In case anyone has been comatose, MIA or oblivious this week, Peyton Hillis has been rapidly making a name for himself in camp. The past two times that Josh McDaniels ahs been on film being interviewed and was asked about the Arkansas product, he's laughed before going on to respond. Hillis is a name on everyone's lips, because he's showing everything that the MHR has talked about this offseason.
A while back, I posted some work relating to the principles of kicking that were laid out in Stephan Fatsis' book A Few Seconds of Panic. In it, Fatsis describes the process of learning to kick, and of extending the 'life' of the kicking leg. Despite media and fan rumors that kicker Matt Prater 'lost his confidence' later in the 2008 season, a more accurate analysis is simply that he over-kicked during the competition in training camp as well as in practice and experienced the kind of leg fatigue that is a normal issue among younger kickers. This also points to a weakness in the Special Teams coaching that year.
Years ago, when teaching western doctors about the principles of Oriental medicine, I taught my students about the three energies. There is Yang - the power of activity; hot and vital, sometimes called the energy of the heavens. There is Yin - passivity; cold and hard, the energy of the earth, and there is the interaction between yin and yang that creates the phenomena of our world. They call that energy 'The 10,000 Things'. Still later, I found that there are also names for similar phenomena in Sanskrit. Rajas is the vibration of action, similar to Yang. Tamas is the vibration of inaction, similar to Yin and Sattwa is the vibration in which those two come into balance (The 10,000 Things). A western discussion of the same basic principles from a philosophy standpoint was expressed by Hegel as thesis, synthesis and antithesis.
Our 2009 Denver Broncos Preview concludes with today's section on the Linebackers. This is, perhaps, the group that has seen the most change from the forgettable performances of the 2008 season. The move to a base 3-4, using an attacking two-gap approach (which several players have indicated that they are learning) and being varied at time in some hybrid form (such as a 4-3 under or over) is about the farthest thing possible from the speed-oriented base 4-3 approach of the Broncos' past. However, it harkens back to a day when Joe Collier pulled the strings on a fierce defense.
I hear Tyler Durden is going to pay a little visit to the boys in orange and blue next week to set some ground rules for training camp.
Tyler Durden 8 rules for Bronco's Training Camp:
I commented last week on my breakdown of the Cornerback position that I was lucky to have drawn a position that Broncos fans can clearly feel very positive about. The offensive tackle position is in even better shape, and actually, is the strength of the team. Expect more great offensive-line play in 2009, and it will start from the outside.
During last year's reloading season, I spent a fair bit of effort in writing about the offensive line, which, at the end of 2007, was pretty lousy. I talked about my concerns, and why I advocated the selection of a Tackle in the first round in 2008 (which ultimately came to fruition with the selection of Ryan Clady.) In 2008, the Broncos line was terrific, and it was the OT position which led the way. After the jump, we'll discuss the individual players at the position, and the prospects for further improvement in 2009.
Bronco Fans, training camp is next week. It's time to face the cold hard facts.
Your Denver Broncos are now the worst team in the NFL. It ain't even close. In 2009, you ought to prepare yourself for imminent doom (and I don't mean Dumervil).
How can I make such a claim? After all, the Broncos do reside in a division home to California's 10th best football team (USC, 49ers, UCLA, Cal, Fresno State, San Diego State, and a handful of junior colleges best the Raiders). And the Chiefs scalped themselves when they shipped Tony Gonzalez to Atlanta (welcome to KC, Matt Cassel!). Even media darling San Diego (Chris Berman's wet dream in powder blue) seems to change character more often than Dr. Jeykll on a potion binge.
So the Broncos can't be the worst. No way. Not possible.
The Broncos and Mike Shanahan developed quite a reputation for running the ball over the past 14 seasons. Denver basically became known as Running Back Central, where Shanahan and backs coach Bobby Turner turned several late-rounders into stars. While Shanny and Turner worked their magic in 2008 by turning seventh-rounder Peyton Hillis into a Denver cult hero, the season was noted more for its multitude of backfield injuries. New coach Josh McDaniels is no stranger to running-back attrition, as the 2008 Patriots suffered a similar fate; rookie BenJarvus Green-Ellis started 3 games after being elevated from the practice squad.
Lesson learned, McDaniels and GM Brian Xanders spent the offseason turning over the depth chart. Among the pair's first moves were cutting P.J. Pope, Alex Haynes and Anthony Alridge; the departure of Cory Boyd followed soon after. Xanders and McDaniels began adding new runners at the start of free agency, signing Correll Buckhalter, LaMont Jordan and J.J. Arrington in short order. Next came the draft, and the consensus of fans and experts alike was that Denver would emerge with at least one more back; the only question was when that would occur.
The cornerback position has reputedly been a strength of the Broncos since 2004, when Champ Bailey was acquired in a trade for Clinton Portis. Of course, that has never really fully been the case. Bailey struggled somewhat in that 2004 season, and his accompaniment at the position was terrible. I am sure we all remember the complete coverage debacle against the Colts in the January 2005 playoffs. In 2005, to make up for the shortcoming, the Broncos drafted Darrent Williams, Domonique Foxworth, and Karl Paymah, landing a very good player who tragically died much too soon, an average player who is a very bright and upstanding guy, and a total stiff who has never figured out the NFL game.
Going into the draft, a lot of folks expected that tight end was one position where the Broncos would stand pat. Before the first pick of the third round, that belief bit the dust. The Broncos shocked many observers by taking on second-round pick Richard Quinn. Having graduated from North Carolina in December of 2008, Quinn has a reputation as a talented blocker whose receiving skills were suspect, due to lack of evidence (12 receptions in his college career, which had several pre-NFL players on the roster). Tony Scheffler was the subject of trade rumors. Was Quinn a replacement? Where were the Broncos going?