If matched up with Moss, Champ sees a 'good battle'
Combined, they have been named to 14 Pro Bowls, so whenever Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey and Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss are on the same field, there is certainly a chance of something compelling happening.
"I wouldn't mind (matching up), that would be a good battle," Bailey said. "I know a lot of people like to see stuff like that."
The last time the Broncos faced a team with Moss in the lineup - against the Oakland Raiders in November 2006 - they had Bailey shadow Moss all over the field much of the time.
"They've gone well for me because, unfortunately, he hasn't had a great quarterback," Bailey said. "I'm just glad when we play them this year, he doesn't have (Tom) Brady throwing him the ball."
Moss finished with one reception for 8 yards in what was a 17-13 Broncos win. That day Bailey followed Moss all over the formation, going from the defensive left - where Bailey usually plays - over to the defensive right and even into the slot.
And Bailey rarely has played in the slot at any other time with the Broncos.
This season, with a steady diet of zone coverages the Broncos have played - defenders are responsible for specific sections of the field rather than a specific player - the Broncos have yet to lock up Bailey on one receiver for an entire game.
However, former defensive coordinator Larry Coyer, with current defensive coordinator Bob Slowik as the secondary coach, often put Bailey on some of the more high-profile receivers the team faced such as Moss or Terrell Owens.
Teams primarily have avoided Bailey this season, with the past two Broncos opponents - Tampa Bay and Jacksonville - not attempting a pass into Bailey's area of the field.
If the Broncos don't match Bailey up, Moss could find another familiar foe waiting. Dre Bly faced Moss three times - Moss was inactive for a fourth - in Bly's time in Detroit when Moss played for the Vikings.
Moss had 85, 56 and 104 yards receiving in those three games with only one touchdown.
"I think I've always been successful against Randy in the times I've faced him," Bly said. "When you play corner in this league, you love that kind of challenge."
Bailey and Bly both said Moss' speed, even in his 10th NFL season, is difficult to deal with, along with his reach, his ability to play the ball in the air and his ability to position his body in the catch.
"He's still one of the best to me, if not the best," Bailey said. "The way he plays, he's so capable of making the big play at any moment."
"Just those ball skills," Bly said. "He gets himself to where you can't get it."
Moss piled up 1,493 yards last season to go with a single-season record 23 touchdown catches with Brady on his way toward an MVP award.
This season with Matt Cassel replacing Brady, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the season opener, things have dialed back some in the Patriots offense. But Moss still has had two 100-yard games - 116 against the Chiefs and 111 against the 49ers - and has caught two of Cassel's three touchdown passes.
Bly fined, Shaw suspended
In the wake of his postgame statements Sunday, Bly was fined $20,000 by the NFL for "inappropriate comments on officiating."
Bly was critical of an illegal contact penalty called on him in the third quarter of the 24-17 loss to the Jaguars and a pass interference penalty called on the Broncos late in the fourth quarter.
Marlon McCree was announced for the penalty, but it was safety Marquand Manuel in coverage.
After the game, Bly said, "My call, I had perfect outside position and he broke his route right into me and he pushed me down; he throws the P.I. flag on me. Buy it's judgment calls, those guys get graded just like we do, and like I told him, I don't know if your grade's going to be too good this week. Some judgment calls and we feel like it was bad calls, but you know we can't look at them two calls as an excuse as the reason we lost the game.
"It's tough; we're out there competing; that one at the end of the game, on Marquand, he had excellent coverage. Marlon hit the guy; he didn't catch it. It's a tough call. But, hey, the first couple games I guess they've been evaluating us and said, you know, we won games we shouldn't have won, so I guess they're going to get a call against us. But hey, it happened. We just got to go back to the drawing boards. We got the Patriots coming up next week."
Also Friday, the Broncos suspended defensive tackle Josh Shaw for at least Monday's game at New England for "conduct detrimental to the team," according to paperwork that is filed with the league.
Neither Shaw nor Broncos coach Mike Shanahan could be reached for comment on the suspension, which could be longer than one game and is thought to have resulted from an argument between Shaw and a teammate. Shanahan is expected to review Shaw's status Tuesday or Wednesday when the team returns from Monday night's game in Foxborough, Mass.
Shaw, who was signed Sept. 2 after being released by the Raiders, has played in two games. He's missed the last three games with a groin injury.
Tip the scales
Casey Wiegmann, at 285 pounds or so, is used to staring across at defensive linemen far heavier than he is.
But against the Patriots' 3-4 defense, that means nose tackle Vince Wilfork will be lined up head to head, squarely across from the Broncos center. And the 325-pound Wilfork was named to his first Pro Bowl this past season.
"You just have to use some tricks here and there," Wiegmann said. "I give away pounds every week, but it is a little more drastic with a 3-4 team because their are more run stuffers up front.
"Vince is a good player; he can rush the passer and he can stop the run. There is a reason he was in the Pro Bowl last year."
Wilfork is an active player despite being tucked away in a high-traffic area in the middle of the field. He led the Patriots in solo tackles (five) in New England's loss to the Chargers on Sunday.
He had six solo tackles in the opener against the Chiefs and his 22 solo tackles rank fifth on the team.
"I don't really know how you consistently can deal with it, but you just try to fight them every single down," Wiegmann said.
"There's nothing you can really do, if a guy's bigger and stronger than you are, you just got to fight them. So that's what I do."
* Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokley (concussion) did not practice Friday and is not expected to play Monday night. Tight end Tony Scheffler (groin) practiced on a limited basis this week and is still a question mark.
Linebacker Boss Bailey (ankle), who was held out of Wednesday's practice, practiced fully Friday and is expected to play.
Wide receiver Eddie Royal (foot/ankle) practiced all week and is expected to play.
* The Patriots held right tackle Nick Kaczur (knee) as well as running backs Laurence Maroney (shoulder) and LaMont Jordan out all week. The three are not expected to play.
* Former CU cornerback Terrence Wheatley, who was the Patriots' second-round pick in April and the 68th player selected overall, has appeared in four games this season and had a tackle against the Chargers.
"Terrence has come in and has been out on the field, hasn't missed any time," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "Works hard, smart kid; he's getting better. It's an adjustment to this league. I think he'll be a good player for us in the long run."
1 100-yard receiving game for Moss in six career games against the Broncos. He had 10 catches for 151 yards in the 2003 season in a 28-20 Vikings win over the Broncos.
He said it
"One of those teams that had the Patriots' number . . . hopefully, we can continue that."
Daniel Graham, former Patriots tight end currently with the Broncos, on Shanahan's 5-1 record against New England since Belichick was named coach.
Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel led the team in sacks last season with 121/2, but he also has 10 career receptions on offense in his career, all for touchdowns.
Date Opponent Catch
Sept. 29, 2002 Chargers 1 yard
Feb. 1, 2004 Carolina* 1 yard
Nov. 7, 2004 St. Louis 2 yards
Jan. 2, 2005 San Francisco 1 yard
Feb. 6, 2005 Philadelphia* 2 yards
Nov. 20, 2005 New Orleans 1 yard
Dec. 26, 2005 N.Y. Jets 1 yard
Dec. 26, 2005 N.Y. Jets 2 yards
Oct. 1, 2007 Cincinnati 1 yard
Oct. 28, 2007 Washington 2 yards
“Superman ain't got nothing on me, ... Kryptonite? C'mon now.”
Last edited by JerseySTEEL; 10-19-2008 at 03:12 AM.