The Broncos will end the road portion of the exhibition schedule tomorrow night against the Dallas Cowboys. After a week of travel that bordered redicula, the Broncos are probably looking forward to the comforts of home. Spending the past three days in the sweltering Texas heat surely has helped the conditioning of a team that has looked, well, less than conditioned to start each of the past two seasons, but it has definitely taken it's toll on the health of the roster.
First, Andrew Mason gives us his report, which included the following nuggets --
Meadows' injury Thursday became the fourth to strike the unit; he joins Ryan Harris and Jacob Rogers as tackles who will miss Saturday's game, while Lepsis has recovered enough from his groin strain last week to take part. "Any time you have four tackles go down, he's got to play there," Shanahan said. "But Chad's a guy that has played both positions -- he hasn't played (tackle) for a while, but he'll play half the game (Saturday) at right tackle."
Mustard worked at tackle during the first part of organized team activities in 2006 before moving to tight end, where he had remained until this week.
WHO'S WHERE: Nate Webster worked with the first team at strongside linebacker ... Amon Gordon and Sam Adams lined up with the first team at defensive tackle, while John Engelberger and Ebenezer Ekuban remained at defensive end ... The first-team offensive line included left tackle Matt Lepsis, left guard Chris Myers, center Tom Nalen, right guard Montrae Holland and right tackle Erik Pears ... Brandon Marshall continued to work with the first unit at wide receiver.
After the workout, it was Shanny's turn to answer some questions, which included several updates regarding the walking wounded in the Broncos' locker room --
"(WR Brandon) Stokley will not play. (WR) Javon (Walker) will not play. (T) Matt Lepsis will play."
On T Adam Meadows --
"He will not play (against Dallas). He has a bad calf strain. I am guessing it will be a couple weeks. (DE Tim) Crowder will not play. He was on crutches today. (Broncos Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach) Greg (Saporta) thinks he will be ready next week, so that is a positive side. He thinks Adam (Meadows) will be out for a couple weeks."
On practicing against the Cowboys --
"We have had two good days of two-a-days. We have had pads on both mornings and afternoons. We got a lot done. It has been a good trip. Today is a little bit different for recovery time before you actually play the game. We got a lot done in a short amount of time, and it has been a good trip. They are so different defensively as we have talked about. They play a 3-4 with different personnel alignment, so that was positive for us. Same thing on defense. They used a lot of formations with a lot of different looks than what we have had from our offense. I think it has been a win-win for both sides of the ball."
On playing against Dallas after four practices with the Cowboys --
"To be honest with you, it is always a good test for some of our younger guys. You get a chance to see them against their starters, so we will get a chance to get good evaluations if that is the case."
On the best way to evaluate players --
"Sometimes teams will play their first teams longer than others, but that is good because you get a chance to take a look at your second team against some of their starters. You kind of get a true evaluation of some of your personnel. We had two excellent days of not live contact but pretty close. Both teams are so competitive that they want to show the coaches that they belong in the top 53, and some guys are trying to make the practice squad. It has been productive. We talked about the third week being the toughest week in training camp. It really is because guys get tired of hitting each other. When you come here, everybody is ready to go and we have all the benefits without camp."
On T Ryan Harris' back injury --
"It sets anybody back any time you get guys hurt. That is part of the process. He has to step up and obviously get the job done. We have lost a few offensive lineman--(T) Matt (Lepsis) has been out, (G) Ben (Hamilton) has been out, (T) Ryan (Harris) has been out and (T) Adam Meadows. We have had some guys that we didn't even think were going to get any playing time that will get a chance to play half to three quarters of the game tomorrow. It should be interesting."
On Chad Mustard moving from tight end to tackle --
"We had no choice. Any time you have four tackles that are out he has got to play there. He hasn't played there for a while because he has been at the tight end position. He will play half the game tomorrow at the right tackle position."
While there is nothing earth-shattering there, I am a bit concerned about Javon Walker. I know, I know, they say it's just some scar tissue, and Walker should be fine. I also know the game means nothing, so why risk it. I can't explain it, I just have a feeling it needs to be kept under close observation.