DP - Broncos Mailbag: Season-ticket holders shouldn't be traitors - Mike Klis
"This year's Denver defense will continue to keep games competitive until the Broncos get another lucky bounce or the offense gets out of its rut. "
DPP - Broncos need ground game to avoid imbalance - Anthony Cotton
"Washington ranks sixth in the NFL in total defense (286 yards per game), three spots behind the Broncos, and just one behind Pittsburgh. It is also the ninth-stingiest team to score against, allowing 19.2 points per contest."
DPP - Broncos coach McDaniels: "No shortcuts" to improving running game - Mike Klis
"Right tackle Ryan Harris is expected to miss his second consecutive game Sunday when the Broncos play at Washington. Harris suffered a dislocated right big toe — not two small toes as previously reported — Nov. 1 at Baltimore... the Broncos have 14 takeaways in eight games. They had 13 takeaways in 16 games last year. The Broncos also reached the halfway point with 26 sacks. They had 26 sacks all of last season."
DPP - Broncos must play like leader - Jeff Legwold
"The Redskins come into the game 24th in the NFL in rushing offense and are likely to be without running back Clinton Portis."
DPP - Q&A: Time for Broncos QB switch? - Jeff Legwold
"Jay Cutler couldn't win down the stretch last year without a reliable running attack that stressed the defense, and neither will Orton. Cutler threw more than 600 passes last year, went down the field as much as people seem to always want from the Broncos and put up plenty of gaudy numbers — and the Broncos didn't go to the playoffs. So it isn't how far the passes are thrown. It's when they are thrown and what else the defense thinks you can do once you break the huddle."
DPP - Analysis: Law looks fine in Denver debut - Jeff Legwold
"The Broncos have plenty of teams left on the schedule that can stress a defense with three or four wide receivers on the field, most notably the Chargers, Giants, Colts and Eagles. So working out of the nickel is going to be important."
NFP - Tavern talk: McDaniels manages the game well - Mike Lombardi
I don't know if Lombardi reads ST&NO, but he covers McD's pre-halftime clock management much in the same way Ted did several weeks ago...
UPDATE 1:05PM ET - DP - Paige: Give Chris Simms the start at QB vs. Redskins
Oh my. Thanks to JeffG for catching this one...
AFC West News
CBS - Q&A: Under fire, Mangini opens up about Browns, Quinn, Belichick - Clark Judge
Well...this is a very long, but interesting read. I learned that Eric Mangini is an intelligent, well-spoken and probably good person. However, I didn't learn much about him as a coach. It was disappointing to not see any Spygate questions, or perhaps one about the $1700 water bottle fine...
Midseason Awards, Etc.
SI - 2009 NFL Predictions for second half of season - Jim Trotter
"It's easy to say "Told You So" after consecutive defeats, but take a look at their remaining schedule."
Y! - Second-half intrigue: Boys-Saints game looms - Jason Cole
"The Broncos and coach Josh McDaniels have been a great story this season, but I just don’t trust what I’m seeing...That 6-0 start could quite easily become a 10-6 finish, if not worse."
FOX - Preseason's no-brainer picks didn't pan out - Kevin Hench
"The consensus was as fast and ruthless as it was wrong. It went like this. 1) Jay Cutler was the one player on the Broncos McDaniels could not alienate. 2) Kyle Orton was a huge downgrade from Cutler. 3) McDaniels will be the latest Bill Belichick disciple to fail spectacularly. Oh-for-three."
Power Rankings, Etc.