Good Morning, Broncos fans! The bro-fest continues with the reunion of J-Cutty and Jeremy Bates in Chicago. These two guys are so smitten with themselves and each other that they're actually starting to look alike.
Dan Pompei wrote a big fluff piece on the two for the Sun-Times on Sunday, replete with plenty of bro-love and mythicizing of Cutler's 2008 season. You all remember that grand year, yeah?
'Twas the greatest season in the history of offensive football. (Finishing 2nd in yards and 16th in points that year qualifies, right?)
You know, the one where they scored 114 in their first three games before averaging under 20 points for the next 13, and blew a three-game lead in the AFC West with three games left to play. You know, when Jay threw 18 picks including several in the end zone, and had the lowest TD% of his career?
Well, apparently it was a magical season for these two bros, and they're all giddy about reproducing that greatness this year in Chicago. At least John Mullin knows the truth, and isn't perpetuating the 2008 myth or participating in the fluffery.
* Not really
Broncos defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely announced his retirement today after 36 years of coaching. Jay Rodgers, who served as a defensive quality control coach last season, has been promoted to replace Nunnely.
Nunnely worked at the college level for 18 years before coaching the D-lines of the Saints for two years (1995-96), the Chargers for twelve years (1997-2008), and the Broncos for the past three (photos).
The 35-year-old Rodgers is entering his fourth year with the Broncos and is the younger brother of special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers, who begins his second year in that position for Denver.
Duke Ihenacho has gotten plenty of pre-camp media attention, more than most college free agents that I can recall offhand. Rob Rang, Pat Kirwan and Doug Farrar all named the ex-San Jose State Spartan among their top undrafted rookies. The safety, who will wear
#38 #39 for the Broncos, played 47 games for SJSU and finished with 268 tackles (15 for loss), seven interceptions, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and three defensive scores.
Head coach John Fox and new DC Jack Del Rio both talk about aggression; they both prefer to dictate to the offense, rather than utilize a read-and-react style. I’m glad about that. Del Rio was well known for that quality as a linebacker, and he’s also sincere to the point of a religious belief about it as a coach - Elvis Dumervil describes him as having a “fiery side.” That’s a well-crafted understatement from Doom, who knows a thing or two about focused aggression. I expect, from the draft and from the form of the team right now, to see a lot of very aggressive, attacking play from their front 7. Ihenacho seems like the kind of player who might find a niche with Del Rio fairly quickly.
One reason is that while Duke’s not a man cover burner, he’s a player with a lot of different uses. He’s not the kind of guy you leave out by himself on an island, but he is the type who likes to blow up defenses and defenders, to cause and jump on fumbles, grab interceptions, and even blitz the quarterback. He’s fearless when hitting and tackling, is solid in run support, and with the Broncos’ emphasis on getting to the QB as part of protecting the defensive backfield, Ihenacho has the size, power, and aggressive nature that could become a successful part of that.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Fox (video) spoke after the third and final day (photos) of Denver's rookie minicamp. Echoing the words of Jack Del Rio from a day earlier, Fox says the signing of CB Drayton Florence is a matter of never having enough cornerbacks.
For anyone who doesn't believe that one, drudge up some memories of Jonathan Wilhite, Nate Jones, and Josh Bell, why don't you?
Florence's fellow corner Omar Bolden made it through the weekend with no knee issues, and without a brace. As Fox and Andrew Mason remind us, the elite QBs on Denver's 2012 docket will likely test Denver's newfound depth in the backfield.
Bolden is one of three recent Sun Devils on the team (along with QB Brock Osweiler and undrafted WR Gerell Robinson) and says the familiar faces are aiding his transition to the pros, as is the presence of veteran corners Champ Bailey, Drayton Florence, and Tracy Porter. He says the knee injury which cost him his fifth and final year of college eligibility did not keep him from attending every meeting, practice, and road game.
Osweiler, meanwhile, says he and Robinson have been working out together in Phoenix ever since last month's draft.
McCoy continues to say the Broncos' offensive playbook will be an amalgam of strategies he's grown fond of and what Peyton Manning thrived with in Indy, and not simply a carbon copy of the Colts' playbook. The third-year OC acknowledges that (of course) tight ends will play a much larger role a season after the group tallied just 30 catches (47 targets), and he says Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas are giddy at the chance to play with PMFM. Oh, and the zone-read is thankfully gone.
Del Rio has plenty of praise for Mike backer Joe Mays and says he intends for his defense to help Mays improve by shrinking the gaps he's responsible for covering.
