Can the Broncos make the Chargers eat their words?
DENVER The Denver Broncos are determined to keep LaDainian Tomlinson from running the ball down their throats again, Philip Rivers from running his mouth anew, and the San Diego Chargers from running up the score like they did last year.The Broncos were bothered more by the smackdowns than all the trash talk when the Chargers walloped them by a combined 64-6 in 2007.But Denvers spoiled season and the gap between the teams was best epitomized on Christmas Eve when television cameras caught Rivers, the Chargers smack-talking quarterback, taunting his counterpart, Jay Cutler, in the waning minutes of San Diegos 23-3 win.The Broncos didnt appreciate the Chargers rubbing it in, but what could they really say?To the victor the spoils something like that, Broncos receiver Brandon Stokley said. They beat us up twice last year, so they can talk all they want. Until we get the edge on them, its hard to say anything.The Broncos (1-0) are hoping they can make the Chargers (0-1) eat their words Sunday at Invesco Field, where San Diego handed Denver its worst home loss since 1966 with a 41-3 trouncing last year.It was a pretty good beating both times, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. The only thing that was different was the field.Despite a rookie-laden roster, the Broncos believe theyve narrowed the gap with the two-time defending AFC West champs, and not just because the Chargers lost star linebacker Shawne Merriman for the season with a knee injury.Denvers defense has been retooled, largely in reaction to how Tomlinson & Co. shredded them last season.Them guys came out and dominated us last year. I think we scored a total of six points and gave up a total of it seemed like 100, Broncos cornerback Dre Bly said. But were a different team now.The Broncos sport a new defensive boss (Bob Slowik); two new defensive tackles (Dewayne Robertson and Marcus Thomas); two new safeties (Marlon McCree and Marquand Manuel); and a reshuffled linebacking corps, with newcomer Boss Bailey joining D.J. Williams and Nate Webster, who flip-flopped their positions, Webster moving to the middle and Williams returning to the weak side.Denver has two rookies starting on offense: left tackle Ryan Clady, who kept Cutlers jersey clean in Oakland, and wide receiver Eddie Royal, who wasted no time in making his mark on the NFL, catching nine passes for 146 yards in the Broncos 41-14 rout of the Raiders.And Brandon Marshall returns from his one-week suspension for violating the leagues conduct code.This just opens up a lot of possibilities for us, Cutler said. We anticipated B-Marsh getting a lot of double coverage up top, and now you cant, because Eddie is on the other side.Nobodys more excited about Royals emergence than Marshall, who caught 102 passes for 1,325 yards last year, but figures to see fewer safeties sticking to him over the top with Royal on the other side now.
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