Good Morning, Broncos fans. We've continued to add quotes and links to our story on the death of Junior Seau, and will continue to do so. Some poignant words about player safety and the future of football from the man himself are worth emphasizing here, via Jim Trotter:
In March, we spoke about the perception that commissioner Roger Goodell was making the game too soft with his enhanced enforcement of player safety rules. "It has to happen," he said. "Those who are saying the game is changing for the worse, well, they don't have a father who can't remember his name because of the game. I'm pretty sure if everybody had to wake with their dad not knowing his name, not knowing his kids' name, not being able to function at a normal rate after football, they would understand that the game needs to change. If it doesn't there are going to be more players, more great players, being affected by the things that we know of and aren't changing. That's not right." (h/t Judy Battista)
RIP, Junior. You will be missed.
Originally posted 5/2/12 at 2:16 pm ET; latest update 5/4/12 at 7:52 am ET
Former Chargers, Dolphins, and Patriots linebacker Junior Seau was found dead at his home in Oceanside, California Wednesday morning, at the age of 43.
Police investigated Seau's death as a suicide, and the autopsy performed on Thursday confirmed it. Bennett Omalu, the forensic pathologist who made the initial discovery of CTE, participated in the autopsy, and on Thursday evening Seau's family announced they would allow CTE researchers to study Junior's brain.
Drafted fifth overall in the 1990 Draft, Seau played 20 seasons - 13 in San Diego, three in Miami, and four in New England. His best seasons came with Chargers, however, and often, his best games came against the Denver Broncos.
The NFL has announced that for his part in the Saints' bounty scandal, linebacker Jonathan Vilma will be suspended for the entire 2012 season.
Additionally, defensive end Will Smith was suspended for four games, DE Anthony Hargrove (who signed with Green Bay in March) got an eight-game penalty, and linebacker Scott Fujita (now with the Browns) was hit with a three-game suspension.
Cornerback Tracy Porter, who signed a one-year deal with the Broncos after four seasons with the Saints, was never publicly implicated in the scandal, and he was not punished.
According to Albert Breer, the NFLPA is planning to defend the four suspended players on the grounds that the NFL lacks evidence to implicate them, and all four players are expected to appeal their punishments.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Part of the predraft smokescreen emanating from Denver was the notion that the Broncos were considering Coby Fleener at #25. It didn't make sense then, and it doesn't make sense now, what with the team having already signed two free agents at the position in Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme to add to youngsters Virgil Green and Julius Thomas.
But having watched plenty of Stanford games last season in the hopes that Denver would Luck their way into the #1 pick, I had grown quite fond of Fleener's skills, and was excited about the possibility of the Broncos adding him. A few readers pointed out the silliness of that notion, and here's a tip of the hat to them. Now that we're back to reality...
Bill Barnwell writes that aside from quarterback (too easy), tight end is the position which got the biggest upgrade in Denver:
While Tamme is another ex-Colt, he's one of the few members of the Manning offense who isn't past his prime and might actually flourish in his new digs. Denver also made a nice investment by adding Joel Dreessen, who's consistently been an effective, efficient player behind Owen Daniels in Houston. Even if the Broncos hadn't added Manning, signing Tamme and Dreessen would have been a wise move; by doing so, the Broncos now have one of the five best one-two punches at tight end in football.
Well now, that's some hefty praise. We'll take it.
Did you hear the one about the NFL team which “reached” for a player to fill a need? That’s a no-no, picking for need. You should be drafting the best player available (hereafter BPA), regardless of need, goes the story. I reject that thought as being over-generalized, because if you have a bad team, you should be picking to fill roles that will allow you to be competitive.
If you’re the Giants, then fine - take the BPA - if there’s no massive need to fill. Some would say that Jerry Reese did that over the weekend (including Reese), but I would tell you that RB David Wilson and WR Rueben Randle filled needs, and specifically replaced Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham. The Draftnik groupthink didn’t have the Giants universally taking any position, so that allows Reese to say he went BPA, regardless of the reality.
