Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Signature Moments In Broncos History: The Immaculate Deflection

As the lockout drags on, we thought it would be fun to go back and look at some of the signature moments in Broncos history. We'll continue the series over the next few days and weeks, if there are any moments you think we should include, just send us an email!

We almost did not include this play in our series because it was not a turning point for the Broncos franchise or Stokley's career. It was however one of the signature moments in Stokley's career and will never be forgotten among Broncos fans, so it made the cut.

The Denver Broncos opened the 2009 NFL season in Cincinnati against the Bengals in September. When it seemed the game was over -- Denver was on it's on 13 yard line with just one timeout left and down by one point with just 28 seconds left in the game -- then it happened.

The words of former CBS commentator Gus Johnson say it all, "Oh caught! Stokley! Down the sideline, can they catch him? Stokley! Wow!" You know the play by heart, but it never gets old:

Find our tribute video to Brandon Stokley on YouTube.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Signature Moments In Broncos History: McCaffrey Tattoos Brian Williams On His Back

As the lockout drags on, we thought it would be fun to go back and look at some of the signature moments in Broncos history. We'll continue the series over the next few days and weeks, if there are any moments you think we should include, just send us an email!

Former Denver Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey was known for his passion for the game of football and ability to make big plays. One of the signature moments of his career came in Super Bowl XXXII against the Green Bay Packers. On the play, McCaffrey laid out a huge block on Packers linebacker Brian Williams and allowed Howard Griffith to run for an additional fifteen yards. Denver would go on to win the game -- their first World Champion victory in the history of the franchise.

To learn how you can help get McCaffrey into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, visit GetThemInTheHall.com.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Signature Moments In Broncos History: Elway's Helicopter

As the lockout drags on, we thought it would be fun to go back and look at some of the signature moments in Broncos history. We'll continue the series over the next few days and weeks, if there are any moments you think we should include, just send us an email!

After suffering through three Super Bowl losses earlier in his career, Denver Broncos legendary quarterback John Elway found himself in the twilight of his career before he finally had a team around him that was capable of helping him win a World Championship. Elway got his chance against Brett Favre and the defending champion Green Bay Packers in 1998, Super Bowl XXXII.

The game was a shootout to the finish. Elway’s determination was captured during a scramble in the third quarter. Needing a few more yards for a first down, Elway dove with multiple Packers defenders around him. Elway was hit so hard that he was spun like a helicopter as he strained for the play, but he recovered quickly and finished the game. Elway and the Broncos had finally won a Super Bowl (and won another when they repeated the next season).

Elway has since been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, to learn how you help get more former Denver Broncos into the Hall, visit GetThemInTheHall.com.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Signature Moments In Broncos History: "It's all over, Fat Man!"

The Denver Broncos -- one of the original eight franchises of the American Football League (AFL) -- played their first season in 1960. Denver struggled early on while their rivals, Oakland, San Diego and Kansas City found considerable success.

It wasn't until 1973 that the team was finally competitive, in fact, the team found themselves heading into week five against the Raiders with a 4-0 record. Over the span of their last 28 meetings, Denver held 2-26 against Oakland, and they again fell behind early 7-0.

Denver would go on to score 30 unanswered points and win the game. Broncos Ring of Fame linebacker Tom Jackson headed to Oakland's bench and their Head Coach, John Madden. As he approached, Jackson recalls shouting, "It's all over, Fat Man! That's it, it's done!" The Broncos, led by their Orange Crush defense, would go on to their first playoff appearance and eventually the Super Bowl.

To learn how you can help get Jackson into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, visit GetThemInTheHall.com. To read more about Jackson's famous line, visit ItsAllOverFatMan.com.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Signature Moments In Broncos History: The Drive

As the lockout drags on, we thought it would be fun to go back and look at some of the signature moments in Broncos history. We'll continue the series over the next few days and weeks, if there are any moments you think we should include, just send us an email!

