Monday, August 29, 2011

Broncos Begin Roster Trimmings; Injury Updates

The Broncos, and the other thirty-one teams in the league, have until tomorrow to get their rosters down to eighty players. Denver got a jump start on Monday when the team released cornerback Nate Jones and waived seven others, bringing their roster total down to eighty players.

Running back C.J. Gable, linebacker Braxton Kelley, linebacker Deron Mayo, guard Shawn Murphy, offensive tackle Curt Porter and defensive end David Veikune where the first of many cuts to come for the Broncos. The team has until 6 p.m. (ET) on September 3rd to get the final roster down to fifty-three players.

On game days, forty-six players will be allowed to dress. So in essence, the Broncos will have to make decisions on over thirty-four players between now and their Monday night season opener against Oakland.

On the injury front, there are several notable developments. Linebacker D.J. Williams suffered a dislocated right elbow in the team's Week Three preseason match against the Seattle Seahawks and is expected to miss the season opener. Denver is hopeful however that he'll be ready to go for the team's Week Three match against the Tennessee Titans. Defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley (knee sprain) could also miss the opener but is expected to be back by the team's Week Two match against Cincinnati Bengals.

As for defensive tackle Ty Warren (who had triceps surgery last week), the team is hopeful that his season has not ended. Coach John Fox noted that the Broncos hope to have Warren back by the final third of the season. Meanwhile, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who had an off-season Achilles tendon surgery, is recovering well and may return sooner than the team had originally anticipated.

Originally expected to be out through mid-November, Thomas said if all goes well, he could be back on the field in less than a month. The addition of Thomas would add more depth to an already solid Bronco's receiving squad that features Pro Bowler Brandon Lloyd, slot machine Eddie Royal and second year sleeper, Eric Decker.

Though it is only the preseason, the Broncos defense is looking vastly improved from last year. Through its first three preseason matches, Denver's first-team defense has only allowed only 213 yards on 70 plays (3.0 yards per play) and 9 points off three field goals. Per the team's Executive Director of Media Relations, Patrick Smyth, the Broncos defense is also ranked in the NFL's top 10 in 10-of-18 categories, including yards per play (6th) and sacks per pass (9th).

Rookie linebacker Von Miller is in a three-way tie for most sacks in the preseason (with 3.0) while the team ranks 9th in the NFL with 9.0 overall. Needless to say, sackmasters Miller and defensive end Elvis Dumervil will feast on opposing quarterbacks this fall.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Broncos brass throws Mike Silver under the bus

An article was published Tuesday by Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports which quoted a "highly knowledgeable member of the organization" as saying quarterback Tim Tebow is the fourth-best quarterback on Denver's roster, even behind undrafted free agent rookie Adam Weber.

On Wednesday, ESPN's Adam Schefter came to the defense of Tebow, noting that the Broncos do have plans for the second year quarterback. Broncos Head Coach John Fox confirmed that following yesterday's practice.

"First of all I would like to say that [quote came from] nobody in this building that is in the decision making process, coach or official -- maybe they heard it from the cook," said Fox. "We hold Tim in a high regard, I think he has a bright future in this game."

Fox went on to note that Tebow did not get a lot of reps last week because of the way the game played out. Expect to see Tebow getting more snaps in the team's final two preseason games.

"He has been progressing fine and he'll get more opportunities in games as we go. Everybody in this building has high regard for Tim Tebow and we think he's doing just fine."

Fox was adamant that Silver's quote did not come from any high ranking member of the organization.

"If you read it correctly I don't think it said anybody in the organization it said 'knowledgeable football person' and that would be a wide range, like I said, it could have been the chef, he sees the players everyday."

Shortly after Fox spoke, Broncos Vice President of Public Relations Jim Saccomano took to twitter, tweeting:

"Hit and run journalists, which are plentiful, only speed development of team-only media. Sometimes the tabloid mentality overtakes objectivity, at expense of some great journalists."

That quote sounds like it may have been directly aimed at Silver, who is a respected journalist.

"A serious concern for teams is granting access to outlets that provide incentives to writers based on page clicks. That is a problem."

Shout out to the Broncos for finally addressing what was getting way out of control. Be careful what you read, folks. Don't believe everything you hear and always follow up on reports. Our goal is to bring you excellent Broncos coverage 24/7 without stirring the pot just to generate traffic. We encourage you to always hold us accountable for every report and article published on Broncos Zone and appreciate your readership.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Schefter Chimes in on the Tebow Situation

"Let's be very clear about this," ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter told 850KOA in a radio interview, "the Denver Broncos are keeping Tim Tebow." As many Bronco fans know, Schefter is the ultimate insider when it comes to the NFL, so you can take his word for it.

[Related: Quarterback Tim Tebow: Staying put in Denver]

"The Denver Broncos are into Tim Tebow this year for $8.3 million dollars, they're not going to be paying him that money and trading him... People can bash Tim Tebow all they want but really, let's see what happens over the course of the season before we start hammering the guy."

Schefter went on to note that the Broncos may not be advertising their plans for Tebow because they do not want other teams to know them.

"If John Fox is planning on using Tebow around the goal line area, would he debut that in the preseason and give opponents time to study that, or is he going to surprise the Oakland Raiders on the Monday Night season opener?"

Schefter backed Tebow throughout the interview with KOA saying what we have been for months: Tebow has not yet had enough experience in the NFL to declare him a starter or a bust.

"Let's just wait and see before we start ripping Tim Tebow and declaring him to be a failure -- the guy at least deserves the chance to prove himself over time. I'm not ready to declare a quarterback a success or failure after just two weeks of the preseason."

It's nice to finally hear some logical thoughts on the Tebow situation, shout out to Schefter.

