2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Avs: Here’s the other test, Coach Roy

    Thu, October 31, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

    Piecing together the right lines, convincing a losing roster it can win, firing up a despondent fanbase.

    These are one thing. With 10 wins through his first 11 games as an NHL coach, Patrick Roy has been spectacularly good at that one thing.

    Now comes the tough part, the other part, the part of coaching most coaches never want to experience: how to handle a legal situation that looks really, really bad on paper.

    Semyon Varlamov, the NHL’s best goaltender this season, was arrested on domestic violence-related charges Wednesday. Here’s the news story from the Denver Post. We’ll learn more about the situation later today. Too soon to pass judgment.

    If it’s nothing, we’ll move on. If it’s something, ugh.

    If it’s something, Roy is faced with his first non-hockey test as the Avs’ coach. These kinds of tests often define a coach more than a win-loss record.

    As it relates to his hockey club, Roy said Jean-Sebastien Giguere would start in goal in games against Dallas (on the road) and Montreal (at home) on Friday and Saturday.

    “I’m very confident in Jiggy,” Roy said this morning on 104.3 The Fan. “Jiggy has been outstanding in every single game.”

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

  • Nuggets: Moving, shaking, projecting

    Tue, October 29, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

    The Nuggets are underdogs in their season opener Wednesday.

    At Sacramento.

    That speaks to the Nuggets’ injury situation, as well as the unknown factor inherent with a franchise overhaul. These won’t be the same Nuggets you see in a week or so, when projected/injured starters Ty Lawson, Wilson Chandler (if he’s ever healthy) and Randy Foye are at full strength and in the rotation.

    I also don’t think these are the same Nuggets you see in a few months. I expect moving and shaking from a front office that won’t be shy on the trade market. GM Tim Connelly is blessed with a roster of short-term contracts and financial flexibility. Thanks to the Andre Iguodala trade, the Nuggets also have a $9-million trade exception in their back pocket. That’s huge.

    If the Nuggets find an opportunity to score a big-name player, the new front office will make the big move.

    As the NBA season tips off tonight, I expect a slow start from these Nuggets. I like what the Nuggets are doing as it relates to the long term. But in the short term, I think the going will be rough. I don’t expect another 57-win season. A 50-win season, while acclimating to a new system under Brian Shaw, would be very, very good work. I don’t think these Nuggets will get there, and I’m usually right about these things.

    But I also don’t think the current Nuggets roster will be the same Nuggets roster we see in January/February/March.

    Here’s my single prediction: this Nuggets season won’t be defined by a win total, but by a major move that reshapes the roster.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

  • Gameday Live Report: Redskins at Broncos

    Sun, October 27, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

    FINAL: Broncos 45, Redskins 21

    —The Broncos are 7-1. Next opponent: Bye week (0-8).

    —With eight minutes left in the third quarter, the Broncos had seven points. They finished with 45.

    —Almost feel bad for RGIII. My man gets pounded. Kirk Cousins finished the game at quarterback for Washington.

    —You could usually count on a Mike Shanahan-coached Broncos teams enjoying a fast start, scripted plays and all. This game had a similar feel: fast start, fade at the end.

    —No one needs a bye week more than the Broncos. The Ihenacho and Julius Thomas injuries compounded their issues on the injury front.

    —Text message from a Bears fan: “I think Bears need to get rid of Cutty and pick up Captain Kirk (Cousins)”

    —In Sections 314-316, there’s a Favre jersey, an Urlacher jersey, a John Riggins jersey… and a Champ Bailey Redskins jersey.

    —Demaryius Thomas did not have one of his better games.

    —Headed to the locker room. Interested to hear Peyton Manning’s take on this one. Slow start, spectacular finish.

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos 38, Redskins 21 — 6:35 left in fourth quarter

    —Demaryius Thomas, who has been invisible, joins the fun.

    —That’s a 31-0 run by the Broncos. ESPN analyst George Karl would be proud.

    —That 4th-and-1 decision by Fox (Gase? Peyton?) changed everything.

    —RGIII might last five seasons at this rate of being pounded. Might.

