Five Broncos who must perform

Super Bowl Xxxiii

January 31, 1999|By Ken Murray

In addition to quarterback John Elway, these are five players who need big games for the Broncos to win:

RB Terrell Davis

The NFL's rushing champ will be wading through heavy traffic against the Falcons, who have allowed only one back to gain 100 yards this season. The toss play is Davis' favorite, but it could be dangerous if the Falcons get across the line of scrimmage quickly. If Davis can establish the run, Elway can execute the passing game.

WR Rod Smith

Averaging better than 15 yards a catch in the postseason, Smith is the perfect complement to Pro Bowl receiver Ed McCaffrey. He should stretch the defense for McCaffrey's crossing routes. He needs at least one big gainer to loosen Atlanta's secondary.

LT Tony Jones

His challenge is defensive end Chuck Smith, who presents a number of problems. At 291, Jones will have a 26-pound advantage. Quickness is Smith's strength, and Jones will be tested on Elway's blind side.

LB Bill Romanowski

When he isn't blitzing Chris Chandler, Romanowski will be critical in trying to contain Jamal Anderson. He got a concussion in the AFC title game after two thunderous hits, and could easily get another trying to bring down the 234-pound Anderson. Romanowski often sets the defensive tone for the Broncos.

CB Ray Crockett

The Broncos have been vulnerable on the underneath routes this season, especially late in the year. The Falcons likely will try to work speedster Terance Mathis on Crockett, the slower of Denver's two cornerbacks, in the deep game.

Pub Date: 1/31/99

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