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Englewood, Colo. • Wesley Woodyard has no intention of slipping back into a substitute role when D.J. Williams returns from his nine-game, NFL-mandated banishment next month.

The Broncos have no plans of letting him off the field, either. He's the first Denver defender to record 50 tackles with multiple sacks (three) and interceptions (two) before the midway point of the season.

The fifth-year linebacker was a one-man wrecking crew in the Broncos' 34-14 thrashing of Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints last weekend, getting 13 tackles, two pass breakups, a sack and strip, and a game-turning interception.

"I noticed I was around the ball a lot," Woodyard said.

The Saints managed just one first down, rushed for only 51 yards and didn't reach the red zone until just before the two-minute warning Sunday night.

Woodyard was the biggest reason for that. Yet he's not one to bask in the afterglow of his monster prime-time performance.

"I've still got a lot to do to get better," Woodyard said. "It's definitely one of the games I'll look back on and say I made a lot of plays. But I only focus on those few plays that I gave up."

Around the league

Buccaneers • The Tampa has placed guard Carl Nicks, an All-Pro last season, on injured reserve. They also put tight end Danny Noble on IR. Nicks, an All-Pro with the Saints in 2011 before signing with the Bucs as a free agent, will require surgery on his left foot to repair a toe problem.

Chiefs • Matt Cassel will start Thursday night's game at San Diego because Brady Quinn has not been cleared to practice due to a concussion, regaining the starting job — at least for one week — that he lost after a dismal five-game stretch to start the season. —

Week 9 schedule


• Kansas City at San Diego, 6:20 p.m., NFL Network


• Arizona at Green Bay, 11 a.m.

• Chicago at Tennessee, 11 a.m.

• Buffalo at Houston, 11 a.m.

• Carolina at Washington, 11 a.m.

• Detroit at Jacksonville, 11 a.m.

• Denver at Cincinnati, 11 a.m.

• Baltimore at Cleveland, 11 a.m.

• Miami at Indianapolis, 11 a.m.

• Minnesota at Seattle, 2 p.m.

• Tampa Bay at Oakland, 2 p.m.

• Pittsburgh at N.Y. Giants, 2:25 p.m.

• Dallas at Atlanta, 6:20 p.m.

Open • N.Y. Jets, New England, San Francisco, St. Louis


• Philadelphia at New Orleans, 6:30 p.m., ESPN

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