As the draft continues to draw nearer, I've been pondering the Broncos' depth and potential need at cornerback. There’s obviously still the issue of Champ Bailey, who will probably leave or move to safety in a couple or three seasons, but if the right CB is available - and it’s a fairly deep class - is it worth using a high pick? You could say the same about safety, after all - Mike Adams is 31 and not all DBs have Champ’s longevity. Denver just picked up Tracy Porter, though. How do they view this guy? Does he reduce the need to draft a CB this year?
My goal was to get an overview of the relative value of the Tracy Porter pickup, as well as to do a short examination of last year’s starters and see if anything else stood out. Obviously, Syd’Quan Thompson was on IR last year, so he was out. Cassius Vaughn made the report but he also spent a lot of time injured, so his sample is small, and Andre’ Goodman apparently decided that he’d heard enough about his tackling, because he started hitting like a mountain ram in springtime. His coverage stayed good, too, and he had his best overall season as a Bronco, but he, like Champ, will turn 34 this summer. It’s just normal business to look at how the team needs to grow.
Happy Friday the 13th, Broncos fans! According to Jeff Legwold, Bama corner Dre Kirkpatrick is on Denver's short list for what to do with the 25th-overall pick. But for some reason, Legwold thinks it's a big deal that Kirkpatrick didn't have any interceptions last year, as if that should ever be the measure of a cornerback.
As a refresher course, Champ Bailey has had 11 interceptions over the past five seasons after having nabbed 10 in 2006; Darrelle Revis had zero in 2010, and Nnamdi Asomugha had but three picks between 2007 and 2010. Is that what defines these cover corner stalwarts?
We cite this here fairly frequently, but it bears repeating: craptastic ex-Denver corners Tory James (eight in 2004) and Deltha O'Neal (nine in 2001, 10 in 2005) made three Pro Bowls combined, on the basis of interceptions rather than quality overall play. Remember how New England's Devin McCourty made the Pro Bowl (over Champ, originally) after the 2010 season because he picked seven balls? Anyone want to suggest this group compares favorably to the former trio?
Starting NFL cornerbacks are on the field for about 1,000 snaps per year, and we're going to evaluate them based upon five or six plays they do or don't make, or less? Legwold, please.
New Orleans Saints assistant head coach and linebackers coach Joe Vitt will assume the day-to-day activities of suspended head coach Sean Payton, effective Monday, the team announced Thursday.
Loomis said Vitt will provide the best continuity in Payton’s absence. Not yet determined is who will fill in for Vitt once his six-game suspension begins at the start of the regular season.
Sure, replacing one suspended coach with another one definitely provides continuity. But coaching? Not so much.
Update 5:43 pm ET: Adam Schefter reports that offensive line coach Aaron Kromer wll be the interim² coach.
Things sound good in the Gaffney household
Lito Sheppard is the biggest p#$%y mf’er in the world if u c him tell him I said it & it’s whatever…4-12 is my anniversary woke up and couldn’t find my soon 2 be ex wife anywhere. F#$% dat b@#$% I can’t wait till its final in a few weeks…Feelings are for suckas Neva Eva again. Black heart dead soul!!! Get it how u live & I’m outta here.
My beef wit Lito don’t got nothing to do bout a girl he just a person I don’t f#$% wit he lame to me so don’t hit me up wit that. #Realtalk
Ain’t nobody f#$%ed my wife but for anybody saying any slick s@#% better watch ur girl and not let me get hold to her…Last tweet: b@#$%s ain’t grateful no matter what u do for em. Homeboys will change on u. I keeps it 100 don’t read into that’s all it is…I’m done tweetin all u smart asses i be in da 904, 407 & 703 tell me what u think if and when u c me
Gaff apparently didn't learn anything from his Twitter debacle from last year.
Update 5:36 pm ET: Just added some more of Gaff's colorful prose. Jabar and Lito Sheppard were teammates at Florida and again for a few months in 2006 when the Eagles signed Gaff as a free agent but cut him prior to that regular season.
Peyton Manning calls to say thanks
In my time on the beat, which began before Manning arrived in 1998 on a fill-in basis, no player has ever called to say farewell.
Manning said thanks for my work over the years. Classy move. He said everything had happened so fast, but he wanted to call the local writers and express his appreciation for what they had done while he was in Indy.
I’ve always said Manning is the most clever athlete I’ve ever dealt with when it came to how to handle the media. And while his critics will suggest this was just a PR move, I’ll confess I initially thought I wouldn’t write anything about the call. I didn’t want anybody to think it was about me.
As someone who strives to be professional, I am human and will choose to be a bit sentimental about this. I’ll always remember the phone call.
As I said to him, it was a first-class way to say farewell.
Surely, Mark Kiszla got a call just like this from Jay Cutler, right? Right?
New Uniforms and Old Traditions
The former alternate jersey becomes the new primary jersey, as worn by future Hall of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey at the unveiling in New York, the road while will stay the same, and Denver’s alternate jersey, which may be worn for two regular season games, now is the navy blue.
Sacco also mentions that the orange of Crush fame was originally intended to match the color of the Vols, but presumably they changed their minds once they realized Woody Paige was a Tennessee alum.
I ain’t going to say I was sad because the only thing they remember is that pass. You gotta go back and look at the rest of the games. I wasn’t getting no balls and you had to make some of these plays where some players were open and he is not making the throws, but I don’t want to talk bad about Tim, but hey I am happy we got Peyton.
There wasn’t much talk about him, but you know everything on ESPN was all about Tim. That bothered some players too because they would say ‘Tim Tebow Time.’ I felt like it was a team thing. If it wasn’t for the defense most of the time there wouldn’t be no supposed ‘Tim Tebow Time.’
To cover the bases, Tim Tebow did actually target Thomas a fair amount - 81 times (for just 42 receptions) in 12 games, including playoffs. As for how many of those throws were catchable, that's another story. By PFF's measure, only one of those targets was picked off, and six were dropped by Demaryius.
In another interview, Thomas says a plate and three screws were recently removed from the left pinky he had injured last year. DT also sounds like he was as surprised to go at #22 in the draft to Denver as we all were, and he admits it will "be kind of tough" to adjust to Peyton Manning's acumen at changing plays at the LOS.
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.