The Denver Broncos
are ushering in a new era by winning the Manning Sweepstakes but how poised are
they to go from pretender to contender? Lets take a look at the new Denver Broncos and decide how they stack up.
These Broncos Need Breaking
By: Craig Tattan
is still out on Peyton Manning and won't be answered until we are well into the
opening portion of the season, but recent developments with other members of the
Broncos may be cause for concern.
legal counsel must have had their ears perked up because linebacker D.J.
Williams is not only appealing his six-game suspension for violating the
league's performance enhancing drug policy but is scheduled to go on trial in
mid-August on a DUI charge. If that's
not enough to make the team grit their teeth, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is
in the thick of a civil trial that accuses him of dispensing a date-rape drug
in the cocktail of his accuser. Not
exactly the family friendly kind of guy the team is marketing to its fan base
in Denver and around the league.
with about a week left until training camp opens, Elvis Dumervil was recently
arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in a road rage incident
that happened over the weekend. This
recent charge will be scrutinized even more carefully by Roger Goodell and his
minions due to an assault charge in 2010 that went away quietly.
The lingering effects will not be known until
the cases are resolved but chaos in the locker room does not bode well for
production on the field.
Pittsburgh To Draw Steel Curtain Around Mile High
By: Craig Tattan
begin the Manning era at home against a team known for a bone jarring
defense. The Pittsburgh Steelers come to
town, and it will be a stern, early test to see if the rust has truly worn off
of Manning’s Hall of Fame arm.
The knock on
the Broncos - yes, people knock everything even if a team hasn’t played a regular
season game - is that Denver may indeed have the most prolific passer since John
Elway, but who is going to catch the ball?
early moment, Denver is a -1 point favorite, but it appears that NFL odds may flip
flop once we get down to crunch time. It
seems to me that asking Denver to defeat a team that can create havoc in the
backfield is a bit much, particularly when you consider Manning has been out of
the game for over a year and may not have those quick twitch muscles properly
early stage, I see the potential for Denver to have a playoff contending season, but some of the kinks will need to be worked out in the early going. Look for Pittsburgh to exploit Manning’s
dearth of receivers and put enough points on the board to win the game and
cover the point spread.
pick is Pittsburgh +1.
Warren Shores Up D-Line
By: Craig Tattan
Defensive lineman Ty Warren is back in the fold after agreeing to a pay cut, one, incidentally, that was not quite
as severe as the Broncos had in mind. In order to get the injury plagued veteran lineman into a Broncos uniform,
the team met Warren halfway and have now added depth to their defensive front,
hoping Warren can remain injury free this season.
has always had star power, but some wondered whether or not that star had dimmed
just a bit after his absence from the game. According to the Denver Broncos marketing people, Manning shines as
brightly as ever. The Broncos have never
had a problem selling out general admission tickets to Sports Authority Field
since it opened in 2001, but luring the high end customers to their luxury
suites has been another issue.
Last year the Broncos had 5 of their
130 suites go vacant. Doesn't sound
like much, but it certainly would not prompt any wise businessman to build more
when he can't even sell what he has. Not
unless you sign Peyton Manning and draw on his star appeal. The Broncos will be converting 64 lower
priced seats into eight additional suites.
Looks like even the suits will
be going to Broncos games this season.
Putting the "D" Back in Denver
By: Craig Tattan
Jack Del Rio brings not only a new
defensive philosophy to the Broncos but an entirely new strength and
conditioning aspect to the team as well. Del Rio, the recently deposed head
coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars and now defensive coordinator for the
Broncos, decided he would summon strength and conditioning coach Luke Richesson to
Denver and overhaul a conditioning system that had been intact for seventeen
years. Richesson brought his indispensible assistants Jason George, Anthony Lomando and Mike Eubanks in
to craft a program that is unique to the Broncos organization and the league.
Del Rio had this to say
about Richesson's impact on the organization,
"Luke, in the time that he had under his belt there at API, was very
productive in getting guys ready for the (NFL Scouting) Combine, getting them
ready to have special years, and I found that a lot of my squad wanted to go out
there to Arizona and train. So I met with him and brought him in...I think he's
a really good coach. He’s all about helping the team win. He’s a tireless
worker, and I think he’ll be an asset to the organization.”
By: Craig Tattan>
quarterback position in Denver was cemented the moment Peyton Manning inked his
record pact, but ever since Tim Tebow was ticketed out of town, there has been
little mention of Manning's backup until recently.
drafted Brock Osweiler in the second round and acquired Caleb Hanie as a free
agent. But, somebody in the organization
must have realized that Osweiler might be better served as an observer, in the
event of a Manning injury, rather than getting a baptism by fire if he is to
have the best chance of succeeding as the heir apparent once Peyton hangs up
the cleats. Hanie looked so good for
Chicago in relief of an injured Jay Cutler last season that the Bears decided
to gift him to the rest of the league and allow him to throw interceptions for
someone else. The Broncos eventually
signed him and became that someone else.
