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.
Going into training camp, the safety group is probably going to be somewhat less of a battle than the cornerback slot, but there are still five men competing, potentially, for four slots. I’m working off the assumption that the Broncos will keep 10 defensive backs, right now. The possibility of a fifth safety is competing against the option of retaining a sixth cornerback, in terms of the potential value of each, as well as against the other safeties. I expect that they’ll keep five corners, and six wouldn’t surprise me. Accordingly, they could have four or five slots for safeties.
Denver brought in a veteran safety in Mike Adams who’s openly daring the younger players to try and knock him out of the starting role while teaching them how to do so. How can you not like that in a guy? They also have three players returning from last year and one very tough college free agent who’s worth more than a brief glance.
Losing Brian Dawkins is a blow to any locker room. I appreciate that the decision to part ways was made early, and also that Denver immediately brought in a quality veteran with nine years of experience and a reputation as a high quality locker room guy. I will always enjoy my memories of each side of Brian Dawkins - as a player, an inspiration on and off the field, as a family man and as a leader of his community. The fact that the new Broncos player will also wear #20 is indicative of how much the coaches are counting on him to keep the ship on course. It’s also a testament to Dawkins himself - Denver’s new starting free safety originally put on #20 as an NFL rookie, in homage to Brian Dawkins. That’s somehow fitting: a karmic balance, of sorts.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Among the funnier stories to come across the feed this morning is that of a closer for the Indians who vomited on the mound after completing a save yesterday. To make matters gross, this wasn't the guy's first time, either.
The story of Chris Perez recalls a guy on the Broncos who vomited before or during every game in which he played; we all know Mark Schlereth used to piss his pants during games, and other Broncos have surely had disgusting habits we just don't know about. A quick search helped find the notorious upchucker, and he is former nose tackle Darren Drozdov, who played for Denver in 1993 and 1994.
Drozdov achieved national notoriety for these antics when Peter King wrote the following about him in 1993:
Denver nosetackle Darren Drozdov (who, by the way, has a tattoo of the Garfield dog Odie on his right buttock) will reportedly see a psychiatrist this week for a chronic vomiting problem. He has thrown up during nearly every Bronco game this year. In a preseason game against Miami he lined up over the center and decorated the ball. After Denver's 34-17 victory over San Diego on Sunday, Drozdov was asked if he had vomited during the game. "Oh, I threw up a couple of times," he said. "Here and there."
Englewood--Oops, he did it again.
Only this time, he pulled his kicker into the controversy.
On Sunday morning, DJ Williams posted another picture from the Broncos' playbook: a field-goal formation, in which Broncos kicker Matter Prater lines up to attempt a field goal of any distance. The picture was up for only a few minutes before Williams took it down. However, IAOFM's own Baxter McLove, managed to obtain the picture from an anonymous fan who stalks Williams via Twitter.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Brandon Stokley tells Lindsay Jones he was "95 percent retired" until a workout at Duke with Peyton Manning showed he hadn't lost any speed and was able to run without pain, despite having stopped his rehab from a quad injury suffered last season.
The Slot Machine has expectedly been serving as an interpreter of sorts, helping his fellow wide receivers understand Manning's body language and expressions.
Having made Denver his family's home ever since his first stint with the team, Stokes says the Broncos were the only team for whom he considered extending his 13-year career.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Echoing the recent column on "winning" by Greg Cosell, and TJ's interpretation of it, Bill Barnwell considers the oddity of how Peyton Manning was perceived following the Colts' SB loss to the Saints three seasons ago (which of course came three years after Peyton's Colts won SB 41). Barnwell finds it unfortunate that the SB loss overshadows the greatness of Manning's takedown of an elite Jets defense two weeks prior:
He went up against Darrelle Revis and the Jets and came away with a ridiculous line, going 26-of-39 for 377 yards with three touchdowns and no picks. The average QB against the Jets that year went 16-of-31 for 154 yards with two interceptions for every touchdown.
It was one of the greatest performances you'll ever see from a quarterback in the playoffs, but because it happened in the AFC championship game (a must-win game) as opposed to the Super Bowl (the last must-win game), it didn't matter. Of course, had the Jets held Manning to 195 yards and two interceptions and squeaked out an upset victory, the entire Monday edition of the New York Post would have been dedicated to pieces on how Peyton Manning was a bum and Mark Sanchez was a clutch hero who won when he needed to.
I'll admit to having been among those who used to foolishly call Peyton "unclutch" and a "loser" back in the day. And for me, it wasn't the SB victory that changed my opinion on the guy - it was seeing more of his play over the next three seasons (2008-2010), when he remarkably dragged the Colts to 11 fourth-quarter comebacks and 15 game-winning drives. Over those three seasons, the Colts' points differential projected 29 regular-season wins, but largely (completely?) thanks to Peyton, they posted 36 victories. Incredible. Here's yet another video that just says it all.