MILE HIGH PASSING GAME
The Broncos insist their star wide receivers will get their chances to make plays
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Emmanuel Sanders called Denver “wide receiver heaven” after Mike McCoy returned this year for a second stint as the Broncos’ offensive architect.
It hasn’t exactly been nirvana for Sanders and fellow star Demaryius Thomas so far.
Blanketed by defensive backs, the veteran receivers have combined for just 38 catches and two touchdowns.
Sanders has both of the scores but his 20 catches for 190 yards work out to 9.5 yards per catch, well below his career average of 13.4.
He is on pace for a 760-yard season, which would be his worst since joining the Broncos in 2014 and embarking on three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
Thomas is averaging 13.7 yards a catch on 18 grabs, right around his career average of 14.1. But he’s on pace for 72 catches and 988 yards. While most receivers would relish those numbers, Thomas has five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons with at least 90 catches.
Thomas has now gone 10 games without a touchdown and seven without a 100-yard performance, both of which are career highs.
That’s not the kind of production expected from a pair of receivers pulling in a combined $15.25 million in salaries this season.
“They’re going to get their chances,” quarterback Trevor Siemian insisted Wednesday as the Broncos (3-1) installed their game plan for the reeling New York Giants (0-5). “It’s only a matter of time. I know it’s important for those guys to win, which we’ve been doing, which is good. I think when you’re losing a bunch of games it makes it harder on everybody. But we’re winning. I’m not worried. Those guys are going to get their touches.”
The answer isn’t force-feeding the football to Sanders and Thomas, either.
Coach Vance Joseph said if teams continue to focus on his star receivers, “we’re going to (continue to) pound the football.” Siemian is certainly on board. “They’re two of our best players, so you want to get them the ball and usually with your best players, to win you’ve got to get it to them a bunch. But the other teams are smart, too, and they understand what we’re trying to do,” Siemian said. “So, that’s the back and forth. … and other guys stepping up really helps.”
RAIDERS: The NFL is keeping an eye on the wildfires in Northern California and has been exploring options to move Sunday’s game between the Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers if it becomes necessary.
Michael Signora, the NFL’s vice president of football communications, said Thursday that the league is getting updates on the situation from both teams and from city officials in Oakland. Oakland, which is some 45 miles south of the fires, has been blanketed by smoke.
If the NFL decides that conditions in Oakland are too unhealthy to play Sunday, the game could be moved to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has also offered up Qualcomm Stadium, where the Chargers used to play before relocating to Los Angeles this year.
MEXICO: The NFL and the Patriots, Raiders and Steelers will together contribute $200,000 to support disaster relief efforts following last month’s earthquake in Mexico City.
The money will go to Banorte’s Fundación Banorte, which is a local bank involved with relief efforts. They will match these donations dollar for dollar.
GIANTS: Suspended cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has met with New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo and has been told that his suspension is indefinite.
The Giants said the meeting took place Thursday morning.
Neither Rodgers-Cromartie nor McAdoo was immediately available for comment.
Players can be suspended a maximum of four weeks under the collective bargaining agreement.