Former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway's 98-yard drive in the 1986 AFC Championship against the Cleveland Browns has been so well-documented that it needs no intro. Enjoy:

Eighteen years after 'The Drive', Elway was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. To learn how you can help get more former Denver Broncos into the Hall, visit GetThemInTheHall.com.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Signature Moments In Broncos History: Down Goes Okoye

As the lockout drags on, we thought it would be fun to go back and look at some of the signature moments in Broncos history. We'll continue the series over the next few days and weeks, if there are any moments you think we should include, just send us an email!

Former Denver Broncos safety Steve Atwater was one of the hardest hitting safeties of his time. After being named defensive rookie of the year, Atwater became a house-hold name after a huge hit during the second game of his second season.

One of the biggest and most powerful backs of his era, Kansas City Chiefs running back Christian Okoye, "The Nigerian Nightmare" met his match in Atwater and Denver's defense. The hit, one of Atwater's greatest of all time, will always be remembered by Bronco fans, and Okoye.

Learn how you can help get Atwater, a two-time Super Bowl Champion, into the Pro Football Hall of Fame by visiting GetThemInTheHall.com.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Signature Moments In Broncos History: Tokyo Hit

As the lockout drags on, we thought it would be fun to go back and look at some of the signature moments in Broncos history. We'll continue the series over the next few days and weeks, if there are any moments you think we should include, just send us an email!

In 1995, newly appointed Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan drafted running back Terrell Davis in the 6th Round of the 1995 NFL Draft. Entering training camp as the sixth string tailback, Davis was a long shot to make the final roster. That didn't prevent him from doing so, however.

During the team's second preseason game, against the San Fransisco 49ers, Davis impressed the Broncos coaches by laying a huge hit on special teams. Davis would go on to contribute on offense and special teams and was eventually promoted to starting running back for the season's opening game. You know the rest of the story.

Excuse the YouTube video title that says the hit took place in 1998, which is incorrect. Visit GetThemInTheHall.com to learn how you can help get Davis into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Site Now Has A New Look

As you've undoubtedly noticed, we've updated the look of the site -- complete with a new header (which is just temporary, it will be updated when an image of Miller in a Broncos' jersey becomes available.) Our new banner was done by Romulus Anghel, you can see more of his work here.

Additionally, Blogger has been having technical issues. As a result, we lost all of our "Likes". We would appreciate if you would click 'Like' on the upper right sidebar and help us get them back - as we like to be liked.

There's not much to write about during the lockout, but we're going do our best to update the blog more often in the future.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Broncos Players Workout Together, Team Workouts Pending

To be completely honest, I don't totally understand all of this lockout mumbo jumbo, so I'm definitely not an authority on that subject. However, I do know that under the lockout there can be no player transactions and the teams cannot organize any team activities; the players are also not allowed to use the team's training facilities to work out.

The status of the lockout is in the hands of the courts and is expected to drag out for at least a few more weeks. If however, the lockout is lifted within the next few days or weeks, the Broncos will begin planning organized team activities (or OTA's). If the lockout looks like it is going to drag out for an extended period of time, the players are prepared to take team workouts into their own hands.

Many of the players have already been working out with each other; quarterback Tim Tebow has worked out with rookie linebacker Von Miller; quarterback Kyle Orton has worked out with receiver Eric Decker and many of the offensive linemen; Decker has also worked out with Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and is planning to workout with fellow receiver Eddie Royal and running back Knowshon Moreno.

Even though there is a work stoppage, all of the players have been putting in work. The players that haven't worked out with teammates (often due to location), have been working out on their own, cornerback Perrish Cox is an example. They may however, start up team workouts and light practices, pending the court's rulings.

