Broncos get cricket lesson on Day 1 in London
Only hours after touching down in London, two Denver Broncos
were already getting their first taste of British culture at one of
England’s most famous cricket venues.
The Broncos arrived Friday for their regular-season NFL game
against the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. Their
opening practice was at The Oval, a well-known cricket ground south
of the River Thames.
But before getting down to business on the football field,
offensive lineman Chris Kuper and tight end Daniel Graham each took
swings with a cricket bat, hitting the ball around the
”It was cool,” said Kuper, who traded gifts and stories with a
pair of Surrey County cricketers.
Tom Lancefield, a Surrey batsman, seemed particularly impressed
with Kuper’s position on the offensive line, where he’s constantly
butting heads against other behemoths on the other side of the
”So basically (you) just smash into other people,” Lancefield
said to Kuper, who was about twice the size of the Englishman. ”I
The foray into cricket was short-lived, however, because the
Broncos (2-5) came to London with a job to do, notably trying to
get their season back on track in the NFL’s fourth regular-season
game at Wembley.
”Everything’s kind of going ahead as planned,” said Broncos
coach Josh McDaniels, who decided to bring his team over to Britain
four days after the Niners arrived. ”We chose to have three good
practice days back at our facility, somewhat of a normal
preparation for our players, and then go ahead and make the trip in
what we believe will still be enough time to get out bodies
Both the Niners (1-6) and Broncos are coming off losses last
weekend. Denver, however, got blown out by the Oakland Raiders
59-14. At home.
”It was an embarrassing loss. It was an embarrassing
performance for us,” Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton said. ”We’re
excited to get back on the field. It’s been a long week.
”Whenever you go out and play like that, you want to get right
back on the field and make corrections and we’re excited to do
Kuper, one of the team’s captains, said he and the other
veterans have been trying to help the younger players deal with the
”We tried to stress to everyone that adversity happens,” Kuper
said. ”We obviously didn’t think that would happen to us. We
thought we’d battle it out.”
The Broncos and the 49ers have byes after Sunday’s game, giving
them a week to recover from their European trip before they play
A victory for either team would certainly make that week go much
”We need to get a win,” Broncos safety Brian Dawkins said.
”That’s the main thing.”