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?
The New Orleans Saints, along with coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt, were notified Monday that after careful consideration of their appeals, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld the discipline that was imposed for continuing violations of the league’s anti-bounty rule that endangered player safety over a three-year period.
Not that we're surprised or anything.
Payton's suspension will begin on April 16, and from then on he cannot have any contact with the team until at least after the Super Bowl, when he can apply for reinstatement to the league.
It's Lying Season for the NFL (moreso than usual), but it's no great secret the Broncos have a significant need at defensive tackle, again. Last month I profiled Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox, who is expected to be long gone when Denver makes its first pick at #25, provided they remain there. If that scenario indeed plays out, what will be the Broncos' options?
Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy has been talked about quite a bit. Certainly, cornerback is a point of need: perhaps of greatest need other than under tackle. Other folks will have other perspectives, but I think that in general, while interior OL, MLB (unless they like Nate Irving), RB, and possibly safety are all areas of need in degree, press-man coverage CBs and one-gap penetrating DTs might be the hardest to find as the draft moves on.
There are always the players who work out later in the draft, but my feeling is that the lines and the CBs are essential to Denver’s success this year. So is the Mike, but since we don’t know what Denver’s plans for Irving are, and we do on these two positions, I’m going to take the step of looking at the most desirable of the available DTs in Denver’s theoretical scope of scheme - the penetrating under tackle. Sadly, letting Brodrick Bunkley get away has also played hob with the nose tackle position, and some of these players make sense at either slot.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The struggles continue for 2011 fourth-rounder Julius Thomas, whose high-ankle sprain last year allowed him just four games played and one catch. According to his father, Thomas underwent surgery last week to repair ligament damage in that ankle, and his availability for training camp is in doubt.
Thomas's lingering injury calls to Andrew Mason's mind the Denver failure of basketball convert Wesley Duke, who dressed for three games and caught just a pair of passes after being hailed as the next Antonio Gates by Shanny & Company. Meanwhile, Mason is glad Tim Tebow was never as creative in retelling history during his time with the Broncos as he was yesterday, when he happened to squeeze an Easter Sunday sermon into his busy football schedule.
How much do teams actually factor in the standardized 50-question test? The Pats have had some pretty good Wonderlic guys, most notably tight end Benjamin Watson. He scored a 48.
”Does a higher Wonderlic mean you’ll perform better on the football field? It might, or it might not,” said Watson, who was signed by Cleveland as a free agent in 2010. ”A person’s football ability might be totally different than their ability to score high on an aptitude test. I mean, I understand why the test is there. They want to have some type of standardized benchmark. They want to compare, and keep everyone on the same level. But when you look at it, a Wonderlic score doesn’t have as much to do with football as your film does in college and your body of work.”
Clearly, it doesn't take a Wonderlic wonder to play NFL football. In fact, I'd say the only time the Wonderlic has real significance is when one debates (over a beer) John Elway and Dan Marino.
It's worth repeating (especially to Marino himself, who is very annoyed by the fact): Marino scored a 15 on his Wonderlic, and although he won a lot of passing titles, he could never figure out the zone blitz. Here's a paragraph describing Marino from the book Blood, Sweat, and Chalk:
"The newness of the scheme was what really made it fun in those years, with Pittsburgh and Carolina," says [Dom] Capers. "Teams weren't ready for it. There were very good teams that had a lot of trouble with it. Miami had real problems, because Dan Marino had become so accustomed to making man-to-man reads that the fire zones really seemed to confuse him." [Dick] LeBeau recalls talking to Marino after a game and asking him what reads he was making: "He said, 'I had no idea what I was reading.'"
The zone blitz is another reason why Marino (and Jim Kelly, who also scored a 15) liked to run the no huddle. The defense didn't have time to call a zone blitz. It left Marino (and his feeble mind) with man-to-man coverage; further, it allowed him to use his real talent: his cannon arm.
(Note & disclaimer: Author is biased to John Elway, the Denver Broncos; he hates anyone who suggests that Dan Marino or Jim Kelly is a better quarterback than the Broncos' current executive).
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Dan Pompei says the Broncos' acquisition of Peyton Manning, their trade of Tim Tebow to New Jersey, the signings of Alex Smith in San Francisco and Matt Flynn with Seattle, and Shanny's trade up to the #2 pick have created a sense of desperation for the teams that failed to land a big QB fish this offseason.
And the potential outcome of this urgency is A&M passer Ryan Tannehill flying up draft boards, perhaps even into the top five or ten picks to the Browns at four, Dolphins at eight, or the Chiefs at #11. Why? Because it's all about quarterbacks in this league, as the last nine Super Bowls have been won by the Manning brothers (three combined), Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger (two each), Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees (one each).
Adam Teicher says that after having passed up on Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez, and Josh Freeman in recent years, Tannehill could be the guy that makes KC pounce. As Teicher sees it, the Chiefs roster has few holes, with QB being perhaps the most glaring one.
Tonight, Adam Caplann tweeted:
The #Buccaneers and DT Amobi Okoye agreed to a one-year, two mill deal, his agents Darin Morgan and Ian Greengross confirmed.
The Broncos were rumored to be interested in Okoye for over a week, although this interest was never confirmed by the Broncos.
Meanwhile, we await news on both Justin Bannan and Marcus Thomas.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The fallout from the Gregg Williams pre-game speech continues; documentarian Sean Pamphilon says he did not violate his agreement with ex-Saint Steve Gleason by releasing the damning audio clip.
Several current and ex-players chimed in after hearing the speech: Giants legend Carl Banks interpreted it as 90-95% metaphorical coach-speak; Vikings punter Chris Kluwe says that other 10% is a big problem; Cris Carter thinks Williams should be banned for life; Antonio Pierce says he heard the same speech from every defensive coordinator he played for in the NFL.
Mike Lombardi echoes Mike Silver's column from yesterday in stating that Williams's status as a virtual independent contractor with full control over his defenses is what permitted him to operate as he did.
Earlier in the week, Football Outsiders reported that in 2011, Champ Bailey gave up more yards after the catch (YAC) than any other cornerback in the league.
Was this a sign that Bailey was getting older, losing a step, or declining in skills?
On the surface, it's easy to look at Bailey's YAC stat and smoke the crack (and become immediately paranoid). If you had not watched a Broncos game all year, you'd assume Bailey was either missing a lot of tackles after the receiver caught the ball or he was getting beat deep badly. Luckily, the gang at FO qualified the numbers:
Now, let's be clear: These YAC allowed numbers generally don't say much about the actual quality of a cornerback. There's generally very little correlation between a cornerback's rank in Success Rate and his rank in YAC allowed. Still, it is very strange to see Champ Bailey giving up the most average YAC of any starting cornerback in 2011 -- and by a wide margin. Isn't he known as an excellent tackler for a cornerback? Yes, and there isn't much evidence that this is an issue of tackling. We only recorded Bailey with two broken tackles on plays where he was in coverage. He just seemed to have a few more plays than usual where guys got behind him on short- and mid-range routes.
As we always preach around these parts, stats are nothing without context. So let's provide some when it comes to Bailey and his YAC (not to be confused with GOAT, which is purely a term reserved for Norv Turner).