Expect Broncos 2012 schedule to load up on primetime games
The early word on the Broncos’ schedule: “Our fans should get ready for more night games,” Ellis said. “Home and road.”
A team can have a maximum of six primetime games a season: four scheduled on ESPN’s Monday Night Football or NBC’s Sunday Night Football; one on the NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football and a sixth that can be flexed on NBC’s Sunday Night Football after week 10.
With Peyton Manning the toast of the league, look for the Broncos to have five primetime games on their 2012 schedule when its released. And then look for a “flexible” opponent in the final weeks.
Gonna be lots of late nights in Broncos Land this year. Of course, IAOFM will have you covered.
Bounty saga still dominating league landscape at owners meetings
Tebow and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, absolutely had a choice on where the Broncos would trade Tebow, despite Tebow’s statement that only Denver controlled that. The Jags had a better fourth-round pick on the table than the Jets were offering—by seven draft slots. The Jags were offering $500,000 more than the Jets in compensation for the advances paid on his contract. But Denver was willing to deal Tebow to either team. And it was a very difficult choice for the young quarterback, because he is from Jacksonville. But the decision made sense. The Jets wanted him more, and would use him more, ostensibly. It’s simple.
Oh, and PK finds it interestingly interesting that Peyton Manning remembers the names of the coaches with whom he spent SIX+ HOURS EACH over the past few weeks. Yeah, incredible. Guy would clearly put Ken Jennings to shame.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Dave Anderson finds it notable that Peyton Manning would join only Norm Van Brocklin (pre-SB era) as a great QB to win a title after a late-career team switch, if he wins one in Denver.
We're going to be subjected to a lot of this stuff going forward, for however long Peyton plays in Denver (unless, of course, he wins one).
But really, the list of championship quarterbacks is pretty short to begin with (29 different SB winners), and the tally of guys who led their team to a SB title at 36 or older is obviously shorter (John Elway, Johnny Unitas, Jim Plunkett). And as we can see from Anderson's column, the list of great QBs who switched teams during the autumn of their NFL time is quite brief to begin with. Teams tend to hang onto great QBs, unless they are the rare organization like the Niners or Packers with a great replacement on tap like Steve Young or Aaron Rodgers.
AFC West notes
The Broncos are visiting with Pittsburgh reserve quarterback Dennis Dixon. His visit started before Denver signed QB Caleb Hanie. Hanie has the inside track to back up Peyton Manning in Denver, but the Broncos are still interested in signing Dixon to compete with Hanie during training camp.
If Dixon is signed, Denver may still draft a quarterback to develop.
Adding Dixon would make four QBs for Denver, and drafting one would make five. Heck, why not draft two?
Peyton Manning's announcement that he was joining the Broncos prompted a fascinating and immediate reaction: People instantly decided that Mike McCoy was unimportant and that Manning himself would run the offense. It would be his offense, run his way, and would look as much like Indy as the Broncos could accomplish. It is an interesting theory, but Manning himself has demurred:
The offense that I ran in Indianapolis unfortunately doesn't exist anymore anywhere. Not even in Indianapolis. These other offenses, like Bill Walsh's (West Coast) offense, Don Coryell's (Air Coryell) offense, they all kind of continue. Our offense is no longer around, and it's kind of sad in some ways.
Mike McCoy's the offensive coordinator. I'm hoping to be a good teammate and quarterback for him and his staff. I have work to do on that end.
As far as his statements on the offense, he’s saying the right kinds of things, true or not, and while Denver will use his knowledge, I suspect they’ll also keep many of their own concepts. I recall watching a couple of Indy/New England games as part of a project and marveling at the specific use of routes on Indy’s part; the way they interwove them, sometimes to create rub routes, other times using one route to disguise a second or third stem in the pattern...so much creativity was there that I’m sure that the Broncos will be glad to add some of those routes into their arsenal. But that will also make a total of three schemes for McCoy to develop and teach in two seasons, so I expect some transition before Denver jumps all-in on the Indy playbook, if that’s their goal. They may prefer to keep some or many of their own approaches intact.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Although Jeff Saturday chose to go to Green Bay over joining Peyton Manning in Denver, it appears the writing was on the wall that the Broncos were less interested in adding Saturday than was the QB. Says Saturday:
Peyton is a close friend and I loved playing with him. I loved the time we spent together. It was the most difficult call I've ever made. I told him before anyone else that I was going to Green Bay.
I told him I don't think the Broncos wanted me as much as he did. They've got things going on that they're happy with and are moving forward with and I didn't think it was an exact fit. I always felt like in Green Bay I was their very first choice.