    —I better write a column.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos 31, Redskins 21 — 11:05 left in fourth quarter

    —Turning point? The Broncos going for the touchdown, on 4th-and-1, in the third. The Broncos have scored 24 unanswered points since then.

    —Von Miller, welcome back.

    —Von Miller did tell us, two weeks ago, he’s been practicing a sack dance. First time this season he’s gotten to use it.

    —All of the hits — legal and late (ahem, Kevin Vickerson) — seem to take a toll on RGII as the game wears on.

    —This is about the Broncos defense now.

    —Peyton Manning gave Joel Dreessen an earful before 3rd-and-1 near the goal line.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos 21, Redskins 21 — 14:42 left in fourth quarter

    —John Fox — or Adam Gase? Or Peyton Manning? — made the decision to attempt a pair of fourth-down conversions in this second half. What a gambler, that John Fox.

    —Joel Dreessen seeing some extra time with Julius Thomas hobbled.

    —On that touchdown toss, the Skins had two DBs to cover three WRs/TEs.

    —Mile High is loud, and shaking, for the first time today.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

     

    Skins.8    

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Redskins 21, Broncos 7 — 11:25 left in third period

    —No confirmation yet, but we’re guessing that was the first holding penalty on Peyton Manning.

    —Reason to worry, long-term version: Julius Thomas and Duke Ihenacho both have left the game with injuries. Both are listed as questionable. Both are very, very important to the Broncos.

    —Reason to worry, short-term version: The Broncos defense looks like the Air Force defense. With and without Ihenacho.

    —A drunk Redskins fan just scared off a sober Redskins fan. The sober guy told his lady friend, “Let’s just move (seats).”

    —Mike Shanahan is on the wrong sideline.

    —So, Demaryius Thomas or Dez Bryant?

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos 7, Redskins 7 — Halftime

    —To sum it up: Broncos offense can’t stay on the field. Broncos defense can’t get off the field.

    —After tying the score at 7, Redskins fans are singing a Redskins song: Hail to the Redskins.

    —Nasty, dirty hit by Washington’s Jordan Reed on Duke Ihenacho. No flag, but expect a fine.

    —Ihenacho was helped to the locker room. Wouldn’t expect him back today.

    —The guy in the John Riggins, dancing in Section 314, is having an awesome time.

    —This feels like a game the Broncos win 27-17.

    —The Redskins are doing all the things the Chiefs will attempt to do against the Broncos. So this is kind of like a (JV) Chiefs-Broncos game before the Chiefs-Broncos game.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Skins.7

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos 7, Redskins 0 — 6:12 left in second quarter

    —Britton Colquitt, the $4-million punter, pins the Skins.

    —Just wanted to type that.

    —Washington’s London Fletcher is starting at linebacker for the 247th consecutive game. How amazing is that?

    —Relax, ladies: Eric Decker has reported into the game.

    —Alfred Morris is a terrific, Shanahan-y running back.

    —Still think this Broncos defense missed Wesley Woodyard as much as it missed Von Miller.

    —Redskins hanging, hanging, hanging around. Broncos inability to convert a third down playing a big role.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos 7, Redskins 0 — End of first quarter

    —Pierre Garcon with the catch of the season vs. the Broncos. All at once, the press box said, “Wow.”

    —Unsure why John Fox thought to challenge that spot. Didn’t look all that challenge-worthy.

    —But was a bad challenge flag really any reason to crow? Whatever Fox does will be criticized in Colorado. That’s the public sentiment after The Knee and the Mile High Mistake.

    —Redskins fans hooted and hollered when the Cowboys’ loss was shown on the big screen.

    —C.J. Anderson with his first carry as an NFL running back. Here’s some more about the undrafted free agent.

    —The Broncos will punt to open the second quarter.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Skins.6

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos 7, Redskins 0 — 9:25 left in first quarter 

    —Saw Ronnie Hillman in the suites section/press box before the game. He’s inactive. No sign of C.J. Anderson (on the field) yet.

    —Peyton Manning on the opening scoring drive: 5-for-5 with a TD pass to Welker. The Broncos needed nine plays. Slackers.

