Champ Bailey (24) lines up during the first quarter of the AFC divisional round playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens at Sports Authority Field. (Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports)

Broncos' Secondary vs. Ravens' Receivers Matchup To Watch

Champ Bailey is still trying to get that sprained ankle to cooperate. He didn’t participate in Monday’s practice and his game status is still unknown.

The good news is the decision whether to play on Thursday is more up to Bailey than it is the team trainers.

“It really just depends on how I feel,” Bailey said. “They’re kind of leaving it up to me as far as going out there and making sure that I’m ready and I’m confident about it. Whenever I feel like I’m ready, I’ll be out there.”

Bailey hasn’t practiced at all this week, but he did take part in all of camp and in each preseason game that he would have played except the third preseason game.

“If Champ can’t play, we’re definitely going to miss his leadership and his playmaking ability out there,” Wesley Woodyard said. “Champ gives us that edge on knowing exactly what the offense is doing and thinking, so that’ll always be hard to replace. But guys are ready to step up. Chris Harris, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tony Carter got a chance to start last year and scored in two games, so those guys are excited to get a chance to play.”

The Ravens no longer have tight end Dennis Pitta (fractured hip) or wide receiver Anquan Boldin (with the 49ers now) running around. Pitta had 7 catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns against Denver last December and then added 3 receptions for 55 yards in January. Boldin was shutout in the teams’ first meeting and had 6 catches for 71 yards in the playoff meeting.

Even with Pitta and Boldin gone, the Ravens still have Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith for the Broncos’ secondary to worry about. Oh, and they have their our beloved Brandon Stokley back.

“I liked practicing against ‘Stoke’ when he was here—my rookie year and then last year, too. ‘Stoke’ is a true competitor. Him and Chris Harris battled throughout the year, so it’s going to be good to see him out there on the field. He’s changed up his routes. He doesn’t really do the same things he did here. He’s got a new look. He looks taller, too,” Bailey said laughing.

In all seriousness, the Broncos secondary has their hands full with or without Bailey the first game of the season. Issues in the secondary during the playoff loss have been sitting on the brain just waiting for this retribution game.

For the Broncos and for fans, this game can’t come soon enough.

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Tags: Baltimore Ravens Brandon Stokley Champ Bailey Denver Broncos

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