Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Not Can, rather, Will Tebow play in the Wild Horse?

In the media age we live in, often times if a statement is repeated over and over again by an "expert," such as the fellas over at NFL Network, it is accepted as fact. In a recent discussion with Jammie Dukes of how to best use Tebow, Brian Baldinger argued that since the Broncos traded up in the first round for Tebow, they have to find a way to play him - now. A good way the Broncos could take advantage of Tebow's athletic ability would be to use him in 'Wild Horse' packages, and as the Broncos struggled rushing in the red zone last season, many have assumed that the Broncos will use Tebow in the red zone.

To me though, it's not a matter of can Tebow help the Broncos in the red zone (obviously the former SEC rushing touchdown record holder could help in the red zone). No, that's not the question to ask, but rather; will the Broncos risk injuring Tebow by using him in special packages instead of letting him focus on his throwing mechanics, working behind Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn.

Statements by Head Coach Josh McDaniels suggest the Broncos won't be rushing Tebow onto the field in Wild Horse plays.
“If we felt like that was something we could do well and that our guys could actually function in and help us win games, we might try it. We’ve doodled around with it here … We don’t have guarantees or plans..."
It is no lie that every coach in the NFL is a liar, that's part of the job, so reading into McDaniels words too much would be foolish. Yet, I can't shake the thought that while he could do it, Tebow won't be used more than very rarely in special packages this season. McDaniels has strongly emphasised that Tebow is Just a quarterback, not a Wild Cat Michael Vick-type player. Unless Kyle Orton has unexpected struggles in his second season starting for the Broncos, and Tebow really separates himself from Brady Quinn in Training Camp, I don't see Tim Tebow getting much playing time for the Broncos as a rookie.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What's in a number? (Vol. 1)

"I will wear whatever number they want me to wear, if that's 15, I'll wear 15. If that's 95, I'll wear 95. I don't really care just as long as I can wear a Denver Broncos jersey." -- Tim Tebow shorty after the 2010 NFL Draft
The arrival of rookies and free agents every offseason in Denver causes a jersey number shake-up. Many stories have been noted (as well as missed) over the years concerning the Broncos' jersey numbers, from Boss Bailey paying Kenny Peterson for #97 to Knowshon Moreno wearing #27 in honor of Darrent Williams. This offseason was no exception for jersey number transactions.

In March, the Broncos traded Peyton Hillis to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for QB Brady Quinn. Hillis was drafted by the Broncos in 2008; his first jersey number was 48. Shortly before the start of the 2008 season, the Broncos traded Domonique Foxworth to the Atlanta Falcons, freeing up #22 -- Foxworth's number. Peyton Hillis was quick to jump on the number, and wore it during his rookie and second seasons in the NFL.

Meanwhile, Alphonso Smith was making a name for himself at Wake Forest as a star Conerback. The Broncos took notice, and drafted him last April. In his rookie season he didn't live up to his expectations, but he has been looking good in the Broncos' Mini Camps, and should make more plays this season. While at college he wore jersey #2, but as Defensive Backs aren't allowed to wear numbers lower than 20 in the NFL, he picked #33 to wear with the Broncos in 2009. After Hillis was traded, Smith switched to #22, adding a "2" to his former college number.

The man who Cleveland traded for Peyton Hillis, Brady Quinn, had worn jersey number 10 since High School. The man in Denver who owned #10 upon Quinn's arrival was Receiver Jabar Gaffney. Coming into the League with the Texans, Gaffney first wore #86, before moving on to New England where he wore #10, and helped the Patriots reach the Super Bowl. Quinn talked to Gaffney, but ultimately decided on #9, a number that had been vacant since 2008 when it was worn by Punter Stefan Fatsis. The Broncos gave permission to Fatsis, a sportswriter working for the Wall Street Journal, to practice with the team as a punter during Training Camp, and write a book about his experience, and what it's like being a NFL player, particularly a kicker. The book, named A Few Seconds Of Panic, is a Bronco fan must read. Quinn looks to stay longer with the Broncos than Fatsis, who was 'cut' after the first pre-season game.

Jersey numbers aren't as important to some players as they are to others, but that's not to say every player doesn't have a favorite number. Watch for Volume 2 of What's in a number, reviewing some of the Broncos' Wide Receivers' new numbers.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Around the web: Happy Birthday, John Elway

Due to the slow time of year for Bronco news, we haven't posted in a week, and our hits have diminished, we are hoping things start hopping again in the near future (mid-July). In the meantime, here are some Bronco-related links for your reading enjoyment.

Happy Birthday to John Elway, who turned 5o today! One thing on Elway's bucket list is to rejoin the Broncos, he hopes to become an untitled adviser to, and part-time coach for, the Broncos, offering "the experience and knowledge I have about football." I love the idea, and doubt any Bronco fan would object.

The Broncos announced on Monday that tickets for individual games during the 2010 season will go on sale beginning Saturday, July 10, at 11 a.m. MDT. Ticket availability will vary, but a limited number of tickets (mostly single seats) will be available for all home games beginning that Saturday. The Broncos have sold out 309 consecutive regular-season games dating back to 1970 for the NFL’s second-longest such streak. For ticket prices, head over to the team's official website.

Over at, Mr. East and I put together our predictions of who will make the Broncos 45-man gameday roster. We started with offense, with three QB's dressing, and some potential surprises at the Wide Receiver position. Then came defense, we differed at every position, save the special teamers - who are no-brainers.