    —Reminder: KC struggled to beat teams with Jason Campbell and Case Keenum at quarterback.

    —Loved his Broncos teams on offense. But gotta say: We’ve seen this Mike Shanahan defense before.

    —There are probably a few. But tough to find an empty seat today at sunshine-y Sports Authority Field.

    —Welker has a career-high nine touchdowns. We’re in Week 8.

    —Somewhere, there’s a Brady-Manning comparison in there.

    RIP, Lou Reed.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Skins.1     Skins.2

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Broncos 0, Redskins 0 — 12:25 left in first quarter

    —One more thought on the Broncos loss at the Colts. Andrew Luck doesn’t remind of Peyton Manning. He reminds of Elway.

    —There’s the reason the Redskins will be fortunate if Robert Griffin III plays five or six seasons. Takes way too many hits.

    —Redskins with a three-and-out on their first possession.

    —Semi-scary moment in the pregame ceremony: One of the parachutists almost landed in the horse head. It appeared he couldn’t stop, almost smashed into the wall below the south stands.

    —Mike Shanahan (below) received warm applause during a 20-second video tribute prior to kickoff.

    —Still not buying the Chiefs.

    —Definitely buying this weather.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Skins.4       Skins.5

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Redskins (2-4) at Broncos (6-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — 40 minutes until kickoff (2:25 p.m.)

    —The Broncos are in orange jerseys and white pants. The Redskins are in white jerseys and yellow pants.

    —I am in a jacket and blue shirt.

    —David Ramsey is in a Chad Hall jersey.

    —No sign of Mike Shanahan yet. John Elway is on the sideline. They won Super Bowls.

    —How can the Broncos improve their record-setting offense — and keep Peyton Manning upright in the process? I asked John Elway. Here’s what he said.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Broncos Gameday Live Report — Redskins (2-4) at Broncos (6-1) — Sports Authority Field at Mile High — 1 hour until kickoff (2:25 p.m.)

    Afternoon everyone. Denver columnist Paul Klee joining you from Mile High. Let’s get this Live Report started….

    —The temperature gauge said 71 degrees when I parked. Perfect day.

    —Peyton Manning is on the field, tossing passes to Julius Thomas, Trindon Holliday and Eric Decker.

    —The Chiefs are being average again, leading the Browns 20-17 in the fourth quarter. Reminder: Jason Campbell is quarterbacking the Browns. At least it’s not Case Keenum or something.

    —Spent Saturday afternoon/evening at Falcon Stadium. It had been two decades since my last trip there. It’s second-nature info to our Colorado Springs readers… but Air Force’s ballfield is such as special place to watch a college football game. Thanks for having me, Air Force. Hope to be back soon.

    Now, about that football team.

    Back in a few.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

  • Denver deja vu? Karl vs. Shanahan

    Sat, October 26, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

    The Nuggets open the Brian Shaw era at Sacramento on Wednesday.

    The Broncos host Mike Shanahan and the Redskins on Sunday.

    Why the connection?

    Sounds odd, but I see similarities with the end of the George Karl era with the Nuggets and the end of the Shanahan era with the Broncos.

    With Shanahan, the Broncos were rarely bad, usually good, and always in the NFL conversation. He averaged 9.8 wins over 14 seasons in Denver.

    So whether or not you believed Shanahan should have been fired, his exit was met with a great amount of unknown.

    Same goes for Karl’s firing from the Nuggets. Under Karl, the Nuggets were a mainstay in the playoffs. Since 2003, the Nuggets always were in the NBA conversation, at least during the regular season. Then they would fade.

    Now the Nuggets enter a season with more questions than any one in the previous decade. This is not to say the Nuggets made the right/wrong move in firing Karl and moving toward Shaw — you know where I stand on that one — just that we’ve seen this kind of transition before. The known was replaced with the unknown.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

  • Broncos: Rummaging at running back

    Fri, October 25, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

    With the news that C.J. Anderson will be active — with Ronnie Hillman inactive — for Sunday’s game against the Redskins, this seemed like a good time to track the Broncos running backs race from start to finish.

