ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- There are times when Denver Broncos head coach John Fox is fond of telling his team it’s “better to undersell and over-produce."

And after a couple of preseason games when the Broncos produced plenty against the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers -- two of the NFC’s expected power brokers in the coming season -- they have spent the past few days this week working the undersell. And working it hard.

[+] EnlargePeyton Manning
Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY SportsPeyton Manning and the Broncos' quarterbacks have looked good during their first two preseason games.
After a Tuesday practice against the Houston Texans quarterback Peyton Manning said the team’s offense “stunk" and that the Texans "did their jobs a lot better than we did."

And after Wednesday’s practice, offensive coordinator Adam Gase said “nobody is patting themselves on the back."

The Broncos will have the third, and final, practice against the Texans on Thursday. The two teams will then face each other Saturday in Sports Authority Field at Mile High in the third preseason game for both teams. No team in the league is surrendering fewer points than the Broncos this preseason -- 8.0 per game after the eighth preseason shutout in franchise history Sunday -- and the team is eighth in the league in scoring at 28.0 point per game.

Manning has thrown all of five incompletions, and Denver's three quarterbacks have passer ratings of 116.9 (Zac Dysert), 106.8 (Manning) and 97.1 (Brock Osweiler).

So, what’s up with all of the dark clouds? Why no smiley face stickers?

“It’s preseason, you want to get your work in, get everybody on the same page and get ready for the season," cornerback Chris Harris Jr said. “It’s all about getting ready for Indianapolis in that first game and going week to week from there. You want to play like you can in those preseason games, but lots of teams do great things in the preseason and don’t do it in the regular season; we want to be a team that does great things in the regular season."

Manning called it “staying even-keeled" and “keeping a humble attitude about it."

That, in many ways, comes from Manning, which is exactly what Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway wanted when the Broncos signed him in 2012. Or, as running back Montee Ball put it;

“He’s one of the captains, but he is the captain, whatever he says we’ve got to listen to. He’s been in this situation plenty of times and he understands how the game goes."

So, that’s how the Broncos will approached their final two preseason games, in the we-haven't-done-anything-yet mode. Even this week’s, ordinarily a game when the team’s starters would play into the third quarter, will likely be played with a little different approach.

With the Broncos and Texans having worked for three days -- Wednesday’s practice was in full pads -- the Broncos are expected to dial back some of their starters in Saturday’s game, perhaps even Manning.

Asked if this week’s work would affect some players’ playing time in Saturday’s game, Fox said he would take the practices with the Texans into account when he decides who plays and how much.

Gase added the Broncos still have to make some tough calls on a crowded depth chart, especially when it comes to some of the team’s younger players.

“I know a lot of you guys, nobody wants us to play the third and fourth preseason game," Gase said. “But we need to get better, there’s a lot of things we need to work on, we’re focused on ... we need to start a game against (the Texans) and we need the fourth one to figure out who’s going to shake out and be on this roster."
ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have concluded their final price before playing at Green Bay on Friday night, and coach Dennis Allen said the team has not decided if rookie Derek Carr will play.

Carr
Carr suffered an injury to his ribs and a concussion Friday night in a victory over Detroit. He practiced some the past three days. Carr has been upbeat and lucid. Still, Allen said the Raiders will be cautious with their second-round pick.

If Carr can’t play, Matt McGloin will spell starter Matt Schaub. Schaub is expected to play into the second half.

In other Raiders notes:
  • Fullback Marcel Reece practiced fully for the second straight day. He is dealing with a foot injury he suffered against the Lions. It is not known if he will play Friday. Both Reece, who was wearing a walking boot after practice Wednesday, and Allen said they do not think the injury will linger.
  • Second-year cornerback DJ Hayden worked on the side on Tuesday. The Raiders have to decide next week if they are going put him on the physically unable to perform list to start the season. If so, he’d miss at least the first six weeks of the season.
  • The Raiders re-signed kicker Kevin Goessling. He was previously cut. Jeremy Deering was waived/injured. Obviously, with Sebastian Janikowski, Goessling has no chance to make the 53-man roster.
  • Allen said both TJ Carrie and Denarius Moore are vying for the punt-return job, while Latavius Murray and Kory Sheets are trying to win the kick-return job.
  • Receiver Brice Butler has not been cleared from a concussion yet.
  • Allen said receiver Andre Holmes needs to work on his consistency.

