Today is the last Friday of the regular season. Thus, we are going to start things off with a quote from Head Coach John Fox about the team’s mindset heading into the finale against the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I think four months ago if you would have told me we were going to be in the last regular season game of the season with a chance to get into the playoffs, I probably would have taken it and run,” Fox said. “We’ve got some unfinished business, and it’s all out there for the taking. Now we just have to go take it.”
FILLING BIG SHOES
It looks like everyone should be healthy and ready to go Sunday as all the players listed on the injury report are probable with one notable exception: safety Brian Dawkins.
Dawkins, who hasn’t practiced all week with a neck injury, is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s contest. Dawkins missed the entire New England game and most of the Buffalo game with an injury, meaning that for the third straight game, Denver is most likely going to be without its most experienced player.
However, while cornerback Champ Bailey said that it’s extremely tough to replace a guy like Dawkins, rookie safety Quinton Carter said he and the rest of his teammates are ready to once again step up.
Carter said that one area he’s looking to improve is his tackling. He’s made it a point all week to emphasize that in practice. It helped that for the last time in the regular season — and just the third time in the last six weeks — the Broncos practiced in pads Wednesday.
“Just getting some reps in and being able to put your body on somebody going full speed. I feel like it will help out tremendously,” Carter said.
“It’s easily correctable,” he stated. “It starts at practice. This week I’ve been stressing tackling. Just taking every little step, and we all have as a defense. We just have to go out there, play through and play the way we’ve been playing for the majority of the year.”
Carter noted that the practice on Wednesday resembled that of a training camp session, in terms of the intensity and physicality, which he said is something the team appreciated as they head into a game knowing that a victory would clinch the AFC West division title.
“I liked it personally,” Carter said. “I feel like a lot of the other guys liked it too. Just knowing where we were the past few weeks, just slacking off on the tackling. We needed that.”
BRONCOS ROOKIES HONORED
Three Broncos rookies were named to the Football Outsiders All-Rookie Team this year: tackle Orlando Franklin, outside linebacker Von Miller and cornerback Chris Harris.
The Broncos are tied with the Cowboys for the most players named on the team.
Here is the injury report for Sunday.
For the Broncos:
DOUBTFUL: Safety Brian Dawkins (neck).
PROBABLE: Safety David Bruton (Achilles), cornerback Chris Harris (neck), linebacker Von Miller (thumb), safety Quinton Carter (hip).
For the Chiefs:
OUT: Running Back Jackie Battle (foot).
DOUBTFUL: Safety Jon McGraw (ankle).
Below are some photos from the Broncos’ Friday practice.