    Here’s the column that said the Broncos should draft Eddie Lacy (Feb. 22).

    Here’s the one where the Broncos didn’t draft Eddie Lacy, or Doug Martin, and will regret it (Aug. 1).

    Here’s the one where C.J. Anderson was my favorite in training camp (Aug. 16).

    Here’s the one where Knowshon Moreno should be the starter, because the others fumble (Aug. 30).

    If only the Broncos would listen to me. Sigh.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

  • Broncos: Breathe…. deeply… Peyton’s back….

    Thu, October 24, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

    PFM.practice

    Deep breath. And another. And another.

    He’s back, on the practice field, no noticeable limp, 10 fingers, two arms, all extremities intact. See visual above.

    “We’ve got to protect a little better,” Broncos executive John Elway told me this morning. “And that will help Peyton, too.”

    Deep breath.

    Continue with your Thursday.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

  • Broncos: Wobble, wobble. Wobble.

    Wed, October 23, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

    From afar, more than one thing has always fascinated me about Peyton Manning.

    His accuracy. Like death and taxes, his 12-13 wins per season. His comedic timing on commercials.

    Here’s another one: his passes wobble. Arguably the greatest quarterback of a generation, and his passes wobble. Not like a Tebow wobble (Tebowobble?), but there’s a wobble. There’s always been a wobble. Always.

    For some reason, folks worry about a wobble. They obsess over a wobble. If there’s a wobble, there’s not a way.

    Me? I’d say the more pertinent information would be the 461 touchdowns, 62,052 yards, 123.3 QB rating (this season), 96.7 QB rating (career), even the 9-11 playoff record.

    You know, things that matter, not wobble.

    The wobble was all the worry in the Broncos loss to the Colts on Sunday night. The wobble was so bad, Manning only threw for 386 yards, three touchdowns and one interception (when Manning was crunched as he threw).

    For most guys, that’s a career night. For Manning, the wobble became the worry.

    Today at Dove Valley, Manning is not practicing. He’s here, all right, but wearing sweats, not pads, as his teammates go through their usual Wednesday routine. Our friend Jeff Legwold reports a minor ankle injury.

    “It’s nothing serious,” Broncos coach John Fox said a few minutes ago. “He’s just sore.”

    Is this a worry? I don’t think so. Not yet, anyway. The worry, to me, is his offensive line.

    Is the wobble a worry? Not if you’ve watched his previous 14 seasons in the NFL.

    Somehow, Manning has wobbled all the way into the conversation, at least, of greatest ever.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

  • Broncos GameDay Live Report — Broncos at Colts

    Sun, October 20, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

    FINAL: Colts 39, Broncos 33.

    More coverage coming on Gazette.com

    Gazette.com Gameday Live Report — Colts 33, Broncos 14 — 4:46 left in third quarter

    -The Broncos look nothing like the Broncos. There’s something behind that. We don’t know what it is, yet, but there’s something behind that. Odd play-calling. No Welker. No time for Manning. Dancing feet for Manning.

    -This crowd feels like a St. Louis Cardinals crowd, and the Colts are playing like it’s their World Series.

    -That’s two unsportsmanlike penalties on Kevin Vickerson for removing his helmet. Look forward to talking to him after the game.

    -The Broncos sideline looks like a fifth-grader that just learned tomorrow is not a snow day.

    -The streak is nearing an end. Long live the streak (of 17 straight wins in the regular season)… if there is no Manning Magic.

    -Need to start this column for Monday’s Gazette, so updates will be limited from here on out. Thanks.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Gameday Live Report — Colts 26, Broncos 14 — Halftime

    -I think the patchwork offensive line is influencing the Broncos’ playcalling. They don’t seem to have faith the line can hold up against the Colts’ pressure.

    -What’s the difference for the Broncos so far? Special teams and turnovers. Two areas of the game that hardly received notice in the week-long hype machine.

    -Champ Bailey took of his helmet and is pacing the sideline. He appears frustrated with the foot injury. He’s listed as questionable to return.

    -Good, noisy crowd inside Lucas Oil Stadium.

