Locker Room Buzz: Denver Broncos

DENVER -- Observed in the locker room after the Denver Broncos' 37-21 win against the Oakland Raiders:

Closing in: You don’t need to be around Champ Bailey for very long to understand how difficult it is for the 15-year veteran not to be on the field when the Broncos (3-0) have so much going for them. The cornerback, who injured his left foot in a preseason loss to Seattle, struggled a bit in warm-ups Monday, and the Broncos decided to hold him out of a third consecutive regular-season game. After the victory, though, Bailey maintained he’s “close’’ to being back. But for a player who’s never played in a Super Bowl, it’s clear Bailey wants to join what is clearly a team with February potential.

Lost opportunity: Rookie running back Montee Ball, who was put into Monday’s win to help close things out down the stretch, lost his second fumble of the season. And given Ronnie Hillman's 66 yards on nine carries, it could push Ball down the depth chart in a rotation where carries are already difficult to come by.

Webster comes up big: He was an unheralded pick in April’s draft, but rookie cornerback Kayvon Webster continues to impress the Broncos with his poise and preparation. The key: pop quizzes from his teammates. “Sometimes they just start asking me questions to see if I know what we’re doing," Webster said, "sometimes even when the coaches aren’t around.’’

Ihenacho tweaks ankle: Broncos pulled safety Duke Ihenacho, who injured his right ankle in the Week 2 victory over the Giants, out of Monday’s game in the second half. Ihenacho tweaked the ankle late against the Raiders, but looked to be moving pretty well after the game.