Monday, August 22, 2011

[Video] Legion Of Doom: Broncos Defensive Promo

It's not unreasonable to believe the Broncos defense is headed towards a turnaround season. Defensive minded Head Coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen have brought in an attacking mindset to Denver, and it showed on Saturday in the team's preseason home opener.

Taking on the Buffalo Bills, the Broncos defense record a sack, interception, six tackles for a loss, eight quarterback hurries, and nine pass deflections at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Watch for more big plays from the defense this Saturday when the team returns home to face the Seattle Seahawks in Week Three of the 2011 preseason.

If that doesn't get you excited about the Broncos 2011 defense, nothing will!

Broncos Have Solid Preseason Division Standings

Yes, we may be getting a bit ahead of ourselves looking at the division standings just two weeks into the preseason, but heck, we're just excited about the return of Broncos football! AFC West standings seen below:

Quarterback Kyle Orton Officially Named Starter

The battle for Denver's starting quarterback gig is over, Kyle Orton has won the competition.

Broncos Head Coach John Fox announced on Monday that Orton will get the start for the team's season opener against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Monday, September 12th. The move comes as no surprise after Orton's solid performance in Week Two of the preseason against the Buffalo Bills when he completed 10-of13 passes for 135 yards and a score.

[Related: There are 2,061 tickets available to Denver's season opener through our TiqIQ page, with the average price of admission being $216. There are several good deals still out there though, with several tickets going for under $78. See more prices and tickets here.]

Denver also designated tight end Richard Quinn as waived/injured on Monday. The team will place him on the injured reserve list tomorrow if he clears waivers.

Quinn is a third-year player who was surprisingly drafted in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft by former Broncos Head Coach Josh McDaniels. Quinn, a 6-4, 258 pound tight end, was drafted mainly for his blocking abilities but has only started four games the past two seasons.

Images used in this article were courtesy of the Associated Press.

Quarterback Tim Tebow: Staying put in Denver

Tebow's a hot topic across the country. (Cartoon courtesy of

There are rumors quickly spreading that the Denver Broncos may trade or cut second year quarterback Tim Tebow, which is alarming many fans in Denver. The rumors are unsound however, as can be observed below:
  • Head Coach John Fox, Vice President John Elway and General Manager Brian Xanders all have supported Tebow, and continue to do so. They simply told teams inquiring about Tebow to make them "an offer they couldn't refuse", which is a far cry from placing him on the trading block.
  • Tebow has only started in three games during his career (performing well in all three), and has not yet had the reps needed for him to be named the starter. He's simply not ready, but that doesn't mean Denver has given up on him. Tebow is a work on progress, the media just wants to speed things up and have Tebow become either the starter or a bust. At the moment, he is neither.
  • Following this season, starting quarterback Kyle Orton and back-up Brady Quinn will be free agents; Tebow will have three years and $6,798,750 (just over $6.7 million dollars) left on his contract. Update: (8/23/11) The Broncos have already paid Tebow $6.7 million and will pay him a total of $8.3 million in 2011. Denver will not then turn around and trade or release Tebow after paying him that kind of money. Instead, they'll let the 2011 season play out and go from there.
  • Denver will continue to evaluate Tebow and give him his due opportunities. In the game of football, you never know when your name will be called, and Tebow will be ready. This season teams will be allowed to dress three quarterbacks, so as the 3rd or 2nd QB, Tebow will be available in case Orton -- who's missed at least one start the past three seasons -- goes down with an injury or performs poorly.
As was noted above, it's just the preseason. As of now, Tebow is the third string quarterback on Denver's roster and there are no legitimate indications that he will be leaving that roster any time soon.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Broncos Not Condemning Rahim Moore's Hit

If you watched the Denver Broncos 24-10 win over the Buffalo Bills last night, you probably didn't miss rookie safeties Rahim Moore's crushing hit on Bills wide receiver Donald Jones. The play will certainly make the preseason highlight reels, as well as fire up Bronco fans. It also drew a flag for unnecessary roughness. After taking a second look at the play however, it looks like a clean play.

Moore did not lead with his helmet (he in fact correctly led with his shoulder), he did not launch himself and he hit the receiver a split second after he had touched the ball. Good play.

Moore's teammates agree. Veteran safety Brian Dawkins gave Moore a slap on the helmet, as did linebacker D.J. Williams following the play. Star cornerback Champ Bailey argued with the refs that there was no need for a flag and Moore said his coaches told him to "Keep it up."

"It was just my reaction, man. I was being a football player," said Moore. "I couldn't really get to the ball to pick it off, which is what I really wanted to do. But my intention was just to hit him. Our coaches want us to be physical, so I'm going to do what I do."

In the game of football you never want to see anyone get hurt, and we hope Jones will be OK, but frankly, it's refreshing to see Denver's defense noted as a physical one for a change. Not since the days of linebacker Al Wilson have the Broncos truly had an aggressive, feared defense.

If last night's performance was any indication of things to come, Bronco fans can expect to see plenty more offensive players smacked around by Denver's defense in the regular season. Bronco's defensive coordinator Dennis Allen had the defense flying around the field and there were several Bronco players in the Bills backfield on seemingly every play. Rookie linebacker Von Miller recorded his first sack as a pro and defensive end Elvis Dumervil forced several quarterback hurries.

