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Count Denver Broncos head coach John Fox among those that aren't pleased with the NFL's replacement referees.
During Denver's preseason contest against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Fox challenged a play in which the 49ers recovered their own fumble.
Since such a play is not reviewable by a coach's challenge, Bruce Hermansen, head referee for the game, whacked Fox with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty -- when things continued to be a bit chaotic.
After contact with the NFL observer on site, Hermansen picked up the flag, but did not make an announcement that the penalty had been negated.
"They were wrong," Fox said. "I was actually challenging the spot. They recovered it, and last time I looked, if you're on offense and you get the ball back, that's not a turnover, so you can challenge that. I was actually challenging the spot. I don't know what they said."
Fox isn't the only coach or player to be upset with the replacement referees, as players all around the league have been griping about the officiating during the preseason.
For the latest on all things Broncos, be sure to check out Mile High Report and join the discussion.
The Denver Broncos lost to the San Francisco 49ers, 29-24, on Sunday afternoon at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The team completed its home preseason schedule and finished with a 0-2 record. After holding a 24-10 lead at halftime, the Broncos' backups failed to put points on the board during the remainder of the game.
San Francisco running back Anthony Dixon (13 carries, 58 yards) picked up a 26-yard rushing touchdown about two minutes into the third quarter to account for the only touchdown of the second half. Kicker David Akers kicked four field goals, including ones of 44 and 45 yards, over the final two quarters to tip the balance of the game in favor of the 49ers. The 44-yard and final one came with 3:05 left in the game. Backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick was 4-of-4 for 80 yards.
Peyton Manning had a great time out there, completing 10-of-12 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Eric Decker caught those scores from five and 10 yards out, finishing with four receptions for 38 yards in total. Caleb Hanie relieved Manning after the first quarter and did well by completing 8-of-12 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown pass to Joel Dreessen, but he did commit an early mistake with an interception.
But Brock Osweiler failed to do much in the second half of the game, completing 4-of-9 passes for 27 yards. Adam Weber saw some action in the final minutes of the game. Rookie Ronnie Hillman made his preseason debut and rushed 10 times for 29 yards.
The Broncos are on the road against the Arizona Cardinals in Thursday's preseason finale.
The defensive depth for the Broncos got tested big time during this quarter, as the 49ers came storming out of the locker room with a 4-play, 80-yard drive that was capped off by a 26-yard touchdown run from Anthony Dixon. Then, after rookie quarterback Brock Osweiler and the Broncos had a quick three-and-out, the Niners picked up 45 more yards on seven plays. Everything culminated with a David Akers field goal that cut the Denver lead to four.
Osweiler was able to convert a first down in the next drive, as he completed an eight-yard pass to Andre Caldwell on 3rd and 7.
To this point in the game, the Broncos have outgained the 49ers on offense, 283 yards to 240.
The Denver Broncos have taken a 24-10 lead into the locker room halfway through Sunday's preseason contest vs. the San Francisco 49ers. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning threw two touchdown passes before coming out of the game in the first quarter.
Manning played the first three possessions of the game for Denver, and the Broncos scored on all of them. The first drive went eight plays and 45 yards and resulted in a 53-yard field goal from Matt Prater, while Manning connected for TD passes to wide receiver Eric Decker on the next two drives. Manning looked sharp, completing 10 of 12 passes for 122 yards and the two scores.
Caleb Hanie replaced Manning near the end of the first quarter, and proceeded to throw an interception, ending his first drive. However, the Colorado State alum connected with fellow former Ram Joel Dreessen on a touchdown with just 36 seconds left in the half.
The Broncos lead the San Francisco 49ers 17-7 after one quarter in Denver. Peyton Manning connected for his first touchdown pass in a Broncos uniform, which he quickly followed up with a second in the final minute of the quarter. Manning hit Eric Decker on both touchdown strikes, pacing the Broncos to a quick 17-point lead over the 49ers. The first touchdown was a 10-yard pass to Decker on a corner route. Before the snap, the veteran wideout came in motion for what looked like a route down the middle. But Decker crossed up the Niners and ran a perfect route -- crossing the goal line, planting and cutting to the sideline. Manning hit him in stride as he went to a knee. 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers did not have a chance to get to the ball.
