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Broncos

Broncos surrender late lead in 16-14 loss to Titans

In an ending that was eerily reminiscent of so many losses last season, the Broncos watched the Titans drive 83 yards on 12 plays, capped off by Stephen Gostkowski’s 25-yard field goal, as Tennessee rallied to beat Denver 16-14 in the season opener on Monday Night Football at Empower Field.

When it was over, it added up to an ugly debut for the Broncos in Vic Fangio’s second season at the helm that included:

  • Injuries to running back Philip Lindsay (toe) and cornerback A.J. Bouye (shoulder).
  • A lost fumble by running back Melvin Gordon and two fumbled snaps by quarterback Drew Lock, though Denver did recover both of those.
  • Two key drops by rookie receiver Jerry Jeudy.
  • A failed fourth-and-goal play by the offense that resulted in Denver coming away with zero points despite driving down to the Tennessee 1-yard line.
  • The defense’s inability to stop a late drive and surrender the lead.
  • Fangio’s poor clock management which left the Broncos with just 17 seconds when they got the ball back trailing 16-14. They finished the game with two timeouts remaining … maybe Fangio thinks they carry over to next week.

Highlights: Titans 16, Broncos 14

What they had to say

Denver safety Justin Simmons had this to say of the Broncos defense failing to stop the Titans when it mattered most:

“The drives prior, we did a good job keeping them (backed up and punting), and they had the ball back down there again and as a defense, you have to be able to keep them down there. We got to be better.” 

On the failed fourth-and-goal play Lock shoveled the ball to tight end Jake Butt who was then stopped short of the end zone. Did Fangio regret the decision to forgo the three points in a game Denver lost by two? He said this afterward:

“I had no second thoughts there.”

Apparently not.

As for Fangio’s decision not to use his timeouts during the Titans’ final drive, he said part of it was due to the fact that Gostkowski had missed three field goals and an extra point so far in the game.

“It was two-fold. One, their field goal kicker obviously (had) been having his problems so I didn’t want to extend the drive where they could get closer.
Number two, we would have used a time out, but we got the running back out of bounds. We would have used a second time out, but they threw an incompletion which would have given us one when we got the ball back so that was part of the thinking there.”

Fangio said.

As it turned out the game-winning field goal was a 25-yarder, so not well played in saving them to prevent Tennessee from getting closer. And Fangio’s logic that he was ready to use them, but the situation didn’t allow him to makes no sense. He literally said he didn’t want to call any, so which is it?

Extra points

  • TheDNVR.com’s Zac Stevens did a great job recapping and showing how poor Fangio’s clock management at the end of the game was.
  • Andrew Mason at DNVR detailed all the other ways Denver blew it vs. Tennessee.
  • The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla too ripped Fangio’s late-game abilities and also wondered if 75,000 fans could have helped the Broncos.
  • Kyle Newman of The Post detailed Jeudy’s first night in the NFL. Jeudy finished with four catches for 56 yards, but also had two key drops.
  • My final thoughts: It’s just one of 16 games, but the Broncos looked just like they did last year: Unable to score on offense and a solid defense that crumbles at the end. Then you have Gordon fumbling, which was a major concern when Denver signed him this offseason. And add in injuries to Lindsay and Bouye coupled with upcoming games against Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay and it feels like this season could be sunk before the calendar hits October.

2020 Broncos results and schedule

DateResult
Mon., Sept. 14Titans 16, Broncos 14Box score
Broncos overall record: 0-1
WKDateOpponentTime (MT)Ch.
2Sun. S20at Pittsburgh11 a.m.CBS
3Sun. S27vs. Tampa Bay2:25 p.m.FOX
4Thu. O1at N.Y. Jets6:20 p.m.NFL
5Sun. O11at New England11 a.m.CBS
6Sun. O18vs. Miami2:05 p.m.CBS
7Sun. O25vs. Kansas City2:25 p..CBS
8BYE
9Sun. N8at Atlanta11 a.m.CBS
10Sun. N15at Las Vegas2:05 p.m.CBS
11Sun. N22vs. L.A. Chargers2:05 p.m.CBS
12Sun. N29vs. New Orleans2:05 p.m.FOX
13Sun. D6at Kansas City6:20 p.m.NBC
14Sun. D13at Carolina11 a.m.CBS
15Sun. D20vs. BuffaloTBDTBD
16Sun. D27at L.A. ChargersTBDTBD
17Sun. J3vs. Las Vegas2:25 p.m.CBS