According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, Broncos veteran safety Brian Dawkins has tentative plans in place for three to four days of player-organized team workouts. The practices would consist mainly of conditioning, with little to no emphasis on running plays.
"All of us are training, all of us are working, so in a sense if we do come together, nothing would change as far as what we're doing now," Dawkins said. "But we would be able to build camaraderie by working out together."
So while it wouldn't be much different from what they are currently doing apart from the fact that they would all be present, Denver's players are prepared to organize team workouts, if such an action is needed. The NFL's appeal to stay the lockout will be heard on June third. In the meantime, the players are due to reply to Monday’s brief by May 20th. Stay tuned.

With Scarce Depth at the Position, Broncos Look to Address Defensive Tackle In Free Agency

Note that until the lockout is lifted, there can be no player transactions or a free agency period. The lockout will be lifted eventually however, and when it is, Denver should target a defensive tackle.

In 2010, the Denver Broncos' defense ranked among the worst in the league; that should change this season. New Head Coach John Fox and Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen are in the process of getting Denver's defense back to championship form. The last time Denver made it to a championship was in 2005 when the team's defense carried it to the AFC Championship game after recording a +20 takeaway/giveaway differential, which ranked second in the NFL that season.

Having reached the Super Bowl before, Fox knows what a defense needs to do to get there. The Broncos defense had it seven years ago, this season, their goal is to get it back: speed and takeaways.

Speed kills, particularly quarterbacks. That is one of the reasons Denver drafted freak pass rusher Von Miller second overall. Additionally, you can't score if you don't have the ball, which makes ball-hawking safety Rahim Moore a must-have on defense.

"I said it before the draft, but I just feel defense in this league is always about taking the ball away," Fox told the Denver Post. "You get turnovers, you keep them from scoring points and give yourself a chance to get some."

The Broncos 2011 NFL Draft class specialized in forcing turnovers during their collegiate careers, Fox and Co. hope that they'll do the same in Denver. Meanwhile, the Broncos, in most analysts and fans' eyes, have a gaping hole on defense.

Denver did not address the defensive tackle position in the draft, a position that remains the biggest issue for the team. While Coach Fox has said the team has plans for defensive lineman Kevin Vickerson to be apart of the 4-3 rotation next season, there is little depth behind him.

Denver Broncos Defensive Tackles On The Active Roster

Name/Age: Kevin Vickerson, 28 years old.
Height/Weight: 6'5, 321 pounds.
Experience: Entering seventh season.
Briefly: Vickerson was by far the most productive tackle on Denver's defense last season. After being signed by the Broncos two weeks into the season, Vickerson went on to start in 12 games recording 42 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 3 deflected passes and 1 interception. Fox said last March after re-signing Vickerson that the team liked his physical tools, and his play-making mentality was probably another appealing factor. Kevin will be retained and could earn himself a big role on defense next season.

Name/Age: Ronald Fields, 29 years old.
Height/Weight: 6'2, 314 pounds.
Experience: Entering seventh season.
Briefly: After struggling in a rotational role last season, Fields, who is a free agent, is not expected to be retained by Denver. Prone to having off-the-field issues, Fields did not start in any games last season and recorded only 14 tackles. If the Broncos do not part ways with him, he'll most likely have a very small role on defense next season. Update: 5/10/11, Fields is not listed on the team's official roster.

Name/Age: Louis Leonard, 26 years old.
Height/Weight: 6'4, 325 pounds.
Experience: Entering fifth season.
Briefly: Although he has bounced around on five different teams the past four years while getting little playing time, Leonard could be a dark horse among the Broncos defensive linemen. Leonard played under Fox for two years (2009-2010) in Carolina and he'll get a chance to prove himself in Training Camp (whenever camp may be). Leonard may not make the final 53-man roster, but he'll have plenty of opportunities.

