The Broncos announced the signing of center/guard Philip Blake today. Denver selected Blake with their second pick in the fourth round of April's draft, and he is the fifth draft choice to sign. Only QB Brock Osweiler and RB Ronnie Hillman remain unsigned.
Del Rio says he prefers bigger defensive tackles, he asked Kevin Vickerson to bulk up, and he has high hopes for developing Sealver Siliga into a contributor. He also cites the absence of Ty Warren as a chance for youngsters like Siliga and Mitch Unrein to improve via more reps, and he likens rookie Derek Wolfe to recently retired Steelers lineman Aaron Smith. The DC sees Wolfe as a "base end that can slide inside" on passing downs, lauding his versatility, intelligence, and ability to rush the passer.
McCoy calls himself "very fortunate" for the chance to coach Peyton Manning and says the team is monitoring how many throws Peyton makes each day. But despite the pitch count, Manning is apparently making all the necessary throws, and McCoy reiterates that the learning process for him and his new charge is a two-way street. He also praised the work of undrafted WR Gerell Robinson and 2011 UDFAs Mark Dell and Mario Fannin, and he says recent acquisition Chris Gronkowski has versatility beyond his fullback position.
The team will conclude this OTA today but will reconvene Monday for four straight days of scheduled on-field work.
Here's the first one from Graham Honeycutt; this gets bonus points for including the Broncos fan's viewpoint regarding the departure of Tim Tebow.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team reconvened for OTAs yesterday (video, photos) and by all accounts, the offense looked a bit out of whack. John Fox (video) acknowledged as much, and blamed the 4.5-day layoff.
Highlights of the session were a juggling interception of Peyton Manning by Mike Adams and a long TD pass from Caleb Hanie to Bubba Caldwell. Says Knowshon Moreno of changes in the offense and at QB from last season:
As you can see, it's a big difference. There's no wasted time. Everybody has to make sure they know what they're doing, know where they need to be.
Manning watched Brock Osweiler throw (video) and got in some extra work with Eric Decker and Joel Dreessen after practice; Mario Fannin is running well, although he says he's not quite 100 percent yet.
Along the defensive line, Ben Garland is currently weighing in at 305 pounds, while Sealver Siliga is apparently all the way up to 330-340 pounds from his listed weight of 307. According to Mike Klis, Buffalo tried to sign Siliga off Denver's practice squad late in the season, but the ex-Utah Ute teammate of Zane Beadles preferred to stick around.
Jack Del Rio believes in the importance of a front seven that attacks the offense constantly. He believes in it for defending the pass and the run and he has no illusions about it. He recently commented:
Everywhere I’ve been, if you go back to Baltimore and Carolina and Jacksonville, it starts up front on defense. We’ve been fortunate to acquire and develop good players and put together a good front. I feel confident we’ll be able to do that here. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re busy doing that now in terms of developing guys we have. We’ve added a couple guys obviously in the draft and a free agent here or there. We’re going to make it competitive. We’re going to push that group. We’re going to expect the front to really help us play great defense.
Last week, we covered the Broncos' options at DT, while today we'll look at the defensive ends on Denver's roster.
Today, Greg Cosell decided to drop some wisdom on the masses. He writes:
I remember Peyton Manning talking about the winning touchdown drive in the AFC Championship Game against the Patriots back in 2007 when we interviewed him for our “America’s Game” series...he went on to add that if Brady had followed with a Patriots touchdown in the final 54 seconds, no one would have remembered the Colts drive, as special as it was in Manning’s mind. His outstanding play would have been viewed through the prism of “he’s not a winner.” His performance would not have been any different. Again, perception without context and understanding.In 2011, one quarterback in particular fostered blind obedience by many observers to the phrase “he’s winner” without much thought as to why it was being said. Tim Tebow won seven of his first eight starts, a number of them in spectacular fashion with late-game heroics...Then came four losses in his last five games, during which Tebow, with the exception of the playoff win against Pittsburgh, played about as poorly as an NFL quarterback can play...So the question must be asked: Was Tebow a “winner” in some games, but not others? Did he not practice “winning” in the weeks leading up to those four losses?Let’s not focus on the specific quarterbacks I used as examples. If you do that, you are totally missing the point. My broader objective is to compel a re-thinking of the “winner” concept. When you drill down deeper, it’s really a term that has almost no meaning.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver hired Cory Undlin to be their new defensive quality control coach; Undlin follows new DC Jack Del Rio from Jacksonville, where he coached the Jaguars secondary last season.