The Broncos will face the Seattle Seahawks in Week Three of the preseason this Saturday. Watch for more of the same out of Denver's defense.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Broncos Set For Preseason Home Opener vs. Buffalo

Newly named Sports Authority Field. (Image courtesy of Chris Hall/BroncosTV)

The Broncos will kickoff their 2011 preseason home opener at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in just a few moments, here are some things to watch for:
  • A powerful rushing attack. Denver's starters will play most of the first half tonight, which means running backs Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee will be getting a lot of touches. Both backs looked fresh last week against the Cowboys and are poised for a productive evening.
  • An aggressive defense. Watch for Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to dial up the blitz against Buffalo, releasing sackmasters Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller to wreak havoc. In Dallas, Denver's defense struggled against screen passes and runs between the "A" gaps (up the middle). It will be interesting o see if the defense has improved at all in those respective areas.
  • The young bucks. Second year wide receiver Eric Decker seems to be on the verge of a breakout season, keep an eye on #87 tonight. Also of note: undrafted free agent running back Jeremiah Johnson, offensive tackle Orlando Franklin and Kyle McCarthy.
  • The team captains. The Broncos have not yet decided on their team captains for the 2011 season, as Coach Fox will name the captains on a week-by-week basis during the preseason. Tonight's captains are wide receiver Brandon Lloyd and left tackle Ryan Clady (offense), cornerback Champ Bailey and linebacker D.J. Williams (defense) and receiver Eddie Royal (special teams)
  • Bills/Broncos connections. Running back Willis McGahee played the first few years of his career under Denver's current running back coach Eric Studesville, who at the time was in Buffalo with McGahee.
The Broncos are back, stay tuned to our facebook page for updates during the game!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Notes from Dove Valley: Monday & Tuesday

For the past two weeks, every time I opened my Twitter timeline, there were two words continually showing up: Jeremiah Johnson. While I have been in Colorado for the past five weeks, Monday and Tuesday's practices offered me the first chance to see him and the other Broncos with my own eyes.


While practice was not scheduled to start until 2.20 P.M., the first Bronco out of the building was, surprise surprise, Tim Tebow, who started throwing passes to a ballboy before the clock had struck 2 P.M. The second Bronco out was rookie undrafted free agent quarterback Adam Weber, who soon found a 'warm up buddy' in Eric Decker, his teammate at Minnesota. Meanwhile, Tebow expanded his drill by taking snaps from Manny Ramirez.

The early special teams drill included a JUGS machine angled straight forward instead of up to simulate squib kicks. This drill was followed by an ' installation/tune-up' session during which the first team offense and first team defense walked through plays in slow motion. Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn lead the first team offense, while Wesley Woodyard and Cassius Vaughn rotated in with the first team defense. On the other field, Tim Tebow went through a similar session with the second team offense and defense.

During warm ups, I sat close to the offense linemen, and while everyone knows how big these guys are from the stat sheet, seeing them from up close makes you realize this even better. Especially the big guys on the outside, Ryan Clady and Orlando Franklin can only be described as BIG.

One of the players that impressed me during pass blocking drills was Knowshon Moreno. Early on, Julius Thomas struggled as he got beaten easily by Von Miller, but later during the same drill he recovered nicely with a good block on linebacker Mario Haggan.

During 7-on-7, Brandon Lloyd was Kyle Orton's favorite target, while Eric Decker also hauled in a long pass. Tim Tebow completed his first two passes, but saw his third pass dropped by Knowshon Moreno, who was not pleased with himself. Adam Weber completed his two passes to Dan Gronkowski and Eron Riley.

Orton was sacked twice in 11-on-11 drills as Von Miller brought the pressure on both plays. Tebow's first pass resulted in an impressive interception by linebacker Nate Irving. Later on, Darcel McBath missed an easy interception. With Denver drafting two safeties and Kyle McCarthy's impressive play this season, McBath could have a hard time making the opening day roster.

Also noteworthy was that Matt Prater seemed to be running with the second team special teams, presumably as a result of his arrest a few days earlier.


While Monday's afternoon practice allowed the crowd to sit in a comfortable shade from the trees surrounding the field, Tuesday's morning practice left us out in the warm Colorado sun for the entire session, while the players were on the field in full pads.

Special teams drills focused on punt returns, with Eric Decker, Eddie Royal, David Anderson and Perrish Cox catching balls from the JUGS machine.

During another 20 minute ' installation/tune-up' session, Denver ran several trick plays. What I liked most was seeing Dennis Allen teach. He was very vocal, and I am excited to see more of the attacking style of defense that he will bring this season.

Passing drills were mostly focused on the play action pass, with all quarterback throwing medium and long passes followed by quick slants.

During 11-on-11, the crowd was noticeably louder as Knowshon had a nice run in which he patiently waited for a hole to open up, and he gained some extra yards after a nice cut move. On the next play, Andre Goodman was close to an interception. A toss play ended up in the backfield as Tebow took over from Orton, and on the next play the offense ran the flea-flicker that we had seen earlier that morning, with Tebow completing the pass to a receiver in the flat. Two plays later, Eron Riley had an impressive catch after creating separation from the defender with a nice move.

As Brady Quinn took over from Tebow, Jeremiah Johnson joined him in the backfield, and while he looked good on Monday, he really impressed me on Tuesday. With the release of LenDale White, it looks like a safe bet that Johnson has secured his spot on the opening day roster.

During the second part of practice, most attention was paid to the run game. Julius Thomas ran with the first team, while Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee shared the caries. Later on, Brady Quinn ran the ball for a first down.

In 7-on-7 drills, Kyle McCarthy, another camp standout who seems poised to lock up a roster spot, ran with the first team defense in place of Rahim Moore. Kyle Orton threw two deep passes two Eddie Royal, both ending up as touchdowns.

The final drills during Tuesday's morning session focused on goal line runs, an area in which the team struggled against the Cowboys last Thursday.

On Saturday, the team will play its first game of the season at newly renamed Sports Authority Field at Mile High. I'll be in attendance for the game before heading back to Europe next week.

While it is still very early to draw conclusions about the chances of success for this team going into the season, especially with the injuries on the defensive line, I am excited after what I saw during Monday and Tuesday's practice. Depth is still an issue at some positions, but this team has a core of young and talented players combined with experienced veterans, and under the guidance of John Fox and Dennis Allen, there is reason for hope in the Mile High City.

