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Notebook: Huddle Up

Posted Nov 14, 2012

Peyton Manning and the offense have developed a routine of meeting on the sideline after every drive. The quarterback said it's a habit that has served the team well.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- When the Broncos finish off a drive -- whether it's a touchdown, punt or turnover -- it's easy to find quarterback Peyton Manning.

He's huddled up with the rest of the offense on the bench, going over every aspect of the previous possession.

"It’s something that we’ve decided to do kind of after every series, we kind of meet as a unit," Manning explained. "It’s just the players. We’re just trying to kind of hash out what’s going on out there, good or bad."

The group calls it a debriefing session, an idea the offense took on after meeting with members of the military.

"We had some guys come in and speak to us, some military guys come in and speak to us and that was something that they talked about," Manning said. "(Head) Coach (John) Fox really encouraged us to kind of buy into it."

So no matter how the drive went, when Manning and the rest of the offense head to the sideline, the group will gather in front of the offensive linemen on the bench.

"We meet over there where the line likes to sit," Manning smiled. "It's a courtesy thing for them. We don't want them having to travel five feet down to where the receivers sit."

The idea is to hash out what everyone is seeing on the field, in order to ensure more success the rest of the game.

"We kind of talk about what looks the defense gave us, what we could have done better, maybe adjustments that we can make," tight end Jacob Tamme said. "It usually ends with something upbeat, either, ‘Go get 'em again’ if we just scored, or, ‘Let’s go do better next time,’ if we did not get down the field and score.”

"I think it’s been pretty effective for us," Manning said.


Late in the first quarter last Sunday against the Panthers, defensive end Elvis Dumervil suffered a shoulder injury after his sack and forced fumble on quarterback Cam Newton.

Without the two-time Pro Bowler the rest of the way, the defense stepped up in Dumervil's absence, sacking Newton five more times in the second half.

Two of those takedowns came courtesy of defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson.

"Elvis was down with his shoulder, so I decided to step up," Vickerson said. "I told him I would get one. That was for Elvis.”

In addition to sacks from cornerback Chris Harris and safety Mike Adams, defensive end Robert Ayers -- who took Dumervil's place on the line -- took down Newton as well.

“He did a great job of coming off the edge for us," defensive end Derek Wolfe said of Ayers. "He works hard all week long like he is going to be playing every snap. That just shows you that if somebody goes down, we have guys that can come in and fill in right away."

Fox said Wednesday that Dumervil is receiving treatment for a muscle strain in his shoulder, and is "doing everything he should be doing."

"He'll be day-to-day," Fox said. "Not being a doctor, I just rely on our training staff and medical staff. It’s not a prolonged time, supposedly."

Vickerson said that if Dumervil is unable to play this week -- he did not participate in Wednesday's practice -- he has faith in the rest of the line to make plays in his absence.

“There are no weak links," he said. "At the end of the day, we all stay ready, because we know each and everybody’s job, what we’re supposed to do."

"We're deep, and we've got a good unit over here."


Linebacker D.J. Williams returned to the team on Monday after serving a nine-game suspension.

Wednesday marked another milestone, as Williams returned to the practice field.

“He’s a pro," Fox said. "He’s been playing football for a while. He was playing at a very high level a year ago. I haven’t really seen him since training camp as far as on the practice field running around with his teammates on our defense. I thought today was an excellent first day.”

Defensive tackle Justin Bannan said that whenever Williams' number is called in a game, he has no doubt the ninth-year pro will be ready.

“D.J. is a great talent," Bannan said. "I played with him in 2010. That guy showed up every Sunday and played extremely hard every Sunday. He gives it all he has on Sundays. I know him pretty well. He is a good friend of mine and I know he’ll show up and he is ready to go.”