Broncos, Texans heat up practice

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
4:30
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans gathered on the two sidelines for the last period of Wednesday’s practice, they had played nice up until that point.

There had been very little back-and-forth with any real edge to it in almost two full practices, almost no pushing and no skirmishes. Then the final period of Wednesday's workout dissolved into plenty of pushing, a lot of jawing and after the final play of practice it had all escalated far enough both teams had gathered in one mass, poised for more.

Coaches for both teams finally got the two sides separated, no punches were thrown and things cooled down quickly. Several players chatted after practice and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning went over to introduce himself to Texans rookie quarterback Tom Savage.

"Just a little jawing, that was typical," Broncos head coach John Fox said.

With the regular season just three weeks away, Fox has talked about the importance of players handling themselves and their emotions during the practices with the Texans this week. It isn’t common for two teams to work together this late in the preseason and neither side wants to risk an injury in a practice-field fight.

Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib was particularly heated after a run-play scrum that ended with Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall and Texans running back Arian Foster exchanging words with some bonus finger pointing.

Shortly after the practice, Broncos safety T.J. Ward took to Twitter to offer:

"The heat goin up at practice. I love the competition! Let's get it!"

The two teams will have three practices in all against each other this week, but Wednesday’s was scheduled to be only one in full pads. Things were tense early as well when, in one-on-one drills Texans defensive end J.J. Watt powered around Broncos tackle Chris Clark and Clark shoved Watt’s helmet off at the end of the play.

Watt took exception and said as much, and Clark gave Watt a shove. To which Watt, after a long stare, jogged away offering, "Don’t get mad when you get beat."

All in all, however, players from both sides seemed happy to be practicing against another team rather than simply another week of pushing on each other.

"It’s competitive, it’s great," Talib said. "We’re all here to work, we know that. Things get intense, they’re going hard, we’re going hard. But we’re all here to work."
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Some thoughts and observations on Wednesday’s Kansas City Chiefs practice:
  • Coach Andy Reid moved up the start of practice three hours because of extreme heat in Kansas City. The Chiefs were obviously gearing down in preparation for Saturday night’s preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs didn’t wear full pads and practice was conducted at something less than full speed. Evidently it wasn’t close enough to the speed Reid was looking for because at one point he interrupted practice to yell, “This isn’t a walk-through."
  • Reid said the starters would play into the third quarter against the Vikings and that Tyler Bray would be the first quarterback in the game after Alex Smith.
  • The Chiefs may not have a lot of starters to play into the third quarter. The list of players not practicing included running backs Jamaal Charles (foot) and De’Anthony Thomas (hamstring), wide receivers Dwayne Bowe (quad) and Junior Hemingway (hip), linebacker Joe Mays (wrist) and safety Eric Berry (heel). Nickel back Chris Owens left practice with a knee injury. As cautious as the Chiefs tend to be with injuries this time of year, don’t expect any of these players on the field on Saturday night.
  • The Chiefs continued to feature young wide receiver Frankie Hammond Jr. He was again the starter in Bowe’s place and also was the first punt returner in line in Thomas’ absence.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo -- Denver Broncos wide receiver Jordan Norwood, who was making a significant push to make the roster as a sixth wide receiver, suffered a knee injury in Wednesday’s practice and will miss the remainder of the season.

Norwood
Norwood was taken for an MRI exam early Wednesday afternoon and the results confirmed the Broncos’ preliminary exams -- that Norwood had torn his left ACL. Norwood had four catches for 54 yards and a touchdown in the Broncos' two preseason games combined.

He had received a smattering of snaps with the starters on offense in practice of late and had been one of the team's primary punt returners. Norwood, who has made four starts over his previous four NFL seasons, had positioned himself to be in the mix when the Broncos make their roster cuts to get to 53 players following their final preseason game.

"They'll be tests run. We'll kind of play it by ear until we know something meaningful," said Broncos head coach John Fox.

Norwood was injured in a red zone drill when he battled Houston Texans cornerback Brandon Harris for the ball in the back left corner of the end zone. The two players jumped for the pass and Norwood landed somewhat awkwardly.

