Great title for this article from the Rocky Mountain News:,00.html

ENGLEWOOD - The repetitions are maddeningly simple, yet the benefits have the potential to be monumental.
All Darius Watts needs to do to remind himself about this equation is to look across the offensive huddle at Rod Smith.

With the sharp offensive mind of Mike Heimerdinger returning to the Broncos' sideline this season, Smith has been reunited with one of the men who helped make him one of the most consistent receivers in the NFL.

Watts realizes his situation isn't much different than the one Smith was in when Heimerdinger originally joined the Broncos' staff in 1995 - unproven and battling to win a role as the team's third receiver.

Smith, obviously, is eons past having to prove himself or fret about his roster spot. So when Heimerdinger went out of his way to give Watts extra tutelage following practices in the early days of camp - as he did with a young Smith a decade ago - Watts made sure to make the most of his time.

"(Heimerdinger) is just trying to get my hands right, get my hands in better position to catch the ball. Stuff like that," Watts said. "Rod told me he used to do that with him. He said he showed him how to catch the ball right. (Smith) said it really helped him out a lot."

By the time Heimerdinger left the Broncos after the 1999 season, spending the next six years as the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets, Smith had just churned out his third consecutive 1,000-yard season and was well on his way to a streak that has seen him compile eight 1,000-yard seasons in nine years.

In two seasons with the Broncos, Watts has collected only 407 receiving yards on 33 receptions. Yet with Smith hampered early in camp by a sore hamstring and marquee offseason acquisition Javon Walker still rounding into shape after enduring reconstructive knee surgery, Watts has enjoyed more repetitions with the first offense than he ever did during his first two Broncos training camps.

And Watts has also been busy taking extra-credit notes from his new mentor.

"Early (in camp), we worked on some things - catching and some technique things and extra stuff," Heimerdinger said. "I believe the more you do that and the more you concentrate and the more you catch the ball with your eyes, the better off you are.

"I think it's easy for receivers to look good in shorts. DBs don't get into you as hard. They don't grab your pads and bump. Nobody is quite as physical. It's easy to catch a ball in a crowd when you know nobody is going to hit you. You find out about a receiver in a game."

Under Heimerdinger, Watts has had only one opportunity to prove himself in a game situation.

And, despite the inconsistencies that have plagued the former second-round draft pick the past two years, Watts acquitted himself well. Against Detroit on Friday, Watts recorded four receptions for 35 yards.

One of those grabs was good for 16 yards on a second-and-13 situation. If Watts wanted to make a good first step in Heimerdinger's eyes, he did the job.

"I wanted to go in and have a good first game in the preseason, and every game, too," Watts said. "I want to do practices well, too. It's all about having that consistency. In camp, I might get six balls thrown to me. If I missed that one, and I carry it over to that game, that's terrible. I can deal with the pressure. I just have to keep going at it, and hopefully, it will all carry over."
Here's another one on Watts from the Post:

Watts catches No. 3 WR spot

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."
I particularly like that last paragraph, assuming he doesn't pull a Lelie on us.

I've been a fan of Watts since day one... and been disappointed at his inconsistentcy making the grab. I really, really hope he's over the hump because that kid is so good at getting open.

With Rod's retirement looming ever closer we're going to need somebody to complement Javon Walker in future years. I'm hoping that man will be Darius Watts (although I also have high hopes for Brandon Marshall).