You Got Served - Hellooo real football to discuss

Happy Tuesday, friends, and welcome to another edition of You Got Served.  I launched this recurring Tuesdayish feature when I joined IAOFM in January, and I explained what it was all about at that time.  Since we’re finding a lot of new readers lately, (our traffic has just been exploding), and just to do a quick reset for the existing reader base, I decided to do a quick couple paragraphs explaining the concept.

YGS is meant to be somewhat structureless, in the sense that I feel free to write about whatever football thoughts I have in a week.  While this is primarily a Broncos site, I’ve always been an around-the-league guy, and I’ll always talk about teams other than the Broncos, to keep everybody abreast of the NFL-wide scene, since no national NFL reporters really know what they’re talking about, beyond repeating what people tell them.

We’ll get into some technical football here, and I’ll always be aiming to point out non-obvious things that are happening on the football field and in the business environment around the game.  I’m going to talk about what I’m thinking about, in the style that works for me.  It’s what I’ve always done, going back to Shallow Thoughts and Nearsighted Observations.  Sometimes you’ll disagree with me, and sometimes I’ll offend your sensibilities, but I hope that at the end of the read, you'll feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth.

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The Daily Lard 8-2-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In an interesting and pleasantly surprising development, Mike Klis says T Ryan Harris is likely to re-sign with the team. Throughout the offseason, it has been almost a foregone conclusion that Harris would leave, perhaps to rejoin Shanny in Washington or head to Houston with Kubes. None of the Broncos' brass ever brought up Harris' name voluntarily when discussing the offensive line this offseason, and they even gave draftee Orlando Franklin his jersey number the other day, so they obviously didn't expect the guy back, either. But bringing Harris back could prove an extremely valuable transaction to the team, perhaps buying Franklin the time to learn his new position gradually, or if Franklin impresses, Harris will instantly become one of the best backup tackles in the league.

Meanwhile, the Broncos will only have to pay new DE Derrick Harvey the $600K minimum, and Brodrick Bunkley will make $685K (the fifth-year minimum has been raised from the $635K figure I cited yesterday). Harvey is expected to back up both Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers, while the pick Denver dealt to Philly for Bunkley is a conditional 2013 choice. In other great financial news, Denver is paying new TEs Daniel Fells and Dante Rosario one-year veteran minimum contracts. To make room for Bunkley and Harvey, the Broncos released S Nick Polk, who had signed a futures contract in January, and CB James Rogers, who was signed as an undrafted rookie last week.

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Gut Reaction: Brodrick Bunkley

Now that John Elway is back with the Broncos, the suffering of Cleveland Browns fans can commence yet again.

Enter Brodrick Bunkley.  For whatever reason--whether Bunkley wouldn't report to the Browns or not--Bunkley won't have the pleasure of seeing grown men gorge themselves on dog biscuits.  

Instead, he's coming to Denver.

After watching Brodrick Bunkley on film last year, it's easy to see why the Broncos traded for him.

Bunkley is workmanlike; he does his job.  That's been a rarity in the last two years in Denver.

Bunkley will be a welcome addition. 

I watched two of Bunkley's game tapes.  The first was from Week 17 against the Dallas Cowboys, which Pro Football Focus (PFF) rated as Bunkley's best game.   The second was the Week 3 matchup against the Jaguars, which PFF rated as his worst game.  

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Broncos acquire Brodrick Bunkley from Eagles

The Broncos have added another former first-round defensive lineman today, and this time it's a tackle: Brodrick Bunkley of the Eagles, who had originally been traded to Cleveland for a 2012 fifth-rounder on Saturday. However, Bunkley refused to report to the Browns, and the trade was nullified - so he's instead heading to Denver in return for an undisclosed 2013 draft choice.

Bunkley (6'2" 295 lbs) was the 14th-overall pick of the 2006 Draft by the Eagles and played in 76 of a possible 80 regular-season games for Philly, starting 52 of them and amassing 111 tackles, six sacks and seven passes defensed. No word on whether Bunkley will receive a reworked contract with Denver, but he's on the last year of his rookie deal and is due to make $635K $685K before hitting free agency.

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Derrick Harvey and the mining of second-hand talent

I’m a Florida Gators fan, which everybody knows, but that’s not the reason that I like Derrick Harvey.  I think the guy has been a pretty good NFL player since he came into the League, but that he has been judged through the prism of being the eighth-overall pick in a Draft and not showing the pass-rushing production of a pick that high.

Harvey is very solid against the run, but has never shown the quick-twitch athleticism that it takes to be a dominant pass rusher.  The truth is, he’s never been that kind of player, even going back to his college days, when he got a lot of sacks.