Name/Age: Marcus Thomas, 25 years old.
Height/Weight: 6'3, 316 pounds.
Experience: Entering fifth season.
Briefly: Thomas differentiates from the other tackles on the roster because he is the only one that has been with Denver his whole career and he can do a blackflip. With that said, he wants to explore free agency and hasn't been very productive in Denver. Last season, Thomas dressed for all 16 games (starting 2) and recorded 35 tackles, 1.0 sacks and deflected one pass. Thomas would provide depth, but he hasn't given the vibe that he wants to remain a Bronco. If he stays, Thomas could be looking at a moderate to large role on Denver's defensive line this season.

Other defensive linemen Ryan McBean and Mitch Unrein, who are both technically defensive ends, could also see rotational time at tackle on defense this season. With two players unlikely to return and another that may not even make the final roster, Vickerson appears to be the lone legitimate DT option among his teammates.

Denver will need two starting defensive tackles though and more depth would be ideal, so the team is primed to address the position in free agency. Below is a list of possible options for the Broncos.

(The list excludes players over the age of thirty because, well, historically that hasn't work out so well.)

Name/Age: Brandon Mebane, 26 years old.
Height/Weight: 6'1, 311 pounds.
Experience/Team: Entering fifth season, played for the Seattle Seahawks in 2010.
Briefly: A young prospect, Mebane is about to enter the peak of his career and is set to become a free agent. His second season in the League (2008), Mebane had a career year when he recorded 39 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 1 deflected pass and 2 forced fumbles. The Broncos defense would greatly benefit from the acquisition of such a productive player.

Name/Age: Barry Cofield, 27 years old.
Height/Weight: 6'4, 306 pounds.
Experience/Team: Entering seventh season, played for the New York Giants in 2010.
Briefly: Cofield will be a hot commodity when the free agency period begins, as the defensive lineman has had five productive seasons, all of which he started in at least 15 games. Last season, Cofield recorded 54 tackles, 4.0 sacks, deflected 4 passes, and forced 1 fumble. The Broncos would be wise to pursue Cofield.

Name/Age: Mike Patterson, 27 years old.
Weight/Height: 6'1, 300 pounds.
Experience/Team: Entering seventh season, played for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010.
Briefly: Not quite as productive as the two players mentioned above, Patterson is still a more qualified defensive tackle prospect than any of the players on Denver's roster. Last season, Patterson started in 14 games and recorded 37 tackles and 2.0 sacks. The Broncos would get a talented player in Patterson.

Other options include Antonio Johnson (Indianapolis), Remi Ayodele (New Orleans), Alan Branch (Arizona), and Anthony Adams (Chicago). If the Broncos defense is going to improve against the run next season, address the defensive tackle position should be a top priority in free agency.

Getting that defensive tackle may cost a pretty penny, but Fox understands you can't build a championship defense for free. Denver's defensive line is headed in the right direction, there's just one piece missing in the puzzle -- hopefully they'll find that piece before the start of the season.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Orton Has Also Been Working Out With Teammates

The media has been praising Denver Broncos second year quarterback Tim Tebow as a great leader for getting together with some teammates to workout, somewhat rightly so. What's not right however is the assumption that Tebow is the only quarterback in Denver that is working hard to win the starting job.

Incumbent starter Kyle Orton is going to be playing golf this weekend, and he doesn't have nearly 160,000 followers on twitter that all saw him tweet other players inquiring about working out together. That however does not take away from his leadership abilities or his work ethic.

Tebow is also going to be playing golf this weekend and Orton actually worked out with center J.D. Walton, guard Zane Beadles and wide receiver Eric Decker today, according to Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post. Make no mistake, Kyle Orton has also been working hard this offseason, not just Tebow.

Among his teammates, Orton is considered a hard working, knowledgeable player and a leader. Now, he doesn't get all rah-rah like Tebow, but that is not necessarily a quality a quarterback has to have (just look at Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts). It certainly doesn't hurt however (see Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints), and it gets fans excited.

