It’s Friday, and we all know what that means. Most people are itching to get out of their workplaces and head home for the weekend.
But that’s not the story at Dove Valley.
For the Broncos, today has been all about making the final preparations for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — get their gameplan set, know their assignments and fix any problems they may have seen on film. It’s time to get back to their winning ways after last week’s loss. It’s time to refocus.
“You would expect that, because we feel like we missed out last week — we knew we should’ve won that game,” Champ Bailey said Friday. “But we didn’t prepare well enough. I think you kind of stress that during the week, ‘OK, we’ve got to practice harder and prepare harder.’ And I think guys understood that and people stepped it up a little bit.”
As Bailey sees it, the biggest issue for the defense is to prevent the big plays in the running game. He feels they played solidly against opposing running backs in the first three weeks, but last week they had a lapse.
This week, they want to make sure they don’t repeat the same errors because the Bucs have the weapons at their disposal to do some damage.
“That’s one thing about this league, you’re going to get premier backs every week,” Bailey said. “That’s just how it goes nowadays. We’ve been effective against the run for the most part. We just can’t give up big plays in the run game.”
“They’re going to run the ball, but we know they love short passes,” Bailey continued. “They love the play-action, go deep. We’re going to have our hands full – you never know what they’re going to throw at us. I don’t know what to expect from them, but I know teams have been successful stopping their run, so I hope we can, too.”
Bailey’s counterpart on the other side of the defense, Dre’ Bly, feels that the team has had an excellent week. They’ve been much more focused, and they truly have made stopping the run a focal point.
“We really emphasized stopping the run and guys getting back in their gaps where they’re supposed to be, because Tampa, they like to run the football,” Bly said. “They like to grind it out.”
Leading the Tampa Bay ground attack is Earnest Graham, the fifth-year running back who rushed for 898 yards and 10 touchdowns a year go. Already in 2008, he has two 100-yard performances with the most recent occuring last week in the Buccaneers’ win over the Packers.
But the Buccaneers also brought back a familiar face in Warrick Dunn. Now in his 12th year, Dunn began his career in Tampa and then spent six years with the Falcons before re-signing with the Bucs as a free agent in the offseason. He has carried the ball 42 times for 197 yards and a score.
Toss in 11th year vet Brian Griese, who just two weeks ago threw 67 passes in their win over Chicago, and Tampa Bay has a number of ways to get the job done.
“They’re playing with a lot of confidence right now, and in this league, when you have your confidence it can carry you a long way,” Bly said. “Our job is to try to bring them down a little bit. They like to get the run going, establish the run early, so that’s going to be our focus this week.”
“I think it’s something to be motivated about this week — try to correct what we did wrong last weekend and get ready for this game.”
For the Buccaneers, fullback B.J. Askew and wide receiver Joey Galloway will not play in this weekend’s contest at INVESCO Field at Mile High. Safety Sabby Piscitelli is doubtful for the game. Linebacker Derrick Brooks, guard Davin Joseph and defensive tackle Ryan Sims are all listed as questionable, while cornerback Aqib Talib is probable.
For the Broncos, Ryan Torain is out as he continues to rehab his elbow. Darrell Jackson, who has been a limited participant on the practice field this week with a calf injury, is questionable. John Engelberger is probable.
– Adam Zinser, DenverBroncos.com