The Broncos defense made great strides last season beyond their 2010 performance, improving in points allowed, from 32nd to 24th, and in yards against, from 32nd to 20th.
Better players, including the return from injury by Elvis Dumervil and the addition of second-overall pick and eventual DROY Von Miller, were significant factors. The coaching of John Fox and Dennis Allen also loomed large, but with Allen having departed for the darker pastures of Oakland, the defense is now in the hands of former Pro Bowl linebacker and ex-longtime Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio.
Like Del Rio, linebackers coach Richard Smith has been a successful coordinator in the past and also coached under Fox with the Panthers.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon, the fifth-overall pick in the draft out of Oklahoma State, was arrested for aggravated DUI in Stillwater yesterday morning.
The blood alcohol content limit in Oklahoma is .08 percent, and the threshold for aggravated DUI is .15 percent. Blackmon reportedly blew a .24 percent BAC. Yikes.
Blackmon had a prior drunk driving incident in 2010, when he was arrested while driving to a Dallas Cowboys game without permission to leave his own team to do so. According to the NFL, Blackmon is subject to the league's personal-conduct policies despite not yet having signed a contract and will likely face a suspension in his rookie season.
If you're wondering, a .24 percent BAC only moves Blackmon into a tie for the 20th-highest BAC recorded in the sports world.
The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks added talented veteran tight ends to their rosters to provide their offensive coordinators with the flexibility to use more double tight end formations in the fall…
...One of the benefits of utilizing “12” personnel is the ability for the offense to utilize a variety of base and spread formations without shuttling different personnel into the game. The H-back plays the role of a fullback, wide receiver or second tight end in the package, aligning in various spots within the formation to create problems for the defense. Offensive coordinators are tapping into that versatility by featuring a variety of open formations with the tight end deployed as quasi-receivers. By opening the formation, the offensive coordinator makes it easy for his quarterback to diagnose the coverage and creates potential mismatches in space…
...By displacing both tight ends away from the line, the Patriots are able to quickly identify the coverage based on the alignments of the linebackers and defensive backs. If the corners are matched up with the wide receivers, Tom Brady knows [it’s] man coverage and he can audible to an effective route combination to exploit the scheme.
This read by Brooks is a good one; it makes an often overlooked point when promoting the use of multiple tight ends--namely, the farther the tight ends are away from the line of scrimmage (horizontally), the easier it is for the quarterback to read whether the defense is playing man or zone coverage.
Brooks also talks about evolution of the H-back:
If the defense remains in base personnel, the H-back enjoys a significant advantage over a linebacker lacking the agility to stay close in coverage. If the defensive coordinator uses nickel personnel, the H-back uses his superior size to post up smaller defenders in space.
Look for the Broncos, like everyone else in the league, to begin to copy what the Patriots did last year. Brooks is correct. The two-tight end set will sweep the league by storm in 2012, but the truth of the matter is that the storm was brewing in 2011, when the Broncos drafted Julius Thomas and Virgil Green. The additions of Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen just make it all the more likely.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mark Kiszla suggests the Broncos move on from Ty Warren, adopting Mike Klis's populist tact of highlighting the salaries Warren has been paid over the past two seasons in New England and Denver.
Why should the Broncos, or us fans, care what New England paid Warren in 2010? We shouldn't, because it's irrelevant. All that does is paint Warren as an overpaid underperformer; he has been anything but that during his career. Some DP readers are likely substituting for his name some iteration of fat cat and lazy bum. Indeed, the first commenter had the incredible nerve to compare Warren to perennial malcontent Albert Haynesworth.
What does Warren's 2010 salary have to do with what he should be paid in 2012? Honestly, nothing.
Does Warren owe the Broncos? Not really. They knew when they signed him that his health was/is a great risk, and that veteran players do not lose their salaries when injury strikes is one of the more just NFL compensation rules.
