Good Morning, Broncos fans! We've mentioned here of late that the NFL's franchise tagging system has been bastardized a bit. Intended originally to keep iconic stars with the teams they are identified with, it has instead functioned recently as a way for teams to hang onto their most important free agent each year.
Clearly, this should almost never be the punter or kicker. But as Albert Breer notes, eleven specialists have been among the 55 players tagged in just the past four years.
Of greater interest to us is that Breer says Denver's Pat Bowlen was the owner lobbying hardest for the franchise tag 20 years ago, for the selfish reason of wanting to ensure John Elway would remain a Bronco for eternity.
Which of course is ironic - in that Dan Reeves drafted twenty-year-old UCLA sophomore Tommy Maddox that spring to eventually replace Elway - passing over Carl Pickens at a time when the Duke needed a top WR in the worst of ways. Jimmy Smith was taken a few picks after Pickens, but I have no idea if he was a consideration for Denver in the first round. Can any of our Broncos historians out there recall what the speculation was back then?
As John Fox said to me, “We are eager to learn from Peyton.”...Now Peyton is the coach on the field and young wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are about to explode. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the two guys who caught 76 passes between them last year combine for 150 receptions this year…
...Manning likes 12 personnel (1RB, 2TE, 2WR) and a no-huddle attack. His former teammate Jacob Tamme told me he takes on the Dallas Clark role which he did for the Colts when Clark got hurt. Joel Dreessen, former Titan and jack-of-all-trades gives the Broncos the flexibility to build a spread set or a two-back set or any other formation in their attack package. There will be a lot of pressure on center J.D. Walton, who will have to learn to check protections constantly as Manning makes multiple changes at the line of scrimmage. Manning is used to Jeff Saturday, who had 13 years of experience in that role. Walton has two years and has never played with the likes of a Peyton Manning.
Don’t think the Broncos will ignore the run game. As Bill Cowher said to me, “Peyton likes the stretch zone run game to set up his play-action pass and he sees so much two high safety coverages he has to take the run.”
You know that ass clown in your fantasy league (it's okay to admit that you play fantasy football, you loser) that, instead of drafting for need or production, drafts all his players from the same team? Well if you've ever thought about playing village idiot yourself and taking all Broncos, this would be the year. I don't recommend the strategy, but when Jacob Tamme blows up, you can at least take credit for being ahead of the curve.
I threw in Cowher's quote because it's excellent. If Manning is even close to his form of 2010, teams will often play this high-safety, war-of-attrition defense to simply stay in the game. If you go into 2012 remembering one thing, you'd do a lot worse than Cowher's quote.
PFF's Khaled Elsayed recently went over three years of pass blocking data for guards and centers, with Denver's starting RG Chris Kuper not faring well in terms of total pressure - a point which will not surprise TJ. As you might have imagined, center J.D. Walton ranks worst at his position, and you know who's at the other end of the spectrum?
Why, it's Jeff Saturday, that's who.
He's the guy the Broncos wanted to sign and reunite with Peyton Manning, but they got outbid by the Packers.
“Gronkowski is in line for the bathroom. There’s a line, two urinals and a stall. They’re all waiting. Gronkowski is with his two brothers, who just looked awesome. He goes into the stall and he turns around to one of his brothers and says, ‘Crossys?’ The second brother goes in, the third brother goes in, and then there’s some guy who’s waiting — some small guy — and they say, ‘Let’s get him too.’ They grab this guy and pull him in, and they all pee in the bathroom together, in the stall.”
Yikes, the poor fourth man in on that Schwartz-crossing episode is likely scarred for life. And unless he was several beverages into his evening, one would have to think he had a bit of that Public Restroom Performance Anxiety that strikes all of us at some point in our lives.
For those who missed it, Gronk's older brother Chris is Denver's new fullback.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Klis reports that contract negotiations between the Broncos and the representatives for LT Ryan Clady are rather far apart. Klis says a deal is unlikely to be done by the beginning of training camp next week, but there is no significance to such a timeline.
