Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Overall, it was a very encouraging preseason-opening performance by Denver last night in losing to Dallas 24-23 (box score). Both of Denver's starting lines controlled the action pretty well, although there was a divergence beyond the first teams as the defensive line showed plenty of depth while the offensive line showed practically none. All three QBs looked mostly very good: Kyle Orton displayed his usual poise, although his familiar immobility also popped up and contributed largely to his sole possession ending with Denver settling for a short FG. Tim Tebow was skittish on his first drive and was fortunate to get a PI call on a terrible decision/throw, but recovered quite nicely after that. Brady Quinn looked poised and confident in the second half, like a quality backup NFL QB - especially so on a horrific bounced snap which he calmly turned into a TD pass to Eron Riley.
Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee both ran well, and Jeremiah Johnson showed why he's been drawing so many raves in camp. His speed (which far exceeds that of the other RBs) and potential to be a change-of-pace guy could make it difficult to cut him. On defense, the star of the game for Denver was probably new DC Dennis Allen, who showed that his strong safeties will be quite active - Brian Dawkins, revelation Kyle McCarthy and Quinton Carter all were very involved, in a good way. Meanwhile, S/CB swingman Nate Jones struggled all game long and Perrish Cox outplayed Cassius Vaughn despite sitting below him on the depth chart. The third-string defense was quite poor, but who cares, right?
Before you can walk, you'll need to crawl.
Or you can just watch Ryan Clady bury some dude in the turf.
For all of the talk about Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow, and even Brady Quinn, the real story of the Broncos' offseason should have been the running game.
The Broncos--for the meat of the game tonight--controlled the line of scrimmage from both sides. Their third-string defense ultimately gave up the game 24-23, but by that time, the verdict on the Broncos' toughness had already been rendered.
This year, the Broncos will run. This year, the Broncos will stop the run.
While one half of a preseason game does not a season make, it appears as if the additions of John Fox and Dennis Allen are going to bring respectability back to the ground game in Denver.
That, and a lot of versatile defensive linemen.
After the lengthy lockout and a couple weeks of furiously debating Orton/Tebow, how good does it feel to be watching some actual Broncos football?!
Enjoy the game, and Go Broncos!!!
NFL.com's Mike Lombardi posted a column today proclaiming that Tim Tebow has no support among the Denver brass, and that with Josh McDaniels out of the organization and John Fox wanting to "win now and worry about the future later," Tebow is merely at this point vying for the backup job with Brady Quinn. The former Broncos consultant says any team with Tebow needs to commit fully to developing him into a pro QB, and he speculates that such an undertaking will only happen in another organization that acquires him ala Steve Young and the Niners back in 1987.
Yet, as respectable as Lombardi's writing and knowledge of the league are, this one reads as hard to believe. It was only two weeks ago that Orton was reportedly thisclose to being shipped off to Miami, as clear a sign as any that the Broncos were prepared to move forward with Tebow as their QB, at least for the 2011 season. And while it's feasible that Orton has outperformed Tebow so much so that he's the clear starter right now, there are still four preseason games and 4.5 weeks to go before the opener versus Oakland. Could the Broncos organization have performed a complete 180 regarding their long-term plans at QB in a matter of two weeks? I find that dubious at best.
Today I'm introducing another weekly feature I'm calling Fat Guys in Cleats.
Let's call this sportscasting with a mustache--and a dose of grandpa's cough syrup.
Fat Man hired its own news anchor, Baxter McLove.
If only he had any talent.
Check it out and enjoy tonight's game!
Good Morning, Broncos fans! So, tonight's our first true glimpse of where the Broncos, Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow are at, as they face off against the Cowboys in Dallas at 8:30pm ET. Is Kyle Orton just a practice player who folds under the pressure of "real, actual" games? Is Tim Tebow a true "gamer" who can go from missing wide open passes in practice to willing his team to victory when the lights come on? Obviously, the truth for both is somewhere closer to the middle, but at least we all get to judge for ourselves, starting with tonight. If you're like me and live outside the Denver TV area, you can pony up $20 to see all of the Broncos' preseason games online. Or, you can listen to the game on 850KOA.com. Either way, we'll of course have a game thread and will be bringing you TJ's first Gut Reactoin game recap of the year and a Chewing the Fat tomorrow with our thoughts. It may just be practice for the team, but it's the real thing here.
