Much of what has been written regarding the Broncos' draft outlook has focused heavily on the issue of which player the team takes at number two, or whether they trade down and try to pick up an extra choice or two. That’s an important decision, no question. Denver’s offensive and defensive lines need help, and free agency may not happen in anything like its usual manner, so deciding whether there’s a player at #2 that’s worth the pick or whether going for more picks is a better option ranks right up there with the call on 4th and goal with 3 seconds left on the clock - you can’t afford to get this one wrong. On that issue, I found myself recalling a poster that was common when I was in college, and it probably stayed around. It only said,
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil: for I am the meanest SOB in the valley
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The NFL's Competition Committee passed some changes to kickoff procedures yesterday, although not in as drastic a form as originally proposed. The ball will indeed be moved from the 30-yard line to the 35, reversing a change the league had made (to make kickoffs more exciting, naturally) prior to the 1994 season. But unlike the first proposal, touchbacks will still place the ball at the 20-yard line, and the two-man wedge remains legal. Meanwhile, the coverage team will only be allowed a 5-yard running start rather than one of 10 or 15 yards. What do these changes mean for the Broncos? Firstly, Matt Prater becomes even more valuable - unless he's facing strong winds, he should be able to get a touchback on every kick at the Big IF and reach the end zone on the road consistently. The downside is that Denver has a more dynamic crew of kick returners than they've had in decades (Eddie Royal, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Cassius Vaughn), yet their positive contributions will more often be turned into touchbacks.
Another significant change was to the play review system - all scoring plays will now be reviewable by the replay official. This is a good move for everyone, as coaches no longer have to weigh the risk of losing challenges and/or timeouts when considering whether to protest a questionable (and potentially game-changing) play. More importantly, a missed call by the on-field officials will still be correctable even if a team is out of challenges or timeouts; this was the most unfair facet of the replay system, bringing a game-show quality to the NFL. Good riddance.
Check the picture, friends. It's 9 PM on Monday night, and I just got out of class. I had a busy day in the office, with another one starting preternaturally early (for me, anyway) tomorrow. I also need to devote some time to my impending housing situation tonight. I've decided that I have three hours to contribute tonight, and I thought that I'd reprise something I experimented with last year, which I called the Rational Actor Mock Draft. Last year, I did it as a PowerPoint slide deck and voiceover, but I'm going to write it this time.
This is conceptually different than other mockery for a few reasons:
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Luis DeLoureiro took an interesting look back at some of the more notable Wonderlic scores both high and low among quarterbacks. While there have certainly been some QBs who did poorly on the Wonderlic but excelled in the pros, it seems that guys with better scores have generally turned out to be better NFL signalcallers. For the record, Tim Tebow scored a below-average 22, Kyle Orton notched an above-average 26, while Brady Quinn posted an impressive 29. Depending upon who you ask, John Elway scored either a 30 or a 29.
Aside from the change to its modern name in 1922, the biggest change in the NFL's history to this point in our story was created out of a foundering attempt to buy a baseball or a football franchise. A quiet, genteel progeny of a Texas-sized family fortune listened to a man named Branch Rickey - the same Branch Rickey who invented baseball’s farm system, became president of and managed the Brooklyn Dodgers, broke the color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson, and who would in 1967 be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Rickey was trying to put together a third baseball associations to compete with the National and American Leagues, and his concept was the Continental Baseball League. He wanted backers, men who could buy franchises but who had been shut out of the first two leagues.
Wow, does Pat Bowlen look frail and out of it. His right-hand man just had to show him how to get in a car. Sad.
As Florio reminds us, there has been a good deal of hushed speculation surrounding Bowlen's health in recent years while Joe Ellis has emerged from the shadows to execute the bulk of the Broncos' major decisions. I'm not about to play the guessing game regarding Bowlen's health, but there has certainly been some erratic behavior recently out of Dove Valley - none more so than Bowlen's public assertion that Josh McDaniels would be back as the Broncos' coach in 2011, followed only days later by the young coach's ouster. And, we may never know if Jay Cutler and Mr. B ever spoke on the phone when the QB was on his way out of town. Aside from wishing that Bowlen can somehow recover from whatever is ailing him, we can only hope that John Elway knows what he's gotten himself into, not to mention what he's doing...
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his Sunday column, Dan Pompei focuses in on the Patriots' brilliant yearly stockpiling of draft picks. This year, New England has two picks in each of the first three rounds, giving them the flexibility to do basically anything they want, moving up to nab an elite talent inclusive. But before you start wishing the Broncos would do the same thing, know that they have already done so in recent seasons; the trades of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall (and their brilliant maneuvering down and up the board in 2010) have enabled Denver to select four first-rounders and four second-rounders over the past two years, with two second-rounders in hand for the 2011 Draft. Of course, the jury is still out on how well they actually fared in utilizing those choices.
And while Brain Xanders has attempted to disavow himself of every move made during Josh McDaniels' time in Denver, we can only hope that he was the integral part of these draft-related deals that we assume he was, and that at least this facet of the so-called Patriot Way has stuck with him. For as important as the upcoming draft is for the Broncos' future, the 2012 one will be no less crucial - whether it's via more trades downward in April or a potential deal of Kyle Orton for a future pick, one of the best things Xanders can do for Denver and his own legacy is to keep extending Denver's draft flexibility. Hopefully he's already been working the phones in pursuit of such a stratagem...
Good Morning, Broncos fans! I'd like offer some more details on the NY Times' decision to move behind a pay wall as relates to the Lard: While clicking through to the NYT from the links I provide will count toward your own monthly 20-article limit, once you hit that limit you'll still be able to read articles via links from referring sites like ours and via social media. In other words, hitting the limit will only prevent you from heading directly to the NYT website and accessing articles - reading articles that I link should not be affected.
I still haven’t gotten to the Hack 30 enough to publish anything on it today, and I kind of got distracted yesterday by an interesting media story. In case you missed it, the New York Times intends to put up a pay wall on their website, which will affect anybody who wants to read more than 20 articles per month. They seem to be making a bet that one of two things will happen. The first is that their readers won’t be able to live without their content, and they’ll pay. This assumes that their content really is better than what consumers can get elsewhere, and maybe it is in some cases.
The other possible outcome is that other newspapers will follow their lead and institute pay walls of their own, thus creating a new equilibrium where people pay for internet content and the Times still rules the roost based upon their prestige and presumable content advantage.
The way that content gets to people is something I’m interested in and want to start a discussion about today. Here at IAOFM, we haven’t even chosen to deploy any advertising at this point; but obviously, most websites are making their revenue on either a per-impression (meaning pageview), or per-engagement (meaning the clicking of a link) basis. Pretty much anybody can put up a website, enable Google AdSense and make a few bucks with it. By “a few”, I literally mean a few, unless you’re getting a lot of pageviews. My total AdSense payout for four months' worth of SmarterFans.com was about $41, which didn’t even cover my hosting fees.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Roger Goodell has crafted another letter; this time it went to the players individually. It lays out the offer the owners presented last Friday; naturally, it's just another PR move to rile up the fans. In response, Seahawks lineman Chester Pitts is apparently reporting the commish to his email provider for spam. Whatever. It's March, we're six months away from the start of the season, and there's great hoops on all day. Enjoy!