ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **While you're digesting your Thanksgiving meal, chew on these niblets from the Broncos' holiday work:
1. UPDATING C.J. ANDERSON'S STATUS
The Pro Bowl running back is "doing really well" following surgery to repair torn meniscus in his knee, but remains on crutches, Head Coach Gary Kubiak said late Thursday morning.
"I spent some time with him Monday," Kubiak said. "He's still on his crutches; he's progressing well."
Anderson still leads the Broncos in rushing with 437 yards and four touchdowns on 110 carries despite missing the last three games. He has started his rehabilitation work with head athletic trainer Steve Antonopulos, Kubiak said.
- THE STATE OF RIGHT TACKLE**
Both Donald Stephenson and Ty Sambrailo will play Sunday. Kubiak plans to let the week of practice decide which one starts and how long each plays, but is encouraged by their work this week.
Are they practicing well? Yeah. They always practice well and work hard," Kubiak said. "We've made it a very competitive environment between the two of them. They're both going to play."
But he wants to see more than just good play -- he wants them to both use the competition to step up, seize the role and prove their worthiness of playing every snap.
"Like I told them, 'Be the guy that plays in a way that you don't come off the field,'" Kubiak said. "That is what we're looking for, but they are both going to play."
Before the coaches and players headed home for Thanksgiving, we got in some work inside the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse as the winds swirled outside. (Photos by Gabriel Christus)
- CONTINGENCY PLAN AT LONG SNAPPER**
With Casey Kreiter "day-to-day" because of a calf injury suffered Wednesday in practice, defensive lineman Billy Winn and tight end A.J. Derby handled long-snapping duties Thursday.
"We'll work them both," Kubiak said. "We'll see where Casey's at [Friday], but it just didn't make sense to do it today."
It is not unusual for tight ends to be emergency long snappers. It is exceptionally rare for a defensive lineman to have that tool in his shed. Winn's ability to handle snapping in a pinch helped the Broncos get through the last two days of practice.
"I've never done it in a game, but I've practiced it every year," Winn said. "The last two years of college, and then every year since.
"It's one of those things -- the more you can do."
Winn's ability didn't surprise the Broncos' coaches, who were able to plug him in along with Derby and get to work.
"Joe [DeCamillis], he had already known. Casey knew he had a backup," Winn said. "I've done it for seven years now. Never had to do it in a game -- fortunately and unfortunately -- but if I had to, I could do it."
- THE NEED TO PROTECT THE FOOTBALL**
The Broncos have more giveaways in their last three games (seven) than in their first seven games (five) -- a particularly alarming statistic given that the league's most proficient kleptomaniacs will visit Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday night.
Since Week 7 of the 2015 season, the Chiefs have averaged a league-leading 2.32 takeaways per game -- nearly a full takeaway better than the league average in that span (1.38 per game).
"They have big strengths as a team. That's one of them," Kubiak said.
Kansas City not only has the most interceptions in the league in that span -- 35 (including postseason), but ranks seventh in fumble recoveries and ninth in forced fumbles, according to STATS, Inc.
"They do a very good job of stripping the ball," Kubiak said. "If you watch them, they're really ball-conscious. The first guy is making a tackle and the next guy is all over the ball. That's something that they do really well."
Their league-leading interception tally is simply a result of finishing their opportunities to make plays on the ball.
"The difference between good secondaries and great secondaries [is that] great secondaries, when they get their hands on the ball, they make you pay. Good secondaries knock balls down and you go to the next play. Well, this team makes you pay. They have a lot of great hands on the back end."
- SIEMIAN REFRESHED**
The week of rest not only helped Trevor Siemian throw the ball better this week, but should give him a chance to recapture his early-season penchant for making plays on the ground.
"You go back earlier into the season, Trevor made a lot of first downs with his feet," Kubiak said. "We went back as coaches and watched our cut-ups. You're watching Carolina, you're watching the first few weeks and you're watching Trevor leave the pocket, making plays and keeping us on the field. You didn't see that the last three or four weeks.
"Hopefully with his freshness you'll start to see more of that again."