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SPORTS WEEKEND | WEEK 7 PRIMER / Around the AFC / WEST

Broncos in Same Spot They Were a Year Ago

October 16, 1998

At this time last season, the Broncos were 6-0 and playing at Oakland, where they were upset. Next up for Denver: undefeated Jacksonville.

"We were talking about it, and talking about how good we were, and stuff like that," said linebacker Bill Romanowski, recalling a chat with Bubby Brister on the way to the Denver airport last year. "Next thing you know, we got killed in Oakland."

Miami Coach Don Shula, who led the Dolphins to a 17-0 season in 1972, asks why not the Broncos?

"Certainly they can," Shula said. "I think the Broncos have got a chance to run the table."

The Chiefs have added Bam Morris to their arsenal, but he's insurance for Donnell Bennett, who will still be the team's primary ball carrier.

"At this juncture, I don't know that Morris will play a great deal," Coach Marty Schottenheimer said.

Unless Bennett continues to fall down. He ran six times for six yards last week, out-gaining only a dead man. He has fumbled four times in five games, and, hello Coach Schottenheimer, did someone say Earnest Byner?

The Seahawks have Warren Moon at quarterback and newly acquired Ricky Watters at running back and have gone nowhere on offense, ranking 23rd in passing and 14th in rushing.

Seattle's defense has double the touchdowns, four, of the running game, and five of Seattle's 15 touchdowns have been scored by the defense or special teams.

CENTRAL / How Would They Look in Silver and Black? Is Al Davis advising the Jaguars? Jacksonville refused to let the Dolphins conduct a walk-through practice at Alltel Stadium before their Monday night collision because NFL rules state that a team must request that 90 days earlier in writing. The Dolphins sent their letter 87 days before the game. Undoubtedly that's the reason the Dolphins went on to lose the game.

Ravens/Browns owner Art Modell fired Sam Rutigliano at midseason after a 1-7 start and Bud Carson after a 2-7 opening. Ted Marchibroda is 2-3, with Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Jacksonville on the horizon.

"I'm very upbeat about this team," Modell said. "I believe in it. I'm sure my belief will be vindicated. I'm not going to bail out and sell people out now." But in three or four weeks . . .

In the aftermath of the battle between Miami defensive end Jason Taylor and Jacksonville tackle Tony Boselli, Boselli delivered the best shot. "It's amazing how much a guy can talk and not make a play the whole night," Boselli said. "I just don't understand it. I've played against trash talkers, but usually, those guys make plays."

Taylor's comeback: "You tell Tony I made some plays."

What a trash talker.

EAST / He Proved One Thing: Some Numbers Can Lie The Jets return to New England for Tuna Bowl II unarmed. Bill Parcells, known as the Big Tuna in New York and the former coach of the Patriots, continues to flip-flop between Glenn Foley and Vinny Testaverde at quarterback, with Testaverde getting the start this week. One New York writer, who should obviously be covering bowling or something less taxing, seconded Parcells' selection by pointing out that over the last three-plus seasons, Testaverde has 74 touchdown passes and 45 interceptions, while "future Hall of Fame quarterback" John Elway has thrown for 85 touchdowns with 41 interceptions. An apology is necessary here for mentioning Testaverde's name in the same sentence as Elway's.

San Francisco quarterback Steve Young remembers what it was like to be Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning. "The jump from college to the pros is like going from a tricycle to a car on the highway. It's the speed. I swore there were 30 guys on defense and the field was too small."

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