NO COLD FEET
Broncos players aren’t concerned with the potential for cold weather on Saturday in Buffalo. While the forecast is calling for 38 degrees and partly cloudy skies during the Christmas Eve tilt, should that change, Denver will be prepared.
“I’ve heard about the weather, but I’m used to the cold weather,” middle linebacker Joe Mays said. “I played out in North Dakota (in college), so I’m looking forward to it. We just have to go out there and play ball.”
Another player with cold-weather experience is wide receiver Eric Decker, who played collegiately at the University of Minnesota.
“You never know what you’re going to get,” Decker said. “It could be 40 [degrees] or 50 [degrees] and sunny – or it could be 25 [degrees] and snowy and windy. You’ve just got to show up and see what you get.”
Quarterback Tim Tebow didn’t have the same exposure to the cold as Mays and Decker, but still is not concerned with playing in Buffalo in December.
Tebow said practicing every day in Denver will be enough preparation for him to feel comfortable in Buffalo.
“I guess I haven’t had to play in too many (cold-weather games) since I played at Florida,” Tebow said. “But we play outside here. I know it’s not quite as cold as Buffalo, but I should be OK.”
BONDING ON THE ROAD
As the team has all season for 11 a.m. MT kickoffs, it will depart two days early this week for Buffalo. That approach has worked well for the Broncos as they have compiled a 3-1 record on those trips thus far in 2011.
“I think just being on the road together has also helped us become closer as a team because we’ve been having those two-day trips,” Tebow said. “So, we’ve been spending a lot of time as a team. I think that’s definitely helped because you’re not going to see family, not going to see other things. You’re going to spend time with each other. I think that’s really helped bond us up as a team on the road. I really look forward to those away trips.”
Decker said that the two-day trips have helped the team adjust to the time difference and earlier kickoff time.
“It’s actually been a good change-up (Head) Coach (John) Fox has done, bringing us in a day early to get acclimated to the place we’re playing and to get comfortable in the hotel and realize that we do have to wake up a little earlier,” Decker said.
Overall, the Broncos have posted a 5-2 road record this season, which is tied with Detroit and Houston for the third best in football behind New England and Green Bay. The Packers, Patriots and Texans have clinched playoff spots, while Denver and Detroit can do so this weekend.
After Saturday’s game at Buffalo, the players will be off on Christmas Day. Earning a win against the Bills will make the holiday more enjoyable for the entire team.
Tebow and Mays both said that wins against Buffalo are high on their wish list for the holiday.
“That’s very easy,” Mays said, when asked what he wanted for Christmas. “I want a win. I want a win, and then I want a chance to get home to my family. I know that’s going to be a tough task, but I’m definitely looking forward to Christmas.”
Decker is excited that the Broncos have a chance to give themselves the present that they all want.
“A playoff berth would be the biggest Christmas present we could get this week,” Decker said. “To control our own destiny, to have it in our hands, is an exciting feeling.”
With Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, the NFL moved games to Saturday, leaving most teams able to spend Christmas Day at home with families.
“I think to play a game we love, and I think doing it the right way I don’t necessarily see any problem with it,” Tebow said, when asked what he thought about playing a game on Christmas Eve. “Honestly, if we get a win, I think it will make Christmas just a little bit more special. It’s going to be fun either way because we get to celebrate Christ’s birth and that always means a lot to me. It will be fun to get a win too.”
See below for some photos from today’s practice: