I picked up the phone yesterday to find a friend calling with some football news. Chad Ochocinco had been released by the Patriots - did I see any chance that Denver would pursue him?
‘Not much,’ I replied. The truth is, it would shock me if they had a moment’s interest.
It’s not that Chad is, or at least had been, untalented. Even when he was younger and running his own personal carnival sideshow, featuring new and inventive forms of dysfunctionality (while occasionally making appearances and catches for the Cincinnati Bengals), I never had a moment’s doubt that his physical skills were excellent. He does seem to share a number of traits with Brandon Marshall, Denver’s former poster boy for attitude problems and bad behavior (thankfully not the tendency toward violence).
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Yesterday saw the conclusion of Denver's final voluntary OTA; the team's mandatory minicamp runs from Tuesday to Thursday of next week, and the training camp schedule hasn't yet been announced.
Second-year safeties Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter (videos) spoke after practice. Moore was disappointed in his rookie performance but now looks at the season as a valuable learning experience. He says the lockout prevented him from being prepared mentally for the NFL game, that his conditioning wasn't up to snuff last year, and that veteran corner Drayton Florence has been a strong teaching influence since his arrival.
Carter says his 12 regular-season and playoff starts provided him with a major confidence boost, as did his two postseason INTs that got lost in the shuffle. He welcomes the extra preparation time this year, and the help from veterans as he learns to better process the speed of the NFL.
On the flipside of that high praise, Polamalu remains stunned at the simplicity of the offense Denver ran with Tebow and came away with one strong conclusion: “You can’t run that offense unless you have a great defense to go with it,” said Polamalu, who remembers going through the playoff game thinking time after time …
“There’s no way they’re going to run that same route again,” he said. “As a safety, part of your job is to eliminate certain routes that you don’t think they’re going to run. I would line up and say, ‘They ran that the last time, there’s no way they’re going to run it again.’ Then they did. The next time, ‘There’s no way they’re going to run that again,’ then they did.
“It was an incredibly simple offense that you just don’t think can work in this league, but it worked for them with the kind of talent they had.”
Well, now we have the answer to the question: just what the hell was Dick LeBeau thinking?
Clearly, the Steelers thought the Broncos were going to approach last year's playoff game like any other NFL team--that is to say, they were going to try and change things up. You can't blame LeBeau for making this assumption. After all, that's exactly what most NFL teams try and do from week to week. LeBeau may be one of the greatest defensive minds the NFL has ever seen, but in this case, that mind worked very much against him. LeBeau, it seems to me, was a victim of a cognitive bias known as Curse of Knowledge:
The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias according to which better-informed agents find it extremely difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed agents. As such added information may convey some disutility
Translation: sometimes, the smartest guys in the room (LeBeau, Polamalu, and Co.) can't fathom that everyone else isn't trying to be as clever as they are. This explains why the Broncos could run the same play over and over and over again, while the Steelers tried to outwit a phantom Bill Walsh and Joe Montana. A week later, Bill Belichick forced the Patriots into a Forrest Gump defense with vastly different results.
Kyle Orton: Tony Romo’s the man, but I’m not just a backup
“I feel like I’ve played good ball in this league, I feel I’ve got a lot of good ball left in me,” Orton said. “I don’t see this as committing myself to be the backup. I’m just committing myself to be a part of the team.” “
Tony’s the man, you know? There ain’t no doubt about it,” Orton said. “He’s played great football. He’s a great quarterback. So I’m excited. It’s really the first time I’ve been around another veteran in my career. I’ve done a lot of learning with young guys in the room. I can still learn a lot about football, and hopefully I can help him out in any way I can.”
Orton doesn't quite have the aw-shucks demeanor to cook this five-course meal, but let's head to the kitchen and see what Orton has prepared. (Note: the following recipe was taken from page 15 of the Through My Eyes Southern Homestyle Cookin' Good Cookbook):
For dessert I prefer a I just want to get better each day peach cobbler, but to each their own.
I'm proud of Orton. I didn't think he learned anything from his experience in Denver last year. It turns out he figured things out quite nicely.
Broncos gave Warren a guaranteed $250,000 signing bonus
In the end, the Broncos gave Warren a $250,000 bonus that the defensive tackle gets whether he makes the team or not, and a $1.25 million base salary. Warren, who returned to the team Wednesday, can also make another $500,000 in incentives.
Warren received a $2.5M signing bonus last year, so before incentives he will count for $2.75M against Denver's 2012 cap.
