Fat Camp: Undervalued roles - the Matchup Safety

Happy Wednesday, friends.  There’s some big news in Tedistan, but I’m not able to announce it publicly just yet, so we’re going to return to Undervalued Positions.  Today, we will look at the Matchup Safety, which I think will go nicely against our last edition of this miniseries, where we looked at the Move TE.

When an offense uses 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR), it forces a defense to choose whether to use Base (four DBs) or Nickel (five DBs) personnel.  In most cases, that’s a situation of being damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.  An offense in 12 personnel should have success in passing against Base defenses, and should have success running against Nickel defenses.

It gets especially interesting, offensively speaking, when one of the TEs has WR traits, and can be flexed out in a slot or flanked alignment.  We’re talking about players like Aaron Hernandez, Jimmy Graham, and Jermichael Finley, who have the ability to release efficiently with a two-way go, and then separate in space (meaning outside the interior traffic that often helps TEs get open).

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Peyton: No time for sentiment; more practice, please

Peyton quickly working off the rust as Broncos kick off their minicamp
www.cbssports.com

Manning recently put on the Broncos uniform for the first time for a DirecTV photo shoot with his brother, Eli Manning. He also put it on Tuesday for some television shots. Was it weird?

“I didn’t take a moment to reflect,” Manning said. “I just enjoy being back out on the field. I really haven’t been too nostalgic about it. I have so much on my plate. My rehab. New plays. New receivers. We could have 45 of these [minicamp practices] and I would take them. There is so much to do.”

Peyton tells Pete Prisco he's been watching more film of his own throwing than he used to, to ensure that he's avoiding any inadvertent compensations in his mechanics. He also says retirement was never a consideration, thanks to his doctors' assessments of his neck.

Belichick punks another team’s waiver attempt Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver's lone mandatory minicamp kicked off yesterday (BTV, photos), with kicker Matt Prater the only no-show, as expected. There was a brief injury scare as Demaryius Thomas jammed a finger, and Tracy Porter and Danny Trevathan (who worked with the first-team nickel package) each intercepted Peyton Manning off tipped passes. Knowshon Moreno and Chris Kuper continue to work back from injury, while Julius Thomas remains inactive.

John Fox and Peyton Manning (videos) spoke after practice; Fox and others reiterated that D.J. Williams's playbook page tweet was no thing. But we knew this already, since TJ made it quite clear, even while others were freaking out. Fox, Manning, and Willis McGahee say the team is striving for offensive balance and a commitment to running the ball. We'll see about that.

McGahee says the presence of Manning has him working harder than ever, and Eric Decker says Peyton's demanding expectations are testing players daily.

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Tom Moore, just visiting

Wrapping up Denver's day
espn.go.com

Manning’s former offensive coordinator Tom Moore made it clear Tuesday he was simply visiting camp and has no plans to join the team as a consultant. Moore was on the Pittsburgh staff with Fox in 1989. Moore, 73, said he is interested in coaching again in 2013.

Earlier today, the official site put up a 35-image gallery of today's minicamp with a shot of Tom Moore visiting and wearing a Broncos windbreaker. I was going to write something but decided it was too speculative/Bleacherish.

Now, Moore says he's sitting out the year but may return to coaching in 2013, when he will turn 75 midseason. Meanwhile, that photo is now gone, leaving only 34 images in the slideshow. Odd.

Silverman: John Fox 7th best coach in the NFL

Silverman: Lovie’s A Top 10 Coach, But Not Elite
chicago.cbslocal.com

7. John Fox, Denver – Somehow Fox found a way for the Denver Broncos to win the AFC West last season with a quarterback in Tim Tebow who could not throw the ball straight. They even won a playoff game against the Steelers. Fox’s strength is his ability to work with a defense and put that unit in a position to succeed. He also understands motivation and the human condition. Remember, he took the Panthers to the Super Bowl and now he’s got Peyton Manning on his side. It could be a year to remember in the Rockies.

Silverman ranks these coaches going into 2012, so one assumes a lot of this has to do with 2011's results.  