Meanwhile, it sounds like the Big IF is about to become Sports Authority Field at Mile High, or in much easier parlance, SAFaMH. Just rolls off the tongue, like IAOFM, right? Right? Sports Authority is close to a deal (close enough to talk about it with the DP, so obviously it's happening) which will cost them $150M over the next 25 years to hold the naming rights to Mile High. Oh well - it's not as fun as The Big IF, but I suppose someone will come up with some nickname.
The whole roster has been in camp for about a week now, and the first depth chart has come out. The battles are picking up. You shouldn’t put too much faith in an initial training camp depth chart, but there are some things that are worth watching. We’ll talk about them below.
I wanted to note that courtesy of the new CBA, the rookie signings took a lot less time, carried little angst, and the young guys generally got into camp on time. If the new rookie scale does nothing else, it’s an utter winner on that basis alone. Nothing slows down a good player’s progress like missing part or all of camp - especially his first as a pro. It had turned into a pointless circus that infected the draft and signing process like a virus, in which neither side won much of anything. I like this a lot better because it’s better for the players, coaches and the teams.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Rick Reilly was apparently at last Saturday's scrimmage at the Big IF, and he writes that "the entire locker room" wants Kyle Orton to be the starting QB, rather than the fans' choice of Tim Tebow. Reilly quotes a source within the organization (from the wording, presumably a player) that the "coaching staff would totally lose the players" if they were to proceed with Tebow as the starter. Reilly also writes that Orton was irked by the fact that Tebow spoke to reporters as much as he did last year, apparently because by doing so Tebow failed to show the deference Orton felt he was due as the team's first-string QB.
To top it off, Reilly spoke with John Elway, who said of Tebow, "He's only had the one season. But he's an amazing football player. I'd never give up on Tim Tebow...One of the unique things about Tim is that he has that unique ability to make something happen when the play breaks down...You can't rely on your improvising. That's one thing I learned. I was always going to make those plays outside the pocket, but that can't be your bread and butter."
Happy Tuesday, friends. This is the week where we start preseason football, and I’m very excited to get my first look at what’s going on. As a Broncos expatriate in Cleveland, I’ll be listening to the game on 850KOA.com on Thursday night, and then I just realized that I won’t get to see the game until probably Sunday, which is pretty lame. I’ll have to listen super-intently, I guess.
This is the incredible (hopefully once-in-a-lifetime) “2 Weddings in 2 States in 2 Days” weekend, which I may or may not have mentioned in this space. If I did, picture me smirking for my critics who don’t like me talking about anything but football. If I didn’t, it’s pretty much the same picture. Funny how that works. The moral of the story, as always, is that I do what I want, and bitching about it only makes me more defiant.
Anyway, on Friday morning, I leave at the crack of dawn to fly to Providence, RI. I’ll drive across from there to my hometown of Norwich, CT for the wedding of one of my oldest friends, Tony Orsini, to his lovely fiancée Anastasia Barber. Saturday morning, I’m flying back to Cleveland to attend the wedding of my fraternity brother Drew Saum (you know him as the guy who rigged the Madden 12 election) to the equally lovely Molly Watson. It should be lots of fun, and I congratulate both couples.
So, yeah, Sunday for the visual game experience. I think it will be the first time in about 4 years that I’ve had to miss seeing Broncos football game for a significant amount of time after the game has played, and I’m not going to make a habit of it. I hope that everybody who can see the game before me is paying attention, and is applying the stuff that we talk about here, and I’ll catch up with y’all when I can. For now, let’s get to current football events. Ready…. BEGIN!!
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Andrew Mason writes that barring injury, it would be a "shock" if Kyle Orton does not start the Broncos' regular season opener
in versus Oaktown. He says Orton has clearly been the Broncos' best QB throughout camp so far, showing more polish, command and smoothness than Tim Tebow, Brady Quinn, or Adam Weber, and that yesterday was no different. Mason also makes it a point to clarify that Tebow was not booed on Saturday, but rather the fans were cheering "Doom" for Elvis Dumervil when he sacked the popular QB.
Meanwhile, as we approach Thursday's preseason opener in Dallas, Mason says John Fox & Co. won't be installing a game plan so much as preparing players for the more routine aspects of game day. Plus, Eddie Royal was pulled from practice as what Fox called a "preventative" measure for the WR's surgically-repaired hip, while D.J. Williams and LenDale White practiced in pads for the first time since camp started. Finally, although he's listed as fifth on the team's depth chart at TE, Julius Thomas was working with starter Daniel Fells in two-TE sets.