Saturday, January 29, 2011

Broncos Lloyd, Bailey Ready for All Star Game

After converting 72 of his 77 catches for first downs in 2010 -- the best first downs per-catch average in a season over the last 10 years -- and scoring 11 touchdowns while averaging 18.8 yards a catch, Broncos receiver Brandon Lloyd was voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career, where he'll be a starter.

Prior to joining the Denver Broncos in 2009, Lloyd spent the first six years of his career with three different teams. Last season Lloyd took advantage of his few opportunities, catching 8 passes for 117 yards over a span of two games. After that however, nobody could have predicted Lloyd's breakout season that was to come in 2010. His first 1,000 yard season of his career (with 1,448), Lloyd set personal bests in every major receiving category this season.

Tomorrow, Lloyd will compete for the first time with the best of the best in the NFL's All Star game.

"There's not very much separation in talent from player to player," said Lloyd, an eight-year veteran yet rookie Pro Bowler. "Any player given the opportunity, with teammates who are supporting him, with an organization that supports them, could be awesome and have a breakout season."

Cornerback Champ Bailey, on the other hand, is going to play in his 10th All Star Game -- more than any other cornerback in the history of the NFL.

“That’s what makes his situation so funny — his status as far as coming back to the Broncos,’’ said Lloyd, who practiced with Bailey today in Hawaii. “He’s still got it. It’s not like you can put a number on him and say he’s got another year, or two years. He can play for as long as he’s healthy. If he stays healthy he can play for at least another five years.’’

So while Bailey has been there and done that, Lloyd is humbled and honored to play in the game.

"It was humbling to get that call to come here," Lloyd said. "It was a dream-come-true. There have been so many dreams that have come true in my life. ... There's probably nobody as honored as I am to be out here and playing in this game."

Simon Samano of notes that with the outlook he has, Lloyd could end up the games MVP.
"Don’t be surprised if Broncos wide receiver Brandon Lloyd goes off and ends up being named the game’s most valuable player. Obviously, everyone here is honored to have made the Pro Bowl. But of all the players I spoke with this week, nobody meant it like Lloyd, who is looking to wow the crowd. So if Phillip Rivers, Peyton Manning and Matt Cassel decide to look Lloyd’s way often, I’d expect him to shine."
The 2011 NFL All Star Game will be played Sunday at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, at 5 p.m. MT.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Broncos Hire Allen as Defensive Coordinator

Eleven days after John Fox was announced as the new head coach of the Denver Broncos, the team has found a defensive coordinator. Earlier this evening, FoxSports reported that Saints defensive backs coach Dennis Allen has been hired by the team to take over the position previously held by Don 'Wink' Martindale.

It seems like the Broncos awaited the result of the NFC Championship game between the Bears and the Packers before deciding on hiring Allen. Had the Packers lost, the team would have likely asked for permission to interview defensive line coach Mike Trgovac, who previously worked with Fox in Carolina. However, Trgovac had publicly stated that, although he'd like to hear what the Broncos had to say, he was unsure about moving with his daughter being a senior in high school and having recently moved from Carolina to Green Bay.

By hiring Allen, the Broncos hope they will finally be able to create some stability at the defensive coordinator position. Allen will be the sixth different defensive coordinator in as many seasons. Having a defensive minded head coach in John Fox will also help in this regard, but the turn over at the coordinator position can be attributed as one of the reasons for the defensive struggles that the Broncos have been going through in recent years.

In Allen (38), the Broncos seem to have found one of the bright, young and upcoming coaches in the league. After Allen interviewed with both the Eagles and the Broncos this offseason, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Peyton told the New Orleans Times Picayune:
"It's a small league, and there aren't many secrets. His reputation has grown, and the word has gotten around. You can see it on film. He's extremely talented, and another thing about him, he's an extremely hard-working guy. He's a guy that's going to have more of these opportunities down the line. Dennis has been one of those 'Day 1' guys from when we got here in '06. And his role each year has encompassed more and more."
Similarly, Adam Caplan tweeted the following remarks on Dennis Allen over the weekend, before he was officially hired by the Broncos:
I spoke to several scouting sources over the last 48 hours or so about Dennis Allen, very impressed with what I'm hearing. Good leadership skills, players really like him/respect him, good teacher
Allen joined the Saints in 2006 as an assistant defensive line coach, the first year of Sean Peyton's tenure as the head coach of the team. After two years in that role, he became the defensive backs coach for a secondary that would rank as one of the best in the NFL since that time.