Images in this post were capture by Bert Jan Brands (@bertjanb).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Broncos' Warren, Thomas Injured; White Released

The Broncos parted ways with two players on Tuesday and may have lost two others due to injuries. The team released running back LenDale White and linebacker A.J. Green following a practice in which defensive tackles Ty Warren and Marcus Thomas were injured.

Denver's running back coach Eric Studesville has been grooming running back Lance Ball -- who is currently the third string running back and a special team's contributor -- and Denver wants to get a closer look at some of the younger backs on their roster, so the releasing of White was not a surprising transaction. Considering that Ball will probably make the 53-man roster, undrafted free agent running back Jeremiah Johnson has been turning heads in training camp and White is coming off a torn Achilles injury, it was just a matter of time before White was asked to turn in his equipment.

Jones was a rookie undrafted free agent out of Florida. Third year linebacker Alvin Bowen, whom the team signed Monday evening, will take Jones' spot on the roster.

On the defensive side of the ball, things are again looking bleak at defensive tackle. Veteran nose tackle Ty Warren suffered a partial triceps tear, which could cause him to miss the entire season, according to the Denver Post. Thomas' injury was not as severe but certainly still unwelcome. After suffering a slight tear in his right pectoral muscle, Thomas will be held out for the remainder of the preseason.

The Broncos are hopeful that Thomas will be ready for the team's season opener on September 12th on Monday Night Football against the Oakland Raiders. The Broncos will continue to evaluate Warren. As of now, reports on Warren's status are not positive.

Invesco Field @ Mile High renamed Sports Authority Field @ Mile High

On Tuesday, the stadium district unanimously approved the assignment of stadium naming rights from INVESCO to Sports Authority, which is headquartered in Englewood, Colorado -- per the team's official website. The Broncos are planning on everything being finalized and Sports Authority Field @ Mile High being ready to go by the team's season opener.

The Broncos next game, a Week Two home preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, will be played this Saturday. The average price of tickets to the game on our TiqIQ widget is $73, with many tickets selling for under $12. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. (MT), to see more tickets and prices, see our widget on the right sidebar or alternatively click here.

Watch Every Broncos Game This Season, On Your Own TV!

In many sports, having a terrible season usually means that there will be more terrible seasons to follow. For example, in baseball or basketball it can take quite a while to build a winning team out of a struggling team. However, in football, turnaround can be a quicker process… sometimes something as simple as bringing in a new coach or coordinator, or promoting a new starting quarterback, can make a drastic improvement.

With this in mind, Broncos fans, who have just witnessed a disappointing 2010 season, actually have a lot to be excited about. With a new coach and some interesting options at quarterback, the Broncos may be poised for a great deal more success this season; so, if you are in the Denver area or consider yourself a Broncos fan, it may be time to look into Directv deals and make sure you don’t miss a single Broncos game this season!

Along these lines, you may be tired of occasionally missing games on your basic cable package. This is why Direct TV now brings you the Sunday NFL Ticket package, which literally brings you as much football as possible. With a package like this one, you will be treated to as many as fourteen games each and every Sunday during the season, meaning that not only will you catch absolutely all of the action, but you will never miss your favorite team’s games. In fact, you can even hook up your Direct TV package to wireless devices, making it even more likely that you never miss a minute of action… this means that you do not even need to be at home on your couch to enjoy exciting NFL games.

Within this sort of television package, you can also invest in something known as “Redzone,” which is the best way of ensuring that you keep yourself up to date on the most exciting plays throughout NFL Sunday. The Redzone feature automatically offers you the option of switching games when any team is in position to score, meaning that you will be as on top of scoring plays as possible.

This is a great system, particularly for real fans that want to watch their team, but keep an eye on the rest of the league. Whatever package and features you decide on, hooking yourself up with some kind of advanced television package is the best possible way to enjoy the coming NFL season and to make sure that you can always keep track of your favorite team.

This article was brought to you by, Broncos Zone has no affiliation to

Monday, August 15, 2011

Broncos Release Leonard; Waive Domino; Royal Returns to Practice

The Denver Broncos announced two roster transactions on Monday; the release of defensive tackle Louis Leonard and linebacker Derek Domino being placed on the waived/injured list. Both players had missed time due to respective injuries.

Offseason acquisition Ty Warren -- a defensive tackle who played for the Patriots last season -- promptly switched to jersey No. 94, the number he wore in New England that was previously worn by Leonard in Denver.

Meanwhile, wide receiver Eddie Royal (hip) and rookie linebacker Nate Irving both returned to practice on Monday after missing time with injuries.

Images used in this article were courtesy of The Associated Press.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Broncos Sign WR Greg Orton; Waive Mark Dell

The Denver Broncos on Saturday evening announced that the team had signed wide receiver Greg Orton, designating wide receiver Mark Dell as waived/injured, making room on the roster.

A former undrafted free agent who signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009, Orton went on to play two seasons in the Arena Football League. Last season, Orton was a member of the Omaha Nighthawks -- an upstart United Football League team.

Although he shares his last name and college alum (Purdue University), Greg Orton is not related to Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton.

It's sad to see Dell go, he looked like he had a lot of potential. If he clears waivers, the team can place him on the injured reserve list. Orton was an incredible arena receiver, it will be interesting to see how he does back in the pros.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Preseason Week One: Quick Notes and Stats

The Denver Broncos (0-1) fell to the Dallas Cowboys (1-0) by a final score of 23-24 on Thursday evening, kicking off the 2011 NFL preseason. Below is a quick run-down of the game:

The Broncos started the game with a 9-3 lead after three Matt Prater field goals in the first quarter. Prater finished the night 3-of-3 with a long of 42 yards.

All three quarterbacks had their high moments as well as low lights. Incumbent starter Kyle Orton led the offense right down the field on the first drive before stalling at the one-yard line and settling for a field goal. Second year quarterback Tim Tebow had several exciting moments as well as some forgettable ones. His 43-yard strike to receiver Matthew Willis was on target. Playing behind a second team offensive line however, Tebow was heavily pressured, sacked and hurried.

