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A Different Preparation

Posted Sep 22, 2010

Head Coach Josh McDaniels said preparing for the Colts is different than a lot of teams in the league. For that reason, the team has implemented a few extra tweaks to practice this week.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Head Coach Josh McDaniels has faced the Indianapolis Colts at least once in each of the past seven seasons.

He has, by his estimation, thousands of pages of notes on how to prepare for their vaunted offense and attack their speedy defense.

He has seen how Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis and virtually every Indy playmaker operates.

And in the end, it only helps so much.

"It doesn't matter what we do in practice, we are not going to be able to simulate Freeney and Mathis, we are not going to be able to simulate exactly what Peyton is doing up there," McDaniels said. "You do the best you can with what you have and you try to get your players ready to go, but it's always an adjustment when you get into the first quarter against this team."

The Broncos recognize the challenge that awaits them on Sunday. The Colts are the reigning AFC Champions, and the Broncos nearly pulled off a road upset at Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 14 last season. Denver forced Manning into three interceptions and scored 16 straight points before eventually falling 28-16.

The team is plenty familiar with what Indianapolis brings to the table, so the goal for every practice this week is to mirror the intensity that will be on the field this weekend at INVESCO Field at Mile High.

"You basically have to prepare like (Manning) prepares," Joe Mays said. "You have to watch film all the time and you have to go out on the field and play like it's a game-day mode."

That started Wednesday, when the team began installing its game plan.

"It's a different preparation than other teams in a lot of ways," McDaniels said, highlighting Indy's no-huddle offense and speedy defense. "The whole tempo of the way they play is a change from the ordinary in terms of getting ready for most other teams in the league."

To that point, the team tried to throw a couple wrenches in the preparation of both the offense and the defense.

First, two of the speediest defenders on the team -- Cassius Vaughn and David Bruton -- lined up as scout team defensive ends to simulate the speed of Freeney and Mathis.

To prepare the defense, the coaches will essentially tell the offense what it's up against. If the defense has one call, the offense will call everything that beats that coverage. That's the only way to prepare for the Colts' Pro Bowl quarterback, since Manning has a tendency to read a defense and switch into the best play to beat it.

"If you have a defense and you say, 'Boy, I like that,' he's going to see it and change it," McDaniels said. "That's the challenge you have. You have to stop them, and you have to assume he knows what you are doing because you don't want to get into a game and try to trick this guy -- I don't think that works."

With the extra tweaks in practice and a game plan in place spearheaded by a coach who has seen as much of the Colts in recent years as anyone outside of the AFC South, the Broncos are confident they'll be ready for their Week 3 test.

"We're a lot more comfortable with our coaches knowing what (Manning) likes to do and giving us little certain tips here and there," Mays said. "We're comfortable, but we've got to go out and execute our game plan."

So while adjustments will be made as the game progresses, it still comes down to the work put in before kickoff on Sunday.

"It starts with preparation," Jarvis Moss said. "And today is day one."


Champ Bailey (foot), Andre Goodman (thigh) and Wesley Woodyard (hamstring) did not participate in Wednesday's practice. Ryan Harris (ankle), Chris Kuper (knee), Laurence Maroney (thigh) and Darcel McBath (forearm) had limited participation in the session.

If Bailey and Goodman -- both of the team's starting cornerbacks -- aren't 100 percent by Sunday, Renaldo Hill said the rest of the secondary will have to step up.

"If it does happen, we just have to overemphasize the communication," he said. "Making sure everybody is on the (same) page before the ball is snapped and try to anticipate things that might happen -- motioning, shifting that could come up in the ball game so that everybody can go out there and play fast."

Rookie Perrish Cox, who snagged the first interception of his career last week against Seattle, said he's excited for the test.

"I love the challenge," he said. "It's going to be a big challenge -- I'll probably get more action this game because of what Manning does so I've just got to be ready for everything."