The Broncos and Texans were in the second of three days' worth of practices together before the two teams play Saturday night in Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Also Wednesday the Broncos again held wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders out of practice with a thigh injury. Sanders has not practiced since last Thursday and did not play this past weekend against the San Francisco 49ers.

Sanders did do so some work with strength and conditioning coaches off to the side.

"We're just getting that quad back to 100 percent," Fox said.

Running back Montee Ball, who returned to practice Tuesday, did more in Wednesday's workout, taking part in individual drills as well as some work in 7-on-7 with the starters.

The Broncos also held cornerback Kayvon Webster (ankle), tight end Virgil Green (calf), tight end Gerell Robinson (knee, ankle) and linebacker Jamar Chaney (hamstring) out of practice.
The Oakland Raiders are one of seven NFL teams worth less than $1 billion in Forbes Magazine’s annual NFL financial value rankings.

According to the magazine, the Raiders are worth $970 million. There are four NFL teams ranked less. But $970 million? Sounds pretty good to me, whether it's the low-end of the league are not.

Of course, Oakland owner Mark Davis would like to see that total increase and a sure-fire way it would increase is if the Raiders get a new stadium -- one that Davis so desperately wants. The Raiders are having trouble trying to execute a new stadium in Oakland and have been connected to possible moves to Los Angeles and San Antonio.

If the Raiders move to Los Angeles and get a new stadium, expect their value to skyrocket to the top of the league.

In other Raiders notes:

In an Insider piece, Mike Sando ranks Raiders' second-year linebacker Sio Moore at No. 30 on his 50 breakout players for this season. Insider

Former Oakland defensive end Lamarr Houston -- who signed with Chicago for five years, $35 million with the Bears this offseason -- is No. 80 on ESPN's top 100 defensive players list. Two defensive ends the Raiders signed to short-term deals, LaMarr Woodley (99) and Justin Tuck (89), also made the list.
SAN DIEGO -- Keenan Allen knows he's not sneaking up on anyone this season.

As a rookie selected in the third round of the 2013 draft by the San Diego Chargers, last season was supposed to be a developmental year for the Cal product. But season-ending injuries to Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd thrust Allen into the starting lineup.

Allen responded by finishing with 71 receptions for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns, developing into the go-to receiver on the perimeter for Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.

Because of that effort, Allen debuts at No. 75 on this year's ESPN's #NFLRank list.

"I just want to build off of last year, help my team as much as I can out there and try and lead us," said Allen, when asked about what he'd like to accomplish in his second season.

Rivers said Allen's ability to understand the entire offense and his role in it helps the big receiver play fast. Along with that, at 6-foot-2 and 211 pounds, Allen has the short-area quickness to consistently create separation.

"What he does that makes him so good is he's very creative with his releases and his moves at the top of his routes, and yet he's very subtle," Rivers said.

Allen was targeted 107 times in 2013, the second-most behind tight end Antonio Gates (113) on San Diego's roster. In 2014, expect Allen to receive a similar amount of looks.

He'll have the added benefit of having Floyd back on the field. At 6-5 and 235 pounds, defenses will have to account for Floyd on the perimeter, along with Gates in the middle of the field.

"It's great," said Allen, when asked about having Floyd back. "It's going to take a lot of pressure off of me, along with Antonio Gates. I had a great year last year, so I'm guessing I'm going to get a lot of attention. But with Malcom out there, they're not going to really be able to double me up."

Further, NFL receivers often experience their biggest growth in development between their first and second seasons. Allen said he's worked on his speed and added a few pounds to build on what he accomplished as a rookie.

"I really attacked my speed," Allen said. "I'm just trying to get quicker off the ball and be that deep threat."
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Continuity on the offensive line was a struggle for the Oakland Raiders last season. Thus far this preseason, the Raiders have worked with the same offensive line and it has helped build a chemistry that was missing in 2013.

Penn
Wisniewski
The coaching staff thinks that can be a difference-maker.

“It’s been very encouraging. A year ago in the second preseason game, we had made three changes into the second preseason game,” Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Tuesday. “When you have five guys working together and the communication that’s required to play up front, it helps everybody involved.

