|08-20-2008, 01:06 AM||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Arcadia, CA
Ekuban adjusting to new role
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Broncos report: Ekuban adjusting to new role
Monday, August 18, 2008
The sporadic appearances by defensive lineman Ebenezer Ekuban this summer are by design, up until Saturday night, when back tightness kept him out of the second preseason game.
His light schedule, mainly consisting of Ekuban playing tackle in the nickel pass rush in training camp practices, is both to save his body and a reflection of his new role as a situational player.
He's gotten the second of camp two-a-day practices off, too.
"The coaches advised me exactly of what's going on," Ekuban said Monday. "I'm the role guy. If a tackle should go down, I jump in. If an end should go down, I jump in. I play all four positions. It's a challenge, but it's a new role for me."
Ekuban, 32, has been a full-time starter dating back to the 2002 season with Dallas up until last season, when he ruptured his right Achilles' tendon.
But right now, John Engelberger and Elvis Dumervil are the starting ends, with Tim Crowder and Jarvis Moss in reserve in base packages.
"It's a little different, but that's where you have to really check your ego because you realize there's something bigger than just yourself. You have to put the team first," Ekuban said. "Don't get me wrong: I'm still out there working to regain that starting position from John. But I realize that, hey, if the coaches see John as the best fit as first string, I've got to live with that."
Ekuban still is anticipating being with the first nickel at tackle once he returns this week from his back spasms, which he called minor. He played about 20 snaps in the preseason opener and wants to play against the Packers in order to get his timing down and body right.
"I'd definitely take Ebenezer into a foxhole," Dumervil said. "We've just got to get him healthy because when the lights go on, he's a proven veteran and he's got what it takes."
Center Tom Nalen, bothered by a bone bruise in his left knee that's kept him out since the start of August, returned to practice but was a limited participant.
The veteran center worked in the combination blocking drills with his offensive linemates but was held out of team work and one-on-one drills with the defensive line and still is walking with a limp.
"I thought he looked fine," said offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, who oversees the line. "But he's got to feel comfortable and (head athletic trainer Steve Antonopulos) has to be comfortable with it."
Dennison was asked if he was concerned at this point about Nalen's potential availability to open the season. Casey Wiegmann has been filling in with the first team for Nalen, with P.J. Alexander in reserve.
"No, not at this stage," he said. "Let's let him get healthy."
Back in the swing
A hamstring injury sidelined Peyton Hillis for much of camp, but he returned last week, and in his preseason debut Saturday was getting some action with the first offense behind Cecil Sapp at fullback.
It was a best-case scenario for Hillis, a seventh-round pick, who was beginning to worry about his standing given his injury woes.
"I did fine," he said. "I wish I had more looks. It's kind of hard since everybody's getting reps and looks to go out there and do your thing with the less reps than I've had. But I did the best I could."
The versatility Hillis may ultimately provide when fully entrenched within the offense was showcased in Monday's practice, when, running with the scout team, he ran a wheel route out of the backfield down the right sideline and caught a deep ball with a leaping grab.
Hillis often was aligned as a slot receiver at Arkansas. But he has more pressing concerns presently.
"Hopefully ,in a short time, I can be fully mentally there," he said.
Boss Bailey is making significant progress from a severe right ankle sprain suffered in the preseason opener.
"It's come along absolutely faster than I thought it would, especially thinking about the first couple days and how much pain I was in," he said. "I thought I'd be on crutches for five days, and I was off them the third day out. It's all due to the rehab and not being afraid to push it."
While it's unlikely Bailey will play during the preseason, it's his goal to at least be physically ready by the Aug. 29 summer finale and going full bore in practices leading up to the regular-season opener.
He's already doing Stairmaster exercises and hopes to be running by Thursday or Friday this week.
* A dark-horse candidate emerging to possibly make the roster as a receiver out of camp is Clifford Russell, a 29-year-old, six-year pro who's played with Washington, Cincinnati and Miami. He's been running ahead of both Keary Colbert and Samie Parker of late and taken advantage of extra opportunities created by Darrell Jackson's ankle sprain.
* Denver is treating this week's practices as a full trial run in terms of implementing the game plan for Friday's game against the Green Bay Packers.
* Tackle Erik Pears missed practice to be with his expectant wife.
* Cornerback Champ Bailey (hamstring), as expected, was back with the first-team defense at left cornerback for the first time since Aug. 5.
"He looked like he was fine," coach Mike Shanahan said.
Also returning was linebacker Louis Green (neck), who was carted off the field in the preseason opener. Tight end Daniel Graham (hamstring) sat out the workout.
|08-20-2008, 01:23 AM||#2|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Mar 2006
i am glad to see that Green is fine and is not having any problems with his neck.
|08-20-2008, 02:52 AM||#3|
1st Amendment Protection
Join Date: May 2005
Location: St. Petersburg Russia
grahm's hammy is bad news imo.