Manning would hit Decker for the second Broncos score just four minutes later, after the defense forced a turnover. The Broncos' defensive front applied pressure to quarterback Alex Smith, forcing a fumble which Wesley Woodyard pounced on at the 25-yard line. Just four plays later, Manning found Decker on another corner route, dropping the ball at the back pylon for the score. Manning's day would be over after the second touchdown throw, finishing 10 of 12 for 122 yards.
The Niners would get on the board in the final minute and cut the deficit to 10, thanks to a failed onside kick attempt by Denver. Alex Smith promptly hit tight end Vernon Davis down the right side line for a 44-yard score to make it 17-7. But the first quarter certainly belonged to Manning and the Denver offense.
The Denver Broncos have ruled out three players for Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers, none of who are surprising. Linebacker Keith Brooking, defensive end Jason Hunter and right guard Chris Kuper will not play.
Brooking is dealing with a hamstring injury and is expected to miss the rest of the preseason. Hunter tore his triceps muscle earlier in August and is out for at least three months, possibly the season. Kuper, recovering from a broken leg and dislocated ankle, is out through the first few games of the season with a broken forearm.
Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. MT and can be seen on FOX.
James went down with an ankle injury last week in a preseason game against the Houston Texans. The former Oregon Duck standout did return to practice on Tuesday and seemed to be running healthily.
In addition, fellow half back Brandon Jacobs didn't make the trip to Denver either, as he was held out with a knee injury. This will give backup rushers Rock Cartwright and Anthony Dixon plenty of time on the field against the Broncos.
It appears that Manningham may have experienced the death of a friend of family member. Manningham wrote on his Twitter page, "Lost for words. I just lost a man that knows me better than anyone can imagine have mercy on me!!! Rip Big Daddy"
The Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers clash at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday.
The Denver Broncos sent out a traffic advisory on Saturday through the team's official blog, encouraging fans to allow for extra time and to follow the posted signage in downtown Denver before Sunday's preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Several streets will be closed on Sunday, beginning at 6:00 a.m. MT due to the conclusion of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge taking place in Denver.
Fans are encouraged to get to Sports Authority Stadium at Mile High by using these alternate routes:
Traveling Colfax Avenue from the east
Use Colorado Boulevard to access westbound 8th Avenue and northbound I-25
Traveling Speer Boulevard from the south
Use westbound 8th Avenue
Traveling Broadway from the south
Use northbound I-25 and westbound 8th Avenue
Public transportation via light rail or bus is also highly encouraged.
More detailed information on street closures and alternative routes to the stadium can be found on the Broncos' official website.
For more news and analysis on the Denver Broncos be sure to check out Mile High Report.
Judging players by their preseason stats is often misleading, and it's hard to truly judge how a player will perform in the regular season. In the case of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, every single action is being placed under the microscope since he sat out last season with a neck injury.
Over at SB Nation's Broncos blog Mile High Report, they take a look at Manning's past preseason performances and compare them to his 2012 results through two weeks. They ask the question if there is anything to be worried about Manning's play through the preseason so far:
The way I see it is that Manning is getting a feeling for his new offense. Remember in Kyle Orton's second year he had an incredible season? Remember how that year we went on to have the worst year in Bronco history? It is hard to judge a QB but pre-season play.
Clearly Manning has work to do but he will admit that himself. It is a whole new environment for Manning and he had not played since January of 2011 in a playoff loss to the Jets.
I think Peyton will be fine. Will he be 4 time MVP Peyton? Probably not. But He will be a damn good quarterback and with the Broncos defense steadily improving, I would not bet against the Broncos chances of being a contender. If Tim Tebow was as bad as everyone seemed to say he was, then the sky is the limit with PFM.
The only real difference in Manning's preseason performances compared to his past is that he has not thrown any touchdowns thus far, but overall this is still the preseason and any real judgement cannot be properly made until the regular season begins.
Hillman returned to practice earlier this week and has not had a setback on his hamstring injury, according to Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post.
The running back was expected to push Lance Ball for the backup role behind veteran Willis McGahee, but has struggled to stay on the field for much of the preseason. When healthy, however, Hillman is expected to be a major part of the offense as a receiving threat out of the backfield and a change-of-pace back behind McGahee.
Hillman was selected in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft out of San Diego State and has not played in a preseason game yet this season, fighting through hamstring injuries for most of training camp. Hillman had aggravated his right hamstring last week and was held out against the Seahawks in the second preseason game.
Tim Tebow was unpredictable on the field, which made him hard for some defenses to read but also hard for the O-Line in front of him to figure out where he was going in the passing game. Now that future hall of famer Peyton Manning is at the helm of quarterback, the O-Line should have a much easier time since Manning loves to work in the pocket.
