I picked up the phone yesterday to find a friend calling with some football news. Chad Ochocinco had been released by the Patriots - did I see any chance that Denver would pursue him?
‘Not much,’ I replied. The truth is, it would shock me if they had a moment’s interest.
It’s not that Chad is, or at least had been, untalented. Even when he was younger and running his own personal carnival sideshow, featuring new and inventive forms of dysfunctionality (while occasionally making appearances and catches for the Cincinnati Bengals), I never had a moment’s doubt that his physical skills were excellent. He does seem to share a number of traits with Brandon Marshall, Denver’s former poster boy for attitude problems and bad behavior (thankfully not the tendency toward violence).
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Yesterday saw the conclusion of Denver's final voluntary OTA; the team's mandatory minicamp runs from Tuesday to Thursday of next week, and the training camp schedule hasn't yet been announced.
Second-year safeties Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter (videos) spoke after practice. Moore was disappointed in his rookie performance but now looks at the season as a valuable learning experience. He says the lockout prevented him from being prepared mentally for the NFL game, that his conditioning wasn't up to snuff last year, and that veteran corner Drayton Florence has been a strong teaching influence since his arrival.
Carter says his 12 regular-season and playoff starts provided him with a major confidence boost, as did his two postseason INTs that got lost in the shuffle. He welcomes the extra preparation time this year, and the help from veterans as he learns to better process the speed of the NFL.
Nearly everything is different. A lot of it still looks the same. What’s true about Denver’s cornerback-intensive offseason?
The Broncos set out this offseason to substantially change a few things about its cornerback corps. One was to replace right corner Andre’ Goodman, who despite an otherwise solid year, let in too many touchdowns - nine altogether, including three in the season-ending playoff loss at New England.
There was also a huge gap between the youth of the undrafted and late-round corners of last year to the candidates for this year. 2010 UDFA Cassius Vaughn is now with Indianapolis after being dealt for fullback Chris Gronkowski; 2010 seventh-rounder Syd’Quan Thompson went on IR after tearing his Achilles tendon and is hoping to return to the game this season. Of course, last year's undrafted gem, Chris Harris, is at nickelback. Goodman and Champ Bailey will both turn 34 this summer, although the latter is as talented as ever. Denver decided to replace Goodman, they needed an additional cover corner, and they needed at least one player who was under 30 and over 24. They also wanted to create more pressure with the front seven.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Now that Ty Warren is back in the fold after finding a financial "middle ground" with the team, Denver's perpetual question mark at defensive tackle just got a whole lot smaller. Provided Ty's able to avoid a freak injury like the torn triceps he suffered last summer, we are now free to move on from the silliness of thinking an undrafted second-year tackle (Sealver Siliga) on his second team was going to be a starter. Yet it's not just Siliga who will now presumably be afforded the learning curve befitting a young DT; Warren's presence should free Derek Wolfe of the unfairly weighty expectations not normally placed on a second-rounder (it's not his fault he was Denver's first pick).
As for Warren's health, he's apparently In the Best Shape of His Life (ITBSOHL), which is of course what most players will say in June, but that the 310-pounder hasn't played since 2009 means he may actually be as minty "fresh" as he declares. The ex-Aggie never considered retirement, worked hard in his rehab, and "hate(s) that (he) couldn't contribute" the past two seasons in New England and Denver.
Ty's disposition is so sunny that he's glad to see Woody Paige, who in turn is so taken with the gregarious big man that he attributes him a third SB ring, one more than he actually possesses. At least Woody has the good sense to eviscerate the populists/borderline racists who have had the nerve to suggest the classy Warren is either lazy or taking advantage of the Broncos by collecting his agreed upon salary.
Ty Warren has ended his unofficial holdout and joined the team for today's OTAs. Denver had sought to cut the veteran defensive tackle's salary from a contracted $4M down to $1M-1.5M according to earlier reports.
The former Texas A&M Aggie and first-round pick of the Patriots spent eight seasons with New England before signing a two-year, $8M free-agent deal with the Broncos last August. But a torn triceps muscle suffered during training camp caused him to miss the season; a hip injury had cost Warren his 2010 season.
As you've probably heard by now, the great science fiction writer Ray Bradbury passed away today at the age of 91. Since I (mostly) stay on topics that have some relation to football or a football-related event, I won't rehash the greatness of Bradbury here. What I will do, however, is pass along a quote from Bradbury that you'll find useful in your own life:
The Muse must have shape. You will write a thousand words a day for ten to twenty years in order to try to give it shape, to learn enough about grammar and story construction so that these become part of the Subconscious, without restraining or distorting the Muse.
This quote comes from the book Zen and The Art of Writing.
Mays expects the outside presence of Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil to force opposing offenses to run and throw at him instead, and he thinks Von will be even better in 2012 than he was last year.
Mays and Woodyard are both excited to see larger bodies at defensive tackle this year and expect this development to leave the two of them free to make more plays. Wesley appreciates that DC Jack Del Rio was himself an NFL linebacker, and he's been showing fellow Kentucky alum Danny Trevathan the ropes.
As the kind of person who constantly experiences mental stimulus in day-to-day life, I often get interested in something based on that stimulus and seek out information on it. I'd bet I use the Wikipedia app on my iPhone 10 times a day when some random thing gets mentioned, and I want to know more about it. I’m an intellectually curious person, and the downside of that is that it’s sometimes easy to get distracted by stuff, and pulled strongly in a strange direction, if only temporarily.
I don’t say this to sneer at those who are less intellectually curious than I am, but rather to help you understand where I’m coming from. A longtime reader claimed last week that all I like to do is talk about which stupid people annoy me on a given day, and I suppose I can see where that comes from. I think it’s an overly simplistic take, and there’s always a larger point to what I am writing about than simply to criticize somebody, but I sometimes do write more candidly and less collegially than is the norm.
This part of the offseason is kind of a tough time, because nothing very interesting is going on. I get my information from my eyes, and my eyes can’t see anything right now, you know? For that reason, I get a bit distracted by other shiny things going on, and rather than write vacuous tripe about nothing going on, like a newspaper columnist has to, I often feel like writing about other stuff.
The way I see it, I’ve got an audience, and I want to benefit and serve that audience the best way I can every time I write - even if they don’t necessarily know what the topic will be on a given day. Plus, it’s fun to piss off the ninnies and the trolls who flame us via email. Then, we say, oh yeah, that guy’s an idiot, and we all have a big group laugh at his expense. (That was my obligatory idiot-calling of the column.)
Much of the talk circled around Manning showing off the progress of his arm by throwing a handful of deep passes, one of which resulted in a sprawling catch in triple coverage by Brandon Stokley, with an earlier pass coming back on a Champ Bailey pick-six. Stokley's catch came during a two-minute drill and was followed by a fake spike and 10-yard TD pass to Eric Decker.
Several players practiced returning kicks, including Matt Willis, Andre Caldwell, and rookies Ronnie Hillman, Coryell Judie, and Eric Page.
The Broncos defense made great strides last season beyond their 2010 performance, improving in points allowed, from 32nd to 24th, and in yards against, from 32nd to 20th.
Better players, including the return from injury by Elvis Dumervil and the addition of second-overall pick and eventual DROY Von Miller, were significant factors. The coaching of John Fox and Dennis Allen also loomed large, but with Allen having departed for the darker pastures of Oakland, the defense is now in the hands of former Pro Bowl linebacker and ex-longtime Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio.
Like Del Rio, linebackers coach Richard Smith has been a successful coordinator in the past and also coached under Fox with the Panthers.