Cutler likely start Sunday, but not Lynch
ENGLEWOOD Jay Cutler practiced again Thursday and didn’t have any troubles with his badly bruised left leg. Barring a setback, he should start Sunday at Kansas City.”He is in good shape and will be ready to go,” Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. “He is a little bit sore, but had a good practice for the second day.”Lynch, recovering from a neck injury, practiced again Thursday but only on a limited basis.”He did not hit for obvious reasons,” Shanahan said. “But he is practicing so that’s positive.”Lynch said he’s feeling better but knows the Broncos want to make sure he’s 100 percent before returning to action.”I’m feeling better, man. I’ve gone through two days of practice and feeling better and better,” Lynch said. “Ah, I think there’s still something there, you know. But I’m feeling good. It’s getting better.”As for this week, I don’t know. You’ll have to talk to Mike and see where we’re at. But the plan was to go out and test it for a couple of days and see where we’re at and it’s hasn’t gotten worse. It’s gotten better.”The Broncos are being cautious with Lynch, who had neck surgery several years ago.”I’ve played with just about everything there is, from dislocated shoulders to torn ligaments in my knees,” Lynch said. “But these things, until they’re ready it’s just foolish to go out there. And I would argue with them before I had gone through this the last time. When the nerve’s hot, it’s just not ready.”Only time heals that.”Running back Travis Henry (knee) did not practice on Thursday.
Arrowhead Stadium has spelled trouble for the Broncos.The Broncos are 12-22 in Kansas City since the Chiefs moved to Arrowhead in 1972. The Broncos’ last win in Kansas City was in 2002.”The main problem is the noise,” offensive tackle Erik Pears said. “You can’t hear the snap count. It’s almost impossible to hear.”Pears said the problem for him is logistics. As a right tackle, he lines up at the very edge of the range of quarterback Jay Cutler’s voice.”You are practically trying to extend yourself to hear the snap call,” Pears said. “And when the crowd starts howling there isn’t a good way to deal with it.”Wide receiver Brandon Stokley will have to squint and squirm to hear Cutler’s snap count from an even greater distance.”It is probably the toughest outdoor stadium to play in because of the noise,” said Stokley, who played in Indianapolis in the domed RCA Dome. “The RCA Dome is closed so it’s going to be louder than an outdoor stadium.””It is a college atmosphere,” Brandon Marshall said. “It’s loud.”Stokley couldn’t prescribe anything more than logical solutions to counter the crowd noise.”You have to watch the ball,” Stokley said. “If something needs to be audibled you need hand signals because there won’t be much verbal communication out there.”The Broncos haven’t won at Arrowhead since 2002.”I don’t know what the problem is when we go over there,” Champ Bailey said. “I know most of the time we go over there, we were the best team.”The Broncos went through their normal routine Thursday, pumping in crowd noise from speakers surrounding the practice area.
Nose tackle Sam Adams offered a warning to his teammates.”Beware of Priest Holmes,” Adams said. “The Chiefs are probably better with Priest Holmes.”The Broncos could see Holmes instead of Larry Johnson, who has a sprained foot.”To me Priest Holmes can score any time he touches the ball,” said Adams, a one-time teammate of Holmes. “I don’t have that confidence in Larry Johnson.”Priest is making a comeback after being out of football for nearly two seasons after a spinal injury in October 2005. In two games since his return, Holmes has carried the ball seven times for 17 yards and caught two passes for 2 yards.”Larry Johnson is a good back, fast and strong and he will run over you,” Adams said. “Priest Holmes will shake and juke you, circle your defense. He’s the guy.”
Defensive ends Larry Birdine, Paul Carrington and Josh Mallard, who were signed this week in a rare roster shake-up at midseason, are auditioning to see which one gets to play Sunday at Kansas City.Defensive boss Jim Bates said there’s a good possibility one of them will be activated on the 45-man game-day roster.”Well, we’re looking at all three of the guys, we evaluated them (Wednesday) when we had the pads on and we’re seeing if any one of the three could help us on Sunday. Definitely a possibility, had good work yesterday out of all the three guys and today we’ll see where they fit in and give us some plays,” Bates said Thursday.Bates wouldn’t name names, but said, “one in particular sticks out.”Bates also said he expects the defense to make a major turnaround starting Sunday at Kansas City.”When you hit hard times, when you hit ruts in the road, the true character of a team will show up,” he said.