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Where the Broncos stand with opener closing in

It can be hard to believe with the NBA and NHL playoffs going on right now and the weather just recently leaving the 90s on a daily basis, but the Broncos season opener against Tennessee on Monday Night Football is less than two weeks away. With that in mind here’s a roundup of what’s going on the Broncos as of right now.

Conservative approach with Chubb

The Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran wrote how the Broncos are being cautious with linebacker Bradley Chubb who is coming off ACL surgery. The team still expects him to be ready for the opener.

“We’re going to be conservative with him this week and get him some days of rest. I think he’s where we kind of thought he’d be. We never said (he’s) 100% yet — at least I never did. I think what he’s going through is a natural progression in recovering from his (ACL) injury and I’m still optimistic he’ll be out there the first week and playing good — probably not playing like he was pre-injury, but pretty (darn) close. It’s going to be a work in progress.”

Head coach Vic Fangio said.

No tackling in practice

With no preseason games this year the question going into training camp was how many “live” practices the Broncos would have before the regular season got underway. As it turns out the answer to that question likely will be zero.

So far the team has had one live period during a practice to work on goal-line situations. But Fangio’s plan going forward appears to be no tackling during practice.

“We may have a short-yardage/goal-line live period, but other than that, probably not.”

Fangio said when asked about having any live practices.

New Big Al in Denver?

Most Denverites are familiar with former CU and Broncos great Alfred Williams, known as Big Al, well, he might not be the only Big Al in Denver for long.

As The Post’s Kyle Newman wrote, rookie tight end Albert Okwuegbunam keeps turning heads in practice. Both quarterback Drew Lock and fellow tight end Nick Vannett both referred to him as a “monster” with Vannett also adding:

“He’s just so physically gifted. The thing with him is he’s kind of raw right now, but I don’t say that in a bad way. I say that like if he keeps building on it and keeps figuring it out, he’s going to be one of the best tight ends in the league. Just how fast he is, how built he is — I really do believe if he can figure it out, he’s going to be a scary dude in this league for years to come.”

Vannett said of Okwuegbunam.

Is the center job decided?

As TheDNVR.com’s Zac Stevens wrote it appears like the battle for Denver’s starting center position might already be decided. Rookie Lloyd Cushenberry has been getting the bulk of reps with the first team, while the other contenders for the job, Austin Schlottman and Pat Morris are getting fewer and fewer.

Starting left guard Dalton Risner had this to say about Cushenberry:

“I’m really impressed with Lloyd. I was telling the coaches today that I want to keep getting more reps with him, as many reps as we can and we have to get reps after practice. That’s what we need. We need to have an understanding of how each other makes certain blocks and what we mean by certain calls. That’s so big for an offensive line. It’s about meshing together and coming together as a unit. I think Lloyd’s done an extremely good job and the offensive line is continuing to jell more and more. He’s got a lot of work to do just like I do, but I’m really happy with where we’re at right now.”

Based on Risner’s comments in particular it definitely sounds like the job is Cushenberry’s at this point.

Overall camp overview

Meanwhile, fellow DNVR writer Andrew Mason took a look at everything going on at Broncos training camp and noted that simply put the Broncos have plenty to do, but so little time to get it all done.

Locked in on Lock

And lastly, Nick Kosmider at TheAthletic.com followed what starting quarterback Lock goes through at a training camp practice.

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Broncos

Broncos season opener three weeks away

It might be hard to fathom, but the Broncos season opening against Tennessee is just three weeks from today.