Saturday agreed to a two-year deal with the Packers; apparently the Colts had offered him a contract to play and then join the team's front office, but playing for the NFC's overdog trumped sticking around for a rebuild. We could speculate all day about the Broncos' apparently tepid interest, but it's impossible to know whether it was financially motivated, the team has a rosier opinion of J.D. Walton than we do, or they have plans to acquire another center via free agency or the draft.
A little over a month ago, John Fox said the Broncos would acquire at least two new quarterbacks to the Denver roster this offseason:
Who, what, where, when, what market — it's still way too early how we get those quarterbacks.
Of course, few could have predicted that the first two steps in Denver's QB overhaul would be the acquisition of Peyton Manning and trade of Tim Tebow for a mid-round pick. That changeover is another step closer to completion today, albeit in less dramatic fashion, and involving a far-less heralded player.
The Broncos added former CSU Ram and Chicago Bear Caleb Hanie, who agreed to a two-year deal; Hanie (6-2, 222) spent four seasons in Chicago backing up former Broncos Kyle Orton and Jay Cutler, going winless in four starts last year after Cutler broke his thumb.
“We are good with what we have, so I wasn’t too worried about it,” Hawkins told The Tennessean in a report published Friday. “This year, with all of us coming back and with (quarterbacks) Matt (Hasselbeck) and Jake (Locker), we want to build off the things we did last year. I want to grow with those guys.”
The veteran Hasselbeck and rookie Locker led the Titans to a 9-7 finish last season, when the team fell just shy of making the playoffs. Hasselbeck started every game, throwing for 3,571 yards and 18 touchdowns. Locker played in five games, racking up 542 passing yards and four scores without getting picked off once.
“If Peyton would’ve come, we would have started a lot of things over,” Hawkins said. “Now we can just continue on with what we have.”
There are two kinds of receivers out there:
Can Manning Top Montana’s Second Act?
Peyton Manning’s career has a lot in common with Joe Montana’s career through age 35.
The parallels between the two great quarterbacks at this stage of their careers are remarkable. Montana had the big edge in Super Bowls, playing in four and winning them all in his 12 seasons with the 49ers. Manning appeared in two for the Colts, winning one. Manning has the statistical edge, after getting an earlier chance to start and never relinquishing it: He’s started 208 regular-season games to Montana’s 139 through 1990. Manning has completed 64.9% of passes, throwing touchdowns on 5.5% of them and interceptions on 2.7%. Montana’s equivalent numbers at this stage: 63.6%, 5.3% and 2.7%. And, like Montana after his age-34 season, Manning suffered a serious injury that forced him to sit a year and eventually led to his leaving his team for the AFC West. Montana went to the Chiefs after missing 1991 with an elbow injury and backing up Steve Young in 1992. Montana played two seasons in Kansas City before retiring…
Overall, 22 quarterbacks have had a strong season past age 36 in the last 43 years. Warner and Brett Favre were the last two to do it, and Favre and Moon were the only ones to do it past 40. The list is an eclectic one, including nine Hall of Famers and two likely future inductees in Favre and Warner. Steve DeBerg, Craig Morton and Jim Plunkett are among the other 11 on the list.
The main reason to hope for more from Manning than most of his predecessors is that he’s already one of the best QBs in history. What held back others may not apply to him. His career adjusted net yards per attempt is 21% better than league average, higher than all but three of the QBs to have strong years after turning 36: Steve Young, at 22%, and two QBs with whom he’s tied at 21%: Roger Staubach, and Montana.
I love the smell of stats in the morning.
Hopefully, stats trump neck injuries for the Broncos.
Peyton Manning may not pay off big as a Denver Bronco
Peyton Manning was negotiating to play in Denver with the Broncos. And while fans of the team undoubtedly celebrated, making money off Manning will be difficult.
Why? Well, start with the fact that Manning’s deal averages $19.2 million a year.
There’s not a lot of inventory to sell because the Denver Broncos are one of those teams that will have fans in the stands no matter how competitive they are. They’ve sold out every game since 1970. Ticket prices around the stadium are locked in for 2012 and suite contracts are locked in for longer. Selling more Broncos jerseys won’t matter. All teams split up merchandise sales equally. National television money is also split equally, so it doesn’t matter how many games they play on the national stage.
That's why they call it revenue sharing--everyone makes money, no matter who is on the roster of the individual teams.
The Broncos didn't bring in Manning with the idea of increasing jersey sales. It's about winning, as John Elway said. Unlike some owners, Pat Bowlen's philosophy seems to be that making money comes from winning, not the other way around.