Madden NFL 11 has released overall team and player ratings, a few Broncos are finally getting the Madden rating respect they've deserved for a long time. Pro Bowl Left Tackle Ryan Clady has the 7th best overall rating in the game, coming in at 98. Right Tackle Ryan Harris is ranked the 7th best RT, with a 85 rating. Elvis Dumervil is ranked the 3rd best ROLB, coming in behind DeMarcus Ware and James Harrison with a still to low 93 rating. Champ Bailey owns the 4th best cornerback rating, 95. Brian Dawkins is ranked the 6th best Free Saftey, earning a 90 rating. Matt Prater didn't make the top 8 kickers list, which means his rating is an 88-or lower, which seems an injustice for a kicker who just missed the Pro Bowl.
The Madden 11 overall team ratings for the AFC West look just like the standings have over the past 5 years, with San Diego atop with an 85, Denver trailing with an 78, and Kansas City battling it out with Oakland, sharing a 71 rating.

Much like they are hoping for Kyle Orton, the Broncos expect Jabar Gaffney to come up big in his second season in the Broncos offense, both players feel more comfortable entering their second Bronco seasons. "The more you're in it, the more comfortable you feel in it," said Jabar Gaffney. "The more you understand what you can and can't do and realize what the defense is doing a little bit faster. Hopefully I'll be able to go out there and recognize stuff and be able to get to the right place and feel comfortable doing it, knowing we're going to make the right play."

According to the Denver Broncos` public relations staff, since the 1970 merger the Broncos have never had a rookie center start the first game of the season. Walton, a third-round pick, has an excellent chance to be the first. The Broncos have had just five rookie linemen start the season opener. Since 1992, the only rookie offensive lineman to start the Broncos' opener is Ryan Clady. The thought of throwing a rookie into the fire with that much pressure frightened blogger Bryan Douglass, but if recent history repeats itself, Walton should do fine.

You really didn't think you'd get through a Around the web post without a Tim Tebow-related link did you? Not only will Tebow be the cover athleate of NCAA Football 11, but "better than any quarterback coming into the league" in Madden NFL 11, according to ratings guru Donny Moore. "Tebow will be the best trucking quarterback in 'Madden' this year," Moore told "He's not the most elusive, but in terms of breaking tackles and power, he will be able to put down his shoulder and run over a few defenders. A lot of this is fluid, but right now in 'Madden 11,' we have Tebow at 80 speed and 92 acceleration. Trucking, carrying the ball, like I said, he's going to be better than any quarterback coming into the league."

As I noted above, we are hoping things start to pick up again around here, and are expecting to really get rolling come the end of July - when the Broncos start up Training Camp. We'll be at Training Camp for the first week, bringing you coverage of practice. Be sure to check the blog daily for Bronco updates, as well as "Like" us on Facebook, and "Follow" us on Twitter!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tebow gains support of team

After being drafting 25th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, Tim Tebow hasn't ceased to impress the Broncos coaches and players.

Praise has publicly come from multiple players, most notably from Champ Bailey, “I’m impressed,” Bailey said. “I like what I see so far.” Third year linebacker Wesley Woodyard expounded, tweeting: "I must admit I have a new found respect for Tebow! Who tebow[?] he's a really great person! Hard to find people like him n the world these days."

The Tebow-love extends even to competition; second-string QB Brady Quinn praised Tebow's character,
"When you look at him and the style he plays, he's quite different from me . . . he's a good, quality, character guy, and those are the type of guys you want on your team."

Gaining praise from teammates and being a good quality guy doesn't necessarily translate into wins, however, and it's still too soon to judge Tebow as a player.

With Training Camp approaching, Tebow's gameday role remains a question, while it is unlikely he'd get the nod to start over both Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn, Tebow could help cure the Broncos red-zone woes, playing in "Wild Horse" formations and gadget plays.

While fans and critics wait to find out how Tebow will fare in the Pro's, his team has confidence in him. “That’s what I want,” said Tebow. “It means so much that my teammates believe in me and know that I’m working hard. That’s why I’m here.”

Monday, June 21, 2010

August 1st Practice will be open to Bronco fans

In 40 days, 6 hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds, the Denver Broncos will start two-a-days (two practices a day) that will run through most of August, and will be open to the public.

Rookies will report to camp on July 26th, with the rest of the team arriving July 31st. Starting August 1st, fans will get a chance to attend the practice sessions.

With three able Quarterbacks on the roster, an abundance of Receivers, and heavy competition at the Linebacker position, the 2010 Training Camp looks to be one of the most exciting Bronco camps ever. During the first week of August, we'll have full coverage of camp, so be sure to check the blog daily.

Last Training Camp, the Broncos held a team scrimmage at Invesco Field @ Mile High. This August, Denver will again hold a practice at Mile High open to the public. The date of the scrimmage, and the full Training Camp schedule, will be released later this summer on the Broncos official website.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Broncos sign rookie center J.D. Walton

On Thursday, the Broncos announced the signing of third round rookie center J.D. Walton.
Walton has been taking reps with the first team offensive line and is one if the candidates to start at the center position on opening day. The center from Baylor agreed to a a four year, $2.58 million dollar contract, including a $798,500 signing bonus.

The 6-3, 305 pound Walton was a candidate for the Rimington Trophy and started all games for Baylor since his sophomore year. He was the 80th pick in the draft by the Broncos, who also added another center in Eric Olsen, though Olsen will likely see most of his reps at guard.