Allen, who played safety at Texas A&M, was an undrafted free agent signed by the Buffalo Bills in 1996. He competed in training camp but never played in the NFL. Before joining the Saints, he coached the secondary as a graduate assistant at his alma mater Texas A&M from 1996 to 1999. He then moved to Tulsa to becoming their secondary coach for two seasons. In 2002, Allen joined the Atlanta Falcons, where he was first involved with the secondary before moving to defensive line.

With the hiring of Allen, the only positions that remain to be filled are those of defensive backs coach and linebackers coach. Don 'Wink' Martindale could move back to his old position coaching linebackers, but at this time it seems more likely that he will move on to a new opportunity.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Broncos Can Learn From Super Bowl Defenses

The two teams that will play in Super Bowl XLV have been established: The Green Bay Packers will face the Pittsburgh Steelers on February 6th. The Denver Broncos and new Head Coach John Fox would be wise to follow suit of the two team's methods of getting to the Super Bowl.

There are several key similarities between the Steelers and Packers; both teams have solid defenses with excellent pass rushes. Ranked first and second respectively in points allowed per game last season, the Steelers and Packers both recorded over 46 sacks in 2010. Denver, on the other hand, lacked a pass rush, ranking last in the NFL after recording a mere 23 sacks. The return of star outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil -- who missed all of the 2010 season while on injured reserve -- will be vital for the Broncos. An undersized pass rusher, Dumervil is very comparable to Pittsburgh's James Harrison and Green Bay's Clay Matthews, two outside linebackers who excel in disrupting an offense's passing game.

In addition to getting an added pass rush on the edge with the return of Dumervil, the Broncos need to beef up the down linemen. Regardless of if they stay in a 3-4 defense or switch to Fox's 4-3 defensive scheme, Denver needs more bulk up front. Nose tackle B.J. Raji anchors Green Bay's defensive line, weighing in at 337. At twelve pounds lighter, Casey Hampton is the man filling A-gaps in Pittsburgh. The Broncos' Jamal Williams has the weight and experience, as well as the age to go with it. At age 34, Williams wasn't able to help the Broncos defense generate a push last season, and didn't have a strong support cast around him. A fast and strong defensive end, as well as a dominating nose tackle, would help get the Broncos defense back on the right track.

Holding the second overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, the Broncos have many options to choose from. If they opt to not trade down and accumulate more picks, Alburns' Nick Fairley -- a 6-5, 300 pound nose tackle -- would be the smartest pick, providing he's available. Fairley, who teams doubled and even triple teamed frequently, recorded 11 sacks and over 20 tackles for a loss as a junior. If Denver passes over Fairley, there are many over defensive ends and tackles in the draft that would help to bulk up the Broncos defensive line, and help the team get a pass rush again. Drafting a stud down lineman is the first step the Broncos need to make to get the defense back to being dominate.

An improved line will improve the entire defense. Just as there are coverage sacks that you no doubt heard of while watching this years playoffs, there are also pressure interceptions. When a defenses' secondary coverage is so good that it forces the quarterback to hold the ball longer than he should, resulting in a sack, it is called a coverage sack. Similarly, when a quarterback is frequently harassed and feels pressure from the defensive line, he can become rattled and lose his focus and rhythm, often resulting in poor decisions which result in interceptions. The return of Dumervil and added beef to the line will help the Broncos get to opposing quarterbacks more often, helping out the secondary.

The presumed starting linebackers next season, D.J. Williams, Mario Haggan and Joe Mays, are a capable, aggressive, hard-hitting group that would pair well with an improved defensive line. Now the Broncos face the task of finding all the pieces of the puzzle that will complete John Fox's defense.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Around the web: Broncos Ask to Interview Allen

Wide Receiver Brandon Lloyd earned an escalator in his contract from the Broncos that upped his 2011 salary from $795,000 to $1.4 million for making the AFC's Pro Bowl roster. He is still vastly underpaid however and should receive a new contract before his current 2-year deal runs out. Lloyd is one of five nominees for the 2010 VIZIO Top Value Performer (TVP) award.

Depending on what happens with the CBA, the Denver Post reported that the Broncos were trying to work a four-year contract with cornerback Champ Bailey that would be worth about $42 million. Bailey's agent, Jack Reale says the team hasn't contacted Bailey since the season ended.

