Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Chris Kuper was listed as a full participant in practice yesterday, as were the rest of Denver's active 53-man roster.
Likewise, Bill Belichick continues to give the league's injury report policy the finger, listing thirteen players as limited in Thursday's practice.
Word out of New England continues to be that TE Aaron Hernandez will not play Sunday, although he did return to practice on a limited basis yesterday.
Champ Bailey admits the team wasn't that confident about its chances of emerging from Foxboro with a victory last time, while Von Miller will be facing the Pats for the first time without a cast on his arm.
Willis McGahee is confident that the Broncos are heading to New England with plenty more talent and experience on their roster than they did in January; McCoy expects the role of Ronnie Hillman will grow as the season progresses.
Joe Ellis has apparently been impressed by how hard John Elway is willing to work at running the Broncos' football operations, and he says Elway played it cool throughout the courting of Peyton Manning.
The return of Virgil Green from suspension will allow the Broncos even more versatile use of their tight ends. It wouldn't surprise us in the least if Green's blocking ability at some point prompts Denver to cut FB Chris Gronkowski.
Andy Benoit says the simplified coverage disguises of Bill Belichick's current defense won't fool Peyton Manning. He thinks Denver should incorporate Ronnie Hillman more into the passing game this week in order to exploit the coverage weaknesses of New England's linebackers, and he expects the Broncos' defensive game plan to be far less aggressive than last week's.
Jeff Legwold says the Denver receivers should be prepared for a physical game against the New England secondary.
Pete Prisco appreciated the different looks Del Rio threw at Carson Palmer on Sunday.
Oh hey, so the stats say Peyton and Elvis Dumervil were phenomenal against Oakland.
Turns out it's Ashley Manning - Peyton's wife - and not the QB, who is buying a minority stake in her hometown Memphis Grizzlies.
Legwold explains that Manning won't be ceding regular-season snaps to Brock Osweiler until he's more comfortable with how the offense is faring, if ever.
Mike Tanier provides a frank chronicle of the QB matchup through the years, and predicts a Patriots victory.
Mike Silver offers an appreciation of the two legends and hopes Sunday will provide a modern reprise of the great Elway/Montana MNF showdown from 1994. However, it should be noted that Elway and Dan Marino met three times, with the Broncos' 1998 playoff demolition the final meeting.
Here's a weird comparison of Manning and Brady that reads as if it were written five years ago. There can't be that many objective observers who still say the differences between the two QBs are anything but tiny.
The Chowderheads apparently find watching Peyton to be very annoying; I'll admit I felt the same way until about four or five years ago.
Vince Wilfork is all business in discussing his first meeting with Dan Koppen as a true opponent.
Fomer Pats linebacker Matt Chatham says the key for New England, as usual, will be whether they can confuse Manning with their coverages.
From Ben Muth, some typically excellent analysis of how the Patriots ran the ball down the throats of the Bills and their highly-touted defensive line. Muth praises the blocking of Rob Gronkowski and some excellent game-planning by the Pats to run right at Buffalo's box safeties.
Old friend Daniel Fells is one of PFF's Secret Superstars of the week for his exceptional run blocking.
Pats DE Chandler Jones was named the league's defensive rookie of the month.
The Rams sacked Kevin Kolb nine times, and Sam Bradford made his seven completions count by throwing two of them for touchdowns, as St. Louis defeated Arizona 17-3. Matt Bowen breaks down the game; Ben Stockwell chronicles the surprisingly fast turnaround to the career of Rams LT Wayne Hunter, who only a month ago was essentially blamed for all of the Jets' pass-protection problems.
St. Louis inserted a player option into the contract of RB Steven Jackson for next season, essentially giving them both a way to gracefully part ways at the end of this year.
Wayne Elliott, the head referee from the referee lockout-ending Packers/Seahawks game, says the NFL instructed officials not to call PI on Hail Mary plays, but he admits he was mistaken in not overturning the call on the field and ruling the controversial play an interception.
Browns WR Josh Cribbs, who was the recipient of a devastating hit last Thursday which resulted in a concussion, says his family has since urged him to stop playing football.
With their head coach Chuck Pagano hospitalized, the Colts are helping to raise funds for leukemia research.
Doug Farrar revisits the inspiring story of Niners LB Patrick Willis, one of the most remarkable individuals to ever have played the game.
The NYT focuses on Giants players in their look at the fashion choices of NFL players off the field; guard Chris Snee is engaged in a lengthy but losing battle to convince his father-in-law, Tom Coughlin, that jeans aren't always that casual.
Bowen explains how Houston's defense knocked out Titans QB Jake Locker.
Brady Quinn is again ready to go in case the QB ahead of him falters. This time, it's Matt Cassel, and presumably, the guy he beat out in camp to be the backup (Ricky Stanzi, this time) won't get the chance before him due to public pressure.
My good friend Willie Petersen, with whom I used to watch Broncos games before he moved back to Denver (and who happens to be a phenomenal artist), went on a road trip this summer with his cousin from Prescott to Denver. Here's a beautiful photographic chronicle of their journey; hope you enjoy it as much as I did!