Good Morning, Broncos fans! An old, great Denver nemesis has decided to call it a day: LaDainian Tomlinson will sign what will presumably be a one-day contract with the Chargers this week so he can retire with the franchise he spent his first nine of eleven NFL seasons.
Tomlinson was drafted fifth overall by the Chargers in 2001 after the team traded down from the #1 pick (Michael Vick). Incidentally, that trade also netted them WR Tim Dwight, whose career highlight was a 94-yard kick return TD against the Broncos in SB 33. With their own second-rounder that year, San Diego drafted Drew Brees.
But, back to LDT: although Tomlinson's career against the Broncos amounted to just a 10-9 record in 19 games (including one as a Jet in 2010; he didn't play in last year's meeting), Denver's success against his teams mostly came early. To wit, LDT's Chargers went 3-7 against Denver before winning six of the next eight matchups following the ascension of Philip Rivers to replace Brees as the starting QB in 2006, with one of the two exceptions being the notorious Hochuli Game.
Updated 12:20 pm ET
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Ah, the NFL is so sly. After getting the football and sports blogosphere in a gigantic tizzy over the forthcoming availability of All-22 film to the general public, they've already pulled a fast one on us all by increasing the price by $10 overnight.
Obviously, it's still a great deal, and All-22 access will mean better football writing across the board. Charley Casserly and Mike Freeman think this will open coaches and players up to unreasonable criticism, but really this makes no sense at all. More information and knowledge is always a good thing, unless you're coming from the parochial viewpoint of someone like Casserly who probably figures lowly fans won't know what to do with the added info. Or, perhaps you're one of those fools who thinks that either film or stats alone is all you need, or you know...you played/coached the game in junior high school, so you have a feel for which guys have "it" and which don't.
Hello, readers. For the first time ever, I've taken down an article that I wrote. I got a rude email from a reader complaining about the one I wrote earlier, and my first instinct was to want to put a clown suit on the guy, but after thinking about it, I decided that the article was a little more self-referencing than I had meant it to be. Just because the guy was rude doesn't mean I didn't maybe go a few inches too far. I'm still going to write about what I want to write about, but I'll remember this experience, all the same.
So, here goes second take. For my longtime readers who didn't read the article from earlier, and who know me as a guy who lives in Cleveland, I've accepted a new job in the Tallahassee, Florida area, and I'll be moving in a couple weeks. It's a much better opportunity than the one I am leaving, and I'm glad to move on to a more motivating professional environment, in a place with better weather. Now, when I reference living in Florida, you won't be confused, and I feel like it's important to let those who know me know what's going on with me.
Big football news came out on Frday, and I decided to write about it until my girlfriend and I go out to dinner. The NFL announced that they'll be offering enhanced online game video, including all-22 coaches film, with a couple of different angles. The price is $59.99 per year, and it's available here. I'll definitely be buying it, and if you want to see the game in its most detailed form, I recommend you do the same.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! The team wrapped up its mandatory minicamp yesterday (BTV, photos, more photos) with a demand from John Fox (video) that each player return to training camp on July 25 in the best shape of his life (ITBSOHL).
Former Colts OC Tom Moore was again in attendance, and had the following to say about his star pupil Peyton Manning:
Watching these three days, he looked excellent to me. There's lots of things that enter into it, obviously, accuracy, anticipation, touch, arm strength, you know, it's an all-involved thing. He looks good. He looks excellent.
Practice was highlighted by a couple of tipped interceptions of Manning, improving mechanics from Brock Osweiler, and more first-team reps for Rahim Moore and Sealver Siliga.
Looking through the library this week, I rediscovered a text by Super Bowl-winning ex-Ravens coach Brian Billick on the theory behind establishing an offense - a detailed discussion of the development of an offensive game plan. First published in 1996, some of the information in Developing an Offensive Game Plan might seem a bit dated, but I found that taking a walk through his wheelhouse is an exercise in learning how extensive the knowledge of the game has to be to coach on his level. As I read through the text, it occurred to me that most of the perspective would be new to the majority of fans. It was to me, as well. Billick laid out a remarkably thorough process for creating an offense, and it was one that I hadn’t seen in quite that way before.
