Wyoming senior linebacker Brian Hendricks understands the odds. He knows that he’s at best likely to be a late pick or an undrafted free agent, but he also knows that NFL teams place additional value on athletes who have the basic skillset that can be developed into a particular position or function in football. He’s always been athletic, and he’s channeled that athleticism into football for the last four years. It’s where he wants to have a career. But like a lot of young players, he doesn’t have top and elite skills - yet. But Hendricks believes that with time, constant effort and training, he can contribute to a team. The question is going to be whether one of the 32 NFL teams believes that enough to take him on and give him a shot. If one does, it will be because that organization believes that he can be developed enough to be a regular contributor to the team.
Teams are looking for a lot of different things from the players that they take, but there are certain things that the teams tend to have in common. Every team wants a player who has a history of making key plays at important times. Hendricks, for example, made a touchdown-saving stop at the two-yard line (one of his nine tackles that day) against Colorado State in Fort Collins for the final regular season game of his college career. The tackle led to a chance for the Cowboys to make an interception in the endzone two plays later, saving a touchdown and helping the Cowboys to a 22-19 victory. The performance earned Brian his second Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week award. Those kinds of plays never hurt. Players who come up big with something on the line are essential to the team that wants to win the close ones - as Denver often did during the middle of 2011.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Naturally, there's plenty of reaction to Brady Quinn's quotes from Mike Silver's GQ article, which Quinn foolishly tried yesterday to portray as a misrepresentation of his words. Silver, being the pro's pro that he is, told Mike Florio he's got a recording of the entire interview, and that Brady has a copy too.
Doug Farrar, Barry Petchesky, and Christmas Ape offer their takes; Woody Paige doesn't really see anything over the line in Brady words, and he says Quinn is a class act; Demaryius Thomas doesn't believe in luck.
Meanwhile, Jeff Legwold thinks Sage Rosenfels and Byron Leftwich are legitimate veteran options to sign and compete with Tebow. Yikes.
The comments attributed to me in a recent magazine article are in NO WAY reflective of my opinion of Tim and the Broncos. Tim deserves a lot of credit for our success and I’m happy for him and what he accomplished. Most importantly, he is a great teammate. That interview was conducted three months ago, and the resulting story was a completely inaccurate portrayal of my comments. I have addressed my disappointment with the writer and have reached out to Tim to clear this up. I apologize to anyone who feels I was trying to take anything away from our Team’s or Tim’s success this season.
What to make of this? To the Broncos, it matters little. Brady Quinn isn't coming back.
To Brady Quinn, it matters a lot. He's got to impress a team in the offseason. The quotes attributed to him don't help.
The 2011 Denver Broncos were really bad at protecting the Quarterback, whether it was Kyle Orton or Tim Tebow. Part of that was on the QBs themselves – Orton lacks escapability, and Tebow was extremely conservative about throwing against tight coverage, and often held the ball too long. But most of the issue was the play of the individual protection players, and some questionable scheming.
LT Ryan Clady had a down year, which still put him in the top 10 or so of players at his position. His foot quickness has never gotten back to what he showed in his first two seasons, and sometimes he gets beat with quickness. LG Zane Beadles and C J.D. Walton don’t anchor well enough, and both need to get significantly stronger as their careers progress. RG Chris Kuper was the best of the bunch, but he’s coming off of a broken leg, which is a significant injury. Finally, RT Orlando Franklin buried guys in the run game, but his foot quickness needs a lot of improvement if he’s going to play outside.
The good news is that this is a group of five players who are all still in their 20s and showed a high degree of durability. I’ve said this before, but for an offensive lineman, durability is a skill. Teams tend to carry only eight of them, so if a player gets hurt a lot, he’s a liability. Linemen get hit a lot, but they tend to be lower-impact close area hits, where the guy they’re colliding with doesn’t have much of a running start. You have to be able to take 1,000 or so of those hits and play every snap while managing some aches and pains and avoiding ankle sprains and the like.
BRADY QUINN (backup QB, Denver Broncos): Early in the season, there was a game when Kyle [Orton] got hurt and the coaches were calling for me to go in, but Kyle got up and finished the game out. So I was the second-string guy. Then, a few weeks later, they decided to put Tim in. I felt like the fans had a lot to do with that. Just ‘cause they were chanting his name. There was a big calling for him. No, I didn’t have any billboards. That would have been nice….