    -With all of this orange in downtown Indianapolis, Tom Crean thinks this is a true road game for the Colts.

    -Demaryius Thomas is so dangerous on that bubble screen. If that’s a bubble screen. You know the play.

    -It’s chilly down on the field. Well, not Jan. 12 chilly, but chilly.

    -Terrance Knighton made a good point the other day: “We get everybody’s best shot.” Suppose that’s how the Colts score nine points against the Chargers… then build a halftime lead against the Broncos.

    -The Broncos offense hasn’t found any sort of rhythm. It’s all discombobulated and jumpy.

    -Is this the end of the franchise-record regular-season winning streak? The streak stands, precariously, at 17 straight.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Gameday Live Report — Broncos 14, Colts 12 — 7:32 left in second quarter

    -It’s official: the Broncos miss their starting tackles. Ryan Clady doesn’t get beat like that.

    -The Broncos offense line is a patchwork operation at the moment. Robert Mathis took advantage.

    -On the north side of Lucas Oil Stadium, there’s a huge banner of Robert Mathis.

    -The Broncos should be very pleased if they can enter halftime with a lead. Any lead.

    -How’s the NBC broadcast?

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Gameday Live Report — Broncos 14, Colts 10 — 11:56 left in second quarter

    -Broncos scoring drive: 8 plays, 54 yards, 4:24.

    -Marvin Harrison. Reggie Wayne. Dallas Clark. Demaryius Thomas. Wes Welker. Eric Decker. And is Julius Thomas the most un-guardable option Peyton Manning’s ever had?

    -As Manning’s touchdown pass left his hands, all of press row said: “Too far. Oh, what a catch.”

    -The home crowd did not cheer Manning’s touchdown pass.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Gameday Live Report — Colts 10, Broncos 7 — End of first quarter

    -Bad Trindon. Good Trindon.

    -Broncos should stop gaining nine yards on first down. It’s led to a pair of 3-and-outs.

    -Colts fans = Cardinals fans. Eerily similar.

    -In a loving way, of course.

    -Peyton Manning had a, ahem, conversation with his linemen at the end of the first quarter.

    -Andrew Luck is terrific. Big, strong, faster than given credit for.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Gameday Live Report — Broncos 7, Colts 3 — 4:05 left in first quarter

    -Tickets distributed: 67,196.

    -Surprise of the night so far: Andrew Luck is as fast as he is big. Escapes trouble like Houdini. He will win Super Bowls.

    -Looks like a shootout. Great for TV. Bad for deadline.

    -The Broncos actually are getting some pressure on Luck. He’s elusive. Like a minnow.

    -Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James are the most recent Colts to go in their version of the Ring of Fame.

    -Terrance Knighton just bulldozed an offensive lineman to reach Luck.

    -Adam Vinatieri, in his 37th NFL season, puts the Colts on the board (10 plays, 65 yards, 4:10 on the scoring drive).

    -I go against the grain on this one: What kind of team can beat these Broncos? I don’t think it’s a team with a great defense. I think it’s a team with a plus offense that can match scores with the Broncos. Could be wrong. Guess we’ll see.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Gameday Live Report — Broncos 0, Colts 0 — 9:15 left in first quarter

    -Here are some worthy statistics, compiled by our esteemed assistant sports editor, Matt Wiley:

    After 21 career games
    Trent Richardson: 359 attempts, 1,245 yards,  3.5 yards per carry,   13 TDs
    Knowshon Moreno  327 attempts, 1,311 yards,  4.01  yards per carry, 12 TDs

    -You go, Browns.

    -Broncos went 3-and-out on their first possession. It’s louder in here than in Dallas/Arlington against the Cowboys.

    -Britton Colquitt earning that big contract, pins the Colts inside their 10 with a 51-yard boomer.

    -At the time, thieving Shaun Phillips from the Chargers went relatively overlooked. He’s been a steal for the Broncos.

    -Broncos will score on this possession.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Colts.6

    Gazette.com Gameday Live Report — Broncos (6-0) at Colts (4-2) — Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis — Kickoff (6:30 p.m. MST, NBC)

    -Here’s a video from outside the stadium. Who are these Peyton jerseys-wearing folks rooting for?

