Scouting the 2012 Broncos: Deeps and drops

From CBS writer Pat Kirwan:

No team in 2012 had a more radical makeover on offense than the Denver Broncos. Gone is the Tebow wildcat offense and in is the pure NFL no-huddle passing attack led by Peyton Manning. As John Fox said to me, "We are eager to learn from Peyton." The Broncos haven't had a winning record in five years and they are on their third head coach in that same period. 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.”

After a recent reader comment, I was drawn to looking at the drop rates of Denver receivers. Eric Decker, for example, had nine drops over the course of the regular season, and one in the WC game against Pittsburgh. It struck me that this was a high number for him. I didn’t know the background of Demaryius Thomas in terms of this stat, but I knew Decker had a very low drop rate in college. Since Peyton Manning doesn’t suffer mistakes kindly, drop rates would be one area that would matter over the 2012 season. Manning has also been consistent about his criteria over the years - if you get open, you get the ball. If you drop it, you might not be as open as you thought next time around. I decided to look.

Continue reading "Scouting the 2012 Broncos: Deeps and drops"

Broncos offer Clady $28M in guarantees Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Now that the team has reached an impasse in their negotiations on a long-term contract with the representatives for left tackle Ryan Clady, they're taking things public.

Mike Klis reports that Denver's latest offer to the 25-year-old tackle is a five-year deal with $28M in guarantees and a total value of $50M. The fifth-year player is set to make $3.5M in the final year of his rookie contract - a pittance relative to the position he plays. To wit, Klis says that salary would rank Clady 31st among the league's offensive tackles this season.

However, Clady's reps are reportedly using the contract of Browns LT Joe Thomas as a benchmark, and there's quite a gap between the two. Last summer, Thomas signed an eight-year deal with $44M in guarantees and a total value of $92M (most reports call it a seven-year deal, but Rotowire tends to have the most up-to-date figures).

Continue reading "Broncos offer Clady $28M in guarantees Lard"

For one Wyoming town, Zubaz and the Broncos have always been stylish

Bare River, Wyoming – For the 777 residents of Bare River, a dry and dusty coal town in the central part of Wyoming, Zubaz is more than a fashion statement — it's a way of life.  Some say, Zubaz is the very reason the town still exists today.

Zubaz pants, designed in the late 1980s for working out by the wrestling tag team The Road Warriors, feature a tiger-striped print, an elastic waistband, and greater freedom of movement.  It's this freedom that saved Bare River on June 23rd, 1990.

Mike Von Haig, who has been the mayor of Bare River since 1986, recalls the day with precision.

"They'd been warning of floods all week," he said.  "The damn river was surging over its banks.  We thought we might get wiped clean off of the face of the earth. And so we had all of these sand bags the national guard delivered.  But there just wasn't enough bodies to put the sandbags where they needed to go.  This was before the days of Tim Tebow, so we didn't think to kneel down or nothing.  We needed a miracle, and John Elway wasn't on city council."

Continue reading "For one Wyoming town, Zubaz and the Broncos have always been stylish"

Zubaz pants still exist Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Players report to camp on Wednesday, with practices beginning the day after that. The team's annual scrimmage at SAF@MH is less than two weeks away (Saturday, August 4), and presumably this time the starting QB won't be booed.

In a preview of training camp, the DP writers label the secondary as Denver's biggest question mark. But with four starter-quality corners in Champ Bailey, Tracy Porter, Drayton Florence, and Chris Harris, and rookie Omar Bolden getting the opportunity to learn from all of them, we'll call the front seven a much greater concern.

After the team got zero sacks from its starting tackles in 2011, will Justin Bannan (only 31 pressures in three seasons according to PFF) and Ty Warren (hasn't played since 2009) provide anything in the pass rush? Is Joe Mays really a starting Mike linebacker (highest stop rate among inside backers, but also the most missed tackles in 2011)? Will Wesley Woodyard hold up well if he's called on to start six games in place of D.J. Williams? What if D.J. is suspended longer after his DUI trial concludes? If he's cut?

It's just about time to start finding out.

Continue reading "Zubaz pants still exist Lard"

Weekly Limerick Schtick: Elvis Dumervil

Last week's topic was D.J. "That piss ain't human" Williams. This week Elvis Dumervil earned himself the honor:

If Elvis did lift up his shirt
intending some bodily hurt
A ban he will get.
They cannot acquit.
The Broncos and Sacco: inert.

Now give your own Limerick go.  It's not as fun as driving a Land Rover, but it's certainly cheaper.

Bruce Smith sues league, Emmitt says he lied to team docs Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Chargers released guard Kris Dielman from their reserve-retired list yesterday, which prompted some puzzling rumors the 31-year-old was considering a return to play.

Instead, the move is more likely a precursor to legal action from Dielman against the Chargers and the NFL for their disastrous handling of his concussion last season.

Dielman had suffered a head injury during the fourth quarter of an October matchup with the Jets, but remained in the game despite showing signs of a concussion. Following the game, team personnel determined him fit to fly cross-country, even though air travel is thought to worsen post-concussive symptoms. Frighteningly, Dielman suffered a grand mal seizure during the flight and was later hospitalized.

Of course, we can talk all we want about personal responsibility, but does anyone want to suggest that Dielman was in any condition to determine whether it was a good idea for him to get on a plane that evening?

Continue reading "Bruce Smith sues league, Emmitt says he lied to team docs Lard"

Poll: Biggest concern after Manning’s health and form?

A few bones to pick with PFT's overview of the Broncos: it's a bit much to call old friend Andre' Goodman a "longtime liability" and label Ryan Clady "annually overrated."

Also, if there's one spot where Denver is stronger than most, it's at nickel corner, where either Drayton Florence or Chris Harris will be handling business. Here, it's considered a "major question mark."

Continue reading "Poll: Biggest concern after Manning’s health and form?"

Kerry Byrne is still a statistical hack Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! I don't bother linking to Kerry Byrne anymore because the guy is a statistical hack, and his latest column is no exception. But it also mentions the 1998 Broncos, so I figured why not take a closer peek.

I should have resisted the urge, because it gets ugly, and fast.

As expected, the whole thing is a joke, because Byrne tries to make the case that in 1998, the SB 33-losing Chris Chandler had the best year that any QB had had in 42 seasons. Yeah, better than seasons by Joe Montana, Dan Marino, and Steve Young. The guy completed 58.1% of his passes with a very high INT rate of 3.7%, and it's a historically peerless season?

Not quite. As usual, the problem with Byrne is that he picks a stat, declares it to be the best, and then claims it to prove everything thereafter. In this case Yards Per Attempt is his obsession. And yes, it's a good stat - as we always note, rate stats are far better than counting stats. But as we've also discussed plenty of times, there are better QB rate stats than YPA, including AY/A, NY/A and ANY/A, all from PFR. These figures all correlate better to winning than does YPA.

Continue reading "Kerry Byrne is still a statistical hack Lard"

Franchise tag conceived for Elway Lard

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?

Continue reading "Franchise tag conceived for Elway Lard"

Dredging the Prater debate back up (sorry but we haz pollz)

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.

Continue reading "Dredging the Prater debate back up (sorry but we haz pollz)"