So Denver did what any club would do when having
a dearth of experience at the backup QB position....they decided to make the
frontrunner an undrafted kid from the University of Minnesota who toiled on the
practice squad last season and has thrown only one ball as a professional. Yes, that kid would be Adam Weber and, as of
this moment, he looks to be the odds on favorite as Manning's number two. But stay tuned, the Broncos could get crazy
and, dare I say it, sign a veteran with experience.
Stokley Back On The Field
By: Craig Tattan
Broncos landed Peyton Manning they had no idea he would be the conduit to
landing a veteran wide receiver. Brandon Stokley was resigned to hanging up the
pads and watching NFL games on Sundays instead of playing in them. But a phone
call changed all that when Manning invited his former teammate in Indianapolis
to join him at Duke University to play catch in February. Stokley joked it was
more the allure of watching a Duke-UNC game that prompted him to respond.
decided to give football one more chance after being injured for much of last
season after playing only two games for the Giants. When the Broncos won the
Manning sweepstakes it was clear where Stokley would resume his playing career.
He has been extended an invitation to tryout and it’s up to him and his 36 year
old body whether or not he will stick on the opening day 53 man roster.
appears to have overcome his injuries and if he does make the team, will serve
as a mentor to a stable of young receivers who will need to learn how a future
Hall of Fame quarterback wants things done and routes run. Stokley may just mentor
himself right out of a job but he stated,
"I'd rather take the high road and help somebody out. If it costs me a
job, it costs me a job because that would mean that I wasn't good enough."
Show Me The Money
By: Craig Tattan
end Ty Warren, formerly of the New England Patriots, is taking a hardline
stance regarding his contract with the team. The man has not taken the field in two years, and the Broncos are asking
him to take a pay cut to remain in a Broncos uniform. Warren does not feel a decrease is justified
and has been noticeably absent from the team’s OTA’s (Organized Team
Activities). Denver ranked a
disappointing 22nd against the rush last season, allowing 126.3
yards per game on the ground, therefore Warren may be staking his claim on that
glaring weakness in Denver’s defensive arsenal.
Broncos are looking at the combined $7 million plus they’ve paid Warren over
the past two seasons to recuperate from separate injuries. Warren is scheduled to make approximately $4
million this season, but the Broncos would be more comfortable spending about a
million and a half to get the 31 year old injury plagued pass rusher back on
the field. Chances are Warren will return
for less than he is scheduled to make but more than the Broncos are currently
news is that the team appears to be making progress in signing kicker Matt
Prater to a long term deal. The team
franchised Prater with a $2.6 million tender but rumors are swirling that a 5
year deal is in the offing if they can come to terms.
New Look; New Defense
By: Craig Tattan
Though the big
news in Denver has been all things Peyton, defense is not being ignored. The Broncos just brought Cory Undlin,
formerly of Jacksonville, on board as their new defensive quality control
coach. Certainly first year defensive
coordinator Jack Del Rio had a hand in that decision as Del Rio was deposed as
head coach for the Jags late last year.
will be opening their second set of organized team activities (OTA’s) on
Wednesday and hope, that though these sessions are voluntary, that defensive
tackle Ty Warren and kicker Matt Prater will be in attendance after being
no-shows for the first set last week. Derek
Wolfe, the team’s first pick of the draft (2nd round 36th
overall), cannot attend as his Cincinnati Bearcat class does not graduate until
Champ Bailey had this to say about the new look Broncos and their new defensive
coaches, "We didn't have this time
last year, because of the lockout, but it's like a lot of things where you have
a new boss. We have a new defensive
coordinator, so a big part of this is just learning what he expects from me,
where he expects me to be, how he wants me to play, just figure out what he
expects from this defense."
Elway Leaves His Imprint
By: Craig Tattan
After winning the Manning sweepstakes, general manager John Elway opted out of the first round in trades at 25 and again at 31 in order to acquire what amounted to an additional fourth round selection in exchange for moving from 25 to 36 (fourth pick of the 2nd round) overall. It doesn’t sound like much value to me, but Elway has a master plan and obviously felt his guy would be there at 36. Was defensive tackle Derek Wolfe that guy? The world will never know, but he will bolster the Broncos defensive line and hopefully be an immediate contributor.
However, when they used their own 2nd round pick (57th overall) it was more than a tad surprising they chose a project in Arizona State product Brock Osweiler. The 6’7” quarterback has a slow delivery and will be riding the pine for the foreseeable future while Peyton Manning leads the offense. Do the Broncos have that luxury? Well, they may be odds on favorites to win the AFC West but will need impact players if they are to contend for a championship.