In addition to the contract announcement, the team confirmed it released rookie defensive lineman Jaron Baston and fullback Kyle Eckel. Baston joined the team as a college free agent from Missouri in April. Eckel signed with the Broncos on June 4th. He was designated as 'waived/injured'. With Eckel gone, Spencer Larsen remains as the only fullback on the Broncos' roster.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Elvis Dumervil signs tender

On Monday, Elvis Dumervil, the Broncos star pass rusher who had a league high 17 sacks last season, signed his $3.168 million dollar tender, which puts him back under contract with the team. He had previously signed an injury waiver to be able to work out with his teammates while not being under contract.

In the mean time, the Broncos keep working Gary Wichard, Dumervil's agent, to try and negotiate a long term deal that would keep him in Denver well beyond the 2010 season. Dumervil had refused to sign his tender until the deadline as a form of protest against not receiving a long term deal. However, by participating in offseason workouts and signing his tender, he has taken a much more positive approach than fellow Restricted Free Agents Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill (both San Diego Chargers) who have threatened with a long hold out, and Patriots guard Logan Mankins, who has requested a trade from the team.

With Dumervil now signed for at least 2010, it is likely that the Broncos front office will first focus on getting the rookies under contract to avoid having any hold outs when training camp starts. Once they have signed, the Broncos will hopefully get a long term deal done that would keep Dumervil in Denver for the next few years. He is the example of production and good character that McDaniels values so much, and the front office will have to show that those people get rewarded when time comes for a new contract.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Broncos wrap up Mini Camp

It was a cold and rainy weekend in Denver, but it did not keep the players from being on the field for the final practices of the offseason until the start of training camp. Here are the highlights of this years mandatory minicamp:
  • As reported earlier, Robert Ayers spent most of the mini camp practices on the sideline or with the scout team. On Sunday he returned to work with the second team. Both Ayers and McDaniels refused to comment on the reason, but Ayers said: "It was (hard to sit out), but it was for a good reason, every rep you miss is always a loss. You just learn from your mistakes and move forward, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
  • Taking reps with the first team in place of Ayers was 2007 draft pick Jarvis Moss. Moss, who has struggled during his first seasons in Denver, said he is feeling a lot more comfortable in the new system compared to last year, and is fueled by the prospect of finally having a chance to have a break out season.
  • Another young player who was taking reps with the first team defense was fifth round rookie cornerback Perrish Cox. Though Nate Jones is still the favorite for the nickel cornerback position, Cox was on the field with the first team when Bailey or Goodman were on the sideline.
  • Perrish Cox did not only shine during his defensive reps. He has also seen plenty of time as a kick returner, and took one return back for a touchdown.
  • As during pretty much every press conference, head coach Josh McDaniels reitterated once more that Kyle Orton is the starting quarterback for the Broncos.
  • Another rookie who has looked good is first round wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. Thomas missed some team earlier this off season after having foot surgery in February. McDaniels said: "He's dropped a couple of balls, but look, everyone has seen this guy make tremendous catches and then there are some that he's dropped, but I think that comes with playing and knocking off some of the rust."
  • At the end of practices, over 30 players gathered for a group prayer lead by veteran safety Brian Dawkins.
Some more quick hits:
  • Though Perrish Cox looked good in the return game, McDaniels told the press that Eddie Royal is still the nr 1 for the kick/punt return position.
  • McDaniels also said the punting job is currently Britton Colquitts job to loose. Colquitt is battling A.J. Trapasso for the roster spot.
  • Several Denver media members have said Matthew Willis has looked good during OTA's and is one of the most improved players so far. The wide receiver could end up with a spot on the 53 man roster if he keeps up his playing level during training camp.
  • On Saturday, the media also witnessed the first designed running play by Tim Tebow, which was succesful.
Most of the players will stay in Denver for two more weeks to work out at Dove Valley, and then go on vacation until the start of training camp at the end of July.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Broncos start up Mini Camp

Friday at Dove Valley, the Broncos mini camp started, the last camp until training camp. Here a few notes from the session:

  • Elvis Dumervil did show, but isn't practicing live at all in hopes of getting a multiyear contract. According to the Denver Post, Dumervil will sign his tender no later than Monday.
  • WR's Brandon Stokley and receiving tight end Marquez Branson are both absent, and are ursing injuries.
  • With Dumervil not practicing, undrafted rookie Kevin Alexander has been working with the first team. Third year DE/LB Jarvis Moss has passed Robert Ayers on the depth chart, and has also been practicing with the first team.
  • When asked about Ayers, a 2009 first-round pick who the Broncos are expecting a lot out of this year, McDaniels didn't offer much of an explanation. "That was just a coaching decision, just to do that today," McDaniels said.
  • After seeing plenty of work at right tackle while Ryan Harris was injured, rookie Zane Beadles worked at left guard Friday alongside fellow rookie J.D. Walton, who has been the first-team center throughout most of OTAs.
  • In the first 7-on-7 drill of the day, Kyle Orton stepped up under center for the first reps, followed by Tim Tebow and then Brady Quinn. That same rotation held true during a 7-on-7 red zone drill later in practice, but during several 11-on-11 drills, the order was Orton, Quinn then Tebow.
  • [Video] When asked about receiving a letter from the Broncos about his contract, Dumervil simply stated, "It is what it is."
  • [Video]A year in the Broncos' system, Kyle Orton says his confidence has soared.
  • [Photos] Click here to see photos from today's practice.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Perrish Cox signs with Broncos

On Wednesday, the Broncos signed fifth-round rookie cornerback Perrish Cox to a four-year contract. According to the National Football Post, Cox received a signing bonus of roughly $200,000 under the NFL slotting system. That would give the former Oklahoma State standout a total base value of nearly $2 million with the standard base salaries of $320,000, $405,000, $490,000 and $575,000.

