Bailey feeling better, insists he’ll go Sunday
DENVER ” The results of the MRI taken on the Champ Bailey’s left hamstring were better than he expected. So are the chances of the Denver Broncos cornerback making his 100th consecutive start Sunday at Jacksonville.
“I don’t know the complete diagnosis,” Bailey said Wednesday. “I just know I didn’t tear anything and that was the best news possible.”
It didn’t look as good last Monday night when he dragged down Chiefs fullback Tony Richardson for a modest gain late in the second quarter. He tried to get up, but the leg buckled under him.
“The way it felt then, I thought my leg was going to fall apart,” Bailey said. “I’m fine now.”
Still, the hamstring wasn’t good enough to allow him to practice Wednesday. He was out of pads and jogging along the sidelines in sweats and without a helmet and jersey, listed as questionable on Denver’s injury report.
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“I’m very optimistic I’ll play,” he said. “I always think I can play. I never count myself out.”
Who can doubt him? This was the same player who dislocated his shoulder in the season opener and four days later with his harness to protect it, was back at practice preparing for the next game against San Diego.
“He was injected in that area (the hamstring) today,” Denver coach Mike Shanahan said. “We’ll have to wait and see during the week if he’s able to go. I don’t think he’ll even try to go until Friday.”
His quarterback rating speaks for itself, 116.0, on 13-for-18 passing with a touchdown and no interceptions. He overshadowed his Kansas City counterpart, Trent Green, (74.1).
Still, Jake Plummer wasn’t satisfied.
“There was room for improvement,” Plummer said. “We weren’t good on third down. We have to be more efficient.”
The Broncos were 2-for-8 on third down against the Chiefs.
“That isn’t good enough,” he said. “Not against a great defense like we’ll face Sunday.”
The Broncos defensive front has contained San Diego’s LaDainian Tomlinson and Kansas City’s Priest Holmes in successive games. Teammates credited defensive end Trevor Pryce despite being neutralized by a double-team blocking scheme.
“Trevor set the tone while being double-teamed,” Ebenezer Ekuban said. “That freed up the rest of us to make plays.”
Jacksonville’s Fred Taylor provides the next test. Taylor ran for 98 yards on 37 carries last week against the New York Jets.
Plummer was on target on Monday night and members of Denver’s offense didn’t want to get in his way.
“He was hot, man, he was in a groove,” running back Mike Anderson said. “I didn’t want to stand near him on the sidelines figuring I’d jinx him.”
The Broncos signed free agent linebacker Josh Buhl to their practice squad. Buhl, an undrafted free agent from Kansas State, had been out of football since being waived by Tampa Bay on Sept. 3.
The Broncos also placed kicker Paul Ernster on the injured list. Ernster had a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Besides Bailey, CBs Roc Alexander (hamstring) and Darrent Williams (sprained ankle) and LB Louis Green (hamstring) did not practice. … Two of the elder statesman of NFL wide receivers will be featured Sunday. Jimmy Smith of Jacksonville is a 13-year veteran while Denver’s Rod Smith is in his 11th season. … Rod Smith (concussion) was in practice. … S John Lynch on Jacksonville quarterback Byron Leftwich, “I have a lot of respect for Byron,” The way he stands in the pocket, is a tough guy, has a cannon for an arm and delivers it in there.”
“I think when you look back to some of the Super Bowl games with people being miked that fans would like to get a feel for what goes on through a player’s mind during a game. In the heat of battle, some things are going to be said by the coaching staff or from players. What it is, is the heat of battle. That’s part of the game and you have to live with those things.”
“On whether to have players wear microphones during games.
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