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Bronco notes: Bausby returns via waivers

Melvin Gordon court date pushed back to December 14. Center whiff on pass rusher forced Lock interception.
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos cornerback De'Vante Bausby (41) during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Not liking the way their secondary looked without him Sunday at Atlanta, the Broncos brought back De’Vante Bausby by claiming the veteran cornerback off waivers Tuesday from the Arizona Cardinals.

9NEWS was the first to report of the transaction, which the team later confirmed. If the Broncos made a mistake by cutting Bausby instead of another player when defensive linemen Dre’Mont Jones and DeMarcus Walker were getting activated from injured reserve to the 53-man roster, then credit the team for learning from its mistake.

Bausby had played well for the Broncos in absence of starting cornerback A.J. Bouye in wins against the New York Jets and New England Patriots. When Bouye returned, the team cut Bausby in large part because two other corners who played behind him, Davontae Harris and Duke Dawson Jr., were better on special teams.

The Broncos wanted to sign Bausby back to their practice squad but he opted instead to join the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad. As he was completing his virus protocols with Arizona, though, the Cardinals instead signed him to their 53-man roster.

Bausby played one game for the Cardinals but the Vance Joseph-led defense asks its corners play far more press coverage than the Broncos, who play some press but mostly have their corners read and react from a zone area. With the Cardinals getting some of their defensive backs back from injury, Bausby was cut Monday.

He better fits Vic Fangio’s defense with the Broncos. Although the Broncos two starting corners, Bouye (concussion) and Bryce Callahan (ankle) are expected to return this week after missing the Falcons’ game this past Sunday, Bausby will add insurance along with rookie corner Michael Ojemudia.

With Bouye and Callahan out, and Bausby gone, Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan picked on Davontae Harris for long completions.

To make room for Bausby, the Broncos placed tight end Albert Okwuegbunam on IR with a season-ending right ACL injury.

Credit: AP Photo/Adam Hunger
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon before an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J.

Gordon court case moved back

The Denver County court case for Broncos running back Melvin Gordon on charges of DUI and speeding has been moved back from this Friday to Monday, December 14, at his attorney Eric Nesbitt’s request. The hearing is set for plea on that date.

Any form of guilty plea on the DUI charge would lead to a three-game suspension from the NFL for violating its substance-abuse policy as written in the new collective bargaining agreement. The Broncos would have three games remaining on their 2020 regular-season schedule after Gordon’s court hearing. It’s unclear whether Gordon would have enough time to get due process in the NFL judicial system to serve his three-game suspension at the end of this season.

Many player suspensions are served at the start of the next season.

Gordon was charged October 13 for going 71 mph in a 35 mph zone and driving under the influence near 5th Avenue and Speer Boulevard in Denver.

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) warms up before the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Watch out, Drew!

Blame went to Drew Lock for throwing the interception.

Getting less public criticism was center Lloyd Cushenberry III, who let defensive tackle Grady Jarrett rush free straight up the gut at Lock, who reacted by falling back on his back foot and floating a pass up for grabs.

Jarrett lined up across the gap between Cushenberry and right guard Austin Schlottmann. After Cushenberry’s shotgun snap, both Broncos blockers gave Jarrett a tap before turning the other way.

Schlottmann picked up a blitzing linebacker coming from his right. Cushenberry turned left – and faced no one but left guard teammate Dalton Risner. There was no other defender so Risner turned left to help out left tackle Garett Bolles on an edge rusher.

No one picked up Jarrett except for Lock, who was pushed into a backside tumble as his errant throw was intercepted by safety Ricardo Allen, whose return deep in Broncos’ territory set up another Falcons’ touchdown that moved the score to 34-13 in the fourth quarter.

"When it comes to that play exactly there’s a miscommunication on the offensive line—that has zero to do with Drew," Risner said in a Zoom media call Tuesday. "Drew can’t handle that any different than what he did, he had a guy come through free right at the A-gap.

"You can put that on one guy on the offensive line but that goes down on the whole offensive line. There needs to be better communication, you’ve got a rookie at center, you could easily point a finger at me and say, 'Dalton, as a second-year guy and as a guy that says he’s a leader of the offensive line, why don’t you have your guys on the same page?' That’s how the game works and that could easily be put on me.

"It (ticks) me off watching film when I see that, are you kidding me? As a guy on the team I want to look at that and think I should have known, I should have gotten that corrected before the play. It’s a tough game and stuff like that happens, so it’s unfortunate. That was one play of the game and there were multiple plays like that that we just can’t have and are unacceptable."

Credit: AP
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) runs the ball during the first half of an NFL football game as Denver Broncos defensive end DeShawn Williams (90) pursues, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DeShawn "Baby Geno" Williams

Before he started getting cut by various professional teams in two countries, Broncos defensive lineman DeShawn Williams was compared favorably to Bengals great Geno Atkins, an 8-time Pro Bowler who is still coming off the bench for the Bengals.

"That came about—the defensive coordinator who’s with the Raiders now, Paul Guenther—he gave me the nickname ‘Baby Geno’ because we walk like ducks," Williams said in his Zoom press conference Tuesday. "So, he gave me the name ‘Baby Geno’ and in Cincinnati they just ran with it.

"(Atkins) was a big help. When coaches are getting on you as a rookie you feel like you can’t do anything right. Coaches are on you yelling, but he pulled me to the side and said, ‘I see some things that you do that were similar to me when I was a rookie,’ and he molded me to be a pro."

It took him well into his sixth season but Williams got his first three NFL starts in the Broncos’ previous three games.

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos inside linebacker Josey Jewell lines up during an NFL football game between the Denver Broncos and the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Jewell of a linebacker

Injured during the third game of 2019, and then benched and relegated to special teams upon his return, Broncos inside linebacker Josey Jewell rarely leaves the field this year. Following the release of veteran Todd Davis prior to the start of the season, Jewell has started all eight games at inside linebacker. He relays Fangio’s play calls to the huddle, sometimes is sent in to blitz the quarterback, covers tight ends and running backs, and has made 10 tackles in each of his last two games.

"In the beginning of the season I was excited," Jewell said. "Before I knew about everything that went down, I really wanted to start. Now, the goal is to just get wins. Yeah, it’s good to have a lot of tackles, but honestly, I’d like to have the wins over all the tackles at this point."

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos defensive end Shelby Harris (96) celebrates blocking a field goal attempt by the Tennessee Titans during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Shelby still not cleared

As of the NFL transaction wire Tuesday afternoon, Broncos defensive lineman Shelby Harris still had not come off the COVID reserve list. Harris was placed on the virus list a week ago after he reported himself for coming in close contact with a person outside team headquarters who later tested positive.

Fangio said Monday he hoped Harris would be cleared in time to practice Wednesday.

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