Clady is under contract for 2012 at a $3.5M salary ($4.918M cap number), and the team can certainly use its franchise tag on him following the season ($9.3M this year, likely a shade higher next year), and they could do so again the year after that, if necessary. Time is on Denver's side, and as we view it, they essentially have a year to lock Ryan up with a long-term contract.
Presumably both sides would like to get something done sooner than that, but there's really nothing freakout-worthy here. If Clady wants to make more than $3.5M this season (yes, he deserves it, even if he's not been playing as well as he did his first two years), then he'll probably have to agree to a deal within the next month and a half. But midseason extensions happen too, so there's always that.
Welcome, to a redone It's All Over, Fat Man! We've tweaked the design, added more hamsters to the wheels that power this thing, have some new features and — gasp — put up advertising.
The first thing you'll notice is a design tweak, or a complete redesign, depending on where you're reading this. For those viewing on desktop/laptop browsers we focused on readability. If you're on a mobile device you'll notice a much bigger change. This site will now conform to any modern mobile device (think iOS, Android, Windows Mobile 7+). Again, readability was the focus and you should be able to comfortably view this site from iPhone to Nexus 7 to PC.
According to the 911 call from the incident that led to the arrest of Broncos DE Elvis Dumervil on Saturday evening in Miami, the dispute involved an occupant of a white Impala and someone in a silver Mercedes. The caller, presumably the Victoria's Secret employee referred to in earlier reports, describes the Impala occupant as pointing a gun at someone, but she says she doesn't know at whom the gun is aimed.
Police would later order Dumervil out from behind the wheel of a silver Land Rover, where they would find a handgun in the glovebox. They then arrested Dumervil for allegedly having displayed a gun in his waistband to the driver of the Impala.
Mike Klis reports that Elvis was wearing gym pants at the time of the incident, and the explanation now being advanced by Dumervil's people is that the elastic waistband of his pants would not have been sufficient to support the weight of the semiautomatic handgun found in the Land Rover Elvis was driving.
Updated 9:07pm ET
Happy Tuesday, friends. Today, we get to the interesting and original part of this series about the Bartlett Defense, as we discuss coverage concepts. At its core, this defensive idea is about reducing the efficiency with which offenses throw the football. A lot of evidence indicates that championship teams throw well and stop the pass well, so I conceived this scheme with that priority in mind.
Before we get started, let’s put out the links to prior parts of this series, in case you’re just joining us, or you want to refresh your memory:
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The deadline for teams to sign their franchise players to long-term deals was yesterday afternoon, and a few contracts got done just under the gun.
Baltimore did what they absolutely had to do, by signing running back Ray Rice to a five-year deal which includes $24M in guarantees and a total value of $35M. Incentives can potentially lift that number to $40M. Likewise, the Bears finally rewarded their runner/receiver, giving Matt Forte more than $17M in guarantees as part of a four-year, $32M deal.
But what about value? The numbers say Baltimore paid about market value for Rice, while Forte got more than he is worth. And now that these guys are under contract, what about trading them for a bounty of draft choices? Obviously that would never happen, but as always, great food for thought from Burke.
Jacksonville also locked up their tagged player, as kicker Josh Scobee agreed to a four-year deal with $4.75M in guarantees and a total value around $14M. Those figures are both higher than those given Matt Prater by the Broncos ($4.25M, $13M).
Normally, the truth is somewhat equidistant to the different sides of a story. And it remains to be seen whether the Miami Beach police report or Elvis Dumervil's version of events is closer to what actually happened in Miami this weekend. But if the account being disseminated by Elvis's people is to be believed, then Broncos Country can breathe a mighty sigh of relief.
According to Mike Klis, two sources close to Dumervil (his agent and attorney?) say Elvis was not armed during Saturday evening's traffic altercation, and that the gun found in the glovebox of the Land Rover he was driving did not belong to him.