Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's official - the Big IF is now Sports Authority Field at Mile High. As much as we've made fun of the lengthiness of the name here, at least the stadium now has a sports-related name rather than a financial one. After all, on their days off and while spending their hard-earned money to watch football, fans don't more reminders of their mortgages, 401k's, car payments, or their taxes going to subsidize the place, right? And as a bonus, if any sporting goods retailer was going to take over the naming rights, let's just be glad it wasn't Dick's.
More from Klis on the new name - for now, Sports Authority has just taken over the remaining 10 years on the Invesco deal, while the stadium district is trying to figure if they can milk the company for more money on the 15 years beyond that. The Broncos and the district will split the $6M in annual revenue from the deal. And, hopefully the reported plan to paint pillars in the stadium with ALL THOSE OPPOSED TO THE RAIDERS SAY 'NEIGH' is merely a horribly corny joke. What is this, the 18th century?
Happy Tuesday, friends. As expected, I had a crazy two-wedding weekend, and it just ended around midnight Tuesday morning. I caught the garter at the Cleveland wedding, because I catch a disproportionate number of garters at weddings, and I now have a Cleveland Browns garter on my man-cave bulletin board, next to the other two I’ve gotten in recent years. People sure love their football.
Logistically speaking, I watched the Thursday night game live and participated in the Chewing the Fat discussion that you read a couple days ago. That ended around midnight ET, and I had to be up 4.5 hours later for a 6 AM flight on Friday morning. There was another early morning flight Saturday morning, hustling to get to the second wedding, a drunk/disheveled wakeup in a hotel Sunday, marked by explaining why my drunk friend got mad and punched the glass out of a picture that was in a room under my name and credit card (accident, of course!), followed by recovery, and then an opening-to-closing visit to Cedar Point amusement park on Monday. It was a really good weekend.
The Broncos have released Denver native LenDale White, who missed all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon and had gained 10 yards on four carries during the team's preseason opener in Dallas. White had been listed as fourth on the Broncos' initial depth chart behind Knowshon Moreno, Willis McGahee and Lance Ball, and his release was likely hastened by the impressive performance thus far of Jeremiah Johnson, who gained 28 yards and scored a TD on four carries Thursday.
According to Josina Anderson, fifth-year DT Marcus Thomas is expected to miss Denver's remaining preseason games and perhaps more, with a pectoral injury that is being called "a little more serious than a strain."
Update 11:21AM ET - Meanwhile, Ty Warren does in fact have a tear in his triceps, although the Broncos' FO has not yet decided whether to place him on season-ending IR just yet. According to Mike Klis, there is some hope that Warren could forego surgery and return at some point this season.
Update 12:30PM ET - According to Anderson, Warren also has a bone fragment floating around in his elbow area
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Well, not really. During yesterday's practice, Ty Warren suffered a triceps tendon injury that's thought to be serious; he underwent an MRI last night, the results of which we can expect sometime today. To top it off, fellow defensive tackle Marcus Thomas strained his right pec and was also scheduled to undergo an MRI last night. With yesterday's release of DT Louis Leonard, that leaves Brodrick Bunkley, Kevin Vickerson, Jeremy Jarmon, Mitch Unrein, Ryan McBean and Ronnell Brown as the healthy tackles on Denver's roster.
Now, this may be bad news, but keep in mind - serious injuries are a part of almost every NFL team, every year - just ask the SB Champion Packers, who had 16 players on IR last year including six starters. This is why teams need quality depth. Yes, the Broncos were greatly impacted by the injury to Elvis Dumervil last year, but the reality is that their season was harmed equally by the lack of starting-caliber players behind him. So whatever happens with Warren, it's not an excuse for the FO - it's their job to have enough talent on the roster to make up for his potential loss. Remember - it's all in the game.
Death. Taxes. NFL preseason injuries.
Klis reported earlier that newly acquired defensive tackle, Ty Warren, could have a siginifcant tricep injury.
We'll likely know the damage by tomorrw. Warren is getting an MRI late tonight.
Warren, along with fellow DT Marcus Thomas, both left today's practice at Dove Valley with injuries.
Many considered Warren the Broncos' biggest free-agent acquisition and had him penciled into the opening-day lineup.
If the injury costs Warren most (or all) of his season, luckily, the Broncos have enough depth--at the moment.
Bowen (6-1, 222) dressed for two games last year with the Jaguars, was originally a fifth-round pick of the Bills in 2008, and has also been a member of the Redskins and Seahawks. Denver had signed Leonard just prior to their season finale last year, while Domino was an undrafted free agent signed this year out of South Dakota State.
I’m still watching film of the preseason opener. Overall, I like what I see. Dallas is a very physical team that Denver had to stand up to, and the starting offense put together a nice early drive and basically took a bow, while the defense played on a bit. It’s a good start to the preseason - I want to see some production, and I liked what I saw early on defense. Since those are mostly the players that will be with the team later on, they were the ones that I tended to focus on.
A lot was made of free agency this year - the unprecedented number of UFAs, the unusual (but effective) signing of UDFAs as well as the inevitable draft, which once more featured the Broncos moving up and down the board effectively. Rookie signings went off without a hitch, and I don’t ever remember that happening before. Denver seems to be moving in a direction that meets both of their needs - they’re bringing in players who are veteran enough to play right now, and they’re getting veterans who are young enough to build on over time. I have to admit - add the way Denver’s moved around the draft board and the way they are handling the most important FA period in 10 years and you have to give credit where it’s due. The team looks a lot deeper, more talented and well-planned than the conglomeration of odds and ends they'd had each of the prior four or five years.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Legwold checks in on DT Marcus Thomas, who has of course played for a different defensive coordinator in each of his five NFL seasons with the Broncos. Thomas, who will only be turning 26 next month, tells Legwold that, "Every year it seemed like I was trying to learn a new system, learn something new," followed by the obligatory, "I feel like this defense suits me and the things I can do."
As Legwold points out, Mike Shanahan called Thomas a "first-round talent" after he dealt three picks to the Vikings in a draft day trade for the 121st-overall pick the Broncos would use to select the ex-Gator. One of those picks (Denver's '08 third-rounder) would eventually end up with KC, who utilized it to draft Jamaal Charles. Interestingly, that #121 pick had been Denver's original fourth-rounder, but they'd dealt it away the year before as part of their two-part move up to get Jay Cutler, and other players tied to its transactions include WR Sidney Rice and the oft-rumored Denver target John Abraham. Pretty simple, right?
One thing that Denver is working hard on is defensive communication. The past two seasons were frequently marred by communication breakdowns on both offense and defense, which are a sign that the coaching isn’t getting through to the players. This year, Dennis Allen isn’t going to have any of it:
Dennis Allen’s voice is always heard loud and clear on the practice field and communication was key for the defensive coordinator during the walkthrough. “We have got to emphasize our communication,” Allen said repeatedly to his defense. “Don’t assume everyone knows the call.”
That seems so obvious, doesn’t it? Yet, if you look over the past two seasons, one consistency was that the players were often on different pages and the pointless penalties that usually come from a lack of communication and lapses in concentration - false starts, offsides, encroachment and so forth - were surprisingly common and broke up many Denver drives and lengthened opponents' possessions unnecessarily.