“It helps the running backs. It helps the quarterbacks. That group in particular, because they all have to be in conjunction with one another. They all have to be on the same page. Besides the fact that we’ve stayed healthy there, they’re also really a veteran group of guys. That’s been a bonus for us, as well.”

If it stays healthy, the unit led by center Stefen Wisniewski and new left tackle Donald Penn, can be a centerpiece of the team, coach Dennis Allen believes.

“I think any time you can put the same group out there for as many reps as they’ve been able to get through the offseason and through training camp has been a positive,” Allen said. “I think that group is beginning to jell together as a unit. I think they’re playing with confidence and I think that’s going to be a position that I think is going to be one of the strengths of our football team.”

I know from my experience of covering the Raiders from 2008-2013, continuity and depth on the offensive line were major sticking points. If this unit can stay healthy and grow together, it could help the Raiders improve pretty quickly.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- What the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans are doing this week is rare and, in the end, took at least some risk-reward analysis before the two teams agreed to do it.

No, it's not rare that they'll have three days' worth of practices against each other before they play a preseason game Saturday night in Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Teams have done it plenty through the years, the Texans are the sixth team the Broncos have practiced against since 1996.

But the Broncos and Texans are doing this in the days leading up to the third preseason game for both teams and just three weeks before the regular-season opener. And that takes at least some thought as the two teams try to balance the benefits of getting the work in they want without exposing everyone involved to unnecessary injury risk.

"I think we did a pretty good job -- both teams -- of respecting each other, but still having an intense practice and getting after it," said Broncos tight end Julius Thomas following Tuesday's practice. "So I expect more of the same (Wednesday).”

The two teams will practice together again Wednesday and Thursday. Originally the plan had been for the two teams to practice in full gear both Tuesday and Wednesday, but after the Broncos had played on Sunday afternoon with the Texans having played on Saturday an adjustment was made.

The players worked in shells, helmets and shorts Tuesday and are now expected to work in full pads in Wednesday's practice.

"We decided to go shorts today because we were a day behind them as far as the recovery," said Broncos head coach John Fox. "I thought it went well. ... I think it's a good look, new faces for the players. There are new schemes both offensively and defensively and even in the kicking game. All in all, I think it was a good first day."

It was also a departure of sorts for Fox, who did not practice against another team in training camp at any point in his nine-season tenure as the Carolina Panthers head coach. Fox said Tuesday the last time he had worked against another team in camp was in 2001, when he was the New York Giants defensive coordinator.

Fox believes the proximity of the work, on the calendar, to the opener could also help his team and that the Broncos, despite having finished their two-a-day practice schedule of the preseason, still have a training camp mindset going.

"Camp is camp, late or early," Fox said. "These guys will tell you they get paid to practice and they would play the games for nothing. I think they did good work. I think it's a good time actually because you've been banging on the same guys for three weeks -- besides the preseason games -- but I think getting someone different is good."

For their part the players behaved Tuesday. Though some words were exchanged at times, especially in a late two-minute drill, there were no major scuffles in the two-hour workout and the teams will not tackle players to the ground in any of the workouts.

Fox and Texans head coach Bill O'Brien had discussed how the practices would be conducted and both expressed confidence the work could get done without any unnecessary conflicts. That, in the end, the benefits simply outweighed any potential downside.

"I know it is great work ... especially when we put on the pads (Wednesday) to get more of a real look in person as far as with the pads," said Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. "Receivers benefit from going against different corners every day. I think there's a benefit.”

"It's the same thing we do every day," Fox said. "We are going to take the approach that we are going to treat the Houston Texans just like we treat our own team and we expect the same from them. I don't foresee any problems."
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- As the Oakland Raiders prepare for the regular season, a key for starting quarterback Matt Schaub is continuing to work on his decision making, offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Tuesday.

Schaub
Schaub
"I wasn't around Matt Schaub in Houston. From what I see on tape, I think he's similar to what he has been and what he is. Kind of like they say, he is what he is. I haven't seen significant loss of arm strength in the time that he's been here," Olson said. "To me, the biggest thing with Matt is the decision making. After the last season, is he making the right decisions? ... I think his confidence is up. We haven't seen, throughout training camp, a bunch of ill-fated decisions so that's been a plus."