The Saints confirmed today that they gave the Broncos permission to interview their defensive backs coach Dennis Allen regarding Denver's defensive coordinator position. Allen joins Packers' defensive line coach Mike Trgovac and incumbent D.C. Don “Wink” Martindale as the three most likely candidates to win the job.

The Broncos have announced two additions to the 2011 coaching staff on Thursday: Special Teams Coordinator Jeff Rodgers and QB Coach Adam Gase. Former Broncos Quarterback Coach, Ben McDaniels, was the little brother of former Head Coach, Josh McDaniels.

Fifty-six college underclassmen — a record total — have been granted special eligibility for the 2011 NFL Draft after submitting a written application renouncing their remaining college football eligibility. Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, Auburn's Nose Tackle Nick Fairley, and LSU star Corner Patrick Peterson are three players the Broncos may target with the 2nd overall pick -- if they opt to not trade down and accumulate more picks.

Photos used in this post were courtesy of the Associated Press.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lloyd nominated for 2010 VIZIO TVP Award

Following his stellar Pro Bowl season in which he lead the NFL in receiving yards (with 1,448), Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Lloyd has been nominated as one of five finalists for the 2010 VIZIO Top Value Performer (TVP) award.

The coveted award recognizes the players whose on-field performances most exceeded the value of their 2010 contract. With a salary of just $755,000, Lloyd was an easy choice for this honor after catching 77 passes with an 18.8 yards-per-catch average while scoring 11 touchdowns.

Other nominees for the 2010 TVP award are Cleveland RB Peyton Hillis, Pittsburgh LB LaMarr Woodley, Buffalo WR Stevie Johnson and New York RB Ahmad Bradshaw. The winner of this is award is determined by a public online fan vote held at Voting is open now and will close at midnight on Sunday, January 23rd.

Erika Carlock contributed to this article.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Around the web: Fox assembling coaching staff

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

On Monday, Denver Broncos Head Coach John Fox announced eight members of his coaching staff for the 2011 season, which includes six coaches from the Josh McDaniels era.

Meanwhile, McDaniels has signed on with the St. Louis Rams as their offensive coordinator.

Although the Broncos' Don "Wink" Martindale is still under contract as defensive coordinator, the team is reportedly interested in Green Bay's Mike Trgovac and former Seahawks Head Coach Jim Mora Jr. On Tuesday morning, it was further reported that the club was near to hiring Mora.

Broncos Vice President John Elway then tweeted; Our entire coaching and personnel staff will convene for the first time next week in Mobile at the Senior Bowl."

Raising the suspicions that Mora may have already been signed?

ESPN's AFC West Blogger Bill Williamson mentions here several Panthers players that could reunite with new Broncos Head Coach John Fox. Among the players is running back DeAngelo Williams, who has previously been speculated as a possible target of the Broncos.

And the last link of the day is, if you are in favor of the Broncos switching back to the orange jerseys sign the petition! If you're not a fan of the orange jerseys, maybe this will change your stance:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Broncos Announce Head Coach: John Fox

To the surprise of nobody, the breaking news came in through Twitter.

Though it had roughly been an hour since the Denver Post reported that the team had trimmed their list with candidates from five to three, on Thursday afternoon John Elway tweeted that the Broncos had officially agreed to terms with former Panthers head coach John Fox to become the 14th head coach in Broncos history.

Elway stated on Twitter: ""Coach Fox is a great fit for us not only with his coaching ability but also with his personality. He's a dynamic and proven leader. He's coached great defenses, turned teams around and been to Super Bowls. We couldn't be more excited to have him lead our football team."

After the first round of interviews concluded on Wednesday, many members of the media speculated that Rick Dennison looked to be the front runner for the job. It was thus surprising that the team announced the signing yesterday, without conducting a second round of interviews with their favorite candidates.

When Fox became the Panthers head coach in 2001, the team just came off an abysmal 1-15 season. Two years later, the Panthers appeared in the Super Bowl. Overall, Fox recorded a 73-71 record as coach of the Carolina Panthers, which includes a 2-14 record this past season in which Fox practically knew from the beginning of the season that he would not return once the season ended.

Per Steve Reed of, two coaches that could follow Fox to Denver are Panthers wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert and offensive line coach Dave Magazu. Under Magazu, the Panthers offensive line created running lanes for the first team in history to have two running backs with more than 1.100 rushing yards. He has been running a zone blocking scheme and if he would accept the position in Denver it would likely mean that the team will switch back to the scheme that it was used to running before Josh McDaniels took over in 2009.

