Holy, hot tub! The No Fly Zone got an extra day for body maintenance Wednesday.
Not participating in the Denver Broncos’ practice Wednesday were starting safeties Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward and starting cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr.
Talib continues to recover from a lower back injury that forced him to miss the Broncos’ 27-19 win last Sunday against San Diego. Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak said he thought Talib would play this Sunday at Oakland.
No. 4 cornerback Kayvon Webster also sat out with a hamstring injury he aggravated early against the Chargers. Webster is going to have a difficult time making it for the Oakland game but Lorenzo Doss is ready to fill in, as he did against the Chargers.
Stewart, Ward and Harris followed the team’s off day Tuesday with another day to rest their legs Wednesday.
They earned it. Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers threw the ball 47 times last week, but was held to only 20 completions. The Chargers ran 81 offensive plays (compared to 65 snaps for the Broncos’ offense) and Stewart and Ward were out there for all 81. Harris played 79.
Up next is an AFC West first-place showdown Sunday night at Oakland, where quarterback Derek Carr leads the NFL with 323 pass attempts.
His top two receivers, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, rank No. 3 and 5 in the league with 52 and 47 catches, respectively.
So with all that running around going on, no wonder Kubiak rested his starting secondary Wednesday.
The fifth, if not least, member of the No Fly Zone, cornerback Bradley Roby, was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Chargers. Roby, who moved up from nickel to Talib’s starting left corner spot, had seven tackles and 49-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Roby was refreshingly philosophical about his honor.
“The thing that stood out to me the most was that it was the same week that I won the [NFLPA] Community MVP for the league,'' roby said. "For me to be honored off the field and then be honored on the field was kind of special to me. I think that’s the kind of a real life example for myself that when I do things with good intentions in the community sometimes you get rewarded for stuff like that on the field as well. I’m living right is really what it comes down to.”
Phillips with broken rib
Broncos’ defensive coordinator Wade Phillips revealed on Twitter he suffered a broken rib during his sideline collision with San Diego running Melvin Gordon on Sunday.
“Thanks for all the kinds words – I was lucky only fractured 1 rib (have 23 more good ones),’’ Phillips posted along with a video of someone cutting into a large chuck of beef ribs.
Expect Broncos’ newly acquired tight end A.J. Derby to play this Sunday night at Oakland. Then again Derby, who was acquired last Tuesday from New England, said he was ready to play last week against San Diego. He wasn’t activated.
“I’m confident in myself I thought I was ready,’’ Derby said. “But I’ll do whatever is best for the team and I’m doing my best to make sure I’m ready for this week.’’
Too much bend
Now that Phillips is feeling better, it’s permissible to ask him Thursday about his struggles in defending the run. The Broncos rank No. 3 in overall defense and No. 1 against the pass (allowing just 183.9 yards per game), but they rank 24th against the run (117.4 yards per).
While winning the Super Bowl last season, the Broncos were No. 1 in total defense, No. 1 in pass defense and No. 3 in run defense.
“We have struggled,’’ Kubiak said. “The key the other day is, someone is running the ball against you but you’re playing with the lead. Sometimes you look at that and say, ‘Go ahead and run it.’
“It’s when we’ve gotten behind people that they’ve run the ball on us: Atlanta, San Diego at San Diego. Those are the times that you get really concerned.’’
Led by Latavis Murray, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, the Raiders rank 8th in the NFL in rushing with 116.5 yards per game – or about what the Denver defense gives up.
“It’s a good place to start with us,’’ Kubiak said. “We’re going to have to do a better job.”
Rookie running back Devontae Booker and inside linebacker Brandon Marshall each practiced on a limited basis Wednesday. Booker suffered a jammed left shoulder injury on the first series Sunday but returned to the game. Marshall missed the Chargers’ game because of a strained left hamstring. He is expected to play against the Raiders. …
Broncos center Matt Paradis (hip) sat out practice Wednesday, but hopes to participate some Thursday and Friday. …
Oakland has the NFL’s best road record at 5-0, but it is only 1-2 at home.