The Broncos then traded up in the 3rd round and nabbed speedy but undersized Ronnie Hillman of San Diego State, Omar Bolden (ASU, cornerback, 4th round), Philip Blake (Baylor, 4th round, center), Malik Jackson (Tennessee, defensive end, 5th round), and Danny Trevathan (Kentucky, outside linebacker, 6th round).
Nothing short of a title
By: Craig Tattan
There is nothing,
short of a World Championship, that will make more news in the Mile High city
than the acquisition of Peyton Manning this offseason. That being said, hitting it right in this
year's draft is essential if the Broncos want to bolster their defense and
supplement their Manning led offense with another weapon or two.
defensive tackle with the 25th overall pick seems to be the general
consensus for all the pundits and talking heads as Dontari Poe of Memphis, Jerel
Worthy of Michigan State and Michael Brockers of LSU are being discussed as
future Broncos with that first round pick. Others have conjectured that running back Doug Martin of Boise State may
be the heir apparent to Knowshon Moreno who could very well be out of the
Denver picture after this season once his contract is up.
The way I look at running backs in the 1st
round in today's NFL is simply a luxury few teams can afford. This is an NFL that has adopted the West
Coast offense to such a degree that is no longer contained to those pass happy
offenses with stud quarterbacks and speedy receivers. The rule changes have made the pass the rule
rather than the exception and though running backs still have a place in the
game they are now second class citizens. Unless the next Emmitt Smith or Eric Dickerson is looming I believe
plucking a runner in the 1st
round is reckless and I don't believe
John Elway is that imprudent. The
Broncos will probably draft a running back but it is highly unlikely they will
use the 25th
overall pick to do so.
Petyon Heads To Denver
By: Craig Tattan
the epicenter of Tebowing last season but Broncos management, John Elway in
particular, was not comfortable with a quarterback who was long on charisma but
short on passing. The soap opera
continues as Tebow has been dealt to the Jets and Denver is now officially
Peyton’s Place. But what will become of
a team who has not tasted a World Championship since the legendary John Elway
led them to glory in the late 90’s?
The Manning Era
question we have to ask ourselves before we get caught up in Manning-mania is
how good is the surgically repaired Peyton Manning? We can only conclude that he looked good
enough in workouts to have a bevy of teams pursue him and publicly spurn their
incumbent quarterbacks. However, that
does not preclude us from wondering if Manning is game ready and able to pick
up where he left off before the surgeon’s scalpel incised the back of his neck.
indeed he is able to reclaim a fraction of his former prodigious passing
expertise will he be able to withstand the punishment of blitzing linebackers
and the barbarous behemoths that roam the defensive front. It’s a 96 million dollar gamble that the
Broncos are willing to take but are you as comfortable putting up your hard
earned money and banking on Manning to lead his new team to the Promised Land?
after the Super Bowl 5Dimes posted a total of 7.5 wins for the Broncos for the
upcoming 2013 season. Once Manning inked
his blockbuster deal with Denver that total rose sharply as offshore books are
currently dealing between 9.5 and 10. The odds for Denver to win the 2013 Super Bowl fell drastically as well
with the pre-Manning Broncos getting no love at 75-1 and now they sit at 14-1
interesting that a team who is only expected to garner nine or so wins has odds
to win the Lombardi Trophy lower than all but a handful of teams. Sounds like a suckers bet to me and not one of my free picks. But then again, that’s why they play the
Who besides Manning?
We all know
Denver loves to run the ball as they were 1st in that statistical category
during the 2011 regular season but you can be sure that Willis McGahee will take a backseat now that the laser show has arrived. But
who will be the object of Peyton’s affections when it comes to checking off and
locking on? Demaryius Thomas will
certainly be a target but lo and behold, Denver used Manning’s signing to lure
a premier receiver in Andre Caldwell.
"He gets the best out of the receivers," said
Caldwell, who spent the past four seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. "That's a big reason why I came."
Now that Manning has a few choice targets, the offensive
line will have to adjust to blocking holes instead of creating them. Tight end Daniel Fells has departed for
greener pastures in the already tight end lush environs of New England. Look for Denver to sign a tight end to
complement Manning and replace Fells.
The defense has super stud Von Miller at strongside
linebacker to go along with Elvis Dumervil, Champ Bailey and the recently
signed Michael Adams to replace the 38 year old Brian Dawkins. Defense was mediocre ranking in the thick of
the pack in most categories but they will now get the added bonus of having an
offense who can stay on the field and take away some of their burden.
It will be interesting to see who else the Broncos can
attract and who they decide to draft to build around their new franchise
player. If Manning is still as good as
advertised then the Broncos will be in for a bounce in terms of wins but if he
breaks down, it will be a setback from which this management team may never