Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Reeling Broncos say they've cooled off
ESPN.com news services
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Already faced with a short week of preparation leading up to their Thanksgiving game against the Giants, the Denver Broncos appear to have made the attempt to quell some inner turmoil brought on by a four-game losing streak.
Safety Brian Dawkins called for a players-only meeting Tuesday and, although he wouldn't elaborate on what was said, teammates and coaches said the well-documented Knowshon Moreno-Brandon Marshall sideline spat was no longer an issue.
"We are on the same page," tight end Daniel Graham said. "There were a lot of emotions out there. No one likes losing. Frustrations came out a little bit. This team will stick together. We are going to fight through this together."
In Sunday's 32-3 loss to San Diego, which thrust the Chargers (7-3) past the Broncos (6-4) into the AFC West lead, receiver Marshall berated running back Moreno after Moreno fumbled at the goal line. Marshall was then shoved in the chest by the rookie as he continued the verbal smackdown on the sideline.
Neither player was in the locker room Tuesday during Denver's only player availability this week. Dawkins said no one should perceive the Broncos as being a divided team.
"What we do as a team, we keep that stuff to ourselves," Dawkins said, according to the Denver Post. "But if we're winning and we have that same argument on the sidelines, does anybody report that? If they do, they say it's our passion. But because we lost that game, and guys were a little emotional, then it's a bad thing.
"I don't buy into that. That's not who we are, who we've been throughout this year. I don't worry about that. Those are things that happen on the sideline, that is passion."
Coach Josh McDaniels said the Broncos (6-4) need to channel their energy in more positive ways.
"Like I said after the game, it's an emotional sport, we have a lot of emotional players. I show a lot of emotion sometimes and I think we've just got to understand what's good and what's not good in terms of showing that and letting that out," McDaniels said Tuesday.
But McDaniels declined again to address his own trash-talking incident with some Chargers linebackers during warmups, an occurrence that critics suggest reveals some immaturity on the part of the 33-year-old rookie coach.
After telling the Chargers defenders, "We own you," McDaniels watched the main target of his taunt, Shaun Phillips, sweep around fill-in right tackle Tyler Polumbus to force Chris Simms to fumble away the ball on Denver's first pass attempt.
The Chargers converted the takeaway into a touchdown, and the Broncos fell apart.
"I have no comment on that," McDaniels said. "I've moved on to the Giants."
Veteran defensive end Vonnie Holliday defended his boss' actions.
"The thing about Josh is that he's a very competitive guy, too. He's right there in that fire with us," Holliday said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.