AFC West: Ebenezer Ekuban

Evening Raiders, Broncos notes

March, 20, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Denver free-agent defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban is visiting the Oakland Raiders. Ekuban visited Oakland last year before he re-signed with Denver. The Broncos have not shown they are interested in bringing Ekuban back. He could be a decent fit in Oakland.

Ekuban is a steady, hard-working player who is a strong presence in the locker room. He would likely be affordable. If he signs with Oakland, it wouldn't change the Raiders' outlook, but he could help the cause.

Meanwhile, Denver legendary quarterback John Elway has chimed in on the Jay Cutler fiasco. Elway said the situation is "sad" and "unfortunate." Elway's words weren't earth shattering and he didn't offer up any solutions, but Elway's opinion is valued in Colorado. His thoughts are clearly echoed by Broncos fans as this saga moves on.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

The fact that Denver has cut five defensive starters in the past couple of days may appear more drastic than it really is.

  Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
  Less than a year after acquiring Dewayne Robertson from the Jets, the Broncos discarded the former first-round draft pick.

Yes, replacing at least five starters is no easy task. But the truth is the new Denver regime can't wait to do it. The team needs a huge facelift on defense.

It began this week when the team waved goodbye to starters Dre' Bly (cornerback), Dewayne Robertson (defensive tackle), Jamie Winborn (linebacker), Marquand Manuel (safety) and John Engelberger (defensive end). Only Bly and Robertson could have conceivably been part of the makeover, but both were high-priced and neither made much of an impact last season.

So they're out.

There is more change to come. Outside linebacker Boss Bailey, who is injured, could be a candidate to be cut. Starters Ebenezer Ekuban (defensive end), Nate Webster (linebacker) and Marlon McCree (safety) are free agents and are not expected to return.

But again, many of these players were starters in 2008 because the team had no other choice.

Under new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan -- the former San Francisco head coach and longtime assistant -- the Broncos are moving toward becoming a 3-4 defense. Few of the above-mentioned players fit in the new scheme.

The Broncos have two cornerstones on defense: cornerback Champ Bailey and linebacker D.J. Williams. Other than that, it's an open audition.

Pass-rush specialist Elvis Dumervil should have a place on the defense and could be moved to linebacker from defensive end. Young defensive linemen Marcus Thomas and Jarvis Moss (the team's first-round pick in 2007) will likely get a chance to play in the new scheme.

Thomas has been fairly productive the past two years and has a chance to be a good player. Moss has been a major disappointment, but he has natural pass-rush skills so there's hope he could flourish in the new system.

Young linebackers Wesley Woodyard and Spencer Larsen may get a chance to fit in the 3-4 attack. Woodyard, an undrafted free agent signed last season, is a natural playmaker and was a tackling machine last year. Larsen, a sixth-round pick last season, is a hard-nosed, versatile player. Still, there will be new competition for both.

Other than Bailey, the Broncos will likely be looking for help in the secondary.

Expect Denver to try to get at least two defensive linemen, at least one linebacker and three new defensive backs through free agency, trades and the draft. While big names such as defensive end Julius Peppers and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth will be tempting, the Broncos may opt to target several more reasonably priced free agents than one big-ticket item because of their numerous needs on defense.

Whatever happens, the change is going to be drastic. The release of five starters this week only begins the sea change on Denver's defense.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Here is the injury report from the Broncos and Chiefs. The two teams meet in Denver on Sunday:

In Denver, cornerback Champ Bailey and linebacker D.J. Williams did not make any progress Friday. Williams is listed as doubtful to play against the Chiefs. He has missed four games. Bailey is listed as questionable on the injury report. He has missed five games.

Linebacker Nate Webster is expected to play. He has missed the past three games with a knee injury. Defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban (back), safety Marlon McCree (ankle) and fullback/linebacker Spencer Larsen (hip) are all questionable.