This fills the vacancy created by the retirement of longtime defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely and subsequent shift by former quality control coach Jay Rodgers to replace him.
Prior to his three seasons on Del Rio's staff, Undlin worked under Bill Belichick and Romeo Crennel in New England in 2004 and joined Crennel in Cleveland for four seasons. Clearly, this is another successful effort by the hooded one to infiltrate Dove Valley with one of his spies. Look for Undlin to be Josh McDaniels's defensive coordinator with the Patriots once Belichick calls it quits.
I’m an ambitious guy, and I’ve set a goal of finishing my MBA (which definitely will happen), and passing all four parts of the CPA exam (which is a significant challenge), by the end of 2012. As a corporate accountant, when you get much more senior than I am now (my job title is Division Controller), you have to be one, or preferably both. When I was an audit intern, while still in college, the client I was working with lost its Corporate Controller unexpectedly, and they wanted to promote a guy from within, but he wasn’t a CPA. They made his promotion contingent on passing the entire CPA exam within two months, and that’s a really difficult thing to do. I don’t ever want to be in that position, so I’m doing the damn thing now.
Last Tuesday, I went to take my first section of the test (I think I did well), and I was a little early for my appointment. (Navy influence – I eat way too fast, and I always show up early to everything.) Next door to the test center, there is a store, so I decided to just walk through and kill 10 minutes. In the vestibule, there was a guy handing out free copies of the Plain Dealer, which is Cleveland’s major daily newspaper, and basically trying to get people to subscribe.
He asked if I had gotten “my” free copy of the Plain Dealer, and I said no, I don’t read the newspaper, and haven’t in years. He started lecturing me about all that I was missing, and proceeded to get me into a discussion of where I get my news from.
The Broncos finished the 2011 season ranked No. 1 in rushing and 70 percent credit goes to quarterback Tim Tebow. I’ll give 10 percent to John Fox and Mike McCoy for coming up with the read-option offense that best suited Tebow’s skills; 10 percent to an improved run-blocking offensive line with run-mauler Orlando Franklin at right tackle; and 10 percent to tailback Willis McGahee.
But the stats say Tebow was by far the biggest factor in the Broncos’ running success. In 2010, the Broncos ranked 26th in rushing with 96.5 yards per game. In the first four games of 2011 in which Tebow didn’t play quarterback, the Broncos ranked near the bottom of the league with an average of 86.8 yards per...
...One of the most overrated notions in the NFL is the pass sets up the run. Look back at the top rushing teams each year. They’re all run-oriented teams with decent, not great passers. Michael Vick’s Atlanta Falcons led the NFL in rushing in 2004, 2005, 2006.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's been a rough couple of seasons for Justin Bannan, the ex-CU Buff whose homecoming to Denver in 2010 was marred by the firing of Josh McDaniels and a 4-12 finish.
Of course, insult was added to injury when the Broncos dumped Bannan a few months later despite his status as one of the team's most solid players. Bannan ended up following McDaniels to St. Louis and enduring an even worse season, including a 2-14 finish and the firing of Steve Spagnuolo.
Prior to his first arrival in Denver, the four years Bannan spent in Baltimore had gotten him accustomed to winning, so naturally he tells Gray Caldwell that he's anxious for a better result in 2012.
As for the man who makes that turnaround for Bannan a likelihood, Peyton Manning is doing plenty to get his young receivers up to speed on running better routes and developing a QB/WR rapport like they've never experienced before.