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Broncos Notebook: Denver to stick to preseason plan as Bills prepare to play starters

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — No matter what their preseason opponents have planned, the Broncos will follow their own schedule.

Hours after the Buffalo Bills announced they would play their starters "a healthy amount" this weekend against the Broncos, Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett maintained he would move forward with his own plan.

"It's about our team," Hackett said. "Our team and our team only. The only time it will ever affect the kind of the things that we do is during the season."

Hackett did not say outright whether his starters would play, but he again insinuated that the team's starters would see, at most, few snaps this weekend against Buffalo.

"We're still working through that," Hackett said. "You guys know my philosophy: [Preseason is about] risk-reward. … In the end, I want to do what's right for the team."

Hackett did reveal that he expects to start Josh Johnson at quarterback before Brett Rypien relieves him on Saturday. Russell Wilson did not play against the Cowboys, and the team does not plan for him to play this weekend, either.

"He always wants to be out there," Offensive Coordinator Justin Outten said. "You saw him warming up [against Dallas]. He loves this game; he loves this team. Any opportunity that he could step inside the white lines, it's a privilege. He realizes that every time you put a helmet on you don't know what's going to happen the next play. He really loves his game, and that's what we love about him. But yeah, we're not going to do that."

Outten said Wilson has not requested to play in the preseason — and it doesn't appear that he will make his Broncos debut in Buffalo.

Hackett's comments this week suggest many of Wilson's teammates will follow the same path.

The Broncos' defense began Thursday's practice with a strong red-zone period in which the offense struggled to get much going.

"It was great to see the defense getting after it," Hackett said. "For those first two periods, that was all defense. I was a defensive head coach and then after that, I switched back to offense. The defense is playing really well and the offense has to step up. That wasn't good enough. They didn't do good enough. There were some mental errors, there were some missed blocks, there were some drops and all that kind of stuff. It wasn't just one guy, it was a combination of everybody."

The period was more than just good film for the defense. It was also an opportunity for Denver's offense to show its ability to respond to adversity.

"The reality of it is that they have to work through that stuff," Hackett said. "That happens. You saw it this past game when we started slow on offense, but the great thing was that they stuck together and we were able to rebound and score three consecutive drives in a row. That's part of the process. They have to learn that stuff."

The Broncos' offense rebounded late in practice, as the unit found success in a move-the-ball scenario.

"It was great to see the offense hop out there, and they had a really good two-minute drive and some other things," Hackett said. "That's the whole process. They got to learn how to get through that stuff."


Two of the Broncos' coordinators received Super Bowl rings from their win last season with the Rams, but neither coach is showing his ring off.

Special Teams Coordinator Dwayne Stukes said he would only bring his ring to the facility if he was asked by a player, but he does wear it each evening at home.

"I put my ring on every night," Stukes said. "My wife looks at me like I'm crazy, but I put it on."

Stukes and Defensive Coordinator Ejiro Evero can both tell their players are motivated to earn a ring of their own.

"They were over it," Evero said. "They want their own now."

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