ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos won’t come right out and say whether they’ll test Richard Sherman as the Chargers did or shy away from him as the Packers did.
Here’s a hint, however:
“We respect him,” receiver Bubba Caldwell said. “But we’re going to make him earn his money.”
Green Bay cut off half the field and Aaron Rodgers never threw in the direction of the All-Pro cornerback in the season opener, which Seattle won 36-16.
Philip Rivers threw to his side aplenty in San Diego’s 30-21 win at home over the Seahawks last weekend.
“Yeah, I think we’ll be more like the Chargers,” Caldwell said. “We’re going to make him work. We feel we’ve got some good receivers on our side that can test his skill ability, so I definitely don’t see us shutting down a whole half of the field because of one guy.”
Although Peyton Manning tested him on occasion in the Super Bowl, Sherman’s championship night was quiet before leaving late in the game with an ankle injury and the Lombardi Trophy well in hand.
Sherman expects to get tested often Sunday.
“I think he’ll spread it around pretty good. Peyton always does,” Sherman said. “He’ll complete a lot of passes, he’ll check it down, he spreads the ball out great. I’m sure we’ll be very prepared and everybody will be on it.”
Manning wouldn’t tip his hand as the Broncos (2-0) prepared to face the Seahawks (1-1) in the first next-season matchup of Super Bowl opponents since 1997.
“I can’t really speak to the San Diego game plan or the Green Bay game plan. I can’t speak to our game plan,” Manning said. “He’s an excellent player.”
Smart, savvy, strong.
Yet, Manning said he’s just as concerned about safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas and the rest of that stout secondary that nearly pitched a shutout in the Super Bowl.
“I think the whole secondary is very active,” Manning said. “They play their defense well. They communicate well. They’re on the same page. You see them communicate and talk to each other. That’s one of their strengths and so we’ll have our game plan and hopefully we’ll go out there and execute it.”
Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase might have had a brilliant game plan for the Super Bowl but it quickly crumbled as the Broncos fell behind on the very first snap and never recovered.
The Broncos have two new receivers in place of Eric Decker in prized free agent pickup Emmanuel Sanders and raw but explosive rookie Cody Latimer.
Decker tallied just 6 yards in his last game for the Broncos when he caught just one of six passes Manning threw his way in the Super Bowl.
“I think his quickness off the ball” helps, Gase said of Sanders. “These guys do a great job of getting their hands on the receivers and his ability to create separation on the top routes can always be to our advantage. We’ll just see how they play and see how we match up on Sunday.”
Gase is also expected to have Wes Welker at his disposal after the slot receiver’s four-game suspension was cut in half this week under the NFL’s new drug policy.
Chargers slot receiver Eddie Royal caught seven passes for 69 yards last week and often worked on the left side of Seattle’s defense where Sherman patrols.
Latimer was deactivated last week with the Broncos needing more bodies on the defensive line against Kansas City but the rookie’s size/speed mix could prove a big threat at Seattle, especially in the red zone.
After their game Sunday, several Chargers took shots at Sherman. Keenan Allen called him “just a normal guy” who’s “not really a shutdown corner.” Malcolm Floyd said Allen lit up Sherman.
“I think it’s funny,” Sherman said. “I find humor in it.”
The Broncos thought it was laughable, too.
“I would just say we respect him a lot,” Gase said. “And you have to be careful with that guy. He’s a very smart player and he will take advantage if you’re careless with him.”
LB Danny Trevathan participated in individual drills at practice for the first time since breaking his left leg Aug. 12. … DT Marvin Austin returned to practice Thursday after returning from North Carolina, where his father was in a serious auto accident last weekend.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.