Happy Tuesday, friends. This is the week where we start preseason football, and I’m very excited to get my first look at what’s going on. As a Broncos expatriate in Cleveland, I’ll be listening to the game on 850KOA.com on Thursday night, and then I just realized that I won’t get to see the game until probably Sunday, which is pretty lame. I’ll have to listen super-intently, I guess.
This is the incredible (hopefully once-in-a-lifetime) “2 Weddings in 2 States in 2 Days” weekend, which I may or may not have mentioned in this space. If I did, picture me smirking for my critics who don’t like me talking about anything but football. If I didn’t, it’s pretty much the same picture. Funny how that works. The moral of the story, as always, is that I do what I want, and bitching about it only makes me more defiant.
Anyway, on Friday morning, I leave at the crack of dawn to fly to Providence, RI. I’ll drive across from there to my hometown of Norwich, CT for the wedding of one of my oldest friends, Tony Orsini, to his lovely fiancée Anastasia Barber. Saturday morning, I’m flying back to Cleveland to attend the wedding of my fraternity brother Drew Saum (you know him as the guy who rigged the Madden 12 election) to the equally lovely Molly Watson. It should be lots of fun, and I congratulate both couples.
So, yeah, Sunday for the visual game experience. I think it will be the first time in about 4 years that I’ve had to miss seeing Broncos football game for a significant amount of time after the game has played, and I’m not going to make a habit of it. I hope that everybody who can see the game before me is paying attention, and is applying the stuff that we talk about here, and I’ll catch up with y’all when I can. For now, let’s get to current football events. Ready…. BEGIN!!
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Andrew Mason writes that barring injury, it would be a "shock" if Kyle Orton does not start the Broncos' regular season opener
in versus Oaktown. He says Orton has clearly been the Broncos' best QB throughout camp so far, showing more polish, command and smoothness than Tim Tebow, Brady Quinn, or Adam Weber, and that yesterday was no different. Mason also makes it a point to clarify that Tebow was not booed on Saturday, but rather the fans were cheering "Doom" for Elvis Dumervil when he sacked the popular QB.
Meanwhile, as we approach Thursday's preseason opener in Dallas, Mason says John Fox & Co. won't be installing a game plan so much as preparing players for the more routine aspects of game day. Plus, Eddie Royal was pulled from practice as what Fox called a "preventative" measure for the WR's surgically-repaired hip, while D.J. Williams and LenDale White practiced in pads for the first time since camp started. Finally, although he's listed as fifth on the team's depth chart at TE, Julius Thomas was working with starter Daniel Fells in two-TE sets.
Broncos fans were treated to seeing their favorite players on a very special day on Saturday. Before I get to recapping the week in camp and at the Invesco scrimmage, I wanted to take a minute to congratulate one of the most unique players to ever put on pads. Shannon Sharpe was one of a kind - his heart, his irrepressible nature, his remarkable natural skills and his unflinching work ethic, learned in the fields under the hot Georgia sun have been an inspiration to fans all over the league and especially in Bronco Country. Let it sink it, Shannon. You earned it. Thank you for all the memories, Shay - they’re endlessly sweet.
If by any chance you missed his enshrinement speech, do yourself a favor and catch it here.
The Broncos have released their first official depth chart of the year; some brief observations:
Without a doubt, the biggest stunner is that Chris Kuper, who received over $13M in guarantees as part of a contract extension in June of 2010 and has been a fixture at RG for four seasons, is listed with the third-team offense behind Russ Hochstein and Eric Olsen. Either this is motivational in nature, or the Broncos really will be scouring the waiver wire for linemen, and hard. FWIW, TJ has been telling me for a long time that he doesn't get why Kuper receives so much praise. Well, apparently Kuper is killing it at practice today, because just in the past hour he's jumped back up to the first team! Or, it was just a typo by the guys running the official site. (Thanks, Royalwithcheese)
2. Despite all the accolades for rookie Julius Thomas' play thus far in camp, and speculation that Richard Quinn's job was in jeopardy, Quinn sits with the second teamers behind newly-acquired Daniel Fells, with Thomas down with the fifth team and fellow rookie Virgil Green sixth.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Freeman writes that although it's far from a certainty that HGH testing will be instituted by the NFL, the players as a whole would like for it to happen. Freeman says the players he's spoken to about the topic estimate HGH use at between 10-20% of the league today, and that they see it as a growing problem that must be addressed. Contrary to the report originally obtained by the NY Times, it appears the league's proposed program will in fact include random testing, including unlimited testing during the regular season - so it's no joke.
