Thursday, October 16, 2003
Updated: October 17, 12:03 PM ET
Broncos agree: Stopping Moss a tall order
DENVER -- On Sunday, Denver Broncos cornerback Lenny Walls
expects to see a lot of Minnesota receiver Randy Moss, a player he
calls "the biggest big-play guy in the game."
Walls will draw the primary assignment of defending Moss for one
reason: He stands 6-foot-4, as does Moss.
The Broncos hope the size matchup will negate the height and
jumping advantage that Moss enjoys over most cornerbacks.
What makes Moss such a feared, big-play receiver?
"First of all, he's probably the fastest receiver in the
league," Walls said Thursday. "He's very athletic. He can jump.
When guys are in great position to make a play, he still often
outjumps them. He's so good at controlling his body and making the
"Whether he's running by you or jumping over you, he gets the
job done. It's hard to stop that kind of talent unless you're
really focused on him and play well."
Other Bronco defensive backs agree that defending Moss is a tall
"The guy is a phenomenal player," cornerback Kelly Herndon
said. "He's 6-4 with speed, and he uses his height and jumping
ability. He's good at using his body, doing a little pushing and
sometimes getting away with it."
Safety Kenoy Kennedy said few defensive schemes have been
successful at stopping Moss.
"I've seen guys try to box him out, some guys try to hit him,"
Kennedy said. "I've seen guys try to do everything, and he still
finds ways to make the spectacular catch.
"I haven't seen anything that works. You could rush one guy and
drop 10 into coverage on him, but I don't know if even that would
Safety Nick Ferguson said the goal should be to "try to
minimize the big plays that he makes. That's all you can do because
he's Randy Moss. He has made big plays against great DBs, against
great defenses. You have to try to contain him. You're not going to
stop everything that he does."
^BACKING BEUERLEIN:@ Tight end Shannon Sharpe is convinced there
will be no dropoff when Steve Beuerlein replaces Jake Plummer at
quarterback for the next few games.
When he learned that Plummer will be sidelined about four weeks
with a broken left foot, Sharpe said, "Obviously, I was shocked,
disappointed. But that's a part of the NFL. Beuerlein is going to
play well for us and we're going to play well around Beuerlein.
Every guy on this football team is here for a reason."
Sharpe said Plummer's running and scrambling ability "gives us
a dimension that Beuerlein doesn't. Steve is more of a pocket
passer. But I know Ed (McCaffrey), Rod (Smith), Ashley (Lelie) and
myself are going to pick up our play. Clinton Portis and Mike
Anderson are going to pick up their play. We'll be fine."
He noted that Minnesota backup Gus Frerotte played well while
replacing injured starter Daunte Culpepper the last two games and
that the Broncos' Bubby Brister filled in capably for an injured
John Elway in 1998.
"It would be different if the guy was a rookie or first-year
player," Sharpe said. "But Steve has been in this league for 17
years, and he's been a starter for four or five different teams.
"It doesn't matter the position. We've changed quarterbacks,
we've changed receivers, we've changed running backs. We still end
up in the top three or top five in offense. We find ways, we find
guys to get the job done. I don't think this will be any
^INJURY UPDATE:@ Center Tom Nalen, who was held out of practice
on Wednesday to give his sprained ankle a rest, rejoined workouts
Coach Mike Shanahan said safety Kenoy Kennedy appeared recovered
from his sprained ankle and likely will start on Sunday in
Minnesota. Kennedy has missed the last three games, with Nick
Ferguson starting in his place.