#DigSportsDesk - The Lede
NFL Super Bowl Notebook
Staff and wire service report)
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Too loose? Too tight? Teams have won -- and lost -- Super Bowls by going to either extreme, so it's impossible to specify which style of handling Super Bowl week works.
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said that he would not set a curfew for the week, opting to let his team captains handle that. But the suggestion of Peyton Manning had no chance of gaining traction.
"I threw out 9 (p.m.); that didn't get a lot of positive views," said Manning. "DeMarcus (Ware) said he was going to have to take some time to think about that and weigh in. Maybe there's a panel to go on."
"9 p.m.? Where's Peyton?," tight end Vernon Davis said later, laughing. "I don't know about 9 p.m."
But don't expect the Broncos to turn their trip to the South Bay into a week-long party.
"I think we have a unique group of guys, and I think they're smart," Davis said. "They make the right decisions and they're very accountable, and as a team, we have to hold each other accountable because if we can't hold that next guy accountable, then we can't really trust him, right?
"I think everybody gets this is a big game -- a huge game -- and we have to be smart."
--Whether it's superstition or just coincidence, the Broncos made waves when they became the first team with jersey choice to wear something other than their primary home jersey in a Super Bowl.
Denver opted to wear its white uniforms, in which they've split two Super Bowl appearances, winning Super Bowl XXXIII in their current white uniforms and losing Super Bowl XXI in their 1980s white-on-white look with a royal blue helmet.
There was a double purpose to wearing white. Not only did it get the Broncos out of the orange uniforms -- in which they're 0-4 with an average defeat margin of 32.25 points -- but it forced the Panthers into their black jerseys, in which they are 0-2 all-time in the postseason.
Carolina has worn white at home in the last two postseasons after falling to San Francisco two years ago while wearing its black jerseys. The Panthers also lost in black 33-13 to the Arizona Cardinals in the 2008 postseason. Carolina wore white in its first two home playoff games because its opponent was Dallas, and the Panthers wanted to force the Cowboys to wear their "unlucky" blue jerseys.
--The Broncos' top-ranked defense is predicated on pressure. But the manner in which they generated it against New England -- via more three-man rushes (14) than in the entire season leading up to the AFC Championship (13) -- shows that they can alter their complexion to account for an opponent.
They will have to undergo a similar renovation to be ready for Cam Newton and the Panthers, and could show looks they haven't flashed before.
"They're the complete opposite of what New England is," defensive end Antonio Smith said. "They're also completely different from any other team in the league. I don't see anybody else that runs an offense like this."
The Broncos have dealt with mobile quarterbacks this season, including Kansas City's Alex Smith, Minnesota's Teddy Bridgewater and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers. None provided the ground threat of Newton, who is as dangerous on the run -- and running with power -- as he is with his arm.
"You need the extra week to get a look at it, and then the week of the Super Bowl to hone it in," Smith said.
That's why the Broncos will try to distill the Panthers' offense down to one threat. In recent weeks, they've started each game by eliminating inside runs as a threat, forcing teams to get their yardage over the top.
"That's paramount. That's a must. We've got to stop the run, period," Smith said. "They're a running team, not a passing team."
Notes: Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. had a full practice workload Thursday in spite of continuing to struggle with a shoulder injury. Harris played more snaps than any Broncos defender in the AFC Championship. ... Safety T.J. Ward did not practice as the Broncos began their preparations for the Panthers, but is expected to play. Ward suffered his second ankle injury in two months against the Patriots. ... Left guard Evan Mathis was limited in practice Thursday because of an ankle injury. He is expected to play in the Super Bowl, but could get relieved for multiple series by rookie Max Garcia, who filled in for him briefly in the AFC Championship Game. ... Right guard Louis Vasquez saw limited work in Thursday's practice because of a groin injury. Garcia rotated in for Vasquez. ... Safety Darian Stewart did not practice Thursday, and was not on the field as he rehabilitates from a sprained MCL. He said after last Sunday's game that he would play in the Super Bowl.