Happy Friday the 13th, Broncos fans! Kevin Vickerson stunned his teammates by showing up in Denver this week down over 30 pounds from when they last saw him. LJ writes that Vickerson weighed in at a relatively svelt 285 pounds as opposed to the 321 he played at in 2010, armed with a two-year deal that will guarantee him $1 million this summer even if there's a lockout. Vickerson, who will be moving inside for John Fox and Dennis Allen's new defense, says he expects that Denver will sign another defensive tackle or two in free agency. Finally, he hopes to be a three-down player and says the FO wants him to be both a starter and a leader in 2011.
Vickerson also spoke with (starts at around 18m40s) Mike & Scott on The Fan yesterday about the players' workouts, his role in the new defense and his weight loss, which he says will help him become that three-down player. BTW, try not to walk under any ladders today...
If you talk about an undersized Broncos defensive end who uses his size and leverage as a tool to defeat blockers, a guy who has played both standing up and with his hand on the ground, who comes to mind? Elvis Dumervil is the obvious choice. Von Miller has many of those qualities - he played the ‘Joker’ position (which is also a pun on his attitude in the locker room) during his senior year at Texas A&M, and played LB/DE, standing and with his hand down. Miller’s speed around the corner and his ability to cut with his body low to the ground make his pass-rushing skills unique. But to complete the list you’d have to add one player, a DE that Denver added at the very end of the 2011 Draft. Jeremy Beal has a lot of similarities to Doom and some to Robert Ayers, and the Broncos are counting on that to ensure the 247th-overall pick some success in the NFL. Some are concerned with his height and weight - 6’2”, 262 lb. I tend to look at his production.
Beal had a total of 29 sacks over his college career in the Big 12 while playing for Oklahoma. He racked up a few awards, too -
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Andy Benoit's latest film review is of the Broncos, and it sure is nice to see some meme-free analysis of our team from a newspaper, eh? Granted, he's not a beat reporter or a newspaper scribe at all, but still - Benoit writes that Kyle Orton was decisive and exhibited sound fundamentals, while Brandon Lloyd's breakout season is almost surely no fluke. He also points to Knowshon Moreno's shortcomings while acknowledging that he could still become a star someday, if not likely a workhorse.
And although Benoit doesn't focus on the offensive line's early struggles, he does mention notable improvement over the year by Ryan Clady and Zane Beadles. Benoit also points out that Marcus Thomas may have turned it up last year because it was a contract year and that the defense's undoing was a result of poor tackling, the lack of a pass rush, and poor linebacker play inside. Now, Benoit probably just skimmed through the season's game tapes - why can't the DP's writers come up with this sort of analysis - which focuses in on real game action rather than harping on trades gone by and eye-catching "bust" labels - when they actually sit through every game live?
Now that the dust has settled from the draft (not that anyone is done overanalyzing it, including us) and we're amidst a lockout, real actual NFL news is
nonexistent becoming harder and harder to come across. And at IAOFM, it's rather important to the four of us that we not waste your time with writing that's complected solely of mental masturbation, at least not our own. We also place a high premium on humor here, because there are too many sites out there that take football (and themselves) a little too seriously.
With that in mind, you'll
probably most likely not within the next week never see from us a fifteen-installment list of the Bestest Broncos Born in the Year 1981 or Most Awesomest Bronco Gamez That TJ Ever Saw. What to do...what to do...well, it just so happens that we have the wonders of social media to bail us out. We're interested here in all things Broncos and NFL, and even though Doc, Ted, TJ and I are all busy holding down the couch springs in our parents' basements (in our Underoos), we do have real access to the players. As Rashard Mendenhall proved last week, anyone with a Twitter account and a pair of thumbs can speak their mind to the world - and when Broncos tweet, we are listening.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Andrew Brandt has some interesting thoughts on the recent news that the owners are thinking of tweaking the 2010 work rules should the lockout injunction be affirmed by the Eighth Circuit. Brandt points out that if the NFL goes another season without a salary floor or cap, the owners who don't spend as much as others could put themselves into hot water with the courts, as they could appear to be colluding to keep salaries and payrolls down. All of these players stuck in the murkiness of "am I an RFA or a UFA" like Denver's own Marcus Thomas and Ryan Harris would seemingly have a legitimate beef, right?
