A “trap game?” On the road in Week Two, against a 1-1 team?
Vance Joseph finds the very idea ridiculous.
“It’s the NFL. It’s a hard league, so to say it’s a ‘trap game’ in this league, that’s disrespectful to your opponent,” the Denver Broncos’ coach said Thursday. “I don’t think it exists in this league.”
So, no, don’t expect the 2-0 Broncos to come into New Era Field on Sunday and overlook the Buffalo Bills.
“This is probably the best front seven we’ve seen all year, including the preseason,” Joseph said. “It’s going to be a true challenge for us. Right now they’re ranked, what, third in the league, only allowing I think 264 yards a game, so that’s big time.”
The numbers are actually better than that. The Bills rank second overall in total defense, allowing 234.5 yards per game through two weeks. Buffalo is fifth against the run, allowing 57.5 yards per game, and eighth against the pass, at 177 per game.
“It’s a real defense that we’re facing,” Joseph said. “So I mean, trap game? No. No. No. We don’t see it as that.”
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Defensive end Shaq Lawson returned to practice Thursday for the Bills on a limited basis after sitting out the day before with a nerve contusion.
Lawson said, “I’ll be good to go,” when asked about his availability for Sunday.
That will be a boost to the Bills’ run defense, which faces the No. 1 rushing attack in the NFL led by C.J. Anderson.
“I take pride in that,” Lawson said of stopping the run, which defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier praised him for earlier in the week. “You stop the run first, the pass rush is going to have opportunities, so I take pride in that. I know I don't want anyone running on my side. I want to make sure I'm doing my job at all times and when the ball comes over on that side, my teammates can always count on me to set the edge.”
The analytics website Pro Football Focus gives Lawson the second-best run defense grade among 4-3 defensive ends. He’s been credited with six “stops,” which the website describes as solo tackles that result in an offensive failure, a total that ranks seventh in the league.
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In addition to Lawson, offensive tackle Cordy Glenn returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday. Glenn missed Wednesday because of an ankle injury.
“Just taking it day to day, just staying on top of my treatment, and all that stuff,” Glenn said. “We'll see how the week goes.”
Defensive tackles Marcell Dareus (ankle) and Jerel Worthy (concussion) sat out practice. Worthy walked out to the field as the portion of practice that was open to the media was ending. He has been out of the lineup since suffering a concussion in the final preseason game. Dareus, meanwhile, wore a brace on his right ankle and worked with trainers off to the side.
Also limited in practice were wide receiver Kaelin Clay (foot), safety Colt Anderson (foot), linebacker Deon Lacey (hamstring) and tight end Nick O’Leary (hamstring). Running back LeSean McCoy (wrist), linebacker Matt Milano (hamstring) and tight end Charles Clay (knee) were full participants.
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Conventional thinking in the NFL is that teams coming east to play 1 p.m. games are at a disadvantage. That hasn’t been the case for the Broncos, who have won 14 of their last 17 1 p.m. starts on the road.