We're not trying to take away from Tebow, his hard work this offseason is to be commended, but he's not the only one that truly wants the starting job. In the end, all that matters is wins. If Tebow outperforms Orton in Training Camp (if there is one) then he'll start in Week One on Monday Night Football against the Oakland Raiders. If the Broncos' brass feels that Orton still gives the team the best chance to win, he'll enter his third consecutive season in Denver as a starter.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Reviewing the Broncos 2011 NFL Draft Class (Part 2)

After selecting four solid players in the first three rounds of the draft last weekend, the Denver Broncos followed up by making five more excellent value selections in the mid to late rounds. Here is a quick rundown of the players they selected:

Name: Safety Quinton Carter
Height/Weight: 6'1, 208 pounds.
Selection/College: 108th overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma.
Quickly: The Broncos safety position was definitely an area the team needed to address heading into the draft, and that's just what they did. Carter will team up with second round selection Rahim Moore to create one of the better young safety tandems in the NFL.

A physical player, Carter plays the ball well and has good instincts. Carter should see time in Denver's nickle defenses and on special teams this season and may even emerge as a starter.

Name: Tight end Julius Thomas.
Height/Weight: 6'5, 246 pounds.
Selection/College: 129th overall pick in the 2o11 NFL Draft out of Portland State.
Quickly: A former basketball player, Thomas we be hard for defenses to match up against because of his ideal size for the position. A raw prospect, Thomas has strong hands but will have to be tuned a bit before he can become a starter in the Broncos offense.

Name: Linebacker Mike Mohamed
Height/Weight: 6'2, 239 pounds.
Selection/College: 189th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft out of California.
Quickly: The Broncos got some nice depth at linebacker and an excellent special teams player in Mohamed. A high-character player, Mohamed is a hard-working, smart player with great instincts. He's a great guy to have in any locker room.

Name: Virgil Green
Height/Weight: 6'3, 249 pounds.
Selection/College: 204th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft out of Nevada.
Quickly: Green was predicted to be a mid-round selection so it wasn't surprising to see Denver pounce on him when he was still available in the seventh round. An incredibly talented and versatile player, Green may also see time at fullback this season and if he can stay healthy become one of the biggest steals of his draft class.

With a very high ceiling, Green looks to vie for playing time in Denver's offense and on special teams as a rookie.

Name: Defensive lineman Jeremy Beal.
Height/Weight: 6'2, 262 pounds.
Selection/College: 247th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma.
Quickly: A great value pick, Beal fell to the Broncos in the seventh round despite the fact that he was a dominate pass rusher at the college level. With a great motor and never-quit attitude, Beal will not be denied in his quest to earn a role on Denver's defense this season.

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Quarterback Tim Tebow Organizing Team Workouts

To say that Denver Broncos second year quarterback Tim Tebow is a busy man would be an immense understatement.

On Tuesday, the former Heisman Trophy winner was the keynote speaker at the John Lynch Foundation Salute the Stars event. Per it's website, the John Lynch Foundation is committed to developing quality young leaders by providing programs that assist and motivate, recognize achievement and excellence, and encourage dreams.

This weekend, Tebow will host a Celebrity Golf Classic which will be attended by former and current Broncos including safety John Lynch and defensive end Elvis Dumervil, among others. The public is welcome to attend the event, tickets and more information can be found at www.TimTebowFoundation.org

Meanwhile, Tebow works out seven to eight hours a day, every day. Having received an offensive playbook last week when the lockout was temporarily on hold, Tim has been working hard and preparing to compete with incumbent starting quarterback Kyle Orton.

But wait, there's more! Tebow has been contacting several of the team's rookies, tight ends Julius Thomas and Virgil Green among them, to schedule some team workouts. He also reportedly has been working out with receivers Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney.

Under the lockout, teams cannot organize any team practices or workouts, players however can still work out and practice together, just not at their respective team facilities. Denver's players are trying to treat this offseason as they would any other, doing everything that they would usually do, league permitting. Thomas confirmed to us that they are working on setting up workouts.