Jason La Canfora of and the NFL Network suggested that former Seattle Seahawks headcoach Jim Mora could be a candidate for the defensive coordinator position, and Fox might be looking to talk to Washington's Danny Smith to become the next special teams coach.

Those names, however, are pure speculation at this time. We will likely find out more about the other changes to the staff during or after the weekend.

Watch the press conference today at noon MST live on

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Around the web: Multimedia mania

The same day that Denver's new Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway rejoined the Broncos, he joined twitter. You can follow him, @JohnElway.

Tonight, ESPN will air
'Tim Tebow: Everything in Between' at 7 p.m. (ET). You can view a preview of the documentary by clicking here.

Choosing to focus on Atlanta's playoff game next week, Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey has informed the Denver Broncos he will not interview for their coaching opening on Friday as planned, according to a team source.

Elway responded to Mularkey's decision (via twitter) with:
"I respect the decision that Mike Mularkey has made to not interview with the Broncos at this time. And I wish Coach Mularkey and the Atlanta Falcons the best of luck in the playoffs."
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck has opted to return for his fourth year at the university in lieu of declaring himself eligible for the 2011 NFL Draft, Stanford announced Thursday. Thus, ending all the debate in Broncos Country over whether or not the Broncos should draft him (this year).

Meanwhile, with Mularkey postponing/canceling his interview with the Broncos, Denver’s head coaching candidates seem a tad thin. At the moment, only Interim head coach Eric Studesville and New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell have scheduled interviews with the team.

And last but not least, here's a video that should help you get excited about the 2011 season:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Elway to Lead Broncos in Search for Next Head Coach

On Wednesday, the Denver Broncos named two-time Super Bowl champion and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway as Executive Vice President of Football Operations, and appointed Joe Ellis as team President.

The club also confirmed that General Manager Brian Xanders will stay with the team, keeping his current position. Elway will oversee the Broncos head coach and Brian Xanders while assisting in supervision of the club’s football personnel department.

Now all the Broncos are missing is a head coach. But according to Elway, that position should be filled soon as well.

Elway, Xanders, Bowlen and Ellis will interview the candidates, "and we'll come to a consensus," Elway said. "We'll get it done in the next week or two. Brian has done the research over the past 15 years and found that the difference between successful offensive and defensive hires is about 2 percent, so we're not committed one way or the other. We will hire someone who has been a coach in the league or someone who has long been associated with pro football as a coordinator or a strong coach — someone who will feel as strongly about the Broncos as we do."
As well as interviewing Eric Studesville and Mike Mularkey, the Broncos will ask permission to interview Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell (who had been an interim coach in Buffalo) and Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams regarding the team’s head coaching vacancy.

The official Press Release from the Broncos can be seen below


The Denver Broncos on Wednesday named two-time Super Bowl champion and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway as Executive Vice President of Football Operations and appointed Joe Ellis as President, Broncos Owner and Chief Executive Officer Pat Bowlen announced.

“John Elway’s leadership, competitiveness and passion for the Denver Broncos will position this team for long-term success through his work leading our football operations,” Bowlen said. “John has won championships as both a player and executive, and his experience will be a valuable addition to this franchise. He is the perfect fit for this role, and I am excited to welcome him back to the Denver Broncos.” Bowlen added, “Having worked with Joe Ellis for 16 years, I have the utmost confidence that he is the right person to lead this entire organization as club president. The expertise he has demonstrated on both team and league initiatives will allow him to thrive with the enormous responsibilities that accompany directing a franchise that means so much to this region and its fans.”

Elway, who set numerous records with the Broncos during his 16-year playing career (1983-98) and led the Arena Football League’s Colorado Crush to a World Championship in 2005 as its co-owner/CEO, will direct the Broncos’ football operations in his new role. He will oversee the Broncos’ head coach and General Manager Brian Xanders while assisting in the supervision of the club’s football personnel department.

A Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2004 inductee, Elway will have final authority over the Broncos’ football operations and lead the club’s head coaching search. He will report directly to Bowlen and Ellis on all matters involving football operations.

