Tales from the SunnySide: Alphonso Smith

There's not much debate about one thing - Alphonso Smith is the second 2nd-round pick in two years to ignite an instant firestorm of controversy in Denver. Eddie Royal managed it first - think back, now, to that weekend and to the things that were said.

When that 42nd pick came in, Broncos fans were shocked, stunned and horrified. Begrudgingly, they accepted that perhaps he could be worth the pick by his prowess in the return game.

Giving up a 2nd-round pick on a scrawny kick returner with some receiving skills was a big stretch, the media agreed, but perhaps Mike Shanahan really felt that the team needed a return guy. DeSean Jackson, the consensus went, would have been a better pick. Getting a defensive tackle would have been a much better way to go all