Last season Tebow finished the season as the team's starting quarterback (going 1-2) after playing in seven games during the regular season. He finished the year with 654 passing yards (50% completion percentage), 5 passing touchdowns (against 3 interceptions) and 227 rushing yards with another 6 rushing touchdowns.

His numbers were quite respectable, especially when compared to legendary former Broncos quarterback John Elway's first three starts:

(Elway's statistics seen on top, with Tebow's below them.)

It appears that the workouts will be limited to the skill players however, at least for the time being, as Broncos starting left guard Zane Beadles told us he hadn't heard about any team workouts. Nevertheless, Beadles has been working out with some of the fellow offensive lineman this offseason.

Broncos second year wide receiver Eric Decker has worked out with Arizona Cardinals star receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and Denver's first round draft pick Von Miller is planning to work out with Tebow before he returns to Texas. Miller told Andrew Mason of MaxDenver.com that while he is in Texas he would like to workout with fellow rookies Nate Irving, Jeremy Beal and Quinton Carter.

Needless to say, Tebow has gained the support of the fans in Denver and is respected by his teammates and coaches. It's not surprising to see Tebow organizing team workouts, it just goes to show the kind of leader that he is.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Reviewing the Broncos 2011 NFL Draft Class (Part 1)

Here's a quick review and a little film on each of the Broncos nine draft picks:

Name: Outside linebacker Von Miller.
Height/Weight: 6'3, 246 pounds.
Selection/College: 2nd overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, played collegiate ball at Texas A&M.
Quickly: The NFL has evolved into a passing league, which in effect causes everything to revolve around the quarterbacks. In fact, the left tackle -- the position that usually has the task of protecting the quarterbacks' blindside -- is generally the second-highest paid position for many franchises. Needless to say, protecting the quarterback on offense and getting to him on defense is the highest priority for teams.

Playing the 'Sam' or 'Strongside' outside linebacker position on first and second down, Miller will move to defensive end on third downs to team up with fellow pass rusher Elvis Dumervil to form one of the best pass rushing tandems in the League. Getting to the quarterback was an area where Denver struggled last season, managing to record only 23 sacks. During his final two seasons at Texas A&M, Miller recorded 27.5 sacks alone, which is probably part of the reason John Elway says he is the first piece in the puzzle of bringing back the Orange Crush defense.

Name: Safety Rahim Moore.
Height/Weight: 6'0, 202 pounds.
45th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, played collegiate ball at UCLA.
Quickly: The Broncos secondary was, like the entire defense, in shambles last season. With their two starting safeties aging, the Broncos looked to address the position in the draft - which they did. Moore will bring his ball hawking and playmaking ability to Denver's secondary and learn under veteran safety Brian Dawkins and fellow defensive back Champ Bailey.

Expected to quickly emerge as a starter in Denver's defense, Moore was considered the top safety in the draft by many scouts and was the top safety on the Broncos' draft board. There are high expectations for Moore heading into this season, hopefully he won't disappoint.

Name: Offensive lineman Orlando Franklin.
Height/Weight: 6'6, 316 pounds.
Selection/College: 46th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, played collegiate ball at Miami.
Quickly: The Broncos offensive line struggled last season and has strayed from the mean, dominate group it used to be. The team addressed that when it selected Franklin in the second round. A versatile player, Franklin can play either tackle or guard positions and is known for his nasty demeanor and aggressive style of play.

He adds a lot of depth to Denver's roster and could become a starter in year one. Behind Franklin, the Broncos running game looks to improve and their quarterbacks can expect to be better protected.

Name: Inside linebacker Nate Irving.
Height/Weight: 6'1, 240 pounds.
Selection/College: 67th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, played collegiate ball at N.C. State.
Quickly: The Broncos continued to address the defense with the Irvin selection. A tough, playmaking linebacker, Irvin has an inspiring story and could start in John Fox's 4-3 defense as a rookie in 2011.

Stay tuned for part two in which we will look at the Broncos late round selections!