In Kansas City, the Chiefs will be without receiver Mark Bradley. He has been outstanding since being signed earlier in the season. But Bradley appeared on the injury participation list with a calf injury Thursday. He didn't practice Thursday or Friday and he was ruled out Friday for the game. Bradley practiced on Wednesday.

Linebacker Donnie Edwards (hamstring, knee) and Patrick Surtain (quadriceps) are both out as well. Linebacker Pat Thomas (hamstring) and guard Adrian Jones (ankle) are questionable.

Chiefs, Broncos injury update

December, 3, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Here is a Chiefs and Broncos injury report:

In Denver, defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban did not practice with a back injury. He was injured against the Jets on Sunday.

For the fourth straight week, cornerback Champ Bailey was limited in participation. Earlier this week, he said he will play Sunday against the Chiefs.

However, Denver did get some positive news as linebackers D.J. Williams and Nate Webster practiced fully for the first time since each suffered a knee injury. Williams has missed four games and Webster has missed three games. Their return is no sure thing, but the fact that both practiced fully is a good sign that the linebackers will be ready to play Sunday against visiting Kansas City. Backup running back Selvin Young also practiced fully for the first time since injuring his groin nine weeks ago.

In Kansas City, linebacker Donnie Edwards and cornerback Patrick Surtain, who have both been dealing with extended injuries, did not practice. Edwards has hamstring and knee issues and Surtain had a quadriceps injury. Defensive end Tamba Hail (ankle) and linebacker Pat Thomas (hamstring) were both limited in practice.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Here is an injury update out of Denver and San Diego where injured receivers are plentiful:

In Denver, rookie receiver Eddie Royal was limited Thursday. Royal did very little when the media was able to watch practice. Royal didn't practice Wednesday after suffering an ankle injury Sunday. The team is hopeful he will be able to play Sunday against Jacksonville.

However, he will likely have to improve greatly to be able to play and make an impact. If Royal can't play, veterans Brandon Stokley and Darrell Jackson will take his place.

It was announced Wednesday that Denver will be without tight end Tony Scheffler (groin) and running back Selvin Young (groin) against the Jaguars. Nate Jackson will take Scheffler's place and Michael Pittman will take Young's carries. Also for Denver, defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban practiced on a limited basis after he didn't practice Wednesday with a groin injury.

In San Diego, both starting receivers, Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson, didn't practice. Chambers has an ankle injury and Jackson has a knee injury. While Chambers' absence from practice was expected -- he didn't practice Wednesday after being hurt at Miami on Sunday -- Jackson's absence was unexpected. He practiced Wednesday with no reported issue.

It goes without saying San Diego will need at least one of their starting receivers to be ready in its pivotal game Sunday night against New England.

Linebacker Jyles Tucker didn't practice again with a hamstring injury.

Running back LaDainian Tomlinson did practice Thursday. He didn't practice Wednesday because of a turf toe injury he suffered on opening day. Tomlinson has routinely been taking practice days off but he has played in every game. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie (hip) and fullback Mike Tolbert (ankle) were limited in practice Thursday. Cromartie did practice fully Wednesday while Tolbert was limited.

Broncos, Chargers injury updates

October, 8, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Here are Denver and San Diego injury updates:

In Denver, wide receiver Eddie Royal and defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban didn't practice. Royal has an ankle injury and Ekuban has a groin injury. Denver coach Mike Shanahan said Royal could play. Ekuban is day-to-day.

Earlier Wednesday, tight end Tony Scheffler (groin) and running back Selvin Young (groin) were ruled out of Sunday's game against Jacksonville.

In San Diego, receiver Chris Chambers (ankle), running back LaDainian Tomlinson (turf toe) and linebacker Jyles Tucker (hamstring) didn't practice. Tomlinson has taken every Wednesday off except last week since he was injured in Week 1.

He is expected to play against New England on Sunday night. Chambers and Tucker, though, will likely have to be monitored throughout the week and they both could miss Sunday's game.