Entering his senior season at Oklahoma State, Cox was said by many to be one of the best corners in college football. However, his standings on draft boards plummeted after he was suspended from a bowl game for a pair of curfew violations, and ran a 4.45 forty-yard dash at the scouting combine.

With that said, he was a steal for the Broncos at 137th overall. He has already been called a "shut down corner" and has impressed at the Broncos OTA's. Cornerback isn't his only strength, however. While at college he returned 6 kicks for scores, while returning the third-most kickoff return yards (2,804) in NCAA history.

The Broncos got great value in Cox, drafting him in the fifth. He has the potential to become a great one.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Indianapolis claimes Tom Brandstater off waivers

Just three days after being released by the Broncos, Tom Brandstater has landed with a new team. On Monday, the Colts claimed Brandstater off waivers from Denver. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports he'll compete to backup Peyton Manning.

Tom Brandstater joined the Fresno State Bulldogs as a red-shirt freshmen in 2004. Two years later, he was named the starter. After throwing for 2664 yards, and 18 touchdowns during his senior year, the Broncos drafted him in the 6th round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Measuring 6-5, and weighing in at 225, Brandstater has many of the physical tools a quarterback needs to succeed.

With Kyle Orton the incumbent starter, Brady Quinn, and Tim Tebow learning the system, Brandstater's reps began to dwindle. That was the sole reason Denver let him go, his performance wasn't an issue,
“The reps had been dwindling,” head coach Josh McDaniels acknowledged. “It’s hard to try to keep a guy in the loop where he can be a competitive player with very few reps. With the way practice was going in the (number of) repetitions, we felt like it was clear now. It was time for us to make the decision and not try to get everybody reps.”
The Broncos actually did Brandstater a favor by letting him go earlier than expected. Now he has a chance to become the #2 quarterback in Indianapolis, and won't miss any of the Colt's training camp.

Notes from today's practice at Dove Valley will be posted on the blog later this evening.

Around the web: Final week of Passing Camp

On Monday, the Broncos once again took the field for the final week of passing camp. On Wednesday, passing camp will conclude and players will get a break untill Friday the 11th, when Mandatory mini camp starts up. Here is a spin around the web with notes from today's practice;

Monday’s practice — like Friday — was an “opportunity practice” for rookies and younger players to get some on-field work as the veterans worked out separately. One new sighting was third-round pick Eric Decker, who was running back and forth catching passes from strength and conditioning coach Rich Tuten away from the rest of practice. Demaryius Thomas, Ryan Harris and J.J. Arrington — all of whom returned to practice last week — were involved in the team portions of practice for the first time. For the first set of 7-on-7 plays, Tebow was the first quarterback to step under center. In every other drill, however, Quinn took the first reps. []

So far, so good for Demaryius Thomas.

The Broncos’ top 2010 pick made another step forward to being able to work 100 percent Monday, working against a defense for the first time and catching a pair of passes, including a overhead, back-corner-of-the-end zone catch from Brady Quinn during a seven-on-seven red zone period. “It just felt good. I was happy to be out there competing, getting some more reps,” Thomas said. As Thomas worked with the team, fellow rookie Eric Decker worked with strength and conditioning coach Rich Tuten on an adjacent field. There remains no concrete timetable for the third-rounder to make his Dove Valley debut, although training camp remains the target. Quinn completed 16 of 31 passes with four touchdowns in red zone periods and two interceptions, while Tebow was 14-of-27 and matched Quinn with two interceptions and four red-zone period touchdowns. Both quarterbacks were plagued by drops and bobbles from the pass-catchers. []

Most of the Broncos' veterans have been excused from the last two practices to give the younger and new players more practice time. Those practices might have reinforced Kyle Orton's value to the team. The defense had more established players practicing and almost all of the receivers the offense has been using won't be on the final roster. Also, practices in June aren't the ultimate measure of any player. Still, Brady Quinn and Tim Tebow didn't have their best days without Orton in practice. After Tebow threw an interception to Wesley Woodyard, coach Josh McDaniels screamed at the offense. However, McDaniels didn't seem concerned afterwards. He acknowledged that when there are turnovers a lot of times the defense makes a good play. And that his quarterbacks were working with an unusual crew of receivers. He was asked if the quarterbacks were progressing as fast as he would like. "Sometimes, sometimes not," McDaniels said. "You know I'm going to yell at them when they make mistakes and we're going to coach them hard. Right now we're showing them so many different things out there on defense, and a lot of times it's their first time seeing something. If that's the case, you're going to make some mistakes. That's what what we go into the film room and work through. "I think there's a lot of progress being made at that position. There's a lot of little things you guys don't get a chance to see or hear that to me shows a big step in the right direction." [Colorado Spring Gazette]