Meanwhile, Mike Freeman of CBS Sports writes that players and assistant coaches are skirting the lockout rules by staying in touch via text, phone, email and Skype. And as Doug Farrar points out, while this reality may damage the players' case in the labor battle, it's not something the NFL would likely try to make a big deal of.
What do you look for in a right tackle? It’s a common enough question for fans of the NFL - few players are ‘natural’ RTs, and it’s far more common for a guy who plays LT well in college to be moved to RT in the pros. Ryan Clady is a classic example of what you’re looking for at the LT position - big, light on his feet, mean on the field and incredibly talented with a work ethic to match. While Ryan Harris played exceptionally well in the Broncos' zone-blocking scheme in 2008, injuries and a change of scheme revealed his weaknesses at the position over the two seasons since, and Denver may not retain him. But even if they do, he will probably back up the Broncos' recent pick at 46th overall in the 2011 Draft, Orlando Franklin.
Franklin has quickly become a controversial pick among the fan base. It’s understandable - folks were expecting a defensive tackle, and Franklin played most of his career at left guard, which confuses folks. He’s been accused of being a ‘dirty’ player. He’s better at run blocking than pass blocking, and that’s a reasonable concern. It’s a vast overstatement to say that he can’t pass block, though. When you look at his career, he’s done well in that role. Why don’t we start at the beginning and see where it leads?
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Tim Tebow spoke with Dan Patrick last week on Patrick's radio show and of course answered the typical questions. One of his responses offered another hint at Tebow's relationship with Kyle Orton...
Tebow: No, I mean we haven’t talked too much, but we have a great relationship. I’ll look forward to going in there and just competing.
Translation: Of course we haven't spoken, especially after he left me out of his Vegas trip - you know I would've torn that place up. Kyle's been a jerk ever since Studesville announced that I had the starting gig - which I won't be relinquishing - the rest of the way. There won't be anything left to say after I crush him in training camp.
Perhaps the most interesting tidbit from Tebow is that he thinks Urban Meyer will indeed return to coaching college ball at some point. Here's the podcast of Patrick's conversation with Tebow in full.
He deserved it. The Broncos went into the draft with seven picks; they came out with nine.
Statistically, Xanders improved the Broncos' ability to land more starters.
You'll notice that I mentioned none of players' names to come to this conclusion. That's because I agree 100% with Kerry J. Byrne wrote last week:
You know how most analysts do it: They pretend they watched every college football game of the past three seasons, toss out clichés about various schemes, or which players "set the edge" and have "good motors" and then try to guess which will succeed or fail at the next level.
Good luck with that.
The truth is that nobody knows who's going to succeed or fail -- not us, not the draft "experts" on TV and certainly not the GMs making the decisions on draft day.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Judy Battista writes that the NFL has been in contact with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) about possibly overseeing the league's PED testing going forward. And if Judge Nelson's lockout injunction is upheld by the Eighth Circuit (whose decision is expected any day now), without the existence of a players' union the league will be free to impose rules that include third-party and HGH testing, both of which the NFLPA has resisted in the past. But while the league is likely to begin drug testing in short order should the Eighth Circuit rule for the players, Battista writes that the inclusion of HGH testing would not occur until later on in the year.
Of course, if the courts continue to show they have the players' backs in their dispute with ownership, then such a unilateral move by the NFL to institute HGH testing could only serve to open the league to more legal losses, upon a sure challenge by the players. How do you feel about HGH testing in the NFL? Do you feel strongly either for or against it, or are you indifferent as to if/when it finally does get instituted?
This evening, I was scanning the list of college free agents the Broncos could sign. As I started ranking the defensive tackles like they were part of some board game, I suddenly remembered something: almost all of these guys have probably dreamed for years about playing in the NFL.
Then I was struck by something else.
You have to be crazy to want to play in the NFL.
Here are a few figures from the NCAA that might surprise you:
Take comfort, however, that these same high school seniors have a 1 in 10,000 chance of being struck by lightning sometime in their life. So the odds are better to get to the NFL. But not by much.