“I feel like I belong in Colorado,” said Justin Bannan recently. A lot of us feel the same way - and felt that last year as well.
Justin Bannan went to UC Boulder for college, played very well for the Broncos in the ugliness that was the 2010 season, and has been a consistently solid locker room presence wherever he goes. Now he’s back in Dove Valley, with a chance to play in the 4-3 front that he has said that he prefers.
“Home is the warrior, home to the hill, and the airman we shall soon see.”
Although badly misquoted from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Requiem, it does describe both the return of warrior Justin Bannan, who Denver let go to avoid paying him a roster bonus, as well as the upcoming first time that Broncos fans will get to see another possible defensive lineman in former Air Force Falcon Ben Garland.
According to Mike Klis, the Broncos will release defensive tackle Ryan McBean today. Denver had given McBean an original-round tender (fourth-round) worth $1.26M last month, but the fifth-year player is facing a six-game suspension, which he is fighting, for having allegedly violated the league's PED policy.
PFF had graded McBean at minus-21.6 overall last season (-3.5 run, -14.9 pass rush, +1.0 pass coverage, -4.2 penalty). The most notable moment of his three seasons with the Broncos came during the 2010 season opener, when McBean's two facemask penalties helped the Jaguars along to their game-winning touchdown.
Denver brought back veteran tackle Justin Bannan last week, and speculation continues again this year that the team will draft a DT or two.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver's offseason program kicks of with "voluntary" workouts today, and according to Mike Klis, the Broncos will be spending two hours each morning working with new strength coach Luke Richesson, followed by two hours meeting with their position coaches and coordinators.
As per Mike Florio, here's the offseason schedule as set out by the new CBA:
Teams will face steep penalties for going outside this framework.
Yesterday, I wrote something that had been perceived by some as negative towards Tim Tebow and Tebowmania.
I called the Tebowmaniacs names like zombies and vampires; I took a shot at Bob Tebow; I even implied that perhaps--just perhaps--Team Tebow was more concerned with building and promoting Tim Tebow as religious icon than it was about football.
Then it hit me: I was trolling the trolls. I was sucking on vampires. I was eating the flesh of zombies.
As tasty as it was--and you better believe flesh from the undead brings a killer buzz, dude--I realized I needed to balance the scales. As someone pointed out, it's simply not American of us here at IAOFM to create a website (and pay the associated hosting costs) that promotes our views of a zombie-filled football world and let the market decide our fate. Instead, we should fulfill our civic duty: turn our message boards into Zombieland itself.
While I'm not sure we're prepared for that just yet, I thought the least I could do was help the zombies along. An instruction manual was in order.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Jeff Legwold revisits the team's frequent draft-day trades while Josh McDaniels was around, and he says the team too often reached for prospects they liked.
But it should again be noted that the problem with McDaniels's drafts is who the team selected, not that they traded up to get them. The reality is that both years, the team came out of the draft with a greater number of players and at higher spots than when the selection processes started. They moved up and down the board masterfully.
Players like Richard Quinn and Alphonso Smith did not work out, but why does it matter that they were second-rounders? They simply didn't work out, and it wouldn't have made a difference had Denver taken them later. They're still the same flawed players. If Quinn and Smith were third-rounders, we'd still be having the same conversation today about how much they suck, right?
Just remember what TJ wrote last year - it's all about improving the team's odds at finding starters. Brian Xanders (with and without Josh McDaniels) has been doing a great job of adding picks to Denver's arsenal. This year he's starting with seven, so perhaps he doesn't need to do so, but my guess is he will again be making some moves.
If you haven't noticed, more and more people seem to be finding the courage to wake up from the aw-shucks nightmare that was (and still is) Tebowmania. Perhaps not having Tebow around frees the mind--like trascendental meditation or a long hit from a sweet bong.
We've affectionately called this nightmare Zombieland. Here, all of the infected wear a #15 jersey and screech the word "intangibles" outside your boarded-up window (as film guru Greg Cosell has said, when intangibles are the first things someone brings up when talking about a quarterback, it's code for: he can't throw). It's like a page from the novel I Am Legend--except these Tebow vampires don't always want your flesh. They want to force you to attend Bob Tebow High School (where degrees are awarded sans biology, anthropology, and philosophy courses) and elect his son as class president--without an actual election.
