Broncos’ RB Hall making way up depth chart
Rocky Mountain News
Vail, CO Colorado
DENVER, Colorado ” Andre Hall knows the deal about running the ball for the Denver Broncos.
He knows it’s an equal-opportunity affair, that first-round, last-round or even no-round picks have the same chance to earn the job and the same chance to lose it. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“All you want anywhere in football is a fair shot,” Hall said. “I went to Chicago, I didn’t have one. I went to Tampa Bay, I didn’t have one. Here it is different, here they look at you and decide by what they see. So everybody is on the edge here, everybody is on eggshells here, and that’s the way I like it because at least you know you’re in the mix.”
And when the Broncos dropped their first depth chart into the public view Monday morning, Hall was the No. 2 running back behind Selvin Young. Rookie Ryan Torain is at No. 3 with rookie Anthony Alridge behind Torain.
But for Hall, it is a big leap forward from his experiences in last year’s training camp with the Broncos, a time that followed his being signed and released by the Bears and Buccaneers in a four- month span in 2006.
He signed with the Broncos practice squad in November of that year and has been with the team ever since.
“Last camp there was Cecil Sapp at running back, Mike Bell, Travis (Henry) and me and Selvin weren’t really getting any reps,” Hall said. “Now a few of those guys are gone, it really gives me and Selvin a lot more opportunities.
“Last year, it was just mental reps for me, just hoping to get two or three plays in a whole day of practice.”
This time around, Henry has been released, Bell has been released, Sapp has been moved back to fullback and Michael Pittman, who was hoping to compete for the starting running back job, is listed only at fullback and is getting only limited plays in practice at running back.
That has cleared the way for Young and Hall to try to hold off the rookies through the preseason.
“More work has helped, I see stuff before it happens, the game is just a lot slower now,” Hall said. “There’s not so much weight on my shoulders, I can relax now. But I always worry about getting cut, that’s how I play. Either I’m going to be here or I’m not and I feel like if I’m messing up I’m not going to be here. Every down is serious to me.”
The Broncos, by the time the team had gathered for dinner, still had not been notified of receiver Brandon Marshall’s fate under the league’s personal-conduct policy.
Marshall, who has had several off-the-field incidents that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been reviewing, is eligible to be suspended under the policy.
Goodell said Friday at the Hall of Fame activities in Canton, Ohio, the league was in its “final stages” of its review of Marshall’s case and he expected to make a ruling within a week.
“I can’t update every time there is a rumor out there . . . ,” Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said Monday. “When we know something, we’ll deal with it.”
If he receives a suspension, Marshall still would be able to practice and play in the preseason. The punishment would begin in the regular season.
“If he gets suspended two, three or four games, it will hurt the team, but it will give other guys an opportunity to step up,” Broncos cornerback Dre Bly said. “Brandon is a big part of what we try and do. He is Jay’s (Cutler) guy. It would be disappointing to know that he is suspended.”
Nalen on hold
Center Tom Nalen continues to have pain in his left knee and was held out of practice for the seventh practice day.
Nalen had surgery to repair the knee in June and had participated early on in training camp.
“You’re always concerned when one of your best players is having problems, but I am not concerned that Tom needs to play in the preseason,” Shanahan said. “He’ll keep getting treatment and we’ll go from there. But if he can be out there he’ll be out there.”
Casey Wiegmann worked with the starters in Nalen’s place.
Shanahan said a magnetic resonance imaging exam last week didn’t reveal any issues that could be surgically repaired at the moment.
* Other depth chart items:
Nate Webster was listed as the starter at middle linebacker, but the Broncos will continue to split time between Webster and Niko Koutouvides all through the preseason.
At receiver, Eddie Royal is listed, and has practiced, as the backup behind Marshall at one spot, while Darrell Jackson was listed as the starter at the other receiver spot.
On the offensive line Ryan Clady (left) and Ryan Harris (right) were listed as the starting tackles.
Montrae Holland, who reported overweight after starting at right guard last season, is formally in the No. 2 spot at the position.
Chris Kuper has been working at the right guard spot with the starters throughout camp.
In a quirk, Sam Paulescu is listed as the starting punter, but the backup – Brett Kern – is listed as the starting holder for placekicks.
That would be a highly unlikely configuration during the regular season.
* Former Wall Street Journal reporter Stefan Fatsis, whose book A Few Seconds of Panic chronicles his time as a kicker during the Broncos’ 2006 training camp, will be signing books at the Boulder Bookstore from 7:30-9 p.m. tonight and at the Highlands Ranch Tattered Cover from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
* Royal made a leaping grab of a Cutler pass along the sideline in team drills during the morning practice.
Marshall lined up as a tight end/H-back in some red-zone work. Rookie running back Alridge turned a cutback into a 50-yard scoring run in run-game drills.
* In addition to Nalen, safety Hamza Abdullah (groin) did not practice. Fullback Peyton Hillis (hamstring) participated in the morning workout, but did not take part in the afternoon workout.