ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --With Head Coach Gary Kubiak in the Broncos' thoughts and prayers, the Broncos went back to work Monday under the watch of interim head coach Joe DeCamillis.
"We think he'll do a great job," said cornerback Chris Harris Jr., "but really it's on the players. We all know that we have a job and a responsibility that we need to do. We need to continue to handle our business for the season."
Despite the news of Kubiak's absence for this week, Thursday night was the focus as the Broncos got back to work Monday.
- VIRGIL GREEN PLANS TO PLAY**
Both Green and offensive tackle Donald Stephenson had full practice repetitions on Monday, a positive sign as they recover from calf injuries that have sidelined him the last three weeks.
"I am tired of sitting and waiting. I believe this is the week," Green said. "I'm excited to go play in California and be with my guys out there."
Green said he felt like he could have played against the Falcons on Sunday, but that the team made the decision to not have him play in two games with short rest in between. A return on Thursday night also gives Green the chance to get 10 full days of rest before playing again on Oct. 24 against the Texans.
"They figured that would be more beneficial for me," Green said. "I'm not complaining. That's what the coaches wanted to do, and I'm down for whatever they want to do."
Despite missing the last three games, Green still leads Broncos tight ends with seven receptions for 74 yards, three catches and 17 yards more than the combined totals of John Phillips and Jeff Heuerman this season.
"I was making a joke earlier, my bid in solitary in the training room is over," Green said. "I just want to get back out there and go compete."
With Ring of Famer Rick Upchurch in attendance, the Broncos got back to work to prepare on a short week for the Chargers on Thursday night. (photos by Gabriel Christus)
- GREEN'S RETURN COULD STOKE GROUND GAME**
Without Green, the Broncos have struggled to run the football.
While not all of the team's ground struggles the last three weeks can be laid at the feet of Green's absence, having his power on the edge gives the Broncos a needed boost after three games in which Broncos running backs and fullback Andy Janovich collectively averaged 68.7 yards per game and 3.1 yards per carry.
The impact of Green's potential return?
"It's huge," said running back C.J. Anderson. "It just feels good to have your guy back -- a guy that's prideful in blocking and what he wants to do, the way he moves people, even catching the ball.
"It's just good to have one of our weapons back in our tool shed."
- EVEN WITHOUT KUBIAK, PLAYERS FEEL ACCOUNTABLE TO HIM**
Even though Kubiak is not in the locker room this week, the players know he will be watching closely. They want to do whatever they can to help make this week each easier, which for the offense involves a quick bounce back from its worst game of the season.
"If you know Kub like we know Kub -- we're definitely going to send our prayers his way -- but he's definitely worrying about how we're going to play offense on Thursday," Anderson said. "Let's not make the stress even worse."
Anderson noted that it was "not really" weird to not have Kubiak at the meeting, saying that Kubiak had to miss a day this summer, during which DeCamillis led the team meeting.
"The only thing is that you lose and you don't hear from your head coach, what his input was on the game. But we pretty much got that with the [assistant] coaches," Anderson said.
- NO WORD ON QUARTERBACKS YET**
Trevor Siemian saw limited work during Monday evening's practice, which was conducted without helmets. But interim head coach Joe DeCamillis played it coy when asked who his quarterback would be during the first question of his press conference.
"We have a lot of guys we are evaluating this week," he said, smiling.
Although Siemian was inactive Sunday, Kubiak described him as "very close" to playing when asked about him after the game.
- SAN DIEGO HAS DIFFERENT FACES, FAMILIAR TACTICS**
Despite season-ending injuries to wide receiver Keenan Allen and running back Danny Woodhead, San Diego's offense has flourished, ranking second in points per game (30.4) and passing yardage per play (8.5) and fourth in yardage per play (6.1).
The return of offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt -- who handled the role in 2013 before becoming the Tennessee Titans' head coach -- has had an impact. But because Whisenhunt has been there before, the Chargers' tactics look mostly familiar.
"They're the same, really," cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. "This is my 11th time playing them. They haven't changed at all."
Their tactics haven't changed, but their players have. Wide receiver Travis Benjamin is a downfield threat, averaging 14.1 yards per catch. Only six players have more receptions of 20 or more yards than Benjamin, who has seven such plays this season.
"They added Benjamin, who is a speed guy. That's something that they haven't had, a guy that could take the top off," Harris said. "But they pretty much do the same thing."