Broncos Update Insider - 12/16

QB Kyle Orton (Doug Pensinge/Getty Imagesr)

It's apparently time for Denver to not only put up against Oakland but shut up the Raiders, too, after losing the first meeting between the teams by 45 points.

"Losing to these guys stays with you," said Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton, who was listed as a limited participant in practice Wednesday with sore ribs. "There's always a lot of talk going on with these guys anyway on the field, so they let us know about it. And hopefully we'll go out and return the favor."

And what kinds of things were Oakland's players saying during the October rout?

"Not nice stuff," Orton added.

The most effective way to ego-induced trash talking would be payback, though there's been little evidence lately that this 3-10 Denver team is capable of inducing that kind of laryngitis.

Orton is coming off his worst two games. Teams have buckled down on his outside passing targets. The defense continues to be a sieve, especially against the run. The current coach is a temp. The list goes on.

But if there ever was a scenario where pride could take over it could be after allowing 59 points then getting a second crack at the perpetrators.

"It's still another game. That happened," wide receiver Brandon Lloyd said. "If you're alluding to (the rematch) as extra motivation, are we hanging the score up around the locker room like some kind of high school game? No, we're not."

The Broncos themselves have proven there can be some residual effects anyway in a two-game series. Denver defeated Kansas City handily, 49-29, only to get beaten 10-6 in the rematch three weeks later.

But for Denver to even have a chance to reverse course it has to slow down an Oakland running game that put up 328 rushing yards in that Oct. 24 beatdown. Darren McFadden appeared to toy with Denver with four total touchdowns (one receiving).

The Broncos only watched snippets of that game after the fact. The study has been more involved this week.

"Sometimes on a game like that you want to bury it and act like it never happened," defensive end Justin Bannan said. "What are we going to do, cry about it all day? Now we can look at it and be critical about the mistakes that happened, things that went wrong and fix them."

Tackling would be a good start. Finding a solution for Oakland's heavy formations that employed an offensive tackle in the usual tight end spot would help, too. The offense went scoreless in a 24-0 first quarter that put the game out of reach from the get-go.

"Everybody they have has the capability of taking the ball short and making it a long run," linebacker Mario Haggan said.

But from a bigger perspective, this has nothing to do with the long run. Denver can use all the right verbiage but the bags are almost packed and the cars running with three games left.

A loss Sunday would be Denver's worst 14-game start since the 1967 season. Oakland (6-7) is still on the periphery of the AFC playoff race.

"If you have to try to find motivation in spoiling somebody else's season, I think it's a little weak," Lloyd said.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Those concerned that Tim Tebow would be irrevocably harmed by a poor showing should he get battered around in his NFL debut -- whenever that time comes -- the rookie says don't worry about his ego.

"I don't think it would ruin my confidence at all. I think that I know I've got a long way to go and good or bad, I'm going to continue to work and that's not going to shake my confidence or my determination," he said.

The Broncos have announced Kyle Orton as the starter in Oakland this Sunday.

One underlying reason for that move, besides questions over Tebow's current preparedness for such a responsibility, seems to be the setting: the Black Hole.

Denver's season's already on track to become one of the worst all-time. It may make more sense to play Tebow, if at all, in a home environment for his first starting assignment.

"LSU was always rowdy. Tennessee's always rowdy. Florida State, they love to hate as well and it was always a lot of fun," Tebow countered.

--It's overstating things, but not by much, that Steven Hauschka went straight from the team plane, to the University of Phoenix Stadium, dressed in Broncos' colors then kicked for the first time Sunday with Denver.

Hauschka's 2-for-3 performance as Matt Prater's temporary replacement due to the latter's groin injury was as close to getting picked off the street and kicking in an NFL game without practice as it comes.

"Pretty much in the game it was winging it," said Hauschka, whose first successful field goal hit the left upright. "Our operation times were good but the rhythm wasn't great."

Long snapper Lonie Paxton and holder Britton Colquitt worked briefly Friday during his tryout. The next time the three congregated together on the field was pregame vs. the Cardinals.

"That's something we'll do this week," Hauschka said of getting their timing down.

Hauschka still is on the roster as Prater sat out Wednesday's practice. If he does kick this week, it will be the first time he's done so in Oakland, under what are supposed to be extremely wet conditions.

The trio may practice with a wet football this week to simulate conditions, but won't have anyone cursing at them while doing so.

"Matt and Britton were telling me they like to heckle the kickers, so I'll be expecting it," Hauschka said.

BY THE NUMBERS: 6 -- Losses of 30-plus points in the last four seasons, including a 59-14 debacle vs. Oakland in October and last week's 43-13 defeat in Arizona. Prior to Nov. 7, 2007, the Broncos had gone nearly 11 years from Dec. 2006 to Oct. 2007 without a loss of that caliber. The 45-point losing margin in the last Raiders game represents the fourth-worst defeat in Denver franchise history.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Well, obviously he doesn't have a track record of being involved, but, for what he means to Denver, it's a great move. I think his presence would definitely rub off on a lot of people and I think this program definitely benefits from that, because I've looked up to him since I've been here. He's the man; he's always been the man. I hope he can do some good things for us." -- CB Champ Bailey, on the prospects of Hall of Fame QB John Elway taking a significant role in the Broncos' front office, which is expected soon.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

With Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney seeing a lot of double-team attention, Denver's offense is seeking ways to get other people involved and take stress off those players.

Denver tried to get tight end Daniel Graham involved vs. Arizona, but he had a few drops.

The Broncos also went to a slightly more balanced offensive attack in the first week with Mike McCoy calling plays, leaning more on the run. And with rainy conditions expected, Knowshon Moreno could see a heavy workload, provided the Raiders don't jump out to the quick lead it did in the first meeting.

PLAYER NOTES

--C J.D. Walton has missed only one snap. He's one of five rookie NFL linemen to start every game for his season.

--RB Knowshon Moreno has averaged 92.4 yards per game since Week 10, putting him in a tie for fourth in the NFL during that five-game span. The three backs ahead of him are Maurice Jones-Drew (126.6), Michael Turner (96.0) and Arian Foster (93.2).

--CB Champ Bailey leads the NFL in passes defensed since his 1999 rookie season at 1.02. Ronde Barber of Tampa Bay is second (0.92).

--NT Jamal Williams is one of just five players to start every game on defense this season, one year after his season ended after the first game of the season for San Diego (triceps).

--WR Eric Decker's 27.6 kickoff return average leads all rookies and is fifth all-time among Broncos rookies with a minimum of 10 returns.



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