Schaub was replaced last season in Houston after a rash of interceptions. Schaub will start and perhaps play in the third quarter Friday night at Green Bay. The starting quarterback often plays little if any in the final preseason game, so this may be the last rehearsal for Schaub before their Sept. 7 opener at the New York Jets.

In other Raiders notes:
  • Raiders coach Dennis Allen said there has been strong competition at receiver this camp and the unit could be deep.
  • Allen is looking for another tight end to stand out. Tackle Khalif Barnes could play in some tight end scenarios, very likely in running situations.
  • The Raiders still haven't made a decision on whether rookie quarterback Derek Carr will play Friday, but I got the feeling barring a setback we will likely see him after Schaub on Friday night. He was cleared to practice on a limited basis Monday after getting a concussion Friday night against Detroit. Carr was very lucid and in good spirits Tuesday in the locker room.
  • Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said he is enjoying the veteran approach new cornerbacks Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown have brought with them. He said both players recognize and address their mistakes quickly.
  • Olson lauded the power of rookie guard Gabe Jackson.
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Khalil Mack hasn’t been dominant yet in the preseason, however Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen is not one bit concerned about the No. 5 overall draft pick.

Mack
There has been some grumbling that the outside linebacker hasn’t stood out. Still, Allen loves what he sees.

“I guess people are worried about it. I’m not worried about it. I think he’s going to be a really good player for us,” said Allen, who said he expects the Buffalo product to make an instant impact in the regular season.

“Yeah, he’s still a rookie and there are still a lot of things that he has to learn and every day is a new learning experience for him, but he’s continuing to get better. We’re going to increase his role and do some different things with him.”

Oakland defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said one of the things that excites him about Mack is he doesn’t make a lot of mental miscues.

“Khalil got better from Week 1 to Week 2,” Tarver said. “A lot was made that he didn’t hit the stat line, but he had solid edges, he worked with the guys well and we continued to give him more reps. I really like Khalil in that when he makes a mistake, he learns from it. He doesn’t like being wrong. He’s had very few major mental errors as we’ve gone through, which is going to create more opportunities for him to make plays. He works with the veterans well. So I’d say Khalil is right on pace with where we need him to be. He was better in the little things in coverage last week, definitely. There just wasn’t as much to his side of the field.”

Chiefs practice report

August, 19, 2014
Aug 19
6:10
PM ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Some thoughts and observations on Tuesday's Kansas City Chiefs practice:
  • Wide receiver Frankie Hammond Jr. took a lot of the starter's snaps that otherwise would have gone to Dwayne Bowe, who didn't practice because of what the Chiefs called a sore quad muscle. If that's a sign the Chiefs are seriously considering Hammond for their roster, that's a good move. Hammond is fast and is still growing as a receiver. He had a big game in Carolina on Sunday night when he caught three passes for 57 yards and lost a 51-yard catch and run on a holding penalty.
  • The third preseason game is usually the big dress rehearsal for the starters and that's how the Chiefs will treat Saturday night's contest against the Minnesota Vikings at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs had their backups running the Vikings' offensive plays against the starting defense and Minnesota's defensive schemes against the starting offense.
  • Two ailing defensive linemen, Mike DeVito and Mike Catapano, returned to practice after lengthy absences. DeVito has a broken hand while Catapano had a virus that was causing flu-like symptoms. Neither one has yet to play in a preseason game. The Chiefs wasted no time getting Catapano involved as a pass-rusher with their first-team defense.
  • Bowe, running back Jamaal Charles, wide receiver Junior Hemingway and linebackers Joe Mays and Josh Martin were among the injured players who did not practice. Charles, who bruised his foot while moving out of the dorm last week when the Chiefs broke training camp, may not be far from a return to practice. He was with the Chiefs for their walk-through practice earlier in the day.
Tuck
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders spent money to get better on defense and according to our ESPN panelists, it is working.

Two days into a two-week project, the Raiders have two defenders on ESPN.com's Top 100 players list. In last year's ESPN.com NFL Top 100 offensive and Top 100 defensive players, the only player to represent the Raiders was defensive back Charles Woodson.