With that in mind TheAthletic.com’s Nick Kosmider tried to get the best read possible on what Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and special teams coordinator Tom McMahon had to say when they addressed the media on Sunday.

The biggest takeaway on the offense side of things in my estimation is simply that the offense appears to be limiting the mistakes that have hampered it so much the past few years.

That isn’t to say the Broncos will be putting up 30 points every week, but hopefully something in the mid-20s is much more doable. It is fair to point out though, that we’ve heard pretty much the same thing for the past few years and the results haven’t changed yet.

On the defensive side of things arguably the biggest question is will we see a big jump this year as players become more familiar with head coach Vic Fangio’s system. Based on previous teams Fangio has coached the results are inconclusive.

The reality is Von Miller likely is the key. If he can have a bounce-back season it could be the spark the entire defense is looking for.

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Avalanche Broncos CU Buffs Nuggets Rockies

Avs win opener with less than a second to play

Avalanche

In one of the most exciting finishes you’ll see in a regulation NHL game the Avs beat the Blues 2-1 on Sunday as Nazem Kadri scored with 0.01 seconds to play in the teams’ first game of robin-round play of the NHL restart in Edmonton.

Obviously, winning is paramount for the Avs, and every team, but even more important is the fact that it happened in regulation. By winning in regulation Colorado earned two points, while St. Louis got zero. Had the game gone to overtime, both teams would have been assured of a point.

After Kadri scored it took officials almost seven minutes to declare it was officially a goal. Replays showed a blurry puck being mostly across the line, but the next frame the clock went to 0.00 when it was clearly across the goal line.

The Avs are now in first place in the Western Conference round-robin, their next game is Wednesday (4:30 p.m.) against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Rockies

It’s hard to believe the Rockies’ season is just over a week old, but with a 6-2 record through eight games Colorado is in first place in the NL West. The Rockies won their third straight series on Sunday by beating the Padres 9-6 behind Antonio Senzatela’s pitching and the bats of Daniel Murphy and Matt Kemp.

Senzatela (2-0) went six innings, struck out six and allowed just one run on four hits and one walk. Murphy went 4-for-4 with a home and two RBI, while Kemp added his second homer of the season and drove in two as well.

Colorado is percentage points ahead of the Dodgers (7-3) in the West standings and one game ahead of the third place Padres.

Colorado welcomes in the San Francisco Giants to Coors Field tonight (6:40 p.m., AT&T SportsNet, 850 KOA) with righty Chi Chi González scheduled to make his first start of the season.

Nuggets

After dropping their first game of the NBA restart 125-105 to the Miami Heat on Saturday the Nuggets are back at it again today as they face the Oklahoma City Thunder at 2 p.m. (Altitude, 92.5 FM).

Denver was without starters Will Barton (knee), Gary Harris (hip) and Jamal Murray (hamstring) in its first game back and both Barton and Harris have already been ruled out of today’s game, while Murray is questionable.

My thoughts: It still is very early, counting today the Nuggets have seven seeding games remaining, but I’m starting to feel more and more like the Nuggets could be one-and-done when it comes playoff time this season.

Every team has had a lot to deal with during the NBA restart, from players opting out to getting guys into and out of the NBA quarantine. It just feels like the Nuggets can’t get any traction built up. And while many people have referred to these seeding games a like the preseason, Denver coach Michael Malone made the great point that the playoffs don’t follow the preseason.

If Denver can’t get everyone on the court in the next few games I fear there simply is not going to be enough time to get in sync before the playoffs start. And with the Western Conference being as deep as it is that’s almost a sure ticket to a first-round exit.

  • TheAthletic.com’s Kendra Andrews wrote about how the Nuggets sloppy third quarter against the Heat highlighted the struggles the team is facing as a whole.

Broncos

Broncos head coach Vic Fangio talked about the possibility the team will have live practice periods this month, something hardly ever seen anymore, but without any preseason games it might be a necessity this year.