But according to Freeman, the biggest hurdle at this point appears to be the good old trust factor - players point to the StarCaps case which has hung over the heads of Kevin Williams and Pat Williams for several years now as a reason to doubt the testing program. Hopefully, the two sides can come to an agreement here - the NFL continues to be the best pro sports league we have here, and leading the way on HGH testing would only further that standing.
We interrupt your regularly scheduled Tim Tebow/Kyle Orton debate for some other news this afternoon.
The Denver Broncos reported that undrafted free-agent running back Mario Fannin cleared waivers and is now back with the Broncos on injured reserve.
Yesterday the Broncos waived Fannin due to a knee injury he suffered in practice earlier in the week.
Robert Ayers posted some tweets yesterday admonishing the community about the booing of Kyle Orton on Saturday. They read,
Really wish fans stopped boing Orton... He is our qb and our coach thinks he gives us the best chance of winning... Fans please respect that...Not against Tebow at all.. I support whoever is our starting qb.. Regardless who it is.. We win and lose as a team... #TEAM
I’d echo his thoughts - folks, it’s just not right. We’re better than this. As a community, we need to start showing it. Cheer for all of them, or cheer for your favorite players - and if you don’t like the next one, please just put a sock in it. This isn’t Philadelphia, for heaven’s sake. I’d like to see the next crowd go out of their way to cheer like banshees for all of the Broncos.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team scrimmaged yesterday at the Big IF, and what else to focus on but the quarterbacks? Both Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn performed much better than did Tim Tebow, who took three sacks, completed just one of three passes and had both of his possessions end fruitlessly.
Yet incredibly, the "fans" in attendance booed Orton as he slid short of a conversion on a third-down run. Broncos fans booing one of their own players (who may even be the starting QB) during a scrimmage? Wow, that's mind-blowing. All Orton has said is that he plans to be in Denver and be the starter - he hasn't publicly uttered a single negative word about Tebow, and more importantly, there are preseason games yet to be played. The QBs' performances during those sessions will go a long way towards determining who among them will start. I don't know about you, but I'm going to presume (hope?) those folks who were booing Kyle yesterday were just Gators fans who've just recently "converted" into Broncos fans. You know, on April 22, 2010...
The IAOFM staff discuss the career and impact of former Broncos and Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe, who will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame today in Canton, Ohio. Sharpe is the fourth Bronco to enter the Hall, joining John Elway, Gary Zimmerman and Floyd Little, and he retired following the 2003 season as the NFL's all-time leader in receptions, yards, and touchdowns by a tight end.
TJ - Obviously, guys like Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez should be paying royalties to Shannon Sharpe. Sharpe transformed the position of tight end at a time in which the league was really morphing into a passing league. The way in which tight ends are used today is a reflection of several players (Ozzie Newsome, Kellen Winslow, Todd Christensen), but Sharpe more so than any of them. His routes in the seam, across the middle, and in the soft spots of a zone defense set the stage for today's explosive offenses.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's a great day to be a Broncos fan, as Shannon Sharpe will deservedly be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Of course, Shannon follows John Elway, Gary Zimmerman and Floyd Little as the fourth Bronco to gain entrance to the HOF. Should make for an emotional night, and frankly I cannot wait for Shannon's speech. I'm a bit short on time, so I won't write more here. Enjoy the day, friends!