to Atlanta. Adams was Denver's third receiver last year, but slipped to ninth on the depth chart this year.
—FB Cecil Sapp can't shake a groin injury. He missed Denver's second preseason game and has missed many practices. Sapp began camp as the starter but could be losing ground to Kyle Johnson.
—DT Demetrin Veal had a pair of sacks against Tennessee. Veal is filling in for Gerard Warren, who is injured. He could help Denver's problems rushing the quarterback with the front four.
—WR David Kircus had a nice catch against Tennessee. He has a chance to beat out Darius Watts for the Broncos' third receiver spot.
—OT Dwayne Carswell has been working with the second-team offense. Carswell is coming off a major car accident that ended his season last year. He hasn't missed a practice this year.
—WR David Terrell returned punts and kickoffs in the first half of Denver's second preseason game. Terrell might need to contribute on special teams if he wants to make the final roster. The Broncos have a lot of depth at receiver.
BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Ron Dayne vs. Damien Nash vs. Cedric Cobbs for third RB — Dayne entered camp as the starter but he struggled early, didn't play well in the preseason opener and sat out a week of practice with turf toe. Nash was put in Denver's second preseason game before Cobbs. Nash and Cobbs each played well against the Titans. The Broncos probably won't keep more than three tailbacks, especially because fullback Cecil Sapp could play tailback in a pinch.
OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: FB Kyle Johnson is taking advantage of Cecil Sapp's absence. The two are battling for the starting spot.
—The backup defensive line positions are starting to come into focus. Tackle Demetrin Veal and end Kenard Lang are probably the top two reserves. End Patrick Chukwurah has played well, although he missed the second preseason game with a sprained ankle. Rookie Elvis Dumervil can play tackle or end. There are a couple more spots that will be decided in the final two preseason games.
—P Paul Ernster has played well. He is solidifying his chances of punting and kicking off in Denver's first four games while Todd Sauerbrun serves a NFL suspension. The Broncos also have veteran punter Micah Knorr on the roster.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: QB Jake Plummer — Plummer is having a good preseason. He completed six of eight passes for 97 yards and a touchdown against Tennessee. Plummer hasn't been the center of attention in camp because of rookie Jay Cutler, Denver's first-round pick, but he has played very well.
"He's played pretty well," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "He executed the offense very well."
ROOKIE REPORT: QB Jay Cutler is playing like a veteran. His knowledge of the offense and poise in the pocket is rare for a rookie, and his physical skills are impressive.
—TE Tony Scheffler had four catches for 73 yards and a touchdown against Tennessee. He has some problems with dropped passes, but he will be a major part of Denver's offense this year as the second tight end.
—WR Brandon Marshall will get back in the mix for the third receiver job when he's healthy. Marshall has a knee injury that might keep him out the rest of preseason.
—DL Elvis Dumervil played end last week, after spending a couple weeks at tackle. He is expected to contribute in passing situations.
—OG Chris Kuper has been impressive. He has been playing with the second-team offense and could be a top backup this season.
—RB Mike Bell played very well against Tennessee. He looks like Denver's starting tailback to begin the regular season.
—DT Antwon Burton could win a job as a backup. He was undrafted but is active for a big interior lineman.
INJURY REPORT: DE Courtney Brown is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. The Broncos are still hopeful he'll return for the regular-season opener, although it is on artificial turf at St. Louis and the Broncos might be careful with him.
—DT Gerard Warren is recovering well from a dislocated big toe. It appears he will be ready for the season opener.
—WR Brandon Marshall will miss another week or two with a knee injury. Because he's a rookie, it would be beneficial to play in the final preseason game, if possible.
—RB Ron Dayne has a turf toe injury. The injury has set Dayne back in the competition at tailback. He could return this week.
—DE Patrick Chukwurah has a sprained ankle. He should return this week.
|08-24-2006, 01:30 AM||#2|
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Colorado Springs
good article, shannahan has never taken crap from anybody. I acually think this could bring the team together. always good to have a defined leader
|08-24-2006, 02:21 AM||#3|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Mar 2006
|08-24-2006, 09:43 AM||#4|
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: The Backside of the Internet