Quarterback stats: Brady Quinn: 8/14 for 120 yards, 1 TD. Kyle Orton: 2/6 for 37 yards, Tim Tebow: 6/7 for 91 yards.

The running game looked vastly improved from last season, most noticeably on the team's first drive. The offensive line paved running lanes for backs Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee who combined for 6 carries that went for 40 yards. Moreno showed some fancy running while McGahee displayed a physical punch Denver's backfield had been lacking.

The reserve running backs were less impressive, all but Jeremiah Johnson. A former Oregon Duck, Johnson rushed 4 times for 28 yards and a 13-yard score in the fourth quarter. Equally exciting were Denver's young receivers.

First year wide receiver Eron Riley caught 3 passes for 50 yards and 1 touchdown delivered via the arm of Brady Quinn. Similar to last preseason, Matt Willis was once again productive, catching 2 passes for 50 yards while free agent acquisition David Anderson totaled 3 catches for 38 yards and second year receiver Eric Decker hauled in one pass that went for 29 yards.

The defense certainly looked improved, with run stuffing still being the biggest issue. The boys in the trenches, Marcus Thomas, Kevin Vickerson and Brodrick Bunkley were able to get some penetration and showed much potential. The defensive ends were more impressive.

Returning defensive end Elvis Dumervil moved around a lot while fellow end Jason Hunter seemingly had an easy time against the Cowboy's reserve offensive line on his way to recording 2.0 sacks. Across from Dumervil was Robert Ayers, who excelled against the run. The secondary could have played better, allowing several big plays.

Second year safety Kyle McCarthy was the most impressive defensive back of the night, recording 3 tackles, a sack and another quarterback hurry. McCarthy is currently ahead of rookie safety Quinton Carter on the team's depth chart. If McCarthy keeps playing this way, he won't have to worry about losing his job to the rookie.

Speaking of rookies, outside linebacker Von Miller only played one series, playing well in pass coverage and forcing some pressure. Right tackle Orlando Franklin looked good overall, but whiffed several blocks, which is a common rookie mistake.

The Broncos will now return home to face the Buffalo Bills in Week Two of the preseason on Saturday, August 20th. There are 1400 game tickets available on our TiqIQ widget, with many going for under $10. To see more tickets and prices, click here.

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

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kirscht: Broncos Have Potential for Winning Season

It’s official. Football is here again. The lockout (a.k.a.- off-season) has ended and the owners, coaches and players have returned to their respective jobs. Should be an interesting season at the very least with all the musical chairs that have taken place in the last month or so in the NFL. Just like they do in TV shows on what happened in the “last episode”, lets recap what happened last season-

Last Season in the NFL-

Green Bay won the Super Bowl beating the “Black & Yellow, Black & Yellow”-- (some people are saying, oh yeah, that’s right... thought it was the Saints & Colts...)

The Broncos; how could we forget? They sure had a “regretfully unforgettable” season at 4-12; an absolute Mc-Disaster of a project with the season they had. The guy with the keys traded an M-1 tank for a Motorcycle, than drafted a Harley... meaning we gave away a Hillis for Quinn-who isn’t even in the conversation for our own Mile-High version of a QB Controversy. More on that in a sec. I could go on and on, but I won’t. Sure, Orton posted impressive numbers in-between the 20’s, but that’s just like a store letting customers walk in, clear the shelves, and simply walk out without paying. Winning at anything is about cashing in at the right moment. When you’re constantly down by 2 TD’s & more, what else can you do? I’ll admit, Last season Orton was a Great “Garbage Time” QB. It’s like watering your lawn when it’s raining, Does it really matter?

Now that “THAT” is out of the way, lets look forward to this season's 2011 Broncos schedule.

Here are my Top 5 Reasons the Broncos will finish over .500.

1. Post-Project McDaniels officially began last year. Was it just me, or did it seem like an entirely different Denver Broncos team took the field those last several weeks. Shoot, I remember hoping we knocked the “winning hail-marry attempt” DOWN in that last game against San Diego, just so we didn’t slide from #2 to #10 in the Draft.

We came close... but it was one of those situations where: Sometimes.. When you Win, You really Lose... And sometimes when you lose... you really win. –Bonus points for correct guesses on where I stole that line from--

2. DEFENSE. The biggest improvement I believe is in the “D”. There seems to be ONLY room for improvement from last season right? Now I know that we didn’t land a highly coveted interior defensive lineman, but with the return of a healthy Dumerville and our #1 pick Von Miller on the other side wreaking havoc; the return of the “Champ”, Dawkins, new addition Rahim Moore, and either Goodman, Cassius Vaughn or Cox; I think our secondary should be pretty solid. Let just hope Fox has re-visited some fundamental tackling skills lacking last season. I did notice much of the non-tackling “issues” disappeared around the same time McD---- did. Wonder Why? Read first and second sentences in #1 again for clarification. We’re going to be coming in the season highly under-rated on D. Good for us. The D really didn’t play that bad those last three games last year. Orange Crush maybe? We will have to wait and see.

3. The Running Game: That can only IMPROVE as well too right? Dead last? Broncos Football= No Running game? Yep that was the year of the lock-out. In Fact, the lock-out happened because Denver had no running game. Something WAS wrong in the NFL and the Denver Broncos ranking last in rushing is what caused the owners, players and coaches to say something’s not right. That’s it, Lock the doors, lets have a bunch of meetings with fancy lawyers to try to figure out what’s really going on here. Someone look that up for me, I’m pretty sure that’s what caused the lock-out. Elway knows how vital a rushing attack is in this league and so does Fox. Blocking should improve and we got a “Beast-of-a-Back” in McGahee. I think Willis is going to like playing in Denver. Keep your eyes peeled for the Mile-High version of Thunder & Lightning. Fox knows a thing or two about that tandem.

