Notes from Broncos/Saints

Some things came up during my time watching game film that made resting up this week less boring, so I thought I’d share them:

1. During the opening possession Sunday, Saints wideout Marques Colston ran a crossing route on 3rd and 3, and nickel linebacker Danny Trevathan dove to knock away the pass from Drew Brees, setting up the first punt of the game. Trevathan had three solo tackles plus that pass defensed in limited reps; it’s good to see him get onto the field. I think he has a bright future with Denver, and his excellent defense of a pass while in zone coverage - a weakness of his in college - suggests that he should.

I’m hoping that the team’s experience with Wesley Woodyard - seeing how that kind of drive, focus, and effort translates into production over time - should help shorten the duration before Danny sees more regular playing time. He also had one assisted tackle on special teams against NO; his reps with the nickel package were at MLB (according to PFF), so he’s been learning a new position. More power to him. He was on the field for nearly half the defensive snaps. John Fox’s comment on him was succinct: “I've been impressed with his development." Me, too.

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Beastly night for Woodyard results in AFC award

Wesley Woodyard has been named the AFC Defensive POW for Week 8 after filling the stat sheet against New Orleans.

Woodyard piled up 13 tackles, one sack, a forced fumble, an interception, and two passes defensed in Denver's 34-14 victory. He joins Tracy Porter (Week 1), Matt Prater (Week 4), and Peyton Manning (Week 6) as Broncos to have won weekly awards this season.

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Orlando Franklin as Cleopatra Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! No new word yet on the health of Denver cornerback Tracy Porter.

But if/when Porter is cleared to play, Mike Klis expects he'll spend a week working behind youngsters Chris Harris and Tony Carter, who have proven themselves more than capable in his absence.

As for the sophomore improvement exhibited by Rahim Moore, Klis says the 22-year old has matured quite a bit, perhaps thanks to the humbling experience of a difficult rookie season. Moore apparently worked extremely hard over the offseason and has earned newfound respect from both teammates and coaches.

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AFCW News: Mays to IR; Cassel starting for Quinn

As expected, the Broncos have placed LB Joe Mays on IR, and have replaced him on the active roster with S Duke Ihenacho, who had been on the practice squad.

Filling Ihenacho's spot on the taxi unit will be former Cowboys CB Mario Butler, who has been active for one game since signing with Dallas as an undrafted rookie last year.

Elsewhere in the AFCW, QB Brady Quinn has been ruled out for Thursday night's Chiefs/Chargers game after suffering a concussion against Oakland.

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Get that Manning a manicure Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Thankfully, Peyton Manning says his right thumb is okay after it hit the helmet of Saints DE Martez Wilson on Sunday night.

However, the team is upset about the hit applied by Wilson on the play, and will likely ask the league to examine it and consider disciplinary action against the second-year player.

Turns out that only Peyton's thumbnail was damaged; maybe he (and all QBs?) should be wearing a nail polish to protect his nails, in the way knuckleball pitchers do.

The NFL trade deadline was supposed to come this afternoon, but due to Hurricane Sandy, the league offices have been closed, and the deadline has been pushed back to Thursday at 4pm ET. Among the players rumored to be potentially involved in deals are several high-profile running backs, Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe, and the punt protector who can't protect the punter; Titans TE Jared Cook has reportedly asked to be traded.

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Open Thread: MNF Week 8 - 49ers @ Cardinals

Andy Benoit, Doug FarrarMatt Bowen, Sam Monson, and Benjamin Hoffman break down the matchup. Enjoy the game!

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Manning not set in his ways

Morning Rush: Peyton Manning as early MVP favorite? Broncos' QB not buying it
sports.yahoo.com

“I really enjoy working with the young receivers,” Manning said. “We’re learning each other and I’m still feeling my way out, but they’re buying in.”

Exhibit A: Manning’s one-yard touchdown pass to Thomas with 9:30 left in the third quarter, which gave the Broncos a 24-7 lead. The play was installed weeks ago by Manning in practice: Thomas, lined up to the left, begins what appears to be a fade route, then abruptly breaks it off and runs a quick out to the side of the end zone.

“When we first ran it in practice, it was against [future Hall of Fame cornerback] Champ Bailey,” Thomas recalled. “He said, ‘Man, that’s an unstoppable route.’ When I hear Champ Bailey say that, it gets my attention.”  Unsurprisingly, Saints cornerback Johnny Patrick couldn’t stop it.

“Hey,” Thomas said, “we had one play that worked that [Manning] put in [during] this game.”

"Hey guys, do you think this is a good play?"

"I don't know. Let's see if Champ can stop it."

"He can't."

"Well, well, well, look what we've got here."

Mays done for season with broken leg

The return from suspension of D.J. Williams after the Broncos' Week 10 game at Carolina has created questions about how the team will handle its LB corps going forward.

Unfortunately, a fractured fibula suffered by Joe Mays will go a long way to forcing Denver's hand there. Mays is done for the year after he was injured during a Broncos punt return last night, and is expected to be placed on IR tomorrow.

Mays had lost his starting Mike job to Keith Brooking, and had been relegated to special teams duty for the past two weeks. 2011 sixth-rounder Mike Mohamed is on the practice squad as a likely replacement for Mays, if a temporary one until Williams is reinstated.

Sixty-minute Broncos Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Last night was about questions answered.

Not regarding Peyton Manning - at least around these parts, there have been no concerns about the 36-year-old's play or physical condition since Week 3 - when he established for good that his arm was more than fine.

In the four weeks that have followed, Manning has played at a level far beyond any Broncos quarterback has ever performed. He's the first in NFL history to top 300 yards, 70% completions, and three touchdown passes in four consecutive games; against San Diego, he had become the first to do that three times in a row. File that under the category of arbitrary trivia, but it's still impressive and speaks to how great Peyton has been.

Over that stretch, Peyton has piled up 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns on a 75.4% completion rate and 127.9 QB rating, with just one interception and two sacks. Both sacks came against New England; against Oakland, San Diego, and New Orleans, the Denver QB was not taken down behind the LOS.

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Gut Reaction: Week 8 - Broncos vs Saints

Tonight, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning were supposed to throw for a combined 600 passing yards.

Manning held up his end of the bargain--and it only took him three quarters.

The Broncos defense didn't get the memo, however.  Although Brees wasn't sacked a lot, he felt more heat than a Louisiana strip club.

The player of the game was undoubtedly Wesley Woodyard.  On the night, he had nine tackles, four assists, two passes defensed, one forced fumble, one sack, and an interception.

That's scary good, and right in time for Halloween.

And right in time for the Broncos to give the league nightmares.

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