Good Morning, Broncos fans! Justin Bannan is very happy to be back with the team, and he never moved out of town despite playing in St. Louis last season. Says Bannan,
I feel like I belong in Denver. I feel like I have a lot of unfinished business here. I never felt right about leaving. There's a business side of it, and unfortunately that side happened. But it's just nice not having to move again.
Really, he sounds relieved to be back:
I have a lot of pride here. I feel like I belong here. It's hard to explain — I kind of felt like that when I played at CU (University of Colorado). I feel like I belong in Colorado. It's nice to be able to have an opportunity to come back and have a chance to be part of something great.
Andrew Mason figures the ex-Buff will be more effective teaming with Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil (who was injured during Bannan's one season in Denver) in the pass rush, although for what it's worth, PFF has assigned the 11th-year player a slightly subpar pass rush grade in all four years of their existence.
Happy Wednesday, friends. Today we get back in the saddle with the technical series about the offense that I expect to see the Broncos run this season. Today, it’s Part 5, where we’ll discuss the five-step passing game. If you’ve missed any of the first four installments of the series, please check them out at the following links:
The five-step passing game is the key element of any offense, because with a five-step drop, and its concomitant protection schemes, the QB can create the correct timing to threaten all levels of the defense. When a WR is asked to run a Dig route at 18 yards, that’s an activity that takes around three seconds to execute.
Financial terms have not been released yet, but our wildly irresponsible guess is that his salary is fully guaranteed. And as we alluded to this morning, the addition of a solid player like Bannan to the middle of the defense reduces the urgency of overdrafting one in two weeks' time, allowing the team's front office to potentially select for talent over need.
IMLTHO*: Responses Worth a Reply, and an Epiphany at Speakers’ Corner
Tebow never said anything to which I objected until now. If someone wants to take a knee and pray in the corner of the game or end zone, fine. If he wants to answer his first press conference question with “I’d like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” I can live with it; it seems to be an odd non-sequitur because it is neither germane to the topic broached by the inquisitor nor to the subject at hand: football. But it’s his thing. I didn’t use the quotes about his faith unless it was tied to the topic at hand, which I found to rarely be the case.
This is a fascinating piece by Mason. He responds to the hail of criticism he received the other day when he challenged Tim Tebow's assertion that the United States was founded as "One nation under god."
Mason also notes that not one reader responded with thoughts on his mention of Wesley Duke, the former tight end for the Broncos.
Not even Debbie Sandoval. Of course, Debbie Sandoval has never heard of Wesley Duke, we're quite sure.
What we appreciate most about Mason here is that he loaded up his metaphorical shotgun and went a little Zombieland. Keep up the good work, Mason. We're considering giving you the Zombie Kill of the Week.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Jeff Legwold thinks Denver has to consider BSU's Doug Martin at #25 and says it's unlikely the running back would last until their second pick at #57. Of course, Andy Benoit suggested the other day that the Broncos could even go WR with that first pick.
All this has Mark Kiszla in a tiszy, because as he sees it, Denver would be crazy not to draft a defensive tackle there. Kiz says the Broncos must go "defense, defense, defense" in two weeks. Defensive tackle is absolutely a need, yet again. It would be an utter shock, yet again, if the team doesn't draft one or two of them, and relatively highly, at that. But that doesn't mean the team has to take one at 25. If Denver goes offense there and ends up with five defenders among their next six picks, are we really going to be apoplectic?
What if they sign Justin Bannan? What if Marcus Thomas comes back?
NFL Exec: 'Half of the teams in the top 10 are trying to trade out'
Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman made waves a few days ago when he commented that he’d be willing to make a trade out of the No. 3 overall pick while his team was on the clock. While last moment deals are common over the course of the NFL draft, don’t fool yourself into thinking that these deals aren’t being discussed long before the curtains are raised at Radio City Music Hall. In fact, one NFL executive told me to anticipate plenty of fireworks as “half of the teams in the top 10 are trying to trade out.”
FWIW, Cincy has two picks in the bottom half of the first round, while Philly has two second-rounders. New England has two picks in each of the first and second rounds, but only two picks beyond that.
Bill Parcells has informed the New Orleans Saints the he will not replace suspended coach Sean Payton and is staying retired, according to a league source.
The Saints will now look to hire from within the organization. By promoting an assistant on the team, the Saints will not have to interview a minority candidate in accordance with the league’s Rooney Rule.
Who wants Parcells without Bill Belichick running the defense, anyway?
Christmas Ape is bummed that neither Tuna nor the Dunge will be taking over in N'awlins.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest mailbag, Mike Klis says Denver would like to draft a back who will at some point this year become the primary runner, to be spelled by Willis McGahee, with Knowshon Moreno as the third-down guy.
Klis also points out that Caleb Hanie received no guarantees as part of his two-year deal, and he expects the Broncos to draft a QB somewhere between the second and fifth rounds, and to perhaps sign another veteran too.
Adding to what Jeff Legwold had written yesterday, Klis says Denver's offer to Jeff Saturday was around $2.5M per year, a pittance compared to the $4M that Green Bay will pay the veteran center this year.
Meanwhile, Klis is making a push to sell his Tebow books to the New Jersey fans - he says that although Mark Sanchez is a swell guy whom he's more fond of than are most people, Timmy is just a better quarterback. Really. And as Klis sees it, Tebow is completely innocent as far as the circus that follows him around.
Peyton Manning working with WRs
“The guy’s still throwing the ball a long time, throwing it great, hitting you in the right spot,” Decker told Cowherd. “He’s such a perfectionist. If he hits you in the belly button, he gets mad at himself for not hitting you in the chest. It’s unbelievable to be around a guy who has those standards for himself.”
“He’s so precise with everything he does and there’s a reason for everything he does do,” Decker told Cowherd. “In workouts, in the weight room—I mean the guy’s jogging from station to station. He’s working like he’s a 23-year-old free agent coming out of college. The way he talks about football, the way he runs drill work, routes, everything’s gotta be perfect and there’s no gray area. I think that, as a receiver, (is) the best thing about it. You got a leader that demands the best out of you because he gives the best he’s got.”
“Obviously that’s the goal for every team starting the season but I know that we’re willing to put in the work and put in the extra time in the offseason to make that happen,” Decker told said. “I think we really understand that it’s all about reading defenses, being smart, finding the open zone and just hitting the passes on third down and converting because that’s what keeps drives going, that’s what keeps you in ballgames.”
Memo to Broncos wide receivers: dropped passes will not be tolerated.
A.F.C. West Team Needs
Hidden need: wide receiver
True, Peyton Manning can turn copper receivers into gold. But he would much rather polish a receiver who is golden in the first place. He does not have one in Denver. Demaryius Thomas made some big plays last season down the stretch, but he does not run with the over-the-top burst of a true playmaker (even if Ike Taylor begs to differ). Thomas is just a very good possession/stretched-intermediary target. Eric Decker is something of a watered-down Thomas. Andre Caldwell and Matt Willis show flashes as rotational slot guys but aren’t go-to weapons.
I agree with Benoit. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the Broncos decided to take someone like Kendall Wright (Baylor), Rueben Randle (LSU), and perhaps, just perhaps, Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech at pick #25.
The goal? Give Peyton Manning more ammunition.
It sounds crazy, given the needs at DT (and to be clear, I'm not advocating they do anything other than draft a DT with both their first and second picks). But who needs a defensive tackle when you're up by two touchdowns in the 2nd quarter, and the other team is forced to abandon the running game?