Running backs thin

During the opening minutes of practice, running backs coach Bobby Turner kept handing off to the same two backs. He had no other options.

Knowshon Moreno and Peyton Hillis were the only tailbacks from the 53-man roster healthy enough to practice Thursday because Correll Buckhalter (knee) and LaMont Jordan (back) missed practice. Buckhalter practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, so his downgrade could be a concern. The Broncos also have practice squad running back Lance Ball – who was working a special-teams drill while Moreno and Hillis worked with Turner.

The injuries could benefit Moreno and Hillis. Moreno was splitting time with Buckhalter until the final three quarters last week, when Buckhalter played sparingly after a first-quarter fumble. He would likely get almost all of the work at tailback if Buckhalter was out. Hillis was a healthy scratch last week but would likely be active if Buckhalter or Jordan couldn’t play.

Bailey praises Jackson

The Broncos showed a lot of respect to Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson, a Widefield High graduate, by moving cornerback Champ Bailey around a bit in the first meeting with the Chargers to match up with Jackson. Jackson is having a breakout season with 732 yards and seven touchdowns, and Bailey is impressed.

“His route running is a lot better, crisper,” Bailey said. “It’s hard for a big guy to learn how to run routes, and he’s got it down now.”

Odds and ends

Receiver Brandon Marshall (neck) and safety Josh Barrett (hamstring) returned to practice. Receiver Brandon Lloyd (foot), quarterback Kyle Orton (ankle), offensive tackle Ryan Harris (toe), Jordan and Buckhalter missed practice. … Safety Brian Dawkins was selected to be part of the NFL Player Advisory Forum, which will have former Colts coach Tony Dungy as special advisor to the commissioner. The program will address policies, programs and issues for players.