Kuper on track for career playoff debut Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's been well-documented here and elsewhere that the Ravens will come to Denver with many players they didn't have for the first matchup between the two teams.

But Denver has several recovery stories of its own, if not all with an eye toward Saturday, or even this 2012 season.

Willis McGahee's return to practice yesterday offers hope of a particularly deep backfield - given the emergence of Knowshon Moreno - but Willis will only become a factor should the Broncos emerge victorious from this upcoming divisional round game.

To get there, a likely reappearance by Chris Kuper in the starting lineup would be a major boon, given the oft-noted vast difference between the offensive line's pass protection with Kuper around rather than Manny Ramirez.

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Okay, so maybe Jay Cutler isn’t such a jerk, after all

Outside the Game: Jay Cutler inspires others with Type 1 Diabetes
sports.yahoo.com

“It’s hard enough as a kid these days to feel normal and just try to fit in.” Cutler told Yahoo! Sports. “To be a diabetic is just a dramatic thing to go through.”

“When I found out that Type 1 mostly involves kids, that was an easy choice for me,” Cutler said. “Just talking to them one-on-one, and giving them someone to relate to who has the same disease they have—that’s important.”

“It doesn’t have to change your goals or your aspirations of what you want to do, or who you want to be in the future. It’s just a little speed bump that you’ll get through, and you just have to manage it each and every day.”

As much as we rip on Cutler - and we do so a whole lot - he deserves the heftiest of praise for his work in building awareness about Type 1 Diabetes and acting as a role model to children afflicted by the serious condition.

How motivated will Peyton Manning be?

Peyton Manning's next move
espn.go.com

Manning has four MVP awards. He has played in two Super Bowls. A first-round Hall of Fame ballot is a certainty, and only New England’s Tom Brady can challenge him as the top quarterback of his generation. About the only thing Manning hasn’t done is break any of Favre’s NFL career passing records. At his current pace, he’d need about three more good years to become the league’s career leader in completions, yards and touchdowns. It’s hard to know whether those records are enough to drive a man who turns 37 in March and missed the entire 2011 season. We can’t predict whether Manning’s passion for the game will continue to burn as his time in Denver passes…It’s different when stars move on to other towns late in their careers. Those same little things that move them with their first teams—the familiarity, the comfort, the trust—matter more than you imagine once lost to a player who sees 40 on the horizon.

At some point, that will all change. He’ll have to ponder the same things [Ray] Lewis has been considering in recent weeks. He might face the same challenges Favre faced in his second season in Minnesota, when the Vikings underachieved and that feel-good story didn’t feel so good anymore. For all we know, we might never see Manning this healthy again in the remainder of his career.

Yes, yes, Peyton Manning can't play forever. Next year he might get injured; he might get old; he might trip over his dog walking down his driveway.

Does it make what Manning has done this year any less sweet for Broncos fans?

The last time we heard from John Elway on the matter of motivation, he said he wanted to make Peyton Manning the greatest quarterback of all time.  Getting one ring with Denver isn't going to do that.  Why not?  

Because even Eli Manning has two.  And Tom Brady has three. Do we really need to bring Brett Favre (a far inferior quarterback) into the discussion?

Clady, McGahee, Holliday return to practice

McGahee Returns to Practice
blog.denverbroncos.com

Running back Willis McGahee joined his teammates on the practice field Tuesday for the first time since injuring his knee in Week 11 against the San Diego Chargers.

Also present at practice Tuesday were tackle Ryan Clady, guard Chris Kuper and wide receiver Trindon Holliday.

As per expectations. Prior reports said Clady had not practiced at all last week, but that he and Kuper were on track to start on Saturday against Baltimore in Denver's playoff opener.

McGahee will not be eligible to return to action until next week, provided the Broncos make it beyond the divisional round.