    -There’s an inflatable horse head in the southwest corner of the field. Just like Mile High. But blue and white.

    -Official prediction: Broncos 40, Colts 27.

    -The Broncos race onto the field to boos. And cheers. So weird.

    -The Peyton Manning tribute video lasted about 90 seconds. Peyton then walked to the 50-yard line and waved to the crowd. He appeared to say, “I appreciate it.” Then he jogged to the sideline, grabbed a ball and threw passes to Eric Decker.

    -Our friend Steve Cox from CBS4 is eating a massive plate of mashed potatoes. So is Vic Lombardi. He attended Holy Family High School. So we don’t talk to him.

    -Broncos win the coin toss.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Gameday Live Report — Broncos (6-0) at Colts (4-2) — Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis — 30 minutes until kickoff (6:30 p.m. MST, NBC)

    -Lucas Oil Stadium was roughly 40 percent full when Peyton Manning took the field for warmups.

    -Still plenty of orange on the road. Nothing like Dallas, though.

    -Andrew Luck has seven touchdowns and two interceptions this season. Klee’s fantasy team is appreciative.

    -The Colts, at 4-2, are in first place in the AFC South.

    -Loud cheers as the videoboard showed Marvin Harrison. He caught 9,863,067 touchdown passes from Peyton Manning.

    -The Broncos and Colts haven’t played since 2010. The Colts won, 27-13.

    -The Broncos have never scored more than 35 points against the Colts.

    -This is worth a chuckle: In the media notes, teams often show the “ties” between the teams. Peyton Manning’s “ties” to the Colts is the longest in media notes history.

    -Louis Vasquez is in at tackle for the injured Orlando Franklin. Chris Kuper is at right guard. That’s worth watching.

    -No pregame tribute. Yet.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Colts.5

    Gazette.com Gameday Live Report — Broncos (6-0) at Colts (4-2) — Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis — 1 hour until kickoff (6:30 p.m. MST, NBC)

    -I had an insightful phone call with Vince Caponi, the CEO of St. Vincent hospital in Indianapolis. Mr. Caponi has worked with Peyton Manning on the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital for roughly a decade. Here’s the story…

    When Peyton was 31, he approached the directors of the children’s hospital and said he would like to be involved. Manning was thinking about his legacy in Indianapolis outside of the football, Caponi told me.

    “In typical Peyton fashion, he had 1,000 questions about how we could go about this,” Caponi said.

    Manning has helped raise over $7 million for the children’s hospital over the last five years. Think about that. Most of the money comes from an annual fundraiser where Peyton invites a big-name performer to appear. Some of the names have included Darius Rucker, John Mellencamp (who lives here and often attends IU basketball games), Vince Gil and his good buddy Kenny Chesney. Caponi said the event raises about $400,000-$500,000 annually.

    Additionally, Peyton helped start the “Project 18″ program, an 18-week curriculum aimed at third-, fourth- and fifth-graders. It focuses on teaching the importance of nutrition and holistic health. Caponi said over 532 schools in 72 counties are involved in the program.

    “I think the thing I would tell you is that Peyton is more than just a football player or an athlete,” Caponi said. “He’s concerned with the community, the people in the community. That’s why Indianapolis fell in love with him, more than just the football.”

    Caponi is in attendance here tonight. It’s not hard to see why these folks are torn.

    -Eric Decker, Trindon Holliday, Joel Dreessen and a handful of other players just ran onto the field.

    -So did Andrew Luck, who was greeted with cheers.

    -And so did Peyton Manning, who was greeted with louder cheers. Unless they were for Brock Osweiler.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Gazette.com Gameday Live Report — Broncos (6-0) at Colts (4-2) — Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis — 1 hour until kickoff (6:30 p.m. MST, NBC)

    -The big news so far: Wesley Woodyard is inactive for the Broncos. He’s out for a second-straight game. On Wednesday at Dove Valley, Wood said he would play tonight. Must’ve been a setback. Or gamesmanship. Or he was just messin’.