4. Impressive Group of Young Receivers:
Brandon Lloyd had a great season last year, look for more of the same from him. Also, look at Eddie Royal returning to the spotlight now that Gaffney is gone. I’m liking what I see from Eric Decker as well. We’ll have to see how the rest of pre-season shakes out, but we will have some battles for roster spots & slots going on here. Demaryius Thomas should also be ready to play in around 6 to 8 weeks. He’s currently on the PUP list.

5. The Quarterback Situation...
It seems the Denver Fan Base is split on who should be our guy. Tebow fanatics want to justify why Tebow should be “given” the chance. Tebow haters have all the reasons in the world why Tebow will never be a quality NFL QB. It really has nothing to do with Orton. In our little “cow-town” of over a million, you either LOVE Tebow (even if you have never watched football... ladies), or you’re drinking the same kool-aid Merril Hoge is drinking. Truth is, only time will tell. We’re all going have to wait and see. For me, Tebow has that intangible “IT” factor going for him. He’s had plenty of doubters and all he has done so far is Win. Those games he started last year were exciting. Last year, he provided a spark to the rest of the team that was indisputable. What I do think is that the lock-out affected Tim Tebow more than anyone else in the league. He lost precious time to digest the complex playbook, lost time on letting the NFL game “slow down”, allowing him to read defenses quickly and efficiently. I’m not talking about physically having the playbook in his hands, he probably had that, what I’m talking about is having the repetitions on the field against complex NFL defenses. I saw a few grounders at practice the other day to open receivers in the flat, but than again, we all know Orton is better at “touch” football. Something different happens in the mind of Tebow when the Game Lights come on.

These few preseason games for Denver are going to mean more this season than in other seasons past.

As for Orton, I think he has a chance to have a breakout year. He knows he’s not the “Golden Child of the 303”, he acknowledges it, and even has a chip on his shoulder about it. It may be just the “spark” he needs to make some things happen. With an improved running game, sure-handed tightends, great receivers and a much improved defense; maybe this is the year he takes advantage of it. Orton wants to prove the Denver fans wrong. Two things need to happen: 1- Win over his own team-mates and 2. Win Games on the field. If Orton isn't getting the job done, than expect to see Tebow, but if he is able to win games, than it might benefit everyone- Broncos, Tebow and us Fans for Tebow to play apprentice for just a bit longer.

Either way, I think the right thing to do is to let the QBs battle it out during pre-season. May the Best man win, as it should be... and if it's going to be Tebow, it's going to take a near miracle. Optimistic view for this season and I think Denver is going to do better than people expect.

Justin Kirscht is a contributor and graphic designer for Broncos Zone, you can find more of his work at

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Preseason Week 1: Broncos @ Cowboys Preview

The Denver Broncos will travel to Dallas this evening and take on the Cowboys on Thursday, August 11th in Arlington, Texas. The game will kickoff the 2011 preseason for both teams and will be broadcast locally on KUSA-TV (NBC 9) and KOA Radio (850 AM). Kickoff will take place at 6:35 (MT).
Quick game notes:
  • Thursday's match will mark the third time in the past four seasons that Denver and Dallas have faced off (including the preseason). Denver has won the past two matches and owns a 7-6 record against the Cowboys in the preseason.
  • Preseason games give younger players a chance to prove they're worthy of a spot on the roster, as well as fine tune the starters who are preparing for the regular season. In all, thirteen rookie college free agents (UDFA's) are vying for a spot on Denver’s active roster, at least one UDFA has made Denver’s opening day 53-man roster in each of the last seven seasons.
  • Expect the first-team players to play for the first series or two before the reserves (2nd and 3rd string players) come in and finish out the game.
New Faces, Returning Faces:
  • The game will mark the first time Denver's coaching staff will get to see rookie linebacker Von Miller play at the professional level, live. Miller was drafted second overall by the Broncos out of Texas A&M last April in the draft. Denver is excited to see what kind of production Miller will be able to produce playing across from returning defensive end Elvis Dumervil, who led the NFL in sacks (with 17) in 2009 before missing the entire 2010 season due to injury.
  • Denver will also get a look at several other first-year Broncos, including wide receiver David Anderson, tight end Daniel Fells, running back Willis McGahee and defensive tackles Brodrick Bunkley, Jeremy Jarmon and Ty Warren. All of the previously mentioned players hope to take on a large role in Denver this season.
  • The game will also feature Denver's offensive line which will have four returning starters joined by rookie right tackle Orlando Franklin of Miami. The men in the trenches struggled at the beginning of last season but showed improvement towards the end of the year. Recharged, Clady, Beadles, Walton, Kuper and Franklin will get their first chance to pave the way for running lanes on Thursday.
Fox Talk:
“In camp you’re competing against each other. I think they’re all going to be excited to play against somebody else and see how they measure up. I know this is a preseason game, but all these guys are competitors — including myself — and we’re there to win. It’s a lot more fun winning than losing.” — Head Coach John Fox on playing for the first time this season.
Film Review:

Bronco fans will get their first look at Denver's rejuvenated defense playing under Fox tomorrow. Preseason or not, it will be exciting to see how the defense looks after the ramifications it went through during the offseason.

Is it Thursday yet? It's time to get back to football!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It May Not be Tebow Time Yet, But Don't Write Off the Young QB too Soon

Before training camp had started for the Broncos in Dove Valley, it was expected that quarterback Kyle Orton would be traded and second year quarterback Tim Tebow would be left to lead the team. Nearly two weeks into camp, it looks like Orton is here to stay.

