By Rich Kurtzman
With two days until they kickoff the season against the Baltimore Ravens, the Denver Broncos named their captains Monday in Peyton Manning, Ryan Clady, Champ Bailey, Wesley Woodyard and David Bruton. Each veteran is certainly crucial to the team’s success this upcoming season in their own way.
Manning is the maestro of offense in Denver, commanding the playbook like no other quarterback in today’s NFL. He can slice and dice defenses quicker than Rachel Ray can dice an onion by diagnosing their play, then getting his offense into something that will exploit the opponent. In fact, he’s been so successful, he’s a mere 1,875 passing yards from tying Dan Marino for second most career passing yards in NFL history at 61,131. Manning should pass Marino somewhere near the mid-way point of this season, as long as he stays healthy.
Clady protects Manning’s blind side on every pass play, while blocking for Broncos running backs when they decide to go on the ground.
On defense, Bailey has been a top-tier cornerback for his entire 15-year career, and even though he’s lost a step, his smarts are what keep him competitive. Woodyard, named a captain for his sixth straight season, is the defense’s quarterback at middle linebacker. He’s got to call the plays for teammates, and they all know they can trust Woodyard.
And Bruton is the special teams captain, a versatile player that covers kicks and punts very well.
Derek Wolfe Will Be “Full-go” Against Ravens
Second-year stud defensive end Derek Wolfe went through a scary moment this preseason when he was blocked in the neck by a Seattle Seahawks player. Wolfe was taken from the field in an ambulance, but luckily, his biggest fears were put to rest by doctors on the scene.
He wasn’t seriously injured, and amazingly, defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said he’s a “full-go” against the Baltimore Ravens this Thursday night. Without Von Miller pass-rushing from the left side, Wolfe’s presence on the defensive line is huge for Denver’s D.
In his rookie season last year, Wolfe registered 40 tackles and six sacks; he’ll look to better those statistics this season starting against Joe Flacco and the Ravens.
Champ Bailey Back on Practice Field Tuesday
Another important defender to sustain an injury this preseason was captain Champ Bailey, who hurt his foot in Week 2, and his exact return is unknown.
But the Broncos got a bit of good news Tuesday, as Bailey was back on the practice field.
Mike Klis of The Denver Post tweeted Tuesday morning that Bailey was taking his “normal reps,” which is certainly a positive sign he wants to play Thursday. But, according to Gray Caldwell of DenverBroncos.com, Bailey did not practice Tuesday.
Sitting the 35-year old cornerback may be the smartest decision, given how important a foot is to running and how deep Denver’s defensive backfield currently is. And if he just watched from the sideline Tuesday, it’s likely he won’t play this week.
For more news and updates, visit Denver Broncos central.
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.