    -Chiefs are in a one-point game, late, at home, against the Texans (2-4). See below. Just sayin’.

    -Matt Prater is booting 42-yard field goals on the field.

    -Adam Vinatieri is booting 51-yard field goals on the other end.

    -Peyton Manning usually takes the field 55-59 minutes prior to kickoff. Don’t know if that changes since the Colts are planning a pregame video tribute.

    -This is an indoor stadium, but it’s actually kinda chilly on the field. The north end is open. The flags on the goalposts are are waving slightly.

    -We ate lunch at the Slippery Noodle.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Colts.4

    Gazette.com Gameday Live Report — Broncos (6-0) at Colts (4-2) — Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis — 90 minutes until kickoff (6:30 p.m. MST, NBC)

    -There will be crying tonight in these stands.

    -Guess it’s like if John Elway (above, on the sideline a few minutes ago) were traded from Denver to, say, the Dolphins. And then returned two seasons later.

    -Britton Colquitt is booming punts on the field.

    -The windows above the north end zone were just opened. There’s no breeze on the field, but it did drop the temperature to around 50-55 degrees.

    -Broncos third-string quarterback Zac Dysert is warming up. For the fun of it.

    -Von Miller is huge, Bonner reports from the field. That’s why we pay Bonner the big bucks.

    -The Chiefs were stopped on 4th-and-goal from the 1. My preseason prediction stands: the Chiefs will fade when the schedule stiffens.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Colts.2      Colts.3

    Gazette.com Gameday Live Report — Broncos (6-0) at Colts (4-2) — Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis — 2 hours until kickoff (6:30 p.m. MST, NBC)

    -Here’s one of the split jerseys I was talking about (above). This guy is from Kentucky. He’s a Colts fan. But says he’s rooting for Peyton to have a big game.

    -Von Miller was the first Bronco on the field here at Lucas Oil Stadium. After a six-game hiatus, no surprise there.

    -Far more No. 12 Andrew Luck (right, on the right) jerseys than Manning jerseys, though. Most of Indianapolis has moved on. Sorta.

    -Ryan Bonner is down on the sideline, Klee’s in the press box. Bonner reports that Marvin Harrison and the Edge (from the Colts, not U2) are on the sideline.

    -The Broncos are averaging 476 yards and 44.2 points per game. Both lead the NFL, of course. Peyton Manning’s 22 passing touchdowns are tied with the NFL record through six games. Four receivers have over 300 yards receiving.

    -Think about this: Over his final eight seasons in Indianapolis, Peyton and the Colts averaged 12 wins per season. In Kansas City, a single 12-win season warrants a parade.

    -The Chiefs, at home, are leading the Texans (2-4) by a point.

    -Last week, the Chiefs, at home, were tied 7-7 with the Raiders in the second half. What would be the outcry if these Broncos, at home, were tied with the Raiders? Expectations are everything.

    -The Chiefs announced they broke the noise record for an open-air stadium at last week’s home game. A friend, who was in attendance, reports that Arrowhead Stadium wasn’t full when the record was supposedly established. Ahem.

    -Hold on. I’m looking for the asterisk key.

    -The Colts are entering their bye week after tonight’s game.

    -The Broncos host Mike Shanahan’s Redskins next Sunday. ‘Skins beat the Bears today.

    -Tonight’s game is on NBC. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, who attended a Broncos practice and chatted up John Fox during training camp, are on the call.

    -Klee had a solid conversation with Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio at Dove Valley on Thursday. Here’s the column that came out of it.

    Back in a few.

    Klee

    Colts.1

    Gazette.com Gameday Live Report — Broncos (6-0) at Colts (4-2) — Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis — 2 hours until kickoff (6:30 p.m. MST, NBC)

    Great evening, everyone. Denver columnist Paul Klee joining you from Lucas Oil Stadium for the most-hyped (and deserving) game of this NFL season. Let’s get started…

    -Peyton Manning usually is on the field 55-59 minutes prior to kickoff. So he’s still in the locker room now.