Denver Head Coach John Fox is letting all three quarterbacks (Orton, Tebow and Quinn) compete in camp before officially naming a starter. Orton however is far ahead of his competition. That shouldn't be surprising however, because Orton is entering his third year in Denver's offense and has far more experience overall.

Many analysts have taken this opportunity to throw Tebow under the bus, with some going as far as saying he'll never make it in the NFL. That's a bit irrational, so let's look at the facts.
  • Kyle Orton is more experienced and knows the offense.
If Tebow is not ready, why not play Orton? Last season fans were disappointed with Orton's performance, despite the fact that he was getting little help from the defense and no help from the running game. Orton actually didn't have a bad year statistically, and though he did struggle under pressure, Tebow does as well. Over the past few practices, Tebow has thrown several passes into the dirt when pressured to throw early.
  • Starting Orton does not mean the team has given up on Tebow.
There is a long list of successful quarterbacks (San Diego's Phillip Rivers and Green Bay's Aaron Rogers among them) that were not named the starter until a few years into their respective careers. Needless to say, those quarterbacks turned out just fine. Orton may be on the verge of a career year, with an improved defense and rushing attack; it will be interesting to see how Orton fares. If Orton does struggle, the team will have Tebow ready to go.
  • Analyzing a quarterback based off his first three starts is not logical.
It's way too soon to give up on Tebow; he's got a lot to learn and has had little playing time. In fact, if you look at the stats of quarterbacks Phillip Rivers (who also has a non-traditional throwing motion), Brett Favre and Peyton Manning from their first three starts, Tebow ranks right up there with them.

(Click image to enlarge.)
None of the above mentioned quarterbacks were overly impressive through their first three games, and certainly not far ahead of Tebow. It should also be noted that Rivers was entering his third year in the league and all of the QB's took over before week five -- early in the season as opposed to Tebow getting three garbage time games that counted for nothing.

Also of note is the fact that Favre was known for making poor decisions and multitudes of interceptions. Yet, Favre will be remembered as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game and walk into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The reason being: he won games and was exciting to watch.

Early on, Favre was making mistakes and throwing interceptions. At the end of his career, Favre was still making mistakes and throwing interceptions, but he won games and he was a winner. The Broncos are hopeful Tebow is a 'winner' for them, with not quite so many interceptions.

That's why they aren't rushing him into the starting role before he is ready -- the team wants to win. Denver's brass thinks Kyle Orton gives the team the best chance to win, at the moment. If they're wrong, there's always Tebow.
  • Even if Orton is named the starter going into the season, Tebow will get his chance.
There is still a possibility that the Broncos will trade Orton, which would mean Tebow Time in Denver. Even if the team does not trade Orton, there is always the possibility that he could get hurt or have a dismal season, which would also give Tebow his opportunity.

And if Orton finishes out the year as the team's starter, Tebow's time will still come. The Chargers sat Rivers until his third season before starting him. That sure didn't slow down his development.

Tebow's time is coming. When EFX think he's ready, he'll play. In the meantime, let's see what Orton can do while not writing off Tebow just yet.

Images used in this post were courtesy of Getty Images.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ty Warren Signs w/ Broncos

Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that the Broncos have agreed to terms to sign former Patriots Defensive Tackle Ty Warren.

Per Schefter the terms of the deal are over two years for $10 million, $2.5 mil of it being guaranteed. This is a low-risk move after being released by the Patriots after the acquisition of the expensive Albert Haynesworth a week ago.

Warren is now the third new Defensive Tackle to be added to the Broncos rotation, including Brodrick Bunkley and Jeremy Jarmon who were both acquired via trade from the Eagles and Redskins respectively.

Legion Of Doom: Denver Sackmasters Set To Wreak Havoc

Denver's defense is preparing for a new era in the NFL -- the passing era.

Perhaps learning from the success of the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburg Steelers -- the two teams that faced off last February in the big game -- the Broncos know that there are two things every team covets in today's NFL. Both the Packers and Steelers possess these two heavily desired assets: A franchise quarterback and players on defense that get quarterbacks on the ground.

The Broncos' ability to generate a pass rush will be essential this season when the team faces quarterbacks such as Aaron Rogers, Jay Cutler, Tom Brady and Phillip Rivers (twice). When the Packers consistently pressured Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlsiberger in Super Bowl XLV, Green Bay's defense recorded two interceptions and a sack on the way to a 31-25 victory.

Whether or not Denver has a franchise quarterback on their roster is a topic for another time. We are going to look at the players programmed to get after the quarterback. Outside linebackers Clay Matthews and James Harrison are both sack specialists and key components of their respective defenses, the Packers and Steelers. The Broncos have several players with similar pass rushing abilities that the team is hopeful can lead them to big games.

Last season, Denver's defense lacked an aggressive pass rush during the absence of outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil, who missed the entire season due to injury. The Broncos recorded 23 sacks (compared to their opponents 40) in 2010, just six more than Dumervil totaled a year prior (in 2009).

This fall, Dumervil should be back and hungry to pick up where he left off. The former Louisville Cardinal has gained sixteen pounds of beef and will be moving back to defensive end, the position he played throughout his college career and first three years in Denver. During his second season in the league, 2007, Dumervil compiled 12.5 sacks rushing off the edge of Denver's line.

Across from Dumervil will be third year player Robert Ayers, who struggled as an outside linebacker in Denver's 3-4 defense the past two seasons. Moving back to his natural defensive end position, Ayers is poised to benefit from the attention teams will be forced to give Dumervil on nearly every down. During his senior year at Tennessee, Ayers notched up 15.5 tackles for loss and entered the draft considered as one of the top defensive ends available. The Broncos are hopeful that Ayers, who showed vast improvements in year two, can return to his college glory days and fiercely apply pressure to quarterbacks again this season.