It also means that the fortunes of the team are going to be a lot more focused on the big guys in front of Manning than they were last season:
Manning has not been sacked in his seven offensive series in the preseason, a testament to his ability to see the pressure and get rid of the ball to go with the effort up front to this point. Manning has been pressured in practice at times, especially when the first-team defense gets a chance and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has turned up the heat.
Manning has prestige in the area of working with O-Lines, putting up MVP numbers numerous times despite having mediocre lines in Indianapolis during his career there. With an arguably more talented Broncos line than he ever had in Indy, Manning should have time to do his stuff in the pocket, where he works the best. Even if not, his keen ability to smartly get rid of the ball while under pressure should keep it easier than it was under Tebow for the men up front.
The— Denver Broncos (@Denver_Broncos) August 24, 2012
#Broncos have waived/injured WR Tyler Grisham.
Grisham has not exactly been productive in his NFL career since being picked up by the Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2009. His total NFL stat line is only one reception for 14 yards, picked up while playing with the Steelers in 2009, the year where he also had all four of his NFL starts. He has not appeared in an NFL game since that season.
Teams in the NFL must make cuts to their teams to take themselves down to 75 players by mid-day on Monday, so Grisham won't be the only player removed from the Broncos roster soon.
The preseason has been injury-filled for the Denver Broncos, but they are slowly starting to get healthy. WR Andre Caldwell and LB Nate Irving are getting back on the practice field for the Broncos, but the news isn't quite as good for Keith Brooking, who is now expected to miss the preseason after being sidelined with a hamstring injury.
The 15-year NFL veteran Brooking was brought into the Broncos via free agency during the off-season, and is expected to provide at the very least some quality depth on the Broncos defense in 2012 if not sneaking into the starting lineup. A five-time pro bowler, Brooking has put together 1380 tackles in his long career with the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys.
No word has been released on whether or not he'll be ready to play in Week 1.
Typically the third week of the preseason is the game that features starters playing the entire first half and often well into the third quarter. That may not be the case for the Denver Broncos, though, as Peyton Manning suggested that he and the rest of the team's starters may get more time on the bench than usual.
Manning told the Denver Post that, while the starters haven't been told how long they'll play on Sunday against the 49ers, they might not be in the game as long because they were in longer than expected against the Seahawks in Week 2 of the preseason.
Through two preseason games, Manning has completed 20 of 30 pass attempts for 221 passing yards and has yet to find the end zone, while throwing three interceptions.
The Denver Broncos have decisions to make on the defensive line as the Aug. 31 deadline for a 53-man roster draws nearer.
Defensive end Jason Hunter is likely lost for the season after tearing his right triceps last Tuesday, and the choice to keep an injured player on the roster, as Jeff Legwold of The Denver Post writes, could make depth a problem throughout the team.
Much is expected from rookies Malik Jackson and Derek Wolfe, who will likely join Jeremy Beal and Sealver Siliga in battling for roster positions alongside Ty Warren, Elvis Dumervil, Justin Bannan, Kevin Vickerson, Robert Ayers and Mitch Unrein.
If the Broncos' plan is to keep the defensive line roster number at nine, Legwold writes, the final spot could come down to the possibly promising Beal or Vickerson, who was recently sidelined with a concussion.
In any event, time is running out, and Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers will hopefully help toward clearing the air around the defensive line.
Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. MT on Sunday.
Completing passes to receivers on the right side of the field could be a struggle for new Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning this season, according to an ESPN report by Bill Williamson.
Williamson claims longtime ESPN football insider John Clayton along with Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. both noticed that Manning has "had issues throwing to the opposite side." Williamson shares that Clayton did go on to say that he's seen improvement from Manning in the area through two preseason games but still fears that the 36-year-old signal caller will have issues with any passes over 10 yards.
While this issue might be concerning to some, one has to believe that if anyone can make it work it's the four-time NFL MVP. An control freak when it comes to the x's and o's, Manning makes so many adjustments at the line that he naturally puts himself in the best position to succeed. The Scouts Inc. Williamson shares the same sentiment:
"If anyone can do what is needed to get away with throwing with field limitations, it is No. 18," Williamson said.
Additionally, Manning has been quite up front with the media in explaining that he still doesn't feel 100% back. And with the season opener not being until Sept. 9, Denver's 96-million dollar man still has a fair amount of time to work on getting the proper arm strength and confidence back to tear apart the portside of the field.
