Happy Monday, friends. As I did my morning commute today, I was thinking about bad officiating and the lockout of the real NFL officials. Since I got so much practice analyzing labor actions last year, and since I’m trying to serve up some bite-size hors d’ oeuvres (pronounced “whores divorce” in my best Andrew Dice Clay voice) I decided to scribble some thoughts in purple crayon for y’all.
First things first – the officiating has been atrocious in every preseason NFL game I’ve seen. They’ve been getting a lot of stuff wrong, from spotting the ball, to speaking into a microphone, to being able to see the game at the speed at which it’s played.
It’s a mess, and it’s not these underqualified officials’ fault, really. Mark my words: If they’re still officiating games come the regular season, they’re going to negatively affect playoff positioning.
The question is whether the evident suckitude of the officiating gives the locked out refs any leverage. I initially thought it might, but it seems like it isn’t having that effect. The dynamics in play are clearly pretty different than they were with the players.
After several weeks chock full of disappointing injury news, the Broncos finally got some players back for practice today.
Safety Quinton Carter, who had missed almost all of training camp, was back in action today; cornerback Tracy Porter, linebacker Danny Trevathan, and running back Ronnie Hillman also returned to practice.
Updated 3:51pm ET
ESPN's Scouts Inc. group has released its NFL evaluations for 2012, with six Broncos ranking among its top 200 graded players (Insider).
Peyton Manning (16), Von Miller (32), Ryan Clady (64), Champ Bailey (90), Elvis Dumervil (115), and D.J. Williams (185) all made the cut, while Chris Kuper appears to have just missed out (the last four players in the top 200 had grades of 79, which is what Kuper scored).
For the past three seasons, David Bruton has toiled in relative obscurity for the Denver Broncos. Despite being arguably their best special teamer, the fact that he doesn’t start at safety has led to his game sometimes being dissed and other times being ignored outright.
Early in training camp some people were already counting him off the final roster. During the Seattle game on Saturday night, Bruton showed what a mistake that view has been.
When Denver selected David 114th overall in 2009, they did so partly on the basis of his 4.46 speed, and also for his leadership; Bruton had been a captain during his senior season. He was commonly described as ‘raw’ back then, and the draftniks’ book on him was that he could be an excellent special teams player immediately and might develop the chops to start at safety over time. He’s become a force on special teams since then, working as the personal escort of the returner on some plays and as a gunner on others.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! For those of us who suffered through Bears booth man Jim Miller's analysis of the preseason opener, it's no surprise the dummy declared there should be a QB controversy in Washington between RG3 and Kirk Cousins.
Of course, his reasoning is that Cousins is a winner, which is also the term he used while fluffing Bears QB Matt Blanchard. Something to the effect of, "He's on the Bears because he's a winner."
Mind you, Blanchard was a Division III quarterback, so do you think anyone would ever have even looked at his tape were he not winning at the DIII level? And BTW, the backup Denver defenders who got torched on Saturday night sacked Blanchard three times and picked him off once.
Good Morning/Afternoon, Broncos fans! If you happened to watch last night's 30-10 loss to the Seahawks (BTV, NFLN) in its entirety, or if you saw none of it and instead just checked the box score, it would be quite easy to be discouraged by Denver's performance.
The closing half was so boring and lopsided that it made the fine play of Peyton Manning and the Broncos defense in the first 30 minutes almost fade from memory, and, well, there's that score.
Yet in the same way that last week's 31-3 win over the Bears didn't engender Super Bowl predictions, last night should be no cause for great concern.
Indeed, there were the three turnovers - each a terrible mistake by Zane Beadles, Manning, and Lance Ball - while purported PMFM security blanket Jacob Tamme dropped a pair of passes, including an easy would-be touchdown pass. Brock Osweiler and the second-team offense failed to move the ball (37 net yards and a lonely one first down), and the second- and third-team defenses gave up big play after big play to Russell Wilson and Co.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
It was a great first half, it was a second half I can't remember.
Week 2 of the preseason is officially in the can. And what have we learned?
Depth could be an issue with the Broncos in 2012. Injuries have already taken their toll.
It seems it's the scoreboard's turn now.
Enjoy the game, and Go Broncos!
John Fox says Porter and Ronnie Hillman will be gametime decisions for tonight's preseason home game against the Seahawks, but neither is likely to play. The corner missed most of the week's practices due to illness, but says he's feeling better.
Contrary to Gray Caldwell's report from a day earlier which said the Broncos' starters would play the entire first half, they are expected to instead play just two or three series. Brock Osweiler and the second-team offense should take over for Peyton Manning & Co. from there, with Caleb Hanie and Adam Weber playing in the second half. Manning is apparently not pushing the coaching staff to let him play more.
Post-Camp Stock Watch: Irving Up; Ayers Down
DE Robert Ayers: That Derek Wolfe — and not Ayers — replaced Jason Hunter this week speaks volumes about where Ayers stands in the defense. He now fills the “experienced depth” role that Brooking and Leonhard were signed to handle at their positions. That’s good for a roster spot, and likely to get him some decent playing time at some point in the season, but is nevertheless a long fall considering that he was an every-down player last year.
Raise your hand if you think defensive coordinator Jack Of The River isn't enamorado with Robert Ayers.
Obviously, Del Rio hasn't been exposed to the genius of Mike Mayock. If he had been, he would have remembered Mayock saying: "Robert Ayers is the best defensive player coming out of this draft. You can get creative with Ayers. He brings your scheme versatility on defense. I think he's a special player."
Blame McDaniels? Hell, why not.