Denver has been struggling with a single problem for over a year now. We’ve moved to the 3-4 defense, and often run the 5-2 version of it, while increasingly getting the personnel out there to run a 4-3 when the Winkster finds it appropriate. There’s not much question that the team has developed a substantial change in almost every area. We’ve increased the size of the DL (and now they have to get enough time to work as a unit, a factor that is too often ignored by the less informed fan), and we’ve got larger LBs. And although he’s currently injured for this season, we also have last year’s NFL sack leader in Elvis Dumervil, along with 2nd-year player Robert Ayers, who may give Doom a run for his money when the former returns.
It’s no small thing, remaking a team. Every position needs to be recalibrated, thought through carefully, and the best player that we can put into that slot, the one that gives the team the best chance to win, has to be right where he belongs. And that’s where Denver is struggling right now - because when you look over the team, here’s what I see:
Good Morning, Broncos fans. Unfortunately, that return to O-Line health I was talking about yesterday? Not so much - Ryan Harris missed practice yesterday and is unlikely to play on Sunday. One would have to think this means Zane Beadles will be spending a lot of time with his close friend Daniel Graham. Also not practicing were Champ Bailey and Andre’ Goodman, although both have a chance of playing. Jamal Williams did not practice, but he is not injured and it seems like a weekly thing for him to get Thursdays off. Chris Kuper and Wesley Woodyard were both limited in practice. The good news is that Darcel McBath and Laurence Maroney were full practice participants, and those players will boost perhaps the two most important weapons against Peyton & Co. - running the ball and defending the pass. Meanwhile, the RB shuffle continues as Lance Ball was added to the practice squad a few days after getting cut and replaced by Andre Brown. Today is the Broncos’ private memorial for Kenny McKinley.
Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions about the state of the Denver Broncos. Got a titillating question? Put a dollar bill into the Dude’s G-String and he might answer your question—after bowling practice.
TJ, after the passing of Kenny McKinley, are you still planning on coming out this week with a Mail Revue? With your sense of humor, it would be good medicine for all Broncos fans to see it.
—George, Lakewood, Colorado
George: I’m glad you sent in your question. We debated whether to do a Mail Revue this week, but after a few days of consideration, we decided in favor of it, figuring that Broncos fans would enjoy some humor during a tough week. So I’m giving it my best. Here goes.
Good Morning, Broncos fans. Champ Bailey, Andre’ Goodman and Wesley Woodyard all missed practice yesterday with injuries. Meanwhile, Ryan Harris, Chris Kuper, Laurence Maroney and Darcel McBath all returned to practice in limited fashion; all four had been out of action for some time, so this is a big development for the Broncos. Considering how important it will be to both possess the ball and put up points on Sunday versus Peyton & Company, potentially getting the starting offensive line intact couldn’t come at a better time. Plus, Denver added LB Diyral Briggs to the practice squad. Briggs was an undrafted rookie last year for the 49ers, who waived him two weeks ago. The Broncos are holding a memorial for Kenny McKinley tomorrow. He will be buried Friday in Georgia.
Note: Each Wednesday, we take a look at a critical coaching decision from the prior week’s game that had an impact in the final score—from a statistical point.
As we’ll find out throughout this year, it’s not always Josh McDaniels who has to make the tough decisions. Sometimes it’s the other team’s head coach. This was the case against Seattle last week when Pete Carroll, down 7-24, faced a 4th-and-2 late in the 3rd quarter. The Seahawks were at the Denver 20-yard line and had just moved the ball quickly down the field from their own 20. Carroll had the following options:
1) Go for the 1st-down
2) Kick the field goal
Good Morning, Broncos fans. Yesterday was another somber day for the Broncos, as the organization began its mourning process for their late teammate Kenny McKinley. Coach McDaniels and Wes Woodyard spoke about McKinley, for whom there will be a moment of silence at Sunday’s game versus the Colts. The Broncos will wear a decal of McKinley’s number 11 on their helmets and his locker will be left in tact for the season.
Here is the Broncos’ video tribute to McKinley.
Criticizing Josh McDaniels is lots of fun, and it’s not too hard to do. I mean, let’s face it. He’s young, (the same age as me, incidentally) and he thinks he knows how to build and run a winning football program. It’s the same kind of deal as with Raheem Morris, who I’ll be writing about on Tuesday evening. (I have a planned event tonight… sorry that my around the league stuff will have to wait a day.) How can it be possible that these young guys would dare to act in complete defiance to the football cognoscenti? (Think about it… it’s really funny to consider fools like Peter King, Mark Kiszla, Woody Paige, and Pete Prisco as being part of a cognoscenti, isn’t it? No? How about an intelligentsia? I didn’t see Dinner for Schmucks, but I’m picturing some distinct similarities.)
Sunday’s home-opening 31-14 win over the Seahawks was a game of many firsts, rarities and different experiences. Near the top of all of those - which included Demaryius Thomas’ first game, first reception and first TD as a Denver Bronco - was the idea, bizarre to the point of absurdity only a year ago, that one of the many key players was Jarvis Moss, last year’s scout team MVP (which was the equivalent, said one wag, of being the world’s tallest midget). But Jarvis Moss’ contribution wasn’t small in the least. Another player who once was given up as a waste of good roster space has risen from the issues that weighted him down during the first years of his NFL career. Moss’ box score showed 2 solo tackles, one assist and a sack, but his impact on the game - and of the game on his career - could not be counted solely by stats in a game book.
It is a somber morning in Broncos Land, as the team finds itself mourning the loss of its third player in less than four years. WR Kenny McKinley was found dead in his home yesterday afternoon of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. McKinley was only 23, leaving behind a young son. Drafted 141st overall in the 2009 Draft, McKinley returned 3 punts and 7 kickoffs last season before injuring his knee during a Week 16 game at Philadelphia. McKinley was placed on IR and had knee surgery, only to recover and suffer another season-ending knee injury this August. Josh McDaniels had the following to say:
Kenny had a promising future on the football field, but more importantly, he was a great teammate whose smile and personality could light up the room. This is a tragic loss for our football team, and his family is in all of our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
Our thoughts here at IAOFM go out to the family, friends and teammates of Kenny McKinley. We hope he has found a better place and may he rest in peace.
Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley was found dead today. He was 23.
“Everyone with the Broncos is shocked and saddened by the loss of Kenny McKinley,” team owner Pat Bowlen said in a statement. “He was part of the Broncos’ family and will be greatly missed by our organization. My most heartfelt condolences go out to Kenny’s family and friends.”
The Denver Post is reporting that McKinley apparently took his own life:
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson confirmed McKinley’s death, and said he was waiting on a field report from investigators before releasing more information this evening. He would not elaborate on how McKinley died.
“It was apparently a suicide, but we’re still investigating,” he said.