For more information of Manning's progress as a passer and all your Broncos news, pay a visit to Mile High Report.
A couple of familiar names could be among those who don't make the final 53-man roster for the Denver Broncos, according to the Denver Post. Veteran linebackers Jim Leonhard and Keith Brooking are not guaranteed roster spots.
Leonhard was only recently activated from the PUP list after recovering from knee surgery. Keeping him on the PUP list would've given them more time on a decision, but he's now on the active roster and the deadline for the 53-man roster is next week. Leonhard, a former starter with the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets, practiced with the Broncos for the first time Tuesday. Brooking hurt his hamstring in his second full practice last week and has yet to return.
The Broncos signed Leonhard and Brooking two weeks ago with the intent on keeping them when the season started, but they haven't gotten a look at either in preseason action and neither is expected to play Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.
Leonhard, entering his eighth year in the NFL out of Wisconsin, started the last three seasons for the New York Jets where he was one of the main cogs in Rex Ryan's defenses. In 2011, he had 48 tackles, 6 pass deflections and 1 interception in 13 games.
Despite being undersized at 5'9, 190, he's one of the hardest hitters in the NFL, and he'll be expected to shore up a secondary that was dissected by Tom Brady in their second-round playoff loss last year.
Wolfe, the No. 36 overall selection in the draft, played as a three-down lineman for Denver in their second preseason game against the Seahawks and, according to Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post, will be "one of the most important players" on the defensive front for the Broncos now that Jason Hunter required surgery to repair a torn triceps.
The next pick for the Broncos, Brock Osweiler, has not had as successful a preseason, looking "shaky" against the Seahawks in a 5-of-11 passing performance that netted only 38 yards. Legwold notes that the Broncos could consider adding a veteran quarterback to ensure that Osweiler is given the opportunity to settle in during his rookie season.
During the loss to the Seahawks last weekend, the Denver Broncos had a pretty bad showing from the second team after Peyton Manning and the first crew got off the field. That included a nearly invisible showing from all of the backup running backs, who had under 10 yards all combined on the ground.
Mile High Report's Bubble Watch put the hammer down on pretty much every RB on the team because of the sub-par showing, which at one point just devolved into the team passing on nearly every single down:
Lance Ball was the most productive of the group, adding 4 catches for 30 yards and only 5 yards on 2 carries on the ground. The other three totaled 3 carries for 1 yard. For some reason, the Broncos totally gave up on the running game. Either the Broncos decided the blocking was so bad that they decided to air it out, or wanted to give Osweiler as much work as possible. Knowshon did pick up the blitz pretty well on Mannings second INT, but other than that, these guys didn't stand out to me, and didn't help their stock at all.
It wasn't all doom and gloom though, as linebacker Nate Irving got high marks from the MHR crew after another solid game with the second team:
Another standout from last weeks game, Nate Irving stood out to me again. He was arguably the best player on the 2nd and 3rd team D. Showed solid tackling and nearly leveled QB Russel Wilson, who somehow avoided the sack. It's good to see Irving playing well.
There's still plenty of time in the preseason for those guys to boost their stocks or lower them, the second tier running game in general is sure to improve in the Broncos next preseason match -- it could hardly get worse.
Even though he made his presence known at practice last week from the sidelines, Broncos safety Quinton Carter finally returned to the field for individual drills on Monday, according to the team's official blog.
Carter was recently leapfrogged by Mike Adams in the team's starting strong safety spot due to his inactivity at such a crucial time in the year, but remains the favorite to see the bulk of the work at the position after a promising 2011 campaign. The second-year defensive back will now have exactly three weeks to prepare for Denver's Sept. 9 season opener with Pittsburgh.
A fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma who recorded 53 tackles last year in the Broncos' secondary, Carter has been itching to get back on the field since suffering both knee and hamstring injuries in late July. In addition to a physical presence like Carter, defensive back Tracy Porter and linebackers Ronnie Hillman and Danny Trevathan each also returned to practice on Monday, further strengthening John Fox's defense.
Stay with this StoryStream for more news on Carter's injury and progression, and be sure to visit Mile High Report for even more Broncos coverage. Also check out SB Nation's NFL hub for more preseason news from around the league.
The Denver Broncos offense didn't have much going for it against the Seattle Seahawks. Will they perform better against the San Francisco 49ers?
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