For all the attention Tim Tebow is getting, the first-round pick still has a long way to go in his development as a NFL quarterback. Offseason practices have shown that Tebow still has a lot to learn. He has looked tentative at times, checking down rather than make a mistake. His progressions are slow as he grasps a complex offense. None of that should be surprising. It's the typical learning curve for a rookie quarterback taking his first few repetitions in the NFL.
That doesn't mean Tebow hasn't shown some good things. Players have said he is physically ready, and has shown off good arm strength that proves he can make all the NFL throws. And Tebow has worked hard to not just ingratiate himself into the locker room but to learn the playbook. It's a slow process but he will be as ready as possible by training camp. "I knew it was going to be tough," Tebow said. "I've got to come out here with a great attitude and work hard every day, and do what they tell me, and that's how I'm going about it." [CBS Sports]
To launch his career as a pass rusher, Air Force graduate Ben Garland may have to ground his pursuit of becoming a pilot. It's a decision that weighs on the Denver Broncos rookie defensive lineman. Garland has earned a spot in a pilot training program at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas. It`s a chance to fly jets for a living as he serves his five-year commitment to the Air Force. However, Garland`s prowess as a pass rusher with the Air Force Falcons earned him a spot with the Broncos this spring. Nothing guaranteed, no promises, just a shot to be on the same defense with Pro Bowlers like Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins. Also very appealing.
[Boulder Daily Camera]

Ryan Harris, who missed most of last season with a toe injury, took part in individual drills again Monday and said he expects to be at full strength in time for training camp. [AP]

Watch a video of Josh McDaniels talking about today's session by clicking right here. View more photos from OTA's by clicking here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Optimism surrounds Broncos' Moreno

The Broncos have been revamping their rushing attack, moving Spencer Larsen to fullback, having Tight End Marquez Branson fill in as fullback, signing fullback Kyle Eckel, and considering veteran Running back Brian Westbrook.

Rushing behind a fullback was when Knowshon Moreno was at his best last season, and the Broncos look to use more fullback formations this season. Last season many noted that Moreno didn't feel comfortable, trying to hard to stick to the playbook, and not improvising enough. During his rookie season, Moreno didn't like quite like the agile back he was while at Georgia. Signs point to that changing in 2010.

Mike Klis of the Denver Post says he has shown signs of improvement, Bronco coaches and players tend to agree. Linebacker Wesley Woodyard had praise for Moreno, "I will say this is the first time he's beaten me several times in one-on-one tackle drills," Woodyard said. "I think he's more comfortable with himself. He's playing faster. It's a big difference with him." Kils went on to note how Moreno fell short of his expectations, rushing for only 3.8 yards a carry. Even Moreno knows there is always room for improvement, "I'm definitely more comfortable," Moreno said. "Last year, everything was moving so fast. You had to stay on top of that, remember this, do this. Now it all comes back to you. You just get into a flow, and you can start to flow now instead of thinking."

Much of Moreno's struggles from last season were mentally caused, as he remembered
the coaches' instruction to a point of his detriment, but Kils writes, Moreno is starting to think on his own:
There is a part of the brain that can absorb an assignment without thinking about it. Freed of thought, instincts send signals to a running back's feet, legs and hips. Maybe that's why running backs such as Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton also averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry as rookies, only to finish as the top two running backs in NFL history. "This year I feel like I'm out there letting it all out," Moreno said. "I'm loose." Besides eliminating arresting thought, Moreno has improved physically. He has added two pounds, all seemingly in shoulder muscle, from his 210-pound playing weight of last season. And remember, he suffered a knee injury on his second preseason carry last year and wasn't 100 percent recovered until close to midseason. He'll also be running behind a larger offensive line. Currently, 14 of the 15 offensive linemen on the Broncos' roster weigh at least 300 pounds. Better for a Moreno mash of a 1-yard on third-and-inches. "It's definitely a big emphasis," Moreno said. "You've got to keep that drive going. You can't go back to the sideline after third-and-inches."
Without all his high rookie expectations, Moreno looks to improve, rushing behind a bigger offensive line, and in some cases, a fullback this season. A running back has to have confidence, and Moreno has gained confidence in himself. "I haven't noticed him getting yelled at by any of the coaches, telling him he needs to run this route or whatever," said linebacker Wesley Woodyard. "He's out there telling other people what to do, so that's always a positive sign." Expect a different rusher in 2010, a more confident, comfortable, faster rusher.

Character does count

I was shocked last Thursday when I went to the Denver Post's sports section. There, I saw the head article by Mark Kiszla, titled: "Character doesn't count". In summery, Kiszla's logic was: Kobe Bryant has bad character, and he's currently playing in his 5th NBA Finals, so having good character doesn't mean anything when it comes to winning in sports. He went on to say, while Tebow is the kind of kid any Dad wants his son to grow up to be like, "The Vince Lombardi Trophy, however, is not awarded on the basis of clean living and smart choices." I have a few thoughts on this.

  • Comparing NBA players to NFL players is like comparing apples to oranges.

  • Kiszla's message to kids basically is, "Don't worry about having good character, look at Kobe Bryant." If you told that to half a dozen kids and had them come back a few years later, I doubt the results would be appealing.

  • If character doesn't count, why is Pro Bowl Receiver Terrell Owens still unemployed? T.O. has a lot physically left, and can offer a team a deep threat and about 50 catches for 850 yards and 5 scores (his stats from last season in Buffalo). So if character doesn't really mean that much when it comes to winning in sports, why don't the Bills (or any of the other 31 NFL teams) jump on this Receiver who has amazing football skills? Last season Brandon Stokley started in 14 less games, and caught 34 less passes than Owens, and is not the same deep threat or physical player as Owens. While playing for the Bronocs, and during his entire career, Stokley has showed tremendous character, while mentoring younger WR's. Stokley often kept other Broncos out of trouble, and displays a very professional, high character personality. Brandon Stokley and Terrell Owens are perfect examples that character does count, in the NFL.

