ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Broncos arrived back in Colorado late Sunday night after their 51-48 victory in Dallas with plenty of work for head trainer Steve Antonopulos and his staff.
And Monday they were still hoping for the best.
Linebacker Wesley Woodyard (neck), defensive end Robert Ayers (left shoulder) and cornerback Chris Harris (concussion) all left Sunday’s game and were evaluated Monday. Cornerback Omar Bolden also left the game in the fourth quarter after suffering what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Broncos coach John Fox classified all of the injuries as “nothing serious.’’
For his part, Woodyard said he felt “good, I’m fine.’’ Ayers, who was wearing a heavy wrap on his shoulder, and Harris will likely miss some practice time. Harris now falls under the league’s concussion protocol, which at best means he could practice fully by Friday. Per the league’s protocol a player who feels “normal’’ one day after the game could pass cognitive testing on Tuesday and begin a light exercise program. They could do more Wednesday, participate in non-contact aspects of practice on Thursday and practice fully Friday.
And that’s only if Harris passes cognitive testing Tuesday.
Asked if “nothing serious’’ meant the players would practice this week, Fox said, “We’ll know that Wednesday.’’
Fox has dished out some tough love after the Broncos have cruised to big wins already this season. But after working through the video, Fox leaned more toward the a-win-is-a-win theme Monday after surrendering 506 passing yards to Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Fox called it a “character win.’’ The Broncos trailed 14-0 and 17-7 Sunday, which easily amounted to the biggest deficits the Broncos had faced this season. They trailed by seven points in the opener against Baltimore, trailed by three points against the Giants and did not trail against either the Raiders or Eagles. “I got to watch the grit, things have gone a little smoother for us so far this season,’’ Fox said. “We answered the bell, we always talk ... there are going to be some storms,’’ said wide receiver Eric Decker. “ ... We get back to the fundamentals, what we’re taught and fight our way out.’’
The Broncos are a historical favorite for Sunday’s game -- the league’s first 28-point favorite since 1966, according to the Gold Sheet -- and the week figures to be filled with reminders of that from the outside world as the Broncos go about their business. “I don’t look at point spreads,’’ Fox said. “One thing I learned is you fall asleep at the wheel you wreck ... All that junk is for other people, it doesn’t have anything to do with us.’’
The Cowboys had to roof closed on AT&T Stadium Sunday, but the sides were open, with the huge panes of glass pushed to the side. The effect, late in the day and late in the game, was some high-glare spots on the field. Peyton Manning’s first interception of the season, a pass Manning called a “bad decision,’’ came on a ball thrown into one of those areas with Decker as the intended receiver. “I would say third quarter, even four quarter -- probably for Peyton looking into it, there were a couple of spots that were tough,’’ Decker said. “ ... And it’s never easy when you’re staring into a full set of light like the sun.’’
Cowboys defensive end George Selvie may hear from the league office after his face mask penalty on Manning in the second quarter Sunday. But when the quarterback has had four neck surgeries and a recovery that included missing the 2011 season, a face mask infraction when the defender doesn’t let go is going to be a worry. For his part Manning tried to still make a throw -- an incompletion toward Demaryius Thomas. “When a guy goes down hard, I hold my breath,’’ Fox said Monday. “So I was happy to see everything was fine.’’