Manny Ramirez's days functioning as a turnstile along the Broncos offensive line are nearing an end.
Right guard Chris Kuper has returned to participate in today's padded practice, raising hopes that he will be available on at least a part-time basis on Sunday against Oakland. However, Lindsay Jones says the seventh-year player is unlikely to dress Sunday.
Ramirez is the only of Denver's five starting offensive linemen to receive a negative overall score from PFF (-5.3), although he did grade out at +2.1 for the opening win over Pittsburgh.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting that the two sides are closing in on an agreement which would bring the real officials back in time for Sunday's games.
Peter King says that if an agreement is reached by tomorrow afternoon, then the regular refs would indeed be available to report for work on Sunday. This is apparently thanks in large part to the work of Ed Hochuli, who has taken the initiative of keeping his colleagues up to snuff on the latest rule changes and testing their knowledge weekly.
According to Adam Schefter, the hit by Broncos linebacker Joe Mays on Matt Schaub during Sunday's loss to the Texans has landed Mays a one-game suspension from the league.
The fifth-year player had earlier been penalized $7,875 for a Week 2 hit on Falcons QB Matt Ryan.
John Fox and Jack Del Rio were, shall we say, quite open with their feelings during the game - enough so, that the Ginger Hammer had one of his lapdogs phone the Georgia Dome at halftime to demand Denver's coaches back off the scabs.
Today comes another admonition, in the form of a $30K fine for Fox, and a $25K penalty on Del Rio.
Our message remains unchanged: GFY, Roger Goodell & Ray Anderson.
The Broncos are placing fourth-round pick center/guard Philip Blake on IR, and promoting center C.J. Davis from the practice squad to take his place on the 53-man roster. Adam Grant, who spent the 2011 season on Denver's practice squad, will rejoin the group in place of Davis.
Blake was inactive for Denver's first two games and was listed on the team's injury report as having a "Thump" issue which limited his practice on Saturday. So, either thump injuries are a big deal, or something else has happened to Blake.
Davis made the team out of training camp but was cut loose to facilitate the addition of veteran center Dan Koppen.
According to Mike Klis, the Broncos worked out three veteran defensive tackles on Tuesday.
Brian Price was a 2010 second-round pick of the Bucs, who traded him to the Bears in July for a seventh-rounder. Price had 24 tackles and three sacks in 15 games (14 starts) for Tampa bay last season. He was cut by Chicago when they signed Amobi Okoye, who himself had left Chicago for Tampa Bay as a free agent in April.
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Updated 2:10pm ET
Broncos corner Tracy Porter was named the AFC's Defensive Player of the Week for his season-opening performance against the Steelers.
The fifth-year player was credited with eight tackles (one for loss), five passes defensed, and his late interception of Ben Roethlisberger and subsequent TD return sealed the 31-19 victory for Denver.
As expected, the Broncos have signed center Dan Koppen and brought back quarterback Caleb Hanie.
To make room for them, the team placed DT Ty Warren on IR and waived guard/center C.J. Davis. Denver also cut lineman Wayne Tribue from the practice squad.
Taking the place of Tribue on the practice squad will be DE Jamie Blatnick, who was among the team's final cuts this year after collecting seven tackles in the preseason (five solo).
Updated 5:12pm ET
Five and a half months after getting outbid for the services of center Jeff Saturday, the Broncos have agreed to terms with former longtime Patriots center Dan Koppen.
Like legendary Denver center Tom Nalen, Koppen was drafted out of Boston College, and he started 120 of the 121 games he played for New England from 2003 to 2011.
Denver's season-opening 31-19 over Pittsburgh came with a heavy price, as defensive tackle Ty Warren tore the same triceps that had cost him the 2011 season; he is likely done for the year.
Warren departed during the second quarter of Sunday night's game; it was his first regular-season action since the 2009 season. The former Patriots star had agreed to a reduced $1.5M salary (down from $4M) after a brief holdout over the summer.
John Fox also confirmed the team will re-sign QB Caleb Hanie, who had been released over the weekend in order to keep Denver from having to guarantee Hanie's salary as a vested veteran.