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Broncos add Derrick Harvey, finalize deal with Rosario

The Broncos have agreed to terms with DE Derrick Harvey (6'5" 252), who had been waived by the Jaguars on Friday. Harvey was selected eighth overall in the 2008 Draft by Jacksonville and has played in 47 of 48 possible games as a pro, starting 32 of them and accumulating 70 tackles and eight sacks with one interception and five passes defensed.

Meanwhile, Mike Klis says Denver is trying to sign both Jamaal Anderson, who is visiting with the Titans next and supposedly will make his decision then, and Ty Warren, who headed to Houston yesterday and has since added a stop with Kansas City to his itinerary.

The Broncos also announced they have finalized their deal with TE Dante Rosario after he passed his physical, and released WR Marshall Williams, who had signed last week as an undrafted rookie.

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Monday Musings

After a week of living on Twitter feeds, flipping through multiple sites over and again to spot signings and trends, a few things stuck out in my mind. I thought that I’d hit on some things that caught my eye as they rolled on past.

A Crowd at Tight End: The Broncos have agreed to terms with both former Carolina Panthers tight end Dante Rosario (6’4, 250 lb) and former St. Louis Rams tight end Daniel Fells (6’4”, 272 lb.). Rosario was drafted by the Panthers in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft and in his four seasons with Carolina, he made 82 receptions for 894 yards and five touchdowns.  Rosario reunites with former head coach John Fox in Denver. Fells was an undrafted free agent in 2006 who was signed by the Atlanta Falcons.  He’s also a former member of the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before he finally found playing time in St. Louis.  In his three years with the Rams, Fells made 69 receptions for 745 yards and five touchdowns.

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The Daily Lard 8-1-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! There's no hotter topic in Dove Valley than the Broncos' tight ends, as Denver is about to have six of them, pending the results of Dante Rosario's physical. Andrew Mason says that rookie Julius Thomas has already been showing rapid progress over the first several days of camp, and that while Virgil Green has also been impressive, it's Thomas who has shown more refinement. Mason figures the signing of Rosario and Daniel Fells could spell trouble for incumbent TEs Richard Quinn and Dan Gronkowski.

Meanwhile, Mike Klis writes that Fells will compete with Quinn for the starting blocking TE job, while Rosario, Gronkowski and perhaps even Thomas will fight to be the starting receiving TE. According to Klis, the Broncos' FO decided to pursue Fells and Rosario only recently - days before the start of training camp.

Plus, Klis says that Ty Warren is expected to decide today where he'll be playing this season.

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Gut Reaction: Broncos sign Marcus Thomas

For once, I agree with an agent. 

Here's what Richard Bernoski, agent for recently signed Marcus Thomas, had to say only moments ago:

We're excited about the scheme that John Fox is running, it will give Marcus Thomas a chance to reach his potential and do what he does best which is penetrate to get up field to cause chaos in the backfield. He's been the most productive defensive tackle in Denver playing in a system that didn't fit his skill-set.

Bernoski knows his client well.  There was perhaps no player who had to fight his natural tendencies more in the 3-4 defense that Josh McDaniels wanted to run during his time in Denver.  

Thomas was never a fit as a two-gap defender.  He was simply out of place.   Despite this, he played with a lot of effort and held his own as a defensive end.  

Marcus Thomas is your classic 3-technique penetrator.  He split gaps and uses his quick first step to his advantage. 

Then he tries to unleash hell.

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Broncos agree to terms with TEs Rosario, Fells

The Broncos have agreed to terms with 26-year-old TE Dante Rosario, who spent his first four years with the Panthers and has 82 career receptions for 894 yards and five touchdowns. Although Rosario set a new career high in 2010 with 32 catches, his YPR was a career-low 8.3 after he averaged 12.6 yards per reception over his first three seasons.

Rosario (6'3" 244 lbs) becomes the fifth member of Denver's TE group, along with third-year players Richard Quinn and Dan Gronkowski, plus draftees Julius Thomas and Virgil Green. It's hard to envision the Broncos keeping five tight ends on their final roster, and John Fox's familiarity with Rosario from their time together in Carolina has to factor in, so it will be interesting to see who loses out in this numbers game. Could Green perhaps be headed for the practice squad, or is Gronkowski on his way out?

Update 5:34pm ET - The Broncos have also reportedly agreed to terms with former Rams TE Daniel Fells, and John Clayton says the 27-year old is expected to become Denver's starter. Fells (6'4" 252 lbs - PFR lists Fells as 252 lbs while NFL.com and ESPN list him at 272 - obviously a substantial difference) has 69 career receptions for 745 yards and five TDs in three seasons with the Rams, including a 41/391/2 slash in 2010. Adam Schefter reports that Fells has agreed to a one-year deal.