  • “DNDC” -- Those four letters would sometimes show up on scouting reports as Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy and his staff would evaluate potential players to be recruited, the meaning, "Do not draft because of character". While coaching in the NFL, Dungy only brought in players with good character, if a players attitude on and off the field was poor, if he didn't respond well to instruction, or had a problem with authority, etc, the Colts would not sign or draft such a player. While doing this, the Colts built up such a team that every NFL coach desires to have. All the players on the team meshed well, and the result of having a team of high character players was a Super Bowl championship. The Colts have continued to carry out Dungy's standards even after he retired, and again made the Super Bowl last season, with many of the players Dungy and his staff had recruited.

With examples of Brandon Stokley, and Tony Dungy, it's hard for me to believe Kiszla's logic. I must say I am no NBA authority, and can't say I know much about anything of the sport, and while I'm no football expert, I know that in the NFL, high character players are what every Head Coach looks for, the Broncos' Josh McDaniels is no exception. Ultimately, character Does matter when it comes to wins and loses, how many playoff game did Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler win? None, the team never even made the playoffs with those players, those players aren't terrible guys, but I have more respect for Stokley than Marshall, and more respect for Tebow than Cutler.

If the Broncos continue to build up a high character team, I believe it will ultimately have an effect on W's and L's, like in did with the Colts. Five, ten years down the road it will be interesting to look back and see if good character had an effect on the Broncos four year playoff drought. Unlike Kiszla, I believe it will be the difference maker.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Gus Johnson joins Madden 11

EA Sports has announced CBS football commentator Gus Johnson will be Madden's new play-by-play man. The official press release:
Gus Johnson and authentic game day sounds take you inside the stadium! Gus Johnson, one of the most electrifying commentators in sports injects his unique energy into the play-by-play call. Well known for his excitable calls during NFL, NCAA college basketball, MMA broadcasts and more, Johnson now joins the 22 year legacy of the Madden NFL franchise that have included play-by-play legends like Pat Summerall, Al Michaels, and Tom Hammond. Cris Collinsworth returns to the two man booth to provide his Emmy winning analysis.
EA Sports' Madden Football has become one of the most successful video games on the market. The 21st version, "Madden NFL 11," is scheduled to release August 1oth. Johnson, known for his enthusiasm, has called play-by-play for a few Bronco games, including the 2009 season opener.

Kuper signs six-year deal

To finish up a very busy Friday in Dove Valley, the Broncos signed offensive guard Chris Kuper to a new six-year contract worth $28.012 million, including about $13 million guaranteed according to the Denver Post.
"The fact that the Broncos are putting this much trust in me is an incredible feeling," Kuper said. "It is a dream come true. I'd like to thank Mr. Bowlen, Coach McDaniels and Brian Xanders for getting this deal done."
After being drafted by Denver in 2006, Kuper went on to start three consecutive years in '07, '08, and '09. In that span, he started in 47 games, allowing only 6 sacks, while being penalized 11 times. Kuper has been consistent for the Broncos, if anybody deserved a new contract, it was him.

Chris Kuper, Ryan Harris, and Ryan Clady have anchored the Broncos O-line since 2008. With Kuper's new contract, the Broncos look to have a solid offensive front for a few years.

A question now is, will Elvis Dumervil be the next to sign? Both Dumervil and Kuper can via the 2006 NFL Draft, and both are [or in Kuper's case, were] restricted free agents. We'll keep you posted if anything new happens with Dumervil, if he doesn't reach an agreement on a contract soon, a hold out is likely.

The Broncos on Friday also released offensive lineman Maurice Williams.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Around the web: Passing Camp Notes

Practice started off with big news, as the Broncos released quarterback Tom Brandstater. It's sad to see Tom go; we wish him the best. Most likely he'll be picked up by another team very soon. With him gone, more reps can now go to the other three quarterbacks.

Friday’s passing camp was called an “opportunity practice” for rookies and veterans new to the system. Several new faces took that opportunity to practice for the first time, including the team’s top 2010 draft pick, Demaryius Thomas. Running Back J.J. Arrington and Right Tackle Ryan Harris also practiced. None of the three took part in team or seven-on-seven periods, being limited to individual and installation work.

Only two quarterbacks participated in the two hour practice, Quinn and Tebow. Starting QB, Orton, was among a group of nearly 30 veteran players given the session off. Without Orton and Brandstater, Quinn and Tebow each got significant time in the huddle, and both were able to take repetitions in 7-on-7 and full team drills.

With the camp comprised mainly of rookies and newcomers to the team, the lineups looked a little different. The first-unit offensive line featured Tyler Polumbus at left tackle, Zane Beadles at left guard, Walton at center, Seth Olsen at right guard, and Harris at right tackle.

On defense, Marcus Thomas, Ronald Fields, and Ryan McBean were on the line, while Jarvis Moss, Wesley Woodyard, Akin Ayodele, and Ayers were at linebacker. Perrish Cox and Alphonso Smith lined up at cornerback, while Darcel McBath and Nate Jones stood in at safety.

On the first play of 7-on-7s, it finally happened — the Quinn-to-Quinn Connection. Brady Quinn found Richard Quinn for a quick completion in the middle of the field.

View more photos from practice by clicking here, and watch a video of Josh McDaniels talking about the release of QB Tom Brandstater and today's practice by clicking here.