Former Broncos star walked in Peterson's shoes
Star running back. In his prime. Tears his ACL in his fifth NFL season. At the age of 26. It’s no wonder Adrian Peterson’s knee injury hits home with former Denver Broncos star Terrell Davis, who experienced a similar setback in 1999. Like Peterson, Davis attacked rehab. Yet he was never the same, playing just 13 games while rushing for 983 yards and two touchdowns after the injury.
So Davis cautions those who see Peterson’s progress and expect him to be a Pro Bowl player again soon, offering two areas to monitor when Peterson returns. For starters, Davis believed his knee injury made him think too much.
“Rather than being instinctive, you start to choreograph your moves,” Davis said in a recent ESPN interview. “As a running back, you just can’t choreograph your moves. You have to work off instincts.”
As a fan of the What If comics series, I'd like to submit the following:
Check back next week when we ask the question, What if...Al Davis had traded for John Elway?
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Yesterday brought a pair of major developments in the Saints bounty scandal.
In a lengthy post on his website, filmmaker Sean Pamphilon offers his own recollection from watching (along with then ex-Saint Scott Fujita) the notorious speech given by Gregg Williams on the eve of the Saints' playoff loss at San Francisco. Pamphilon says Williams handed out envelopes of cash as bonuses, with at least one of them as payment for a "whack hit," with players apparently encouraging each other to "give it back" or reinvest the winnings in the bounty pool.
The filmmaker notes a discomfort in Fujita with the speech, and an apparent sense of regret for having participated in the same during his time with the team. Pamphilon says Fujita and QB Drew Brees both encouraged him to release the audio recording of the speech, with the goal being to shove the bulk of blame onto Williams.
Giants RB Andre Brown won his appeal and will not have to serve the four-game suspension he had been hit with in March. He had originally been found to have violated the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
But Brown, who spent part of the 2010 season with the Broncos, says the suspension had resulted from a clerical error regarding his prescription for the ADHD medication Adderall.
Texans punter Brett Hartmann had also been suspended four games for ADHD meds and won his appeal last week. Unlike Brown, Hartmann must serve a reduced three-game suspension instead.
Updated 4:29 pm ET
Ashburn, Va - Mike Shanahan may have landed his dream quarterback when he drafted Robert Griffin III in the first round of this year's draft, but there's another dream the Super Bowl-winning coach still seeks: a world in which the bullying of tanorexics is a thing of the past.
Tanorexia, also known as tanning addiction, is a syndrome in which a person has a physical, emotional, or psychological addiction to outdoor tanning or tanning beds. The bullying of tanorexics is thought to affect as many as one to two people a year in the United States.
"It's a problem," said Shanahan, coach of the Washington Redskins, after yesterday's offseason team activities (OTAs). "Bullying in general, usually affects kids and teenagers. Tanorexic bullying, on the other hand, is different. It's largely an adult problem. And the ugliness has got to stop. It ends now."
(photo via Sports Pickle)
The Broncos announced the signing of center/guard Philip Blake today. Denver selected Blake with their second pick in the fourth round of April's draft, and he is the fifth draft choice to sign. Only QB Brock Osweiler and RB Ronnie Hillman remain unsigned.
Del Rio says he prefers bigger defensive tackles, he asked Kevin Vickerson to bulk up, and he has high hopes for developing Sealver Siliga into a contributor. He also cites the absence of Ty Warren as a chance for youngsters like Siliga and Mitch Unrein to improve via more reps, and he likens rookie Derek Wolfe to recently retired Steelers lineman Aaron Smith. The DC sees Wolfe as a "base end that can slide inside" on passing downs, lauding his versatility, intelligence, and ability to rush the passer.
McCoy calls himself "very fortunate" for the chance to coach Peyton Manning and says the team is monitoring how many throws Peyton makes each day. But despite the pitch count, Manning is apparently making all the necessary throws, and McCoy reiterates that the learning process for him and his new charge is a two-way street. He also praised the work of undrafted WR Gerell Robinson and 2011 UDFAs Mark Dell and Mario Fannin, and he says recent acquisition Chris Gronkowski has versatility beyond his fullback position.
The team will conclude this OTA today but will reconvene Monday for four straight days of scheduled on-field work.