“Obviously with no preseason games, we’ll lose those evaluation times. It will be a challenge for young players to learn and adapt to the game. … Maybe in practices, we’ll have to have some live action in there on occasion. I’ve never been many places where that’s been done in practice. We just relied on the preseason games for that.”

Vic Fangio told The Denver Post

CU Buffs

Over the weekend it was announced that CU star McKinley Wright will return to Boulder for his senior season with men’s basketball team. Previously Wright had submitted his name for the NBA Draft.

Nationally

Forbes released its annual list of the 50 most valuable sports teams over the weekend. The Top 5 were:
1. Dallas Cowboys ($5.5 billion)

2. New York Yankees ($5 billion)

3. New York Knicks ($4.6 billion)

4. Los Angeles Lakers ($4.4 billion)

5. Golden State Warriors ($4.3 billion)

The Denver Broncos checked in at No. 25 with a valuation of $3 billion. No other Colorado teams made the list, while no NHL teams at were in the Top 50.

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Avalanche Broncos Nuggets Rockies

Porter, Murray shine in Nuggets’ final scrimmage

Nuggets

Michael Porter Jr. returned to action during Denver’s final scrimmage on Monday night and in doing so quickly made Nuggets fans remember what they were so excited about earlier this season. Porter scored 19 points (8-of-13 shooting) and grabbed seven rebounds in just 20 minutes of action.

Another positive development for Denver was point guard Jamal Murray’s return as well. Murray added 23 points (8-of-12) in 25 minutes. The fact that the Nuggets lost 114-110 to Orlando was inconsequential.

Porter, who was dealing with a sprained ankle before the shutdown, said he’s back to full health, both physically and mentally.

“I feel like I’m in a great headspace. I know we got a lot of good players, but my goal, right now, I’m not coming in here just trying to blend in with the team. I’m trying to do my part to help this team win a championship. I think I can be a big part of that.”

Michael Porter Jr.

The next time the Nuggets take the court the game will count again as they face Miami on Saturday (11 a.m., ESPN).

Rockies

The Denver Post‘s Patrick Saunders wrote today about how Colorado’s bullpen has been solid after the season’s first three games. He also added that it’s way too early to read too much into things though.

My thoughts: I couldn’t agree with Patrick more. He does an excellent job of pointing out that although Rockies relievers allowed just one run in 9 2/3 innings, they were in enough trouble that it’s hard to imagine them getting out of it had the games been at Coors Field.

He also pointed out that one of Colorado’s best relievers, Scott Oberg, will miss Friday’s home opener with a sore back and when he’ll return is yet unknown.

  • Next up for Colorado is a quick two-game series in Oakland against the A’s starting tonight (7:40 p.m., AT&T SportsNet, 850 AM). Antonio Senzatela will start for the Rockies tonight and Germán Márquez is scheduled to pitch on Wednesday (1:40 p.m.).
  • Colorado added first base prospect Michael Toglia to its 2020 player pool, while left-handed reliever Tim Collins withdrew from Colorado’s satellite camp and will not pitch this season.
    Toglia was the Rockies first-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft.
  • Former Rockies reliever Bryan Shaw blamed his struggles in Colorado on Coors Field.

“I got there and the sliders didn’t work. It didn’t matter what we did. We tried to tinker with it. We tried to change it. We tried to do different stuff and it just basically fell by the wayside.”

Bryan Shaw to The Seattle Times

Avalanche

Things are ramping up quickly as the NHL gets ready for its restart. The Avalanche arrived in Edmonton, host city for the Western Conference playoffs, on Sunday and had their first practice on Monday.

Colorado head coach Jared Bednar is impressed with the setup so far.

“Every team has their own players lounge/lunch/dinner room. We’ve been in there a couple times and there are some commons areas as well, to be able to go hang out and mingle. It is a really nice setup. And being right across the rink from where you’re (going to be) playing is great.”

Jared Bednar via Zoom

Colorado has an exhibition game against Minnesota on Wednesday (12:30 p.m., Altitude) before opening up round-robin play on Sunday vs. St. Louis (4:30 p.m.).