Joining Dumervil and Ayers as rotational ends will be returning pass rusher Jason Hunter, free agent acquisition Derrick Harvey and rookie Jeremy Beal, a 7th round pick out of Oklahoma. Moving from outside linebacker to end, Hunter recorded 3.0 sacks in 2010. A former first round draft pick, Harvey joins the Broncos after recording 8.0 sacks during a three year span in Jacksonville. Beal is a "sleeper" to watch. After breaking sack records at Oklahoma, he comes to Denver to compete for a roster spot.

The final piece of Denver's pass rushing puzzle is a player that many Bronco fans are a little excited about. Former Texas A&M star outside linebacker Von Miller was drafted by the Broncos second over in the draft last April and is eager to join Dumervil on Denver's defense.

Shortly after the draft, Miller told media members that he's ready to be "Robin," the sidekick of Dumervil's "Batman," coming to save the day. The résumé of Batman's wing man just got a whole lot more impressive.

Miller comes to Denver after recording 27.5 sacks and 39.5 tackles for loss during his final two seasons in college as an outside linebacker. For the Broncos, Miller will play the "Sam" outside linebacker position. On passing downs however, it is expected Miller may move to defensive end or even creep up to the line from his linebacker position, giving Denver's defense a 5-2 look.

The Broncos have been lining Miller up on the opposite side of Dumervil in most situations during practice, which will force teams to pick their poison on game days. If teams choose to double team Miller, Dumervil will be left with a man-to-man match up. Matching Dumervil up with a single offensive tackle hasn't proven to be too successful for teams in seasons' past.

On the other hand, if teams decide to double team Dumervil, it will leave both Miller and Ayers with one-on-one match-ups. Denver has plans to institute blitz packages and stunts for Miller, creating mismatches and giving him power to wreak havoc on offenses. As if one was not enough, facing both Dumervil and Miller will give offensive coordinators nightmares.

An attacking defense that pressures offenses will not only pile up the sacks, but turnovers as well. The secondary will benefit from hurried throws and poor decisions by quarterbacks in the face of chaos. Two seasons ago, Denver's defense recorded 39 sacks. With all the pressure, it's not surprising that the team notched up 17 interceptions as well. As was mentioned earlier, the Broncos only recorded 23 sacks in 2010. With the little help from the Broncos pass rushers, Denver's secondary only recorded 10 interceptions last season.

Looking for a defense that creates big plays, Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has said he won't be afraid to dial up the pressure.

"We want to be a violent, aggressive defense that plays within the rules, but we're going to try to hit you as hard as we can," said Allen following Monday's practice session. "Obviously, schematically we're going to try to bring pressure in different areas when we get you in those types of downs and distances."

With the talented players such as Miller, Dumervil and others with first-round potential, Denver's defense is unquestionably ready to get after quarterbacks. The only question is, will they be able to stop the run?

Broncos Acquire Five Players, Release Three

The Denver Broncos released the following via email on Monday evening:


On Monday, the club announced several transactions, including four free agent signings and one trade. The Broncos inked tight end Daniel Fells, defensive end Derrick Harvey, tight end Dante Rosario and re-signed defensive tackle Marcus Thomas. Additionally, the team traded a 2013 draft choice to Philadelphia in exchange for defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley. To make space on the roster, the team waived safety Nick Polk, cornerback James Rogers and wide receiver Marshall Williams. Below are brief biographies of the newly acquired Broncos:

DT Brodrick Bunkley

Bunkley played 14 games (5 starts) in 2010 for the Eagles, finishing the season with 20 tackles (17 solo) and one pass break up. He has played in 76 games (52 starts) and has accumulated 144 tackles, six sacks and seven passes defensed in his five-year career. Bunkley entered the league as the 14th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft by Philadelphia.

TE Daniel Fells

Fells played all 16 games (6 starts) in 2010 with the Rams. He set career highs with 41 receptions for 391 yards, while adding two touchdowns. Fells has tallied 69 catches for 745 yards and five touchdowns in 42 games (11 starts) during his three-year career - all of was spent in St. Louis. He entered the NFL as a college free agent with the Raiders.

DE Derrick Harvey

Harvey played 15 games last season (7 starts). He made 12 tackles and recorded 2.5 sacks with one pass breakup last season with the Jaguars. He has played 47 games (32 starts) during his three-year NFL career and has totaled 88 tackles (70 solo), eight sacks, one interception, five pass breakups and one fumble recovery. Harvey was originally drafted with the eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft by Jacksonville.

TE Dante Rosario

Rosario played all 16 games (6 starts) last season with Panthers under Head Coach John Fox. He caught a career-best 32 passes for 264 yards. During his four-year career, Rosario has registered 82 receptions for 894 yards and five touchdowns in 62 games (21 starts). He originally entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft choice (155th overall) by Carolina.

DT Marcus Thomas

Thomas registered 36 tackles (30 solo), one sack, three tackles for a loss, four quarterback hits and one pass defensed in 16 games (2 starts) for the Broncos in 2010. He has amassed 104 tackles (75 solo), one sack, two interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 64 games (23 starts) during his four-year career. Thomas entered the NFL as a fourth-round selection (121st overall) by the Broncos in the 2007 NFL Draft.

For all the latest transactions, be sure to check and follow the team on Twitter.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Brodrick Bunkley Traded to Broncos

Eagles Defensive Tackle Brodrick Bunkley has reportedly been traded to the Denver Broncos in exchange for an undisclosed 2013 pick. (It is assumed it will be a late rounder).

He was traded earlier to this week to the Cleveland Browns, but he was unhappy with Cleveland as a destination and so the Eagles reworked the trade to send him to Denver.

I am extremely happy with this move, after missing out on Brandon Mebane. Like Mebane, he is young (only 27 years old) and a good run stopper. Finally, it seems that the Broncos are making an effort to improve the D-Line as Ty Warren and Jamaal Anderson are being brought in for visits also. Way to get it done EFX!