The Broncos are revamping their rushing attack

Last season, the Broncos didn't carry a fullback on the roster, and Receiver Brandon Marshall basically was the offense. That will change in 2010. In practice, Tight End Branson has lined up a few times as a fullback, and Spencer Larsen has moved from playing both linebacker and fullback, to just fullback. Though it is only June, it looks like Denver will be using more two-back formations this season. Giving some proof to that theory, the Broncos on Friday signed fullback Kyle Eckel, who will add some competition at the fullback position, again, a position the Broncos didn't carry last season.

The Broncos rushing attack clearly was most successful in two-back formations last season. Running behind a fullback (or a Tight End) especially aided Knowshon Moreno, who is poised to have a breakout year.

After being drafted 12th overall in the 2009 NFL Draft, Moreno (on paper) looked like the best candidate to become Rookie Of The Year. While Moreno didn't quite live up to those expectations, he accomplished much of what the Broncos asked of him. His rookie year started slow, as Correll Buckhalter handled a bulk of the carries. In nine games started, Moreno rushed for 947 yards and 7 rushing touchdowns, with an 3.8 yards-per carry average.

Six times last year Moreno managed only 50 yards or less rushing yards against opponents, with his best performances coming late in the season, while rushing behind a fullback. His under performance can't all be thrown on him though, the offensive line was plagued with injuries, and was ajusting to a new scheme. It's hard to run without good blocking.

Entering his second season, Moreno looks to improve, he showed flashes of brilliance last season, and will work off those. Head Coach Josh McDaniels had great things to say about him,
"He's smart - one of the smarter backs that I've had an opportunity to coach this young in his career. You can't put too much on him because he can handle it mentally. Physically, he looks good; he's got a burst to himself. He's got a confidence about him that I don't know that he had as a rookie because I don't know that you can as a rookie."
Using fullbacks will benefit the Broncos rushing attack considerably, look for it to especially aid Knowshon Moreno as he enters his Sophomore NFL season.

Broncos release quarterback Tom Brandstater

The quarterback competition at Dove Valley is down from 4 potential suitors to 3. The Broncos have just announced the release of second year quarterback Tom Brandstater, who was drafted in the sixth round of last years draft. Though the move makes sense, as it allows Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn and Tim Tebow to take more snaps during practice, it still comes as a surprise that Josh McDaniels has decided to waive him before the start of training camp. It is hard to imagine that Brandstater will clear waivers, as he has a lot of potential which he showed during last years preseason. Without any regular season experience, Brandstater is practice squad eligible.

Brandstater was released to make room for fullback Kyle Eckel, who will wear #39 for the Broncos. Eckel, who played college football for Navy, was an undrafted free agent of the Patriots in 2005. He spent time with the Patriots, Dolphins, Eagles and most recently won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints after Saints fullbacks Heath Evans and Marcus Mailei both went down with injuries. Eckel has rushed for 175 yards in his career and scored 2 rushing touchdowns. He has an average of 3.0 yards per rushing attempt.

With Brandstater gone, Tim Tebow moves up to third on the depth chart, with Kyle Orton still the starter and Brady Quinn second. Brandstater told the Denver Post:

"I'm learning as you go you can't worry about things you can't control. I've enjoyed my time in Denver. The people were great, the fans were great, they've got a good team coming up. I will still be rooting for them, hopefully (while I'm) with another team."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Around the web: Broncos claim linebacker Davis off waivers

The Broncos on Tuesday claimed linebacker Bruce Davis off waivers from the New England Patriots. Davis was drafted in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The second-year player saw time in five games with the Steelers as a rookie, then spent most of the 2009 season on the Patriots’ practice squad.Akin Ayodele entered the Denver atmosphere satisfied with his conditioning after leaving the Miami Dolphins to sign as a free agent. But he found the transition from South Beach to Pikes Peak left him gulping for air. "First you have to get used to the altitude as far as the running," Ayodele said. "For me that was a big adjustment thinking that I was already in shape, but you come in and you realize that it's a different kind of shape."

“Aggressive” is the watchword at Broncos OTAs. It’s what the coaches want to see. It’s where Josh McDaniels said the team’s focus rests — “whether that means blocking kicks in the kicking game (or) pressuring more on defense than what we did in the past … (or) different things we’re doing to throw the ball downfield.”

The Broncos return for another round of offseason training activities (OTAs) Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Right tackle Ryan Harris, essentially out the past seven months because of his big toe problem, is expected to return to practice this week, if only on a limited basis.

Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post has written up a very informative article up about The X's, Y's and Z's on Broncos' receivers.

There’s plenty of Tebow Talk going on. As usual. It’s amazing that this guy creates so much buzz at all times. Tebow is easily one of the most polarizing figures in professional sports and he’s yet to throw a pass.

We all are aware of Tim Tebow's critics, he also has supporters, including Stanford coach and former NFL QB Jim Harbaugh, "I look at Tim Tebow's throwing motion and it doesn't look that much different than Steve Young's, if you put them next to each other." Many agree, and ESPN has a great story up about the subject,"Don't sweat Tebow's technique."

Broncos OLB Elvis Dumervil has yet to sign his restricted free-agent tender and is waiting for a long-term contract offer. While it doesn't appear that an agreement is imminent, sources in Denver say it would be surprising if the team didn't lock him up for several seasons before the start of the 2010 campaign.

Former Denver Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist has landed in the United Football League. Specifically, he's the director of player personnel for the Omaha Nighthawks.

