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Broncos vs. Broncos

Posted Aug 23, 2012

As Denver prepares to take on the San Francisco 49ers, the team is more focused at the moment on its own schemes than game-planning for its preseason opponent.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- With training camp in the rearview mirror, the Broncos have moved on to a regular-season schedule.

Sort of.

As the first Sunday game of the year approaches, the players' schedule is similar to what it will look like leading up to Week 1, with one notable exception.

The team isn't particularly focused on its opponent at the moment.

"We're still in camp mode," Head Coach John Fox said. "We're still installing, so we're not really game-planning and working against San Francisco."

That being said, the players understand the importance of the task at hand.

Sunday's matchup against the 49ers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High will likely be the starters' final tune-up before the regular season, as first-teamers historically don't see playing time in the preseason finale.

"It's an important week," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "We’re really using this week still to work against ourselves, not necessarily spending a lot of time on San Francisco at this point in the week. We’re still in training-camp mode — Broncos vs. Broncos, which is important. It’s a great challenge for both sides of the ball."

That's not to say the team hasn't put any thought at all into facing the 49ers. On Monday, linebacker Joe Mays said it's the time of game players "live for."

"Guys that like to come out and pound and run the ball and stop the run at all -- that's what the 49ers like to do," he said. "I figure if we can stop their run and if we're able to run the ball on their defense, I think we'll do pretty good this weekend."

Last week against the Seattle Seahawks, the starters played the entire first half. That could signal that both the first-team offense and defense will stay on the field into the third quarter this Sunday, but Manning said that Fox has not yet addressed any playing-time scenarios.

"However much we play, it’ll be a great test," Manning said. "It’s a different type of defense, which is always good, and they’re an excellent team.”  

The starters know Sunday likely marks their final chance to perform on the field before the season-opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and that could bring with it some extra pressure.

"I think they're pretty used to pressure," Fox said. "They love that part. That's what makes them tick. I'm sure they're excited about it, and I would expect them to be."