The Denver Broncos were back at practice Thursday at Dove Valley after a two-day break during the bye week. The top-seeded Broncos next plays Jan. 12 at home. Photo by Brian Olson
KUSA - The Broncos were back at practice on Thursday after a couple of days off, and coach John Fox said they aren't treating this as a bye week but rather "a get better week."
"One of the reasons you work hard to get to this situation is it gives you an extra week to prepare for a potential opponent," Fox said. "It's an opportunity to get better. A lot of people on the outside call it a bye week, I call it a get better week."
Denver has worked through a number of injuries this season, and the time off during the wildcard week will help them mend for the Jan. 12 divisional game. The only player who didn't practice Thursday was defensive end Derek Wolfe, who has been dealing with an illness and then the flu most of the past month.
The Broncos, who have home-field advantage in the postseason, will practice again Friday and maybe Saturday, Fox said. The players will be off Sunday then start their divisional game prep week Monday.
Before the two-day break, Fox said receiver Wes Welker has been cleared to play in the Jan. 12 game after sitting out the last three games because of this second concussion this season. Welker returned to practice last week on a limited basis.
"Of course you're always concerned anytime you get a concussion," Welker said, "but really I feel good. ... It will be five weeks since I've had any contact at all."
The Broncos will play the lowest remaining seed after this weekend's wildcard games. Two of the three possible Jan. 12 opponents - Indianapolis and San Diego - beat the Broncos this season. Kansas City is the third possible division game opponent, and the Broncos were 2-0 against the Chiefs this season.
Cincinnati is the third seed, and if the Bengals win they would play Jan. 11 at New England.
The Broncos had a bye last season in the playoffs then lost to Baltimore in the divisional game. Quarterback Peyton Manning said Thursday the team has learned from that game and this season.
"I think you can, as painful as it was, you can learn from it," said Manning, who earlier Thursday was named the AFC offensive player of the month. "You can use it to fuel you, but you can learn from some of the football parts of it. You can learn from 16 more games this regular season."
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