Broncos insist they're not getting caught up in success
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) The unbeaten Denver Broncos are expecting the unexpected in Indianapolis.
Trickery on special teams.
Uncertainty with a new Colts offensive coordinator.
Desperation from a 3-5 team.
Denver coach Gary Kubiak said the Broncos (7-0) aren't overlooking or underestimating the Colts, who have played six consecutive games decided by no more than seven points.
Andrew Luck ailing? OK.
He's still the guy who beat them in the playoffs in January and just threw for nearly 200 yards and two TDs in the fourth quarter to force overtime at Carolina.
''We anticipate their best,'' Kubiak said. ''They're a great football team. They were in the AFC championship last year. They are in first place in their division. They've lost some tough games to some really good football teams this year and going there makes it even more difficult.''
Broncos special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said the Colts are adept at tomfoolery even though they botched one of the wackiest gadget plays in NFL history last month.
''That one got a lot of publicity because it didn't work, but they've had a lot other ones that did work. In that game, it was real close to them getting that onside (kick),'' DeCamillis said. ''They've done that several times. It's something that you've got to be alert for. Coach (Chuck) Pagano is not afraid to pull out the gadgets, and his special teams coach is definitely right behind him, that's for sure.''
The Colts' decision to change offensive coordinators at midseason has turned Sunday's showdown between Peyton Manning and his former team into a guessing game.
''We really don't know what to expect,'' Broncos safety T.J. Ward said. ''We expect them to run the majority of the things that they've been running. Some little wrinkles here and there, but that's what you've got to be prepared for.''
Pep Hamilton lost his job after the Colts' third straight loss, and the new play caller is Rob Chudzinski, the former Panthers offensive coordinator whom Denver defensive coordinator Wade Phillips knows well.
Like Kubiak, Phillips is talking up Luck, who's thrown a dozen interceptions despite playing in just six games. He noted that Luck has thrown for 108 TDs in 60 career games, including playoffs, four more than Manning did in his first 60 games.
''I kind of look at the big picture,'' Phillips said. ''The last three games they've played, they've lost by 16 points. Two of the teams are undefeated and the other one, the Saints, are probably playing their best football and are one of the better teams in the league. They're playing really well, really competitive. It's going to be a tough game.''
Von Miller also sees the premier passer who beat Denver in the playoffs and not a struggling QB who's leading the league in interceptions and tough breaks.
''He's just had some unfortunate stuff happen to him. It's still the same Andrew Luck that we've been used to seeing throughout the years,'' Miller said. ''He's just hit a tough patch.''
Denver's defense is simply sticking to the disrespect mantra.
''I don't feel like we're getting enough respect still,'' Miller said, noting that nose tackle Sylvester Williams isn't getting any love as a product pitchman. And anyway, ''I don't feel like we've even scratched the surface of the type of defense that we know we can be.''
Fellow edge rusher DeMarcus Ware agreed the midway mark is no point to stop and assess things.
''You can't think about whether you have arrived or you've gained respect,'' Ware said. ''We don't think about it that way. Even when we were in practice today and we were like, `There was a mistake there that we didn't make last week.' We need to make sure that we correct it so it doesn't happen and not let that `dead egg' eventually start stinking.''
Notes: Starting RB Ronnie Hillman (bruised thigh) is listed as questionable, although Kubiak said, ''I think he's going to be fine. He looked a lot better today than he did yesterday.'' ... WR Jordan Norwood (hamstring) is out. ... Kubiak said TE Vernon Davis had a good week of practice since joining the team Tuesday and ''hopefully he'll be a big part'' of Denver's offense.
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