Sitting here, checking off a few tasks, watching the season’s first significant snowfall here at Dove Valley on a relatively quiet Tuesday, the calm before the storm of what is sure to be a most unusual week with an opponent with whom the Broncos share a legion of connections.
All that being said, here’s a few players-off-day notes …
- Javon Walker’s 23.1-yards-per-catch average on third down ranks fifth in the league, but is secont among receivers with more than five third-down catches this season. All eight of his third-down receptions have gone for first downs; only three players have the same third-down conversion percentage with more third-down receptions (Reggie Wayne, Chris Chambers, Marvin Harrison).
- Once again, it’s dangerous to take the Broncos’ opponent at the value of their record. Three of the 1-4 Browns’ four losses have come by one score — and those three defeats came by a combined 14 points, including a one-point home loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
- The Broncos have never before visited Cleveland Browns Stadium. They won three straight over the Browns at Municipal Stadium in the 1990s and counting the playoffs have won seven of their last eight along the southern shore of Lake Erie.
And notes to some news du jour from fellow AFC clubs:
- Indianapolis: DT Anthony “Booger” McFarland acquired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for a second-round pick in next year’s draft; Colts hope to bolster a run defense than ranks 32nd in the NFL, allowing 168.8 yards per game.
- Baltimore: Former Broncos offensive coordinator Jim Fassel is no longer with the Ravens; he and the Ravens parted ways Monday and Baltimore head coach Brian Billick spoke on the matter Tuesday. Billick said he would take responsibility for Baltimore’s offense going forward. “”If there was any ambiguity before about who is responsible for the productivity of any aspect of what we do — particularly now offensively — if there was any ambiguity, that should be removed,” he said.
- New England: The grass field at Gillette Stadium — the subject of much consternation when the Broncos played the Patriots after a series of sod-trampling events such as a Rolling Stones concert and a Major League Soccer game within 96 hours of Denver’s Week 3 win — will get a boost when sod at the center of the field is replaced. However, that won’t take place until Oct. 25, according to NFL director of game operations Tim Davey. What’s holding up the project? Filming of a movie entitled The Game Plan starring The Rock. (If the movie was called The Rock and the wrestler-turned-actor called The Game Plan, would that make a difference?)
- Houston: Another ex-Bronco is reunited with Gary Kubiak as one-time Broncos defensive tackle Lional Dalton signs with the Texans. He joins fellow former Broncos Ron Dayne, Jeb Putzier, Ephraim Salaam and Roc Alexander with the fifth-year franchise.
That’s it from a cold day in Denver. Says self-proclaimed DenverBroncos.com chief weather forecaster Kyle Sonneman upon looking out the window: “It’s snowing.” But there’ll be plenty of stuff flying at you Wednesday like snowflakes through the sky: Broncos TV, Jake Plummer and Mike Shanahan press conferences, a daily notebook and more. See you then.