Trudging off the field after the Colts' stomach-churning loss to the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV (which concluded the 2009 season), Indianapolis Coach Jim Caldwell was being besieged by inner questions. By the time that he’d reached the podium for his obligatory postgame meeting with the media, he still felt the same way that he had during that long, sad walk. Asked about why he thought that the Colts lost, you had the impression that the media expected that he’d talk about Peyton Manning’s late, final interception or the valiant but losing effort of the defense. He did neither.
“We lost the game because of the offensive line,” he said bluntly.
Bill Polian, now entering his 14th season as GM of the Colts, has been at the top of the NFL for a long time. Free agency in 2010 was an odd affair, due to the lack of a CBA - not a lot of offensive linemen were on the market, and of them, scarcity meant that most were overpriced. When the 2010 Draft came around, though, Polian used his first pick (31st overall) on TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes to provide a possible successor to Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis. It was a sensible move - Hughes was highly rated and both of their DEs are getting on in NFL years. Next came Iowa linebacker Pat Angerer with the 63rd-overall pick in the second round. Pick #94 was spent on Southern Cal cornerback Kevin Thomas in the third. You could argue for each guy individually - but the biggest issue during that SB loss went unregarded.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! I need to acknowledge a blatant error I made within yesterday's Lard (as pointed out by IAOFM reader SteveUk) in regards to the possibility that Denver could have moved up to draft a falling Nick Fairley. The hypothetical swap to weigh is not a three-for-one deal in reality, but rather a five-for-one deal as Denver only acquired their fourth- and fifth-rounders when they traded down from 36 to 45 later on (the fifth-rounder was dealt to Green Bay as part of the deal to move up and get Julius Thomas at #129 overall). So, the real question is whether you'd prefer to have Nick Fairley or the quintet of Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin, Nate Irving, Quinton Carter and Thomas - at this point, considering the holes Denver entered the draft with, it seems clear that Denver did the right thing. Now, about those defensive tackles...
Now that the 2011 Draft is over and done with, I thought it'd be useful to collect some reading material on the newest Broncos. Obviously, this is an exercise which could in theory be neverending, so I restricted it to writers who I tend to greatly respect and/or follow. This includes Doc, TJ and Ted - while including them may be a bit self-serving, I think there's a ton of value in rereading what the three of them wrote about Von Miller over the past several months. As the focus here is on writing, I am not including video or audio here. Perhaps that will be for another day. Anyway, I hope you find some value in this collection, and I'll add to it as necessary.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Last night put a wrap on the 2011 Draft, and Denver came away with nine picks - three linebackers, two safeties, two tight ends, a tackle and a defensive end. Of course, that list is perhaps most notable for what it didn't have - a defensive tackle (or two), although the position was certainly on the minds of the Broncos' front office - John Fox on Friday night said, "I probably would have felt better if we could have gotten a defensive tackle," and last night told Vic Lombardi there's a chance Denver will bring back Justin Bannan and/or Jamal Williams once free agency begins. Not sure how much weight should be lent to the latter though, because if Lombardi framed it along the lines of "Will you consider bringing back Bannan and Williams?" then why would Fox ever say, "No, we're moving on."? It's unlikely, at best...
Somehow I skimmed over this yesterday morning, but Mike Klis wrote that the Broncos did indeed consider trading back up into the first round to select the falling Nick Fairley, but decided to pass on surrendering both of their second-rounders and their third-rounder for the chance to get the DT who went to Detroit at #13.* If there was in fact a deal to be made, that begs the question: Would you rather have Nick Fairley, a potential game-changing disruptor, or would you prefer the
trio of hopeful starters Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin and Nate Irving?quintet of Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin, Nate Irving, Qunton Carter and Julius Thomas?** Then again, Klis' more recent entry makes it sound that Fairley would have to have slipped further for Denver to be able to acquire him.
Another round of YouTube videos for your viewing pleasure--without a defensive tackle.
I'll reserve total judgment until the free agency period ends, but the biggest beneficiaries of this year's draft were Ryan McBean abd Kevin Vickerson.
These videos feature Quinton Carter, Julius Thomas, Mike Mohamed, Virgil Green, and Jeremy Beal.
If you haven't yet checked out our videos from the first three rounds, you can catch them here.
Again, I've kept my commentary to a minimum because pretending to be Mel Kiper is both exhausting and ridiculous.
I also refuse to grade a draft of 23-year-old players in a few hours.
What do you think of the new Broncos?
The IAOFM staff discuss the Broncos' sixth- and seventh-round picks in the 2011 NFL Draft:
Douglas: WOW another LB, Mike Mohamed.
Ted: Mike Mohamed... this is a guy I've never heard of.
Emmett: According to the scouting reports about Mohamed: “is a hard-worker who will maximize his natural tools on the field. Will come into your franchise, understand your defensive system, provide some instant linebacker depth, and contribute on special teams. However, he lacks the power to be a true force in the box against the run and the speed and range to make plays on the outside or mirror explosive space players in man coverage. Probably just not enough physical tools to work with to become an NFL starter, but still a late-round prospect who will bring some impressive instincts and great character to a locker room.”
I'd never heard of him either
Ted: Well, he was a 3-4 guy at Cal, so that's a little weird.
The IAOFM staff discuss the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft and react to Denver's selections of Oklahoma safety Quinton Carter and Portland State tight end Julius Thomas, plus the implications of the Broncos' defensive picks on the 2011 roster
Doug - So who are we hoping for here?
Ted - Christian Ballard
TJ - It's like we have to hope that the Gods force Xanders to take a DT for these guys to draft one
Doug - Good thing this kid tested positive so he could slip to us? haha
TJ - Yeah, now that I've read all his grades - some had him late 1st
Welcome to day three of the 2011 NFL Draft, Broncos fans! Enjoy the proceedings!
Howdy there Broncos fans, a quickie introduction: I'm the man behind the curtain. I'm not pulling any levers on the editorial crew here, but I am setting up the site and speaking the HTMLs and all of the other fun stuff we need to make this thing work.
As the troop is pumping out great draft coverage, I wanted to remind everyone that there are various ways to access It's All Over, Fat Man!:
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Last night held a few surprises, as Denver came away without a new defensive tackle but moved down from #36 in a deal with San Francisco which added fourth- and fifth-rounders to bring the Broncos' total cache of 2011 picks to nine (for now). It's easy to be frustrated at the Broncos' brass for not having taken a DT (as you saw in our Chewing the Fat series), but don't forget that we're reacting to a draft that's completely different than most (if not all) of us are used to. Usually by now, the bulk of free agency has already come and gone, meaning any holes that were not filled with veteran imports could reasonably be expected to be addressed this very weekend. If our team were really pushing the envelope, they might leave a big hole or two in anticipation of some significant June 1st salary dumps coming to save the day.
But our football world has been flipped upside down this year, and obviously some of us haven't quite adjusted yet. Yes, defensive tackle is a great need for Denver. Yes, the defense was atrocious in three of the past four seasons. But you know what? Before last night our projected starting lineup may have included Joe Mays or Wesley Woodyard, and while Wes is a favorite of ours here at IAOFM, he has never shown the durability to be a 16-game starter. Now we're looking at a starting trio across the middle of Von Miller, Nate Irving and D.J. Williams. D.J. has taken a lot of heat here, but it's not because he's a poor player - he just isn't the superstar (or star) we'd all like for him to be. But surrounded with more talent in 2011, he won't have to be a star, and he will no longer be the only linebacker offenses have to concern themselves with (post-Robert Ayers moving down to the line).