...We’ve had a lot of, I guess, luck, to put it simply…
...If you look at it as a whole, there’s a lot of things that just don’t seem very humble to me. When I get that opportunity, I’ll continue to lead not necessarily by trying to get in front of the camera and praying but by praying with my teammates, you know?
Just in case you wanted confirmation that Brady Quinn won't be returning to the Denver Broncos, you've got it now. Quinn's comments aren't just a criticism of Tebow, but the entire process by which the organization operated last year.
And for the record, Brady, I did have some Quinn billboards ready the week after the loss against the Lions. I just didn't run them because of the death threats.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Klis had a sitdown at Dove Valley yesterday with John Fox, who had the following to say:
Nothing particularly new or surprising, but we'll take what we can get for the middle of February.
Could Brandon Carr stay in the AFC West?
I thought Denver would be the favorite in the division to land Routt, but the Broncos reportedly never had any interest. Carr could pair nicely with the aging Champ Bailey for the short term. The Broncos could then have Carr take over as the No.1 cornerback if Bailey is eventually moved to safety. The Broncos have cap room and I could see them looking at Carr.
Williamson is just trying to fill space (so am I) with this post tonight, but it does beg the question as to whether the Broncos would cease drafting a cornerback with their first pick and just go after a known quantity like Carr instead. A combination of Champ Bailey and Brandon Carr would make Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil downright smitten.
The ESPN editor fired Sunday for using “chink in the armor” in a headline about Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin said the racial slur never crossed his mind - and he was devastated when he realized his mistake.
“This had nothing to do with me being cute or punny,” Anthony Federico told the Daily News.
“I’m so sorry that I offended people. I’m so sorry if I offended Jeremy.”
The headline - “Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin’s 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets” - appeared on ESPN’s mobile website at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday and was removed by 3:05 a.m.
Federico, 28, said he understands why he was axed. “ESPN did what they had to do,” he said.
He said he has used the phrase “at least 100 times” in headlines over the years and thought nothing of it when he slapped it on the Lin story.
Context is everything. As a guy who writes several thousand words a week, and further, as a guy who is always looking to turn a phrase into a headline, I can tell you that sometimes you simply don't catch everything. This is especially true when you are trying to generate content as fast as possible.
Only the patently idiotic would purposely write what Frederico wrote as a joke or a pun. It's clear from this interview he simply pulled a trite phrase from the index in his head of trite phrases.
Certainly there are better candidates to fire at ESPN, aren't there? Let's start with Chris Berman and end with Stuart Scott. Berman's powder-blue act is as stale as week-old cornflakes. Scott's is hardly more interesting, unless you think torturing two-year-old slang into a Tim Tebow highlight is gold.
(Note: This is the fourth part in
an Epic a mini ten-part series on the Worst Moves of 2011; we'll also be doing a ten-part mini on the Ten Best Moves of 2011. If you want to see #10: Trading Jabar Gaffney, click here; #9: The Duke Takes on Twitter, click here; #8: Fox "screws" Tebow, click here.)
It's hard to fault the Broncos for the way they handled their tight ends in 2011. In theory, the plan they had was sound enough. First, they avoided paying a $1 million roster bonus by letting hometown favorite Daniel Graham go before the season began. Then they signed serviceable veterans Daniel Fells and Dante Rosario to one-year deals. This would allow the Broncos a year to bring along and develop the raw but deadly pass-catching talents of Julius Thomas and Virgil Green.
It's this context in which the Broncos should be judged. Obviously, the Broncos made the playoffs. So the natural instinct is to say "scoreboard" and be done with it. When you're conducting a year-end review, however, you've got to apply a different standard--a standard that draws heavily from the reality of what actually happened. Call it hindsight bias (which it is); call it unfair (certainly); call it impatient (yeah, I want my sugar now). Just recognize that the Broncos didn't get what they wanted from the tight end position last year.
That makes it our seventh-worst move of 2011.
Report: Stanford Routt signs with Chiefs
According to those same multiple reports, Routt’s deal is for three years and worth $19.6 million.
Oakland’s not off the hook, though. Multiple reports indicate that Routt’s new deal will not offset the $5 million Routt was scheduled to receive from the Raiders in 2012, so the cornerback will be getting two paychecks.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the addition of Routt to the Chiefs is what it means for would-be free-agent cornerback Brandon Carr. Carr was a strong possibility to get the franchise tag, but the Chiefs signing Routt means that wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is a much more likely target now.