ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Speaking calmly, but without hesitation, Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby responded to criticism of his effort in Monday's loss to the Raiders. ESPN analyst Jason Witten insisted coach Vance Joseph should have removed Roby on a play near the game's end when Roby stopped on a running play as he engaged with a receiver, saying, "I would pull the guy out because you never quit."
Roby called his actions on the play a "mistake," but took umbrage with Witten's remarks.
"I think he was reaching at the end of the game to characterize me as a quitter or quitting on my team. I feel like that's the most disrespectful thing in a team sport," Roby said. "For him to say that after one play. ... It was really a mistake. I thought the play was over. I was wrong. For him to say that made me mad. I have kids that I go see in Children's Hospital who have cancer and who are paralyzed, and I tell them, 'Don't quit." I just feel like it was unnecessary."
A former star and potential Hall of Famer for the Dallas Cowboys, Witten has come under fire this season, his first in the ESPN booth. He has struggled to articulate his thoughts quickly, even though no one questions his knowledge of the game. Coach Vance Joseph defended Roby when I asked him about it on Wednesday.
"I didn't see (Roby quit). Our team has maxed out every game we've played. We haven't won enough games obviously, but as far as how we play and how hard we play, there's no issue there," Joseph said. "I love our ex-players and love when they are involved in the game. But they all forget that they were players before. We can find plenty of tape with all the ex-players in the media where they had issues. It's funny as you get away from the game, how much better you were as a player. We all were. I have not questioned our guys' effort."
Su'a Cravens and Shane Ray are expected to be inactive again for the third straight week. Ray will not be back next season, but Cravens could be with a coaching change. ... Royce Freeman will move into a starting role and share carries with Devontae Booker with Phillip Lindsay sidelined for right wrist surgery that calls for a 3-to-4 month recovery.