Broncos

The Broncos cornerbacks and safeties were front and center as both The Denver Post and TheDNVR.com wrote about them. And with good reason, there’s a lot of questions when it comes to the Broncos secondary.

My thoughts: Overall I like what Denver did this offseason. It’ll be weird seeing Chris Harris in a Chargers jersey this season, but it was the right move to make. He’d lost a step or two and just wasn’t the same player he was during most of his time in Denver.

The trade for A.J. Bouye was a nice addition and he likely will be a solid upgrade over Harris. The big question is, what will the Broncos get from Bryce Callahan this season? I’m cautiously optimistic that his foot injury will be behind him and he’ll be able to fill a big hole at cornerback.

Unfortunately it’s also highly possible he won’t be able to bounce back and we’ll look back on that signing as one of the worst in Broncos’ history.

  • Denver cut eight players on Monday and still must release two more today. Waived were: QB Riley Neal, RB Khalfani Muhammad, WR Kelvin McKnight, LB Tre’ Crawford, OL Nico Falah and DBs Kahani Smith and Shakial Taylor. DE Joel Heath was released.
  • TheAthletic.com’s Nick Kosmider took a stab at predicting the Broncos opening 53-man roster.
  • Meanwhile, The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla already is wondering if we’re even going to have an NFL season after the problems baseball is having after its opening weekend.
  • TheAthletic.com released its Quarterback Tiers Rankings. Quarterbacks are ranked by 50 coaches and evaluators and end up in one of five different tiers.
    Where did Denver’s Drew Lock end up? That would be the fourth tier, in a tie for 30th with Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew. There were only 35 QBs who were on the list. However, one of the 50 voters did rank Lock in the second tier.

Sports betting

Last week Wildwood Casino became the first casino to open a retail sportsbook in Cripple Creek.

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Avalanche Broncos Nuggets Rockies

Rockies, Nuggets and Avs all gearing up for seasons

Rockies

It’s hard to believe that Opening Day is this week … assuming all goes according to plan. The Rockies are scheduled to play two exhibition games Tuesday and Wednesday in Texas against the Rangers, with the opener set for Friday.

Colorado wrapped up it’s 15-day summer camp on Sunday and manager Bud Black was most excited about how good the offense has looked.

My thoughts: I’m definitely excited for the season to be here at last, but my expectations for the Rockies still haven’t changed that much from when Spring Training began months ago. I expect them to hover somewhere around .500, probably finishing a few games under.

In this shortened season though their playoff chances definitely have increased though. All it takes is a hot stretch for a couple of weeks and they’ll be right in it.

Nuggets

The start of the NBA restart is coming up fast as well. Denver has its first scrimmage this Wednesday against the Washington Wizards and while they likely won’t play Gary Harris and Torrey Craig were reportedly en route to Orlando as of Sunday afternoon.

Harris was the final member of the Nuggets regular starting rotation that had yet to enter the NBA bubble. No word yet on the whereabouts of rookie Michael Porter Jr. though.

Avalanche

As the Avs also near their return to action count Ian Cole among those players who believe Colorado has a legitimate shoot to lift the Stanley Cup in a couple months.

Cole, a 10-year veteran, begins growing his playoff beard at the start of the hockey season, in October, if he thinks he’s on a playoff team. And since the playoffs are usually over by now this is already the longest he’s ever had it.

Here’s hoping he still is growing it in late August.

Broncos

The Denver Post began its series previewing the Broncos position groups. First up, the quarterbacks.

My thoughts: I’m cautiously optimistic that Drew Lock will be the long-term answer at quarterback for Denver. I don’t think that means he’s going to be be like Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes and win the MVP award in his second year in the league however.

I do love the fact that John Elway and company have surrounded him with talent though. I also am hopeful that even if he struggles some this year, which is highly likely, that he still gets another year or two to learn and grow into the position.

Nationally

ESPN previews the upcoming MLB season with a look at the stars and storylines they’re most excited to see. Not surprisingly no Rockies players made the list.