Broncos try to get over Florida flops | SummitDaily.com
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Broncos try to get over Florida flops

**ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, OCT. 2 ** Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Jimmy Smith runs for yardage after a catch against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2005, in Jacksonville, Fla. Seattle defender Kelly Herndon attempts to make the tackle. The Jaguars will face the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2005. (AP Photo/Phil Coale)
AP | AP

DENVER ” If it’s not the heat, it’s the humility.

The ineptitude began in 1966, a 24-7 loss to Miami at the Orange Bowl that came before any of the current Denver Broncos were born. It has continued right through this month with a 34-10 loss at Dolphins Stadium in which the Broncos were ill-prepared for the weather, the long trip or their opponent.

Denver’s next trip to Florida comes Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Broncos are 2-10 in their 46-year history in the Sunshine State, a combined 0-9 at Miami and Jacksonville.



“The hotter the better,” Jaguars linebacker Mike Peterson said. “Two-and-10 doesn’t sound right. I like two-and-11. That sounds better.”

In Denver’s most recent Florida flop, the heat and humidity clearly played a factor.

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Cornerbacks Darrent Williams and Lenny Walls cramped up and had to leave the game. When it was over, coach Mike Shanahan blamed the offense for the problems ” saying Denver’s 1-for-12 on third down conversions forced the defense to stay on the field for too long.

“If you can’t get drives going and the defense is out there continuously, someone’s going to wear out sooner or later,” said Shanahan, who voiced no concerns with the way the team prepared for the conditions in Florida.

Temperatures are expected in the mid-80s and humidity this time of year can still be high. Both teams, however, are downplaying weather for this game. Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio is having his team wear dark uniforms.

“We’re in October now,” Del Rio said.

The Broncos, meanwhile, are preparing for business as usual.

“We’re getting ready to play a tough Jacksonville Jaguars team,” said defensive lineman Gerard Warren, who played his college ball at Florida. “The weather shouldn’t be that big a deal.”

In Denver’s only two trips to Jacksonville, weather has been a factor once. In 1999, a driving rainstorm soaked the second half of the Monday night game, bringing both offenses to a halt. Until, that is, the very end, when the Jaguars outscored Denver 10-7 over the last 2 1/2 minutes en route to a 27-24 victory.

Last September, Jacksonville won 7-6 on a 78-degree day ” unusually cool for that time of year.

While the heat may not have been a factor, some thought Shanahan’s thought process was askew. With time running out, he opted against a go-ahead field goal, instead calling a running play that resulted in a botched exchange between Jake Plummer and Quentin Griffin and a lost fumble.

“I think they all stick with you when you lose,” Shanahan said. “You go back and you take a look at the film. But that’s history. You try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

For all the problems these trips to Florida seem to cause, the Broncos don’t seem to be attacking any of them head-on.

They didn’t adjust their practice schedule to accommodate a 1 p.m. EDT start, which translates to 11 a.m. Denver time. They haven’t focused on hydration or any of the heat-related issues that caused problems earlier in Miami. And they’re not letting the fact that this is a short week ” they’re coming off a Monday night game ” play into the preparation.

“Well, first of all, you don’t think about those things that you just mentioned ” excuses,” Shanahan said. “You either get it done or you don’t.”

When they fly to Florida, the Broncos usually don’t.

Warren said he doesn’t expect a rude welcome from Jacksonville fans despite his history with the Jaguars. In 2001, Warren took a vicious cheap shot on Mark Brunell, leveling him after an interception even though Brunell was nowhere near the play. It knocked out Brunell and resulted in a $35,000 fine.

Of course, that was four years ago. Both Brunell and coach Tom Coughlin are out of Jacksonville. “Now, it’s Captain Jack who’s there. Jack Del Rio,” Warren said. “I don’t expect anything to happen.” … Neither of Denver’s starting cornerbacks, Darrent Williams (ankle) or Champ Bailey, practiced Thursday. Both, however, said they plan to play Sunday. Bailey is listed as questionable and Williams, who moved into the starting lineup last week, is probable. … Bailey said he had to get about 25 tickets for friends and family. He is from Folkston, Ga., which is just across the state border from Jacksonville. “That’s nothing compared to what some of these guys get,” Bailey said of the ticket count.


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