Nearly everything is different. A lot of it still looks the same. What’s true about Denver’s cornerback-intensive offseason?
The Broncos set out this offseason to substantially change a few things about its cornerback corps. One was to replace right corner Andre’ Goodman, who despite an otherwise solid year, let in too many touchdowns - nine altogether, including three in the season-ending playoff loss at New England.
There was also a huge gap between the youth of the undrafted and late-round corners of last year to the candidates for this year. 2010 UDFA Cassius Vaughn is now with Indianapolis after being dealt for fullback Chris Gronkowski; 2010 seventh-rounder Syd’Quan Thompson went on IR after tearing his Achilles tendon and is hoping to return to the game this season. Of course, last year's undrafted gem, Chris Harris, is at nickelback. Goodman and Champ Bailey will both turn 34 this summer, although the latter is as talented as ever. Denver decided to replace Goodman, they needed an additional cover corner, and they needed at least one player who was under 30 and over 24. They also wanted to create more pressure with the front seven.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Now that Ty Warren is back in the fold after finding a financial "middle ground" with the team, Denver's perpetual question mark at defensive tackle just got a whole lot smaller. Provided Ty's able to avoid a freak injury like the torn triceps he suffered last summer, we are now free to move on from the silliness of thinking an undrafted second-year tackle (Sealver Siliga) on his second team was going to be a starter. Yet it's not just Siliga who will now presumably be afforded the learning curve befitting a young DT; Warren's presence should free Derek Wolfe of the unfairly weighty expectations not normally placed on a second-rounder (it's not his fault he was Denver's first pick).
As for Warren's health, he's apparently In the Best Shape of His Life (ITBSOHL), which is of course what most players will say in June, but that the 310-pounder hasn't played since 2009 means he may actually be as minty "fresh" as he declares. The ex-Aggie never considered retirement, worked hard in his rehab, and "hate(s) that (he) couldn't contribute" the past two seasons in New England and Denver.
Ty's disposition is so sunny that he's glad to see Woody Paige, who in turn is so taken with the gregarious big man that he attributes him a third SB ring, one more than he actually possesses. At least Woody has the good sense to eviscerate the populists/borderline racists who have had the nerve to suggest the classy Warren is either lazy or taking advantage of the Broncos by collecting his agreed upon salary.
AFC West: 2012 backup quarterback
Assessing the Broncos’ backup QB situation if Peyton Manning is injured and misses time.
Caleb Hanie was a bust in Chicago, but the Broncos believe he fits their system and he can be a solid backup to Manning this year. He is big and strong and has some skill. Yet, he was a disaster last season in Chicago when Jay Cutler went down. Hanie was 0-4 as a starter. He is in an interesting position because Manning has to prove he is healed from a neck injury that cost him the entire 2011 season. If Manning can’t come back, the Broncos will be banking on Hanie early. It’s a major risk. The Broncos drafted long-term prospect Brock Osweiler, but the team doesn’t plan on him being a No. 2 this early in his career.
Confidence rating (out of 100) if Manning goes out for an extended period: 30.
What does Bill Williamson do when pressed for content during the slow summer months? He creates a confidence index for Caleb Hanie and Brock Osweiler.
I'm 30% confident you'll find this episode of Sports Science, in which some guy takes a record-setting kick to the testicles, more exciting.
Apparently, Williamson hasn't figured out that when there isn't much Broncos news, you should just give the people what they want: Tim Tebow bath salts.
Ty Warren has ended his unofficial holdout and joined the team for today's OTAs. Denver had sought to cut the veteran defensive tackle's salary from a contracted $4M down to $1M-1.5M according to earlier reports.
The former Texas A&M Aggie and first-round pick of the Patriots spent eight seasons with New England before signing a two-year, $8M free-agent deal with the Broncos last August. But a torn triceps muscle suffered during training camp caused him to miss the season; a hip injury had cost Warren his 2010 season.
As you've probably heard by now, the great science fiction writer Ray Bradbury passed away today at the age of 91. Since I (mostly) stay on topics that have some relation to football or a football-related event, I won't rehash the greatness of Bradbury here. What I will do, however, is pass along a quote from Bradbury that you'll find useful in your own life:
The Muse must have shape. You will write a thousand words a day for ten to twenty years in order to try to give it shape, to learn enough about grammar and story construction so that these become part of the Subconscious, without restraining or distorting the Muse.
This quote comes from the book Zen and The Art of Writing.