    -Downtown Indianapolis feels like a city that just learned it will host the World Cup. In an underappreciated and deserving sports city, this is the biggest thing to hit Indy since the 2010 Final Four.

    -The 2010 Final Four was terrific. The shot Butler laments is not Gordon Hayward’s Hail Mary from halfcourt. It was Gordon Hayward’s baseline floater that crept off the rim. Duke won, 61-59, in a all-timer.

    -Unusual scene after that national championship game: In the lower reaches of Lucas Oil Stdium, NCAA officials accidentally carried the trophy into the Butler locker room — instead of the Duke locker room — after the game. One word: Awkward.

    -Back to football (in a basketball state). Good friend and expert videographer Ryan Bonner has been commissioned to shoot video from Indianapolis today. So we’ll have some video from Lucas Oil Stadium later tonight on Gazette.com.

    -Here’s the overwhelming sentiment from talking to folks in Indianapolis: The natives are hoping Peyton Manning plays very well… and the Colts win. Just like old times.

    -We saw numerous “split” jerseys outside the stadium — half Colts, half Broncos, all Peyton. One Colts fan actually said she hopes Peyton (and the Broncos) win tonight. That’s love.

    -More from the Indianapolis major, Greg Ballard, and the director of the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital next on the blog. And Von Miller. He’s back.

    -I anticipate you are familiar with the Broncos Live Report at this point. One thing it’s not: Play-by-play. I trust you are you watching at home/in a bar/at the airport/in my parents’ couch. So you know the score, etc. I just want to provide insight and observations and analysis from inside the stadium.

    Back in a few.

    Klee (paul.klee@gazette.com or @Klee_Gazette)

  • Broncos: He say, she say, Irsay

    Wed, October 16, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

     

    Colts.5

    The circus came to town today. It stopped at Dove Valley. Lions and tigers and TV cameras, everywhere. This media turnout — a thundering herd of TV types and radio voices and writers — was larger than we witnessed for the playoff game in January.

    It was strictly for one man: Peyton Manning.

    He said nothing of consequence about the comments from Colts owner Jim Irsay. He’s too classy for that.

    But he did say some noteworthy things, namely kind words for his former Colts teammates, some of whom will be at Lucas Oil Stadium for a pregame tribute to Manning on Sunday night.

    “I love seeing those guys,” Manning said. “I still communicate with those guys. Always have.”

    But this tidbit stood out, at least to me:

    “I’ve never been to Canton,” Manning said. “But I would like to maybe miss a couple of days of practice next training camp to be able to attend Marvin Harrison’s ceremony. And Edgerrin’s (James) some day, too, as well.”

    Other than Manning’s smooth operating in an awkward situation, that was the biggest takeaway from today’s media circus:

    Peyton Manning is planning on returning to the Broncos for the 2014 season, at least.

    Was that likely? Sure.

    Is it still nice for Broncos fans to hear? Most definitely.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette

  • Broncos: No. 1 in (TV) power rankings

    Wed, October 16, 2013 by Paul Klee with no comments

     

    Colts.I    Colts.2     Colts.3    Colts.4

    Click, click. Click.

    Set down the remote, America. There’s only one network you need on football Sundays.

    Whatever network is broadcasting the Broncos.

    I wrote back in March the Broncos have never been more popular.

    That was then, this is now. If we needed more proof the Broncos are permanently pasted on the NFL’s marquee, check out these numbers:

    —Of the top-five most-watched TV programs since Labor Day, three are Broncos games (No. 2 vs. Cowboys, No. 3 vs. Eagles, No. 5 vs. Giants).

    —Of the top-10 most-watched TV programs since Labor Day, four are Broncos games (No. 8 vs. Ravens).

    Toss in all of his commercials, and that’s a lot of Peyton Manning.

    The Broncos are in practice right now here at Dove Valley (above), preparing for Sunday night’s game at the Colts. Even Von Miller (top right, No. 58) is here, along with a boatload of media (bottom left).

    Manning’s return to Indianapolis might leap to the top of TV’s most-watched list.

    Football on your phone?

    The Broncos are on your TV.

    Twitter: @Klee_Gazette