A day after new defensive end LaMarr Woodley was ranked at No. 99, fellow new defensive end Justin Tuck comes in at No. 89. The former Giants' standout signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the Raiders.


I can see why Tuck is on this list. He has had individual success, he's been part of good defenses, and he's known as a good character player. Those are all worthy of being a top-100 player. By all amounts, Tuck is fitting in well with the Raiders on and off the field and he may be a much-needed addition.
SAN DIEGO -- As a kid, San Diego Chargers coach Mike McCoy rooted for the San Francisco 49ers. He regularly attended 49ers home games at Candlestick Park, seeking autographs from legends like Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Ronnie Lott.

McCoy
Any luck?

"We found our ways," McCoy said. "We knew how to get into certain gates and how to sneak in, and I knew a few people that helped us out."

McCoy and the Chargers visit the 49ers in their new home in Santa Clara, California, on Sunday in each team's third preseason game. McCoy grew up in nearby Novato, California, playing quarterback in high school and eventually making his way to the University of Utah. He got his break in NFL coaching from former 49ers head coach George Seifert, who hired him as an offensive assistant coach while serving as the head coach for the Carolina Panthers in 2000.

McCoy said that his parents will attend the game, along with some other family and friends. But the San Diego head coach still considers the trip north a business trip.

He also gets an opportunity to check out the San Francisco’s new home, Levi’s Stadium, for the first time. The Chargers will play there again during the regular season on Dec. 20.

"It will be good," he said. "We are going there later in the year, too, and it will kind of get us acclimated a little bit and see the surroundings."

Injury update: For as second straight day, safety Jahleel Addae (hamstring), defensive end Lawrence Guy (shoulder), defensive end Sean Lissemore (ankle), running back Kerwynn Williams (unknown), receiver Vincent Brown (calf) and cornerback Marcus Cromartie (unknown) did not practice for the Chargers on Tuesday. Offensive lineman Jeromey Clary (hip/shoulder) remains on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. The team will take the day off on Wednesday.
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Less than 48 hours after a 34-0 preseason victory over the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning brought a little verbal rain after the team’s first of three practices with the Houston Texans.

The Broncos and Texans will practice together for three days this week at the Broncos’ complex before the two teams play Saturday night in Sports Authority Field at Mile High. And with a familiar face calling the shots in the Texans' defense in Romeo Crennel, Manning came away from Tuesday’s workout, shall we say, less than enthused about what he had seen.

“I thought our offense stunk today,’’ Manning said following practice. “Their defense totally kicked our butt. ... We’ll learn from the film, hopefully there is some good things to see, hopefully we come out and do a better job tomorrow from a player standpoint.’’

Crennel, after his time as the New England Patriots' defensive coordinator as well as Kansas City Chiefs' head coach, is a familiar adversary through the years. Crennel is in his first season as Texans defensive coordinator, joining the team after another former Patriots assistant, Bill O’Brien, was named head coach.

“Romeo Crennel is one of the best coaches out there, overall it will be a good week for us,’’ Manning said. “... But we’ve got to do better than we did today on offense.’’

Asked what the main issue happened to be, Manning simply said, “Were you watching?’’

“They executed better than we did,’’ Manning added. “... They just did their job a lot better than we did.’’

In reality, Manning and the Broncos' offense, while not at their best following a day off Monday, made their share of plays in both 7-on-7 and team drills. But the group also had some choppy moments against the Texans' regulars.

Manning may have had some other motives as well. The Broncos' starters on offense have played on four drives in two preseason games and the team has scored on three of those drives.

Manning is 22 of 27 passing for 180 yards and a touchdown in those two games and there has been at least some sentiment in and around the Front Range the Broncos' offense is ready to start the season. And that’s an idea Manning seemed to want to poke a hole in Monday.

“I think today that story ought to die,’’ Manning said. “Today’s performance out there on whatever field that is, field 2 ... I kind of call it like I see it. When you have a pretty below-average practice, you’ve got to call it a below-average practice. I think this team does a pretty good job staying pretty even keel. I don’t think anybody is overly excited about beating a San Francisco team that didn’t have Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, didn’t blitz us one time, kind of a pretty vanilla scheme. They will be a different animal when we play those guys in the regular season.’’

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