During his playing career with the Broncos, Elway set an NFL record for Super Bowl appearances (5) by a starting quarterback, including back-to-back World Championships following the 1997-98 seasons. He retired with the most wins by a starting quarterback in NFL history (148-82-1, .643), 47 comeback drives (1st in NFL history), 51,475 passing yards (2nd) and 300 touchdown passes (3rd).

Elway spent the 2010 season as a consultant for the Broncos’ marketing initiatives following eight years as co-owner and chief executive officer of the AFL’s Colorado Crush (2002-09). He ran the club’s day-to-day operations beginning with its founding in June 2002, spearheading its football operations and maintaining a presence in all of its marketing and promotional activities.

Named the AFL’s Executive of the Year in 2003 and elected chairman of its executive committee in ’07, Elway also worked closely with Bowlen, who was a one-third owner, during his time with the Crush.

The Broncos’ chief operating officer for the last three years and a 16-year club employee, Ellis will operate atop the Broncos’ management structure and have ultimate responsibility for the organization as team president. His extensive responsibilities with the club’s business operations will include speaking on all matters involving the franchise.

A driving force in the creation of INVESCO Field at Mile High, Ellis also worked as Vice President of Club Administration and Stadium Management for the National Football League before returning to the Broncos for his second stint with the team in 1998.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Three Silver Linings

The Denver Broncos have fallen to 4-12 after a heart-breaking 33-28 loss to the San Diego Chargers, capping off a dismal season.

Fortunately, there are some silver linings;

First off, Denver is set to receive the 2nd overall draft draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Needing a lot of help on the defensive side of the ball, 2nd overall appears to be Da'Quan Bowers zone. Bowers, a Junior defensive end out of Clemson University, stands 6-4 and weighs in at 275 pounds, and his tenacious pass rushing ability would make him a great addition to the Broncos defense. If Denver decides to not draft Bowers--or anyone 2nd overall--they have the option to trade down and acquire more picks, so it'll be a win-win situation for the Broncos next April.

Secondly, former Bronco great John Elway will be returning to the team in 2011, as Vice President of Football Operations. Some have noted that while Elway was a fantastic player on the field, he may not be such a great front office addition. It also needs to be noted however that the Colorado Crush -- under John Elway -- won a Championship in the Arena Football League, proving Elway not only has the intelligence and competitiveness to succeed, but the upstairs decision-making smarts as well. His coming back to the Broncos will excite the fans and re-energize the whole organization.

Thirdly, Denver will have some very talented players -- on offense and defense -- returning next season. Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd finishes 2010 with 77 catches for 11 touchdowns and 1,448 yards, making him the first Bronco receiver Ever to lead the League in reception yards in a single season. The 29-year old receiver has two years remaining on his contract and should remain in Denver making acrobatic catches for a long time. The man delivering those throws to Lloyd will most likely be quarterback Tim Tebow, whose potential is off the charts. Playing in seven games in 2010 (starting three) Tebow threw for 5 touchdowns, 3 interceptions and 654 yards while adding 227 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns. Joining Lloyd as targets for Tebow, Jabar Gaffney, Eddie Royal, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker all will remain with the Broncos for the 2011 season (unless Denver's next head coach deals them away in a trade). In the backfield, running back Knowshon Moreno will be entering his 3rd season in the NFL. Although he's been critized for being injury prone (rightfully so) he has majorly contributed to Denver's offense. Over the past two seasons, Knowshon's recorded over 2,300 yards from scrimmage and scored 17 touchdowns, ranking 2nd in touchdowns scored among players who entered the league in 2009. Protecting Tebow will be Pro Bowl Left Tackle Ryan Clady, underrated Guard Chris Kuper, fellow Guard and praised rookie Zane Beadles, a more experienced center in J.D. Walton and a solid Right Tackle in Ryan Harris.

On the defensive side of the ball, there's not as much to be excited about, as the whole defense will most likely go through a rebuilding period. With that said however, there are some stud defensive players that will return to the team. The NFL's 2009 sack king, outside linebacker Elvis Dumvervil will be back, inside linebacker Joe Mays, who former Bronco John Lynch says will become a huge linebacker in the NFL, will be back, playing-making defensive end Kevin Vickerson (who recorded 42 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 1 interception in 11 starts) should be returning, and up-and-rising linebackers Mario Haggan and Wesley Woodyard (two underrated players who combined for 6 sacks and 2 forced fumbles in 2010) will most likely return.

So while 2010 was a season we all would like to forget, there's plenty of reasons to look forward to in the 2011 season and beyond.