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Broncos, Briefly: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018

‘If I didn’t have football, I’d be dead or in jail’: Why Broncos safety Will Parks is on a mission to help Philadelphia (Nicki Jhabvala, The Athletic)

“When (my mom) told me that my uncle got killed, that’s when it really hit home,” said Will, 24. “That was my uncle Barry. He had three daughters, and they got kids. My uncle was a loving guy. That was a turning point for me, like you gotta change it. I’ve lost plenty of people to guns, but when that happened, I was like, ‘I have to do everything I can to change it.’”

So Parks, as part of the NFL’s three-week “My Cause, My Cleats” initiative that allows players to promote a cause of their choice, has chosen to represent Philadelphia CeaseFire, an organization that has set out to raise community awareness about gun violence and encourage residents of North Philadelphia as well as business and faith-based leaders to work together to reduce the violence in the city.

The shoes, Parks said, is a small but important piece of his plan to help his hometown, to raise awareness and to try to get guns off the streets.

“Meek Mill and all the rappers from back home, they do a whole bunch of things for the kids,” Parks said. “I want to take it to a whole other level, because they don’t have guidance. You have some kids that don’t have a mom and dad, you have some kids whose mom and dad are crack addicts and drug addicts. I got numerous uncles in my dad’s side doing life sentences. I just don’t want to see an innocent kid go down — whether he’s killed or put in jail — because of the wrong decision.”

From Rod Smith to Chris Harris Jr.: Phillip Lindsay joins impressive group of undrafted Broncos (Jeff Legwold, ESPN)

As analyst Tony Romo said this past Sunday during the Broncos' 24-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers: "The whole league made a mistake."

That's because Lindsay is the latest in a growing group of undrafted rookies the Broncos have signed, sealed and watched deliver. At 5-foot-8, 190-pound, Lindsay play with quickness, run with power and be mentally ready to perform in the biggest moments.

"I was surprised when I didn't get drafted when it happened, a little bit mad, just surprised," said Lindsay, who played at Colorado. "But since then, my focus has really just been on doing my job, being prepared to play and taking advantage every single opportunity. Because I always believe in my abilities."

Broncos linebacker Von Miller has been impressed with Lindsay's mettle.

"Phillip? Phillip is that same guy he was when he came in," Miller said. "I think Phillip believed he could play and what he could do, and he just comes in, gets to work and does it."

Broncos primed for scoring burst against woeful Bengals defense (Kyle Fredrickson, Denver Post)

Sunday’s trip to Cincinnati figures to provide a boost. The Bengals are 1-5 over their last six games, fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin earlier this month and have allowed opponents to score 30-or-more points six different times. Cincinnati is equally susceptible through the air (292.6 yards/game) and the ground (147.5 yards/game). The Bengals’ 31.5 points given up per game rank last in the NFL.

However, those recent woes haven’t changed Joseph’s respect for a culture of toughness set by 16th-year Bengals’ coach Marvin Lewis — whom Joseph worked under as defensive backs coach from 2014- 15, when the team had back-to-back playoff berths.

“(Lewis) is very detailed in how he game plans and it shows in how his team plays each week,” Joseph said.

A confident Broncos offense will take the field with one goal in mind.

“I want to score every time we get the ball, hands down,” Keenum said.

Broncos Briefs: Back healthy, Shane Ray prepared to finish season strong (Ryan O'Halloran, Denver Post)

“We’re prepared,” Ray said after practice Wednesday. “When I went down, as bad as it was, Shaq said, ‘I’m going to go in and make plays.’ (Now ) I have go in and make plays and do what I need to do to help the team and help myself.”

Help the team: The Broncos are 5-6 and count on their reserve pass rushers to sub in for Von Miller and Bradley Chubb and also play third-down as a part of their speed package.

Help himself: Ray is scheduled to be a free agent in March and a strong finish, production- and health-wise, would help his market value.

Ray missed the Arizona game and the second Kansas City game. He returned against the Texans in Week 10 but admittedly wasn’t at full strength.

'Tis the season when Broncos backup players become starters (Mike Klis, 9 News)

“I’m the product of a next man up mentality,’’ said Keenum, whose big year at Minnesota last season came after Sam Bradford went down. “That’s when I got my opportunity, was an injury. That’s how I got my other opportunities, through injuries. One person’s unfortunate incident and having a guy go down might be the start of somebody’s great career.

“There are exciting opportunities with young guys that are coming along that are hungry, that maybe haven’t seen the field in a while and have been learning, have been staying out here. You guys have seen them out here working, catching the balls on the jugs, or working through routes with the young quarterbacks. It’s exciting at the same time.”

David Ramsey: Can Spirit of 2015 rescue this Denver Broncos season? Will Parks says yes (David Ramsey, Colorado Springs Gazette)

But instead of surrendering after the team fell to a depressing 3-6 record, Parks and the Broncos chased revival.

They got tougher. They got meaner.

Parks’ long run to a bombastic hit sums up this Broncos season.

Doom has always been lurking, but doom somehow has been averted.

“It’s awesome,” says the man who prevented a certain touchdown. “It’s awesome when you have guys believing.”

It’s painful, too. Just ask Grimble. 

Harris has gone from roster bubble to key cog in Denver (Arnie Stapleton, Associated Press)

In 2017, Harris played in all 16 games for the first time in his career and was second on the team with 5½ sacks. This year, he's been especially stout in the run game but can still make his mark in the pass rush.

Kollar said it all began with a heart-to-heart talk with Harris.

"What happens when you get up here, everybody's good, everybody's tough. So, to me, you've got to take it to next level. When you're a guy who's just never made it, dude, you've got to change your (stuff)," Kollar said Wednesday. "So, that's what I told him: 'You've got to work your butt off or you're not going to make it. I want you working harder than those guys you're playing across from.'"

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