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Darius Watts moves up to #3 WR, Tatum still trails Mike Bell

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  • Darius Watts moves up to #3 WR, Tatum still trails Mike Bell

    Watts catches No. 3 WR spot
    By Mike Klis
    Denver Post Staff Writer

    A year ago, Darius Watts was buried, headed for the all-jeans team.

    The Broncos decided Watts could not be trusted.

    He dropped passes in training camp and dropped a pass in the first preseason game, this after a bittersweet rookie season in which he made 31 catches but had several muffs.

    For 12 of the Broncos' 18 games, including playoffs, last season, Watts was inactive, dressed in jeans or whatever he wore to the game. When he was allowed to wear pads and cleats, Watts made just two catches.

    "I don't even remember last year," Watts said. "I'm trying to recall what happened last year, but I can't recollect a thing. So I don't know what you're talking about."

    From his forgettable fall, Watts has made the training camp leap back to No. 3 receiver, behind only Rod Smith and Javon Walker. Heading into Saturday night's preseason game against Tennessee at Invesco Field at Mile High, Watts has returned to where his rookie year left off.

    Always capable of using his great speed to find open space, Watts' most noticeable improvement this year has been his hands. He not only is catching the ball, he has made a few reaching catches with his fingers.

    "It was crazy, because he still doesn't know what he did to get in the doghouse, but I told him, 'Some stuff you can't control,"' said Smith, who didn't become a starter until his fourth NFL season. "All you can control is your effort and the way you approach the game. They pay you a certain amount of money to do a job. Do your job, and everything else will take care of itself. He's embraced that, and he's gone out there and worked hard."

    With rookie receiver Brandon Marshall expected to miss at least the next two preseason games with a torn knee ligament, Watts probably needs only to continue gripping passes to hold on to the No. 3 spot.

    "It's not a bad position, but I've never been a person to go after No. 3," Watts said. "I don't think you wanted to be third best in your life. I've always said I want to go for being No. 1."

    Speaking of No. 3

    With Ron Dayne out this week with a toe injury, recently acquired Damien Nash has occasionally stepped ahead of Cedric Cobbs at third-team running back.

    And if a lesson has been learned from the recent rapid ascent of starter Mike Bell, it's that No. 3 running backs should not be ignored.

    "Terrell Davis was fifth until the last preseason game," Mike Shanahan said about the 1995 training camp, his first as the Broncos' head coach. "It shows you we weren't very smart in our evaluations through the first three weeks."

    Nash was drafted in the fifth round out of Missouri last year by the Tennessee Titans and gained 32 yards on six carries. But the Titans' coaching staff questioned his commitment, and when he reported 10 pounds heavy for camp, Nash was cut.

    Signed by the Broncos, Nash will get a chance to run against the team that just dumped him.

    "A couple other teams called, but my agent told me Denver was the team." Nash said. "Here they don't care who you are, where you come from. They give you a chance to compete, and the best man is going to play."


    The Boston Herald recently ranked NFL coaches. Showing all the objectivity of a liberal talk-show host at a Democratic Convention, the paper gave its No. 1 ranking to New England's Bill Belichick. Ranked second was Shanahan. Bill Cowher (Pittsburgh) was seventh, Bill Parcells (Dallas) eighth, Lovie Smith (Chicago) 15th and Tony Dungy (Indianapolis) 18th. ...

    Smith said he has recently spoken to holdout receiver Ashley Lelie. "We've talked to him a couple times from the locker room," Smith said. "He's doing well, he's working out, he's preparing himself to play football this year. I care about him as a person. I worry about his welfare from a mental state. Hopefully he's doing the right things to better his career. I wish he was out here, I really do." ...

    P.J. Alexander's surgically repaired knee is acting up again, and the backup guard was back on the injured report Tuesday.

    Tatum still trails Mike Bell at RB

    By Ryan Thorburn, Camera Sports Writer
    August 16, 2006

    ENGLEWOOD — Tatum Bell continued to run hard during his time with the first-team offense at Tuesday's morning practice.

    It's a step in the right direction for the talented third-year running back, but the boss still sees Mike Bell as the Broncos' starter.

    "He is in the same position he was a week ago," Denver head coach Mike Shanahan said of Tatum Bell. And that would be No. 2 on the depth chart. "We have been rotating repetitions the whole time, but we have a lot of competition at a lot of positions. The depth chart changes, and that is why we take a look at it after every game. Tatum has a lot of ability, and hopefully he will meet the challenge."

    Both Bells are expected to get plenty of carries on Saturday night when the Broncos host the Tennessee Titans at Invesco Field in the second exhibition game.

    Ron Dayne, the starter entering training camp, has been sitting out of practice this week with a sore toe. That has opened the door for Cedric Cobbs and even Damien Nash, cut by the Titans earlier this year, to make a late push for a roster spot.

    Kyle Johnson has also been working with the starting offense with Cecil Sapp missing time with a hamstring injury.

    Practice observations

    John Engelberger had a dominant practice on Tuesday morning, which improved the mood of defensive coordinator Larry Coyer. The defensive end tackled Tatum Bell, Cobbs and Nash in the backfield. Now if he can just get to the quarterback. ...

    Jake Plummer was rolling out of the pocket and firing darts to open receivers. All the focus has been on the first-round pick and the former Colorado State standout, but the Snake has been solid throughout training camp. ...

    Jay Cutler showed off his arm strength with a deep completion to David Kircus that was thrown down the right hash mark as he rolled to the left. It's simply a throw Plummer and most NFL starters can't make. ...

    John Lynch is probably the most feared hitter on Denver's defense, but Nate Webster has been just as impressive in that department this summer. On Tuesday even when he missed his intended target — Cobbs — punishment was still dealt out to linebacker Cameron Vaughn, who was hit with a textbook tackle from Webster.


    Rod Smith's slogan in his local television adds for Blackjack Pizza is "Stick with the home team."

    The veteran wide receiver was prepared for the critics in the locker room who might want to make light of his acting skills.

    "One of the rookies was messing with me about it the other day. He was laughing and I said, 'You don't know how much I got paid for that. It's more than what you make.' Then he quit laughing," Smith said.

    Today's schedule

    Practices at 8:30 a.m. and 3:50 p.m.,00.html

  • #2
    "One of the rookies was messing with me about it the other day. He was laughing and I said, 'You don't know how much I got paid for that. It's more than what you make.' Then he quit laughing," Smith said.


    • #3
      I don't know, but for some reason I think T. Bell will be the starting RB when the season starts...I can't explain it, just something in my gut.....

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TheSportsGuru
        I can't explain it, just something in my gut.....
        It's probably tapeworms, you should see a doctor. They're nasty little buggers.

        I'm not convinced about Tatum. RIght now I'm thinking that anyone but Tatum will start...I've never been his biggest fan because he just seems too one dimensional IMO.

        Elvon Millervil eat grues for breakfast.

        Pey-Pey to Bey-Bey for the Tey-Dey.