Happy Tuesday, friends. I’m a little hard up for stuff to write about today, so I decided to eat some low-hanging fruit. Being a person who subscribes to ESPN’s Insider service, I get an interesting mix of useful and useless material. Among the useless stuff that I get is articles from K.C. Joyner, The Football Scientist, or as I like to call him, The “Football Scientist.”
Joyner was an early screamer about football stats, and how there weren’t enough of them, and how they weren’t good enough. He had a point, but his personal capacity to remedy the situation was, shall we say, limited. He created a bunch of metrics, many based upon his own subjective observations. For an example, I give you Good Blocking Yards Per Attempt. What exactly does “Good” mean? It sounds like he’s measuring something that’s not exactly measurable.
I guess it’s good to be first on the scene, because then ESPN pays you to write stupid articles and pimp your book through oblique references to it, as if everybody bought and memorized the thing. Actually, it’s good to be second too, because they do the same thing with Football Outsiders, who also acts as if their own proprietary stats are the bomb-diggity, be-all, end-all fountain of all football knowledge. I’d like to see them have a nerd fight – My VYPA is better than your DVOA! I’ll unleash my 23rd-level warlock on your paladin! Pokemon to the rescue! (I know, I’m kind of an a-hole jock – sue me.)
Demaryius Thomas sat out the second half of practice with tightness in his Achilles; Thomas missed the first five games of 2011 after tearing his Achilles in February of 2011. Ryan Harris,
Von Anthony Miller, and Greg Orton (all ankles) also left early, while Ronnie Hillman did conditioning work as he works back from a slight hamstring injury. Justin Bannan (calf) and Quinton Carter (knee, hamstring) remain sidelined.
Orlando Franklin practiced for the first time since having suffered a concussion a week earlier and took some snaps at right guard as Chris Kuper continues to work back to full strength.
Robert Ayers and Kevin Vickerson both took first-team snaps, and wideouts Matt Willis and Jason Hill impressed.
Working on the two-minute drill, Peyton Manning and Caleb Hanie each led drives that culminated in field goals, while Brock Osweiler threw a pick on the second play of his possession.
For the second time in the span of 48 hours, the Broncos have added a veteran defender on a one-year deal - this time signing 36-year-old linebacker Keith Brooking. They acquired safety Jim Leonhard on Saturday and placed him on the active PUP list a day later.
Brooking (6-2, 240) is entering his 15th NFL season after 11 years with Atlanta and three in Dallas, where he went from a 16-game starter in 2010 (906 snaps) to seeing more limited play last season (three starts, 408 snaps) after being replaced by Sean Lee.
Let the training camp intrigue officially begin: the Denver Broncos just released their first depth chart. In the spirit of the coverage of the Olympic Games, let me offer you a SPOILER ALERT before you read the next sentence just in case you wanted to wait until Thursday's preseason game.
Peyton Manning held off Caleb Hanie at quarterback.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, don't read too much into this depth chart (which is what we're about to do). It's only the first of many depth charts. In other words, it's a working document.
Now, let's experience some irrational exuberance, or in some cases, rational melancholy.
Your Gut Reaction begins. And remember Rule #7: Gut Reactions will last as long as they have to.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Saints and Cardinals opened the preseason last night at the annual HOF game; Drew Brees was Drew Brees, and New Orleans won 17-10 in a game that featured only three second-half points (although Cardinals DB Justin Bethel impressed with a blocked FG).
With the referees association amidst a labor dispute with the NFL, replacement officials got off to an inauspicious start by screwing up the coin toss. Embattled Arizona QB Kevin Kolb also had a rough debut, completing just one pass out of four attempts, and bruising his ribs on the play.
Prior to tonight's Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, Deion Sanders said the following on NFL Network regarding Peyton Manning:
"He just doesn't have the weapons to get the ball to."
Sanders then went on to predict the Broncos wouldn't go any farther than Tim Tebow took the Broncos last year.
So there you go. Here's hoping that non-weapons Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas, Andre Caldwell, Jacob Tamme, Ronnie Hillman, and Willis McGahee can get something done.
Mario Fannin's NFL dreams have been put off for another season. For the second straight year, the former Auburn running back has suffered a season-ending injury, this time a torn Achilles tendon.
Fannin, who joined the Broncos as an undrafted free agent in 2011, was hurt during the team's scrimmage yesterday; he tore an ACL during training camp last summer, almost a year to the day. The 24-year-old was expected to compete for a backup spot behind Willis McGahee, and had earned praise for his combination of size (5-11, 224) and speed (4.37-second forty time).
One of the biggest issues of Denver's offseason has concerned what the team will do once linebacker D.J. Williams is eligible to return from suspension.
Williams faces a six-game ban for having violated the league's policy against performance-enhancing drugs, has been relegated to inaction throughout training camp, and was not in uniform for the Broncos' scrimmage yesterday at SAF@MH.
Complicating matters is that Williams may face an even longer ban pending his upcoming DUI trial.
Fifth-year veteran Wesley Woodyard has operated in Williams's starting weakside linebacker spot for the entirety of camp.
Also adding to the intrigue is Denver's Week 7 bye; as it now stands, the 30-year-old would be allowed to rejoin the team during the bye week, and play Week 8 when the Broncos host the Saints, a team ravaged by its own suspensions thanks to the recent bounty scandal.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! If the multiple record-setting crowds at Dove Valley weren't evidence enough, the turnout for yesterday's scrimmage (video, photos, more photos) at SAF@MH showed in a stunning way that Peytonpalooza is all the rage in Denver.
With the team telling reporters it expected 20,000-30,000 fans to attend, a whopping 41,304 fans showed up to watch Peyton Manning make his first appearance at SAF@MH as a Bronco, and we're talking about practice. To put that in perspective, the average attendance last year for regular season games in Cincinnati was 49,251.
The remarkable crowd was nonplussed by a bunch of short passes by Manning in seven-on-seven drills, so he audibled to a deep post to Demaryius Thomas to begin the team element. Although the 50-yard pass resulted in an overthrow, Willis McGahee somehow claimed fault for that.
Following a workout today, veteran safety Jim Leonhard (5-8, 188) signed a one-year deal with the Broncos. The former Wisconsin Badger is entering his eighth NFL season, having spent three years in Buffalo, one in Baltimore, and three with the Jets. He worked out for the Bills on Thursday and reportedly received an offer, but chose to continue on to Denver anyway.
In seven seasons, Leonhard has played in 94 games (60 starts), accumulating 254 tackles, 66 assists, 3.5 sacks, six interceptions for 141 yards and one touchdown, 25 passes defensed, three forced fumbles, and four recoveries. The 29-year-old has also returned 82 punts for 820 yards, and 12 kickoffs for 256 yards.
Updated 9:24pm ET