It's hard to tell, though. He also has Mike Shanahan ranked #10 on the list and writes: "This is largely based on what he did in his previous coaching tenure in Denver and that is now ancient history."

John Fox: D.J.‘s playbook leak ain’t no thang

John Fox says DJ Williams’ playbook Tweet won’t damage defense
blogs.denverpost.com

Broncos head coach John Fox said Tuesday he isn’t worried about any secret information that may have leaked because linebacker D.J. Williams posted an image from the team’s digital playbook on Twitter late last week.

“Not very much,” Fox said, when asked if the “breach” would affect the Broncos’ defense.

As we thought, D.J. Williams didn't force the Broncos to cut anything out of their defensive playbook with his latest behavior modification concern.

Now he's free to focus on what we all do each and every day: work, and submitting human urine samples.  

Mike Klis goes promise-ring girl

Happy Anniversary, Tebows
blogs.denverpost.com

Forty-one years ago today, the sports world as we know it began to change. Bob and Pam Tebow were married on June 12, 1971. The bride skipped her graduation ceremony at the University of Florida to instead say “I do,” to Bob.

Their youngest has become both the most popular, and second-most criticized (behind LeBron) athlete in the United States. So raise those bottled waters everybody. Here’s to the Tebows!

We've all seen it: the girl so desperate for a relationship, she's willing to not only have a threesome with the guy's ex-girlfriend, but prematurely tries to meet the guy's parents just so she can place her lips directly on the parents' unblemished (or so they'll tell the world) asses.

Welcome to Mike Klis's world--one in which acce$$ and (metaphorically) fluffing athletes, owners, and executives is more important than objectivity or a healthy skepticism of those who slather themselves with gallons of self-interest lotion.

The Passion of the Tebow

Some things need no introduction.  Without further babbling, we present to you The Passion of the Tebow:

H/t: KSK

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Jaguaring is a sad, sad thing Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver's mandatory minicamp starts today and runs through Thursday.

The team will welcome Derek Wolfe back after NFL rules forced him to attend classes at Cincinnati and miss the team's OTAs, but they apparently won't have kicker Matt Prater, who has neither signed his franchise tender nor agreed to a long-term deal.

Denver can also expect nothing on the field out of Julius Thomas, but for a different reason - the second-year tight end is still recovering from his April ankle surgery.

How will the tweet-happy D.J. Williams be greeted by coaches today? The non-Broncos coach Jeff Legwold spoke to says he'd hit D.J. with a massive fine and think about dumping the guy. But as much as many folks would like to see D.J. replaced, it doesn't quite the team has enough talent at the position to afford the loss.

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Scouting the 2012 Broncos: Safeties

Going into training camp, the safety group is probably going to be somewhat less of a battle than the cornerback slot, but there are still five men competing, potentially, for four slots. I’m working off the assumption that the Broncos will keep 10 defensive backs, right now. The possibility of a fifth safety is competing against the option of retaining a sixth cornerback, in terms of the potential value of each, as well as against the other safeties. I expect that they’ll keep five corners, and six wouldn’t surprise me. Accordingly, they could have four or five slots for safeties.

Denver brought in a veteran safety in Mike Adams who’s openly daring the younger players to try and knock him out of the starting role while teaching them how to do so. How can you not like that in a guy? They also have three players returning from last year and one very tough college free agent who’s worth more than a brief glance.

Losing Brian Dawkins is a blow to any locker room. I appreciate that the decision to part ways was made early, and also that Denver immediately brought in a quality veteran with nine years of experience and a reputation as a high quality locker room guy. I will always enjoy my memories of each side of Brian Dawkins - as a player, an inspiration on and off the field, as a family man and as a leader of his community. The fact that the new Broncos player will also wear #20 is indicative of how much the coaches are counting on him to keep the ship on course. It’s also a testament to Dawkins himself - Denver’s new starting free safety originally put on #20 as an NFL rookie, in homage to Brian Dawkins. That’s somehow fitting: a karmic balance, of sorts.

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