Those who disagree--well, there's always your flesh or Twitter.
The latest to dissent are Darren McKee (D-Mac) and ex-Bronco Alfred Williams (Big Al) of Denver's Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan. Williams, we should note, has never been a fan of Tebow the football player. McKee, on the other hand, has been a strident Tebow supporter. Thursday, however, Big Al and D-Mac took things to another level. Not only did they openly describe Zombieland, they spoke the words that could not be spoken while Tebow was quarterback of the Broncos: you can't seperate Tebow the player from Tebow the religion.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Jeff Legwold says the Broncos have struggled to find defensive line talent in the draft, and his proof is that they've only gotten two future Pro Bowlers in the past 30 years. Pretty compelling stuff, huh?
Well, Legwold holds up the Ravens as a model for success that Denver should strive for.
Anyone care to guess how many Pro Bowl defensive linemen they've drafted in their 16 years of existence? One.
Maybe we should check in on the Steelers. How many Pro Bowl defensive linemen do you think they've drafted in 30 years? Three.
How about the Giants? After all, they are routinely loaded on the line. They must have drafted a ton of Pro Bowl linemen, right? How about four in 30 years?
Today's lesson? Finding talent in the draft is really hard. This does not only apply to the Broncos. The lesson that Pro Bowl selections are a horrible measure for this sort of stuff? That's for another day...
The Broncos announced today that they have released cornerback Andre' Goodman after three seasons with the team.
Goodie had been one of the first free-agent acquisitions made by Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders in 2009, when he signed a five-year deal with $9.8M in guarantees. The 11th-year player was due to make $3.42M in 2012 and $3.96M in 2013, the final year of his contract; his original $6M signing bonus should mean he will count for $2.4M against the team's 2012 cap, which would translate to a cap savings of about $2.2M this season and $5.16M in 2013.
We had suggested two days ago that Goodman was a prime candidate for a contract restructuring, and the timing of his release (deep into free agency) tells us he likely turned down a request from the team to rework his contract. That's our
pure speculation educated guess, at least.
As the draft continues to draw nearer, I've been pondering the Broncos' depth and potential need at cornerback. There’s obviously still the issue of Champ Bailey, who will probably leave or move to safety in a couple or three seasons, but if the right CB is available - and it’s a fairly deep class - is it worth using a high pick? You could say the same about safety, after all - Mike Adams is 31 and not all DBs have Champ’s longevity. Denver just picked up Tracy Porter, though. How do they view this guy? Does he reduce the need to draft a CB this year?
My goal was to get an overview of the relative value of the Tracy Porter pickup, as well as to do a short examination of last year’s starters and see if anything else stood out. Obviously, Syd’Quan Thompson was on IR last year, so he was out. Cassius Vaughn made the report but he also spent a lot of time injured, so his sample is small, and Andre’ Goodman apparently decided that he’d heard enough about his tackling, because he started hitting like a mountain ram in springtime. His coverage stayed good, too, and he had his best overall season as a Bronco, but he, like Champ, will turn 34 this summer. It’s just normal business to look at how the team needs to grow.
Happy Friday the 13th, Broncos fans! According to Jeff Legwold, Bama corner Dre Kirkpatrick is on Denver's short list for what to do with the 25th-overall pick. But for some reason, Legwold thinks it's a big deal that Kirkpatrick didn't have any interceptions last year, as if that should ever be the measure of a cornerback.
As a refresher course, Champ Bailey has had 11 interceptions over the past five seasons after having nabbed 10 in 2006; Darrelle Revis had zero in 2010, and Nnamdi Asomugha had but three picks between 2007 and 2010. Is that what defines these cover corner stalwarts?
We cite this here fairly frequently, but it bears repeating: craptastic ex-Denver corners Tory James (eight in 2004) and Deltha O'Neal (nine in 2001, 10 in 2005) made three Pro Bowls combined, on the basis of interceptions rather than quality overall play. Remember how New England's Devin McCourty made the Pro Bowl (over Champ, originally) after the 2010 season because he picked seven balls? Anyone want to suggest this group compares favorably to the former trio?
Starting NFL cornerbacks are on the field for about 1,000 snaps per year, and we're going to evaluate them based upon five or six plays they do or don't make, or less? Legwold, please.