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Receivers Ready to Step Up

Posted Oct 17, 2011

The Broncos wide receivers are prepared for expanded roles after Monday's trade.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Head Coach John Fox firmly believes the wide receiver position is an area of strength for the Denver Broncos.
 
And by trading wideout Brandon Lloyd to St. Louis today for a 2012 conditional draft pick, that depth and youth at the wide receiver position will get more chances to display their potential.
 
"It's an opportunity for some other guys," Fox said.  "We feel strong about our receiving corps moving forward."
 
After the players heard the news that Lloyd had been traded, the wide receivers gathered for a brief meeting to discuss what lies ahead for the position group.

Eric Decker said he and his fellow wideouts are ready to step up into larger roles.
 
"Let's make the most of it and go out there and play hard," Decker said of the message from the position meeting. "Nothing has changed. Guys aren't scared. Guys just know that more opportunities are here now, and we have to make the most of them."
 
One of the reasons Fox and the Broncos staff feel so strongly about the receivers is the emergence of Decker, a second-year wideout who has recorded 22 catches for 266 yards and four touchdowns so far in 2011.
 
Decker knows he now has an opportunity to further establish himself as a dependable, go-to receiver for the Broncos offense.
 
"I'm trying to be consistent, trying to be reliable, so hopefully that's what I'm showcasing," Decker said. "At the same time, it just opens doors for everybody, not just me singly, but for all the guys in the receiving room."
 
"Obviously it hurts to lose a Pro Bowler, a guy with (Lloyd's) talent," Decker added. "But at the same time, we got guys healthy - Demaryius (Thomas) is back, Eddie's (Royal) back, and we're excited about the opportunities all of us are going to face."
 
Thomas and Royal have both returned to practice, bolstering the wide receiver position after both missed action due to injury.
 
Thomas -- a first-round draft pick in his second year with the team -- has been frustrated by a string of injuries since entering the NFL, but says he's now "the healthiest I've been since I've been in the league" and understands that Lloyd's departure will allow him more opportunities to showcase his abilities.
 
"I feel like since they traded Lloyd, they're going to need somebody to step up," Thomas said, "and I feel like I can be that guy."
 
The Broncos are confident in the wide receivers' collective ability to step up.
 
The passing game will continue to evolve with the return of Thomas and Royal and with Tim Tebow now working under center, and it will be up to the stable of young wide receivers to master the playbook and contribute under their new roles.
 
"I was just stressing before that guys now have to learn every position so we can move around so everybody can get in, get their plays or get their catches," Decker said. "We're just trying to win games and if that's getting more catches, if that's not getting more catches, that's fine with me as long as we're getting that W."