By Rich Kurtzman
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
The Broncos weren’t concerned Wednesday when they, and the rest of the Mile High City, were greeted with three fresh inches of snow and much more coming down during the morning. That’s because they have a warm, toasty bubble to practice in, where they were seen gearing up for their game against Cleveland this Sunday. But, there were a long list of players that showed up on the injury report,. Some participated while others were forced to sit out.
Maybe the most important injury was to running back Knowshon Moreno (ribs), though he was able to practice fully. Moreno has been incredible in filling the void for injured starter Willis McGahee, averaging 94 yards and scoring two touchdowns over the last four weeks. He’s played so well, Moreno won AFC Offensive Player of the Week after running 22 times for 118 yards and one score in last Sunday’s win in Baltimore. He’s brought balance to the offense and will be counted on to carry the rock against the Browns again this week.
Limited was safety Mike Adams (knee), who has been integral in the Denver defensive backfield that has intercepted 16 passes this season. Adams will almost certainly play this Sunday though, as he spent the last five years in Cleveland, wanting to exact some revenge on the Browns that come to town.
Not practicing Wednesday was Chris Kuper (ankle), Champ Bailey (day off) and fullback Chris Gronkowski (hamstring). Kuper’s absence on the offensive line has led to many more sacks of Peyton Manning in recent weeks, and it means Manny Ramirez was once again preparing to start at right guard. For Bailey, no practice was just meant as a day off, and the 14-year veteran likely could use some rest at this point in the season. Gronkowski sees a limited role on the football field because the Broncos employ a two tight end set over a more traditional two back set most of the time.
And even though the Broncos should win easily over the Browns this week, Denver’s not looking past this game.
“I tell ya, on defense, they’re young, active, flying around,” Manning said of the Browns. “Defensively, they’re a physical group, and stout against the run. They can blitz you or bring the pressure with four Manning understands not to ever talk down his opponent, even the 5-9 Browns. With his astute studying of the game, there’s no doubt that the veteran quarterback will take advantage of the bad Browns defense this week.
“They’ve swept our division thus far, they’re 3-0 against our division,” head coach John Fox explained. “You know, they’ve won three out of four of their last games…I’ve said all year, we don’t look at a team’s record, we look at the tape and they’re very capable.”
The Broncos will continue to prepare to play Cleveland the next few days, and the game kicks off at 2 p.m. MT on CBS.
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Rich Kurtzman is a Denver native, Colorado State University alumnus, sports nerd, athletics enthusiast, and competition junkie. Currently writing for a multitude of websites while working on books, one on the history of the Denver Broncos and Mile High Stadium. Find more of Rich’s Denver Broncos pieces on Examiner.com.