Stokley: Fans need to be rockin’ against the Ravens

On Monday night, Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokley joined Alfred Williams and Darren McKee on the third hour of 104.3's The Drive.  The discussion centered mostly on the Broncos' upcoming game with the Ravens.  Here are some highlights:

On whether the Broncos are going to win one for Brandon on his way out like the Ravens are doing for Ray Lewis:

"Let's do it...If I've got to get out there and dance, I'll get out there and dance."

On whether he's looking forward to seeing Ray Lewis:

"Yeah I am, and hopefully making it his last game ever...I know what kind of energy he brings to that team, I know the difference when he's in the lineup and when he's not in the lineup.  So we're going to see a different Ravens team this time around, a much improved Ravens team, and I think we're all looking forward to that challenge...We understand that what we did in the past doesn't matter."

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Several factors stacking up against Ravens Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver heads into Saturday's rematch with the Ravens buoyed by several distinct advantages:

  1. They know they're the better team, and if they weren't already sure of that, their Week 15 boatrace job proved it.
  2. This team is loaded with veterans who are quite aware the Ravens are looking at Saturday as a chance to avenge that game.
  3. Having a week off bought Chris Kuper and Ryan Clady time to heal up; the chances of either one not playing would appear slim or nil.
  4. Previously injured key defenders Terrell Suggs (reaggravated Achilles) and Dannell Ellerbe (ankle) were further hobbled during Sunday's win over Indy.
  5. Baltimore faces the triple whammy of a shortened week of preparation combined with a trip up to 5,280 and two time zones over.

That latter quartet of factors could loom even larger than normal.

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Report: RG3 has partially torn ACL, LCL (updated)

Mike Shanahan says Robert Griffin III will travel on Tuesday to see Dr. James Andrews for further tests on his injured right knee. Griffin had previously injured the ACL in that knee during his sophomore year at Baylor.

However, ESPN Radio 980 in Washington cites a report from a Richmond television station that Griffin has torn his PCL and ACL and will be out of action for 14-18 months.

more recent report from the Washington Post characterizes the injury as a partial tear to Griffin's ACL and LCL, not his PCL.

Updated 6:20pm ET

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The Broncos are great at playing from ahead

Do you know how sometimes people say a football team isn’t built to play from behind?  The 2011 Broncos were such a team, and the 2012 Texans and Vikings seem to be also.  Teams which rely heavily on their running game, and which lack the ability to complete passes downfield in obvious passing situations tend to fit this description.

Although the Broncos have only really had one comeback win this year (the first Chargers game), they showed a good ability to put up points quickly in the second half of games, in the losses to Atlanta, Houston, and New England.  I feel pretty good about their ability to play from behind, if necessary.

Do you know what I feel great about?  The Broncos' ability to play from ahead.  I was listening to Pat Shumur talk on Sirius last week, and he mentioned something about the Broncos that I’ve also made note of during the 2012 season.  That is, when the game gets one dimensional, such as in a second half, with the Broncos holding a lead of two or more, the pass rush becomes dominant, and next to unstoppable.

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Broncos sign Gerell Robinson, Justin Boren to future contracts

The Broncos have signed G Justin Boren and WR Gerell Robinson to future contracts today.

Robinson had been with the team in training camp as an undrafted free agent out of Arizona State, where he was a teammate of Brock Osweiler and Omar Bolden, and was on Arizona's practice squad this season. Boren has spent the past two seasons on the practice squads of Baltimore and Detroit after playing his college ball at Ohio State.

The two players will join the team following the Super Bowl.

A Second Helping of Von Miller and the shed

After Ronnie Hillman coughed up the ball during the first quarter of the regular season finale against Kansas City, the Broncos played a series in relative chaos. Peyton Manning took a rare delay of game penalty; three snaps later, Ryan Clady jumped to a false start.

The result? A three-and-out, the first of just two on the day for Denver.

As has usually been the case this season, their struggles didn’t endure. The Broncos marched down the field like the champion team they want to be, pausing only briefly between possessions during the Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas highlight show.

It was also time to stop the Chiefs before they could gain any momentum. What happens here is part of that; great plays often come from great fundamentals applied with great effort.

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