Then there’s the Ravens taking Courtney Upshaw. They got the BPA and he’s a pass rusher! Huzzah for Ozzie Newsome! Except that Upshaw isn’t a dynamic pass rusher, and that he does fill a clear need, with the departure of Jarret Johnson, as an edge-setter in the running game on the strongside. If Ozzie had a slightly worse track record, you’d be reading about how as an Alabama alum, he shows too much love to Crimson Tide guys like Upshaw. (Johnson also played at Alabama, actually.)
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver waived 27-year-old wide receiver Tim Toone yesterday. Toone had been added to the practice squad in January following the injury to Eric Decker and promotion of D'Andre Goodwin to the active roster, and Denver signed him to a future contract a week after that.
Toone was made 2010's Mr. Irrelevant after the Lions drafted him 255th overall out of Weber State, although his prize package for that achievement wasn't quite what Chandler Harnish has been promised. Harnish, it turns out, had been all set to join the Chargers as an undrafted free agent before Indy selected him, and the Raiders and Chiefs had also expressed interest in the Northern Illinois QB.
But back to Toone - Tim (5-10, 185) was made expendable by Denver's addition of undrafted wideouts Eric Page (like Toone, a diminutive returner at 5-10, 190) and Gerell Robinson. So in terms of WR and KR depth, the departure of Toone won't likely be more than a blip on the transaction log. But, then there's THAT HAIR.
I walked out of the draft nonplussed. If I'd been plussed, I'd have been much happier, but some days you just can't get plussed to save your life. The draft was so different from the energy of the free agent period (which was moderately ecstatic), that several moves during the draft took me completely off guard. Rather than go to the draft board, though, I took a somewhat different approach. I went back to the team - the one the Broncos had in February, and then I looked at the one they have today and how they put those pieces in place. I'm still getting my head around all the CFAs and I'm going to be buried in film for a while, but a pattern soon occurred to me that I couldn't ignore.
I was recently asked by a reader who's also a friend to consider looking at this year's FA/draft/CFA period in terms of what the Eagles were doing last year - they were supposed to be the winners of the Offseason Olympics in 2011, and Denver was in 2012. What were the basic approaches of each team? What I found - and I'll probably publish this at some point with supportive evidence - was that they really did a little preemptive striking; getting new and upgraded players into the positions that they could handle financially when the current players were near the end of their contracts and/or underplaying, aging, or asking for too much for their performance. It wasn't what the media made it out to be - and, no shock there.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Matt Waldman thankfullly eschews giving out draft grades, instead just trying to figure out what teams tried to do. Starting with skill positions for the top of the alphabet, Waldman echoes what TJ wrote yesterday in writing that adding two undrafted wideouts while drafting none shows Denver is confident in its incumbent players. Plus, he could see Ronnie Hillman and Mario Fannin as the main backs in Denver's offense in a couple years, and he says we should keep an eye on Xavier Omon.
Just to expound upon what both TJ and Waldman wrote, trading up 20 spots in the second round to get a third-down back would be quite aggressive, to say the least. Just because Hillman is 5-9 and 200 lbs and has been described as a scatback and change-of-pace guy by the punditry doesn't mean that's the role Denver intends for him.
Naturally, we'll have to wait several months before we even begin to see what Hillman will be for Denver, but until then, we can again say - judging by their actions, the Broncos must love this guy.
Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler once said, "Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement."
Later (1987 to be exact), the philosophical musings of glam-metal poets Def Leppard went like this: "Action, not words."
Put most directly: "You can shut up now, cuz I saw what you did."
Last night, John Elway told us the 2012 draft was awesome, saying, "When we look at it, it's probably as good as it could have gone."
This statement may or may not be true (even those that drafted Ryan Leaf said, "For the next 15 years, he's our man."), but one thing is not in doubt--the Broncos' actions in the draft said more than any contrived and trite soundbite ever could. Like an after school special, the lessons are there for us to see, standing in plain view - as long as we stay off drugs, close our ears, open our eyes, and stick around until the end.