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Denver Broncos News: Broncos' Mailbag


Mason's Mailbag: Thompson good to go

New York beckons, but first, let's go bobbing for questions as we'd bob for apples -- yes, Big Apples. (Cue the sarcastic rimshot or the sad trombone.)

As always, feel free to tweet your questions to my account submission form if you want to ask something longer than 140 characters, or if you're not a Tweetophile.

Now, on with the show ...

It all depends on his knee, which kept him out of Wednesday's practice and limited him during Thursday's session. But he was listed as probable on Friday and looks good to go for Sunday.

Barring a setback, expect Thompson to get his share of repetitions and carries, especially since he fared well in limited work last week even with a bothersome knee. If not, it'll be left to Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson to carry the freight, with the potential of tight end Virgil Green stepping in at halfback, where he has seen spot duty as part of his multi-faceted role.

The real question is who ends up getting the most touches and snaps. Anderson suggested Thursday that it could fall to whoever has the "hot hand." If any specific runner can heat up against the Jets' run defense, the Broncos will be best served by riding him for as long as possible. Who that ends up being is anyone's guess.

I think we'll have a better idea about that by 4 p.m. EDT Sunday.

The impact of Calais Campbell's injury cannot be discounted; Montee Ball had his longest gain of the day (five yards) on his only carry after Campbell was injured. The Jets have as strong a front seven as the Cardinals, and appear even stronger on the defensive line, with Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson representing one of the league's best pair of D-line anchors. Denver's backup running backs played well, and Hillman looked especially quick, but they had lanes that did not exist in the first half.

Last week, the Broncos listed a few healthy players as inactive. Does every team have to list a certain number of players on the 53-man roster as inactive? If not, why wouldn't they list them as active, but just not play them? Ball got hurt, so what if we ended up needing one of those guys?
-- Jim Winski

Every team has a limit of 46 active players on game days, with the other seven inactive. This format has been tweaked over the years. In the recent past, it was 45, with the 46th man limited to being the No. 3 quarterback, which meant that if he entered the game in the first three quarters, the other two quarterbacks were ineligible to return. It subsequently continued to evolve to today's 46-man standard.

The seven inactive players are designated 90 minutes before kickoff and cannot be changed. An example of when this can bite a team happened with John Fox's Carolina Panthers in 2009, when "the other" Chris Harris (a safety) suffered an injury approximately 45 minutes before kickoff. At that point, there was nothing the Panthers could do; they were stuck with an active, injured player, and played a man short.

It came into play last week with Ball because the Broncos activated three running backs, leaving C.J. Anderson without a jersey. Denver activated all four running backs in Weeks 2 and 3. But in Week 2, just two running backs got carries; a week later, the number was three. That helped lead to the decision to use the spot elsewhere. Anderson was understandably frustrated, but that was short-lived.

Why have we seen Quinton Carter less in the last two games?
-- Hal Smithson

It's all about game situations and matchups. In Week 3, it had to do with the scrambling threat posed by Russell Wilson on the outside, combined with the Seahawks' potential at generating power runs with three-wide receiver formations because of the presence of Marshawn Lynch. There was plenty of work for Brandon Marshall and Nate Irving together in the nickel package, and the Broncos supplemented them with rookies Lamin Barrow and Corey Nelson, who brought speed. In Week 5, the return of Danny Trevathan changed the nickel defense; he worked with Marshall in that alignment. If the Broncos have reason to use T.J. Ward as a linebacker, then you could see more of Carter; otherwise, his opportunities could be limited.

Not well or consistent enough to go on camera with it. I can say a few words and phrases in various English accents -- Cockney, Liverpudlian, and I can default to a Yorkshire accent when I want to talk like my mum or grandparents. But when I try to speak extemporaneously in an accent, I stumble, and I become muddled.

Besides, after doing the Noah's Arcade rap from Wayne's World during the Broncos Live Thursday night show on Oct. 2, I think I'm going to wait before I embarrass myself further.

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