One of the many things that stood out was his perspective on achieving success on third downs. Billick subdivided that down into multiple categories and talked about exactly how many plays he’d allocate to handling the various options of down and distance. Like Bill Walsh and many of his followers, Billick considers establishing your weekly offense to be a matter of pre-scripting plays and creating specific options on each potential possibility that are effective given the team’s personnel. It’s just one aspect of the overall process of charting your needs, but to Billick it’s an essential one.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver's minicamp will conclude today, to be followed by a long spell of inactivity until training camp begins on July 25.
More deep passing from Peyton Manning highlighted yesterday's work, as did the progression of Knowshon Moreno to seven-on-seven snaps from the individual drills he'd been confined to by his rehab from ACL surgery. Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter continue to rotate with the first team, with yesterday bringing up Moore's turn; Rafael Bush practiced ahead of David Bruton.
Oh, and Peyton even spent some time working on his pass-rushing skills. Can anyone say Greatest Modern Player to Play Two Ways?
Ty Warren says he's feeling great but needs to improve his conditioning and absorb more of the new defensive playbook. He's weighing in at 310 pounds now - 30 fewer than he did a year ago - and expects to play at 300-305 come the regular season.
Ben Garland has been working with the third-team defense, considers himself a longshot, and says he'd embrace a trip to the practice squad.
Updated 9:45 am ET
Happy Wednesday, friends. There’s some big news in Tedistan, but I’m not able to announce it publicly just yet, so we’re going to return to Undervalued Positions. Today, we will look at the Matchup Safety, which I think will go nicely against our last edition of this miniseries, where we looked at the Move TE.
When an offense uses 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR), it forces a defense to choose whether to use Base (four DBs) or Nickel (five DBs) personnel. In most cases, that’s a situation of being damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. An offense in 12 personnel should have success in passing against Base defenses, and should have success running against Nickel defenses.
It gets especially interesting, offensively speaking, when one of the TEs has WR traits, and can be flexed out in a slot or flanked alignment. We’re talking about players like Aaron Hernandez, Jimmy Graham, and Jermichael Finley, who have the ability to release efficiently with a two-way go, and then separate in space (meaning outside the interior traffic that often helps TEs get open).
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver's lone mandatory minicamp kicked off yesterday (BTV, photos), with kicker Matt Prater the only no-show, as expected. There was a brief injury scare as Demaryius Thomas jammed a finger, and Tracy Porter and Danny Trevathan (who worked with the first-team nickel package) each intercepted Peyton Manning off tipped passes. Knowshon Moreno and Chris Kuper continue to work back from injury, while Julius Thomas remains inactive.
John Fox and Peyton Manning (videos) spoke after practice; Fox and others reiterated that D.J. Williams's playbook page tweet was no thing. But we knew this already, since TJ made it quite clear, even while others were freaking out. Fox, Manning, and Willis McGahee say the team is striving for offensive balance and a commitment to running the ball. We'll see about that.
McGahee says the presence of Manning has him working harder than ever, and Eric Decker says Peyton's demanding expectations are testing players daily.
Some things need no introduction. Without further babbling, we present to you The Passion of the Tebow:
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver's mandatory minicamp starts today and runs through Thursday.
The team will welcome Derek Wolfe back after NFL rules forced him to attend classes at Cincinnati and miss the team's OTAs, but they apparently won't have kicker Matt Prater, who has neither signed his franchise tender nor agreed to a long-term deal.
Denver can also expect nothing on the field out of Julius Thomas, but for a different reason - the second-year tight end is still recovering from his April ankle surgery.
How will the tweet-happy D.J. Williams be greeted by coaches today? The non-Broncos coach Jeff Legwold spoke to says he'd hit D.J. with a massive fine and think about dumping the guy. But as much as many folks would like to see D.J. replaced, it doesn't quite the team has enough talent at the position to afford the loss.