The new DC says he hasn't seen Ty Warren of late, and there's apparently good reason: the defensive tackle is apparently struggling with accepting a significant pay cut the Broncos have demanded. But frankly, Warren had best get used to the idea, because no NFL team is going to pay millions to a 31-year-old 300-pounder who has missed the past two seasons with injury. It's just not happening.
His fellow DT Kevin Vickerson has accepted a pay slice from $2.25M to $1.2M, and eventually Warren will have to do the same.
Somebody has been pretending to be the safety from Syracuse, spinning a story so convincing that the fake Phillip Thomas has appeared on blog posts, conducted radio interviews and tweeted a bogus signing with the Washington Redskins. The fake Phillip Thomas created a Facebook page loaded with pictures of the real Phillip Thomas along with photos from inside Redskins Park. The fake Phillip Thomas even posted a picture of a Redskins playbook that appears to have been taken in a hotel room.
On Friday, the real Phillip Thomas laughed nervously as he scrolled through the fake Phillip Thomas’s Facebook page on a laptop. He was shocked by the fake Phillip Thomas’s misspellings, pointing out that the fake Phillip Thomas had used the word “week” when he should have used “weak.” All of it unsettled him, he said. For instance, what was the page’s main photo, which appears to show someone talking to a group of children in a classroom? The implication was he was speaking to a class, but he had never seen the children or the room or even the photo. The person talking to the class is conveniently looking down, his face hidden from view.
“I have no idea who this is,” the real Phillip Thomas said. “He’s got to be watching my every move.”
One of the strangest stories you'll ever read, to be sure.
The key to recognizing a fake, of course, lies in the details. One that struck me was when the fake Thomas talked about the significant time he spent with Mike Shanahan
We all know Shanny doesn't waste his time on you unless your name is John Elway, Robert Griffin, or Dale Carter.
He's got better things to do, like work on his base tan.
McDaniels is back with more miles on him
Asked why he’d come back to New England with nothing left to prove, McDaniels said, “I think it’s more about what I have to learn. I think this is a great environment for a young coach to learn. As old as I might feel, I’m still really young and have so much more to learn and understand. There is not a better teacher than Coach Belichick and Mr. Kraft and the way we do things here, how we adapt each year, and I think that gives any coach – young or old – an opportunity to really grasp those things and really improve.”
McDaniels actually has plenty to prove. He hasn’t coached a winning offense since 2008 when Cassel carried the Patriots to 11-5. He needs to show he is still one of the most innovative minds in football but also do it with a different cast than the one he had in New England his first time.
John Fox, Brock Osweiler and Ronnie Hillman (videos) talked with reporters afterward. Osweiler spoke about working to raise his elbow in his throwing motion and admits no sentimental reason for taking #6.
He instead hopes to acquire his more familiar #17 from WR Andre Caldwell. But Caldwell wore #87 in Cincinnati, and of course that belongs Eric Decker, who wore #7 as a Gopher but never will as a Bronco. Not sure Brock should be negotiating for number through the press, as that will likely only jack up the price. This could take a while to play out, as all numbers in the tens and eighties are currently assigned.
According to Mike Klis, the Broncos have waived DT Jeremy Jarmon, presumably to create room on the roster for newly-signed CB Drayton Florence.
Denver originally acquired Jarmon in exchange for veteran WR Jabar Gaffney, who recently headed back to New England following his release by Washington after one season.
Jarmon was among the Broncos' final cuts last season and had signed a future contract on January 2.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! The topic of the day continues to be increasing player safety and easing the transition out of the game.
Ex-Chargers QB Dan Fouts will speak at the team's memorial for Junior Seau today, and he chatted with Clark Judge about the problems currently facing the game and its players. He says the NFL's culture of toughness and the reluctance of players to seek help must change.
Thankfully, that message appears to be taking hold in NFL circles, as Jarrett Bell details. Players like London Fletcher and Brandon Marshall have recently spoken up about post-career counseling, while NFLPA exec Nolan Harrison is calling for baseline concussion testing and better financial education for incoming players. Jack Bechta suggests that players take mandatory year-round life-skills classes for their first three years in the league, while Matt Bowen recommends that retired players continue their educations via NFL subsidies, like he did.
Mike Tanier thinks the NFL is serious about improving player safety, and that we should be patient with the league as their figure out how to do so.
The newly retired Jacob Bell has some excellent ideas for improving player care: brain scans at the Combine, mandatory meetings with psychologists for new players, and making concussion awareness part of the rookie symposium. Meanwhile, Mike Freeman is stunned by Roddy White's troubling lack of respect for his NFL predecessors, and he suggests several ways to improve the safety of the game and the treatment of players.