Veteran running back Brian Westbrook was cut by the Eagles in February. It's now June, and he still doesn't have a job. But that could be changing. According to Jason La Canfora of NFL Network, Westbrook is expected to make a decision soon.

That's all the links we have for now, be sure to "Like" us on Facebook, and become a "Follower" on twitter for more Bronco updates daily.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Former Broncos look for success elsewhere in 2010

Almost 50 percent (approximately 43.4 %) of the 2009 Denver Broncos will play for a new team in the NFL, or not play at all in 2010. Among the players who will not be playing in Denver again this season are:
  • Andra Davis. After seven years of being Cleveland's Man in the Middle, Davis came to Denver as a free agent last off-season. In 2009, he started in 13 games, totaling 90 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Denver unexpectedly released him earlier this year. With Spencer Larsen expected to see more time at fullback, Mario Haggan will probably move to the inside in Davis' vacant position. Andra has moved on the Buffalo - where the Bills are transitioning into the 3-4 defense Denver used last season. Davis joins Kawika Mitchell and Paul Posluszny as Buffalo's inside 'backers, and is expected to compete for playing time.

  • Vonnie Holliday. Holliday joined the Broncos defense last season with 11 years of playing experience. Vonnie would prove to become a vital situational player for the Broncos. While starting in only 3 games, and playing in all 16, Holliday led the Broncos defensive line with five sacks, and 10 QB hurries, second to only Elvis Dumervil, who had 20 QB hurries and seventeen sacks. Holliday will turn 35 years-old this fall, and was released by the Broncos. He signed with the Washington Redskins, and should continue to be a great situational player for the rest of his career.

  • Brandon Marshall. At times in 2009 it seemed Brandon Marshall was Kyle Orton's only Wide Receiver, catching passes left and right. In his 3rd straight 1,000 yard, 100-catch season, Marshall even broke an NFL record with 21 catches in one game - a game Denver lost. For multiple reasons though, Marshall was not happy in Denver. The Broncos traded him to the Dolphins before the draft. In Miami, Marshall will be the new #1 WR, and is predicted to have a very productive season.

  • Chris Simms. After a disappointing run with the Buccaneers, and short stint with the Titans, Simms signed with the Broncos as a back up QB. Not much was expected of Simms, until Jay Cutler was traded. With Orton's mediocre performance, Simms become a popular option. When called upon, Simms failed miserably, earning a 15.1 QB rating. After trading for Brady Quinn, the Broncos released Simms. Twenty-nine year-old Simms signed again with the Titans, where he will no doubt be a back-up.

  • Peyton Hillis. Hillis was drafted by the Broncos in the 7th round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Although he wasn't expected to even play, Hillis had an amazing rookie year, leading the team in rushing yards, before suffering an injury. Despite his rookie season, McDaniels never really took advantage of Hillis' skill, starting him in only two games. While not using him as a tailback, and making Spencer Larsen the fullback, Denver had no use for Hillis. In exchange for Brady Quinn, the Broncos traded Hillis to the Browns. Hillis is out to prove the Browns got the better end of the deal, and should see the field a lot this year.

  • Ben Hamilton. Hamilton spent the last eight years on the Broncos offensive line, playing both guard and center. He thrived in Mike Shanahan's zone blocking scheme, but struggled last year in the new scheme. He starting in 8 games, allowing 3.5 sacks, with 4 holding penalties and 2 false starts. In the midst of revamping the O-line, and the entire offense, Denver released Hamilton. He signed with the Seattle Seahawks, where he may start at guard.

  • Casey Wiegmann. Thirty-seven year-old Weigmann has been through a lot in his long NFL career, playing for 5 teams in 15 years. He spent the last two seasons with the Broncos, making the Pro Bowl in 2008. In 32 games started for Denver, Weigmann only allowed 3 sacks, and was penalized only seven times. The whole offensive line functions around the center; the position is very underrated. The Broncos released Weigman, and signed with the Chiefs - where he played for 7 years before coming to Denver. Weigmann will proved good depth for Kansas City, and possibly even start.

  • Tony Scheffler. From 2007 to 2008, Scheffler caught over 100 catches for over 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also leads all Tight Ends in yards-per-reception since he entered the league. But with McDaniels his stats fell, catching only 31 passes last season, and scoring a career low only two touchdowns. He was benched along with Marshall in the season finale last year, before being traded to Detroit. Although he is currently nursing a foot injury, Scheffler should put up good statistical numbers for the Lions this fall, as the starting Tight End.

  • Ryan Torain. Torain joined the Broncos in 2008, but back injuries kept him from performing. He only played in one game, rushing for 69 yards and a TD before further injuring his knee. The Broncos released Torain last off-season, he then sat out the 2009 season. Torain was one of Mike Shanahan's projects, that explains why the Redskins (now coached by Shanahan) picked up Torain. While in college at Arizona State, Torain put up big numbers and showed a lot of potential. At the Redskins OTA's, Willie Parker and Ryan Torain appear to be rotating with the third team. If he makes the team, Torain could thrive in Shanahan's backfield committee approach.
There are many more players who have moved on, the 9 players listed above are just the ones I found the most intriguing. We wish all them the best with their new teams. While reading about players no longer on the team may be depressing, there are many reasons to be excited about the 2010 season. Just as many players that left, will be brought in. Denver has brought in over 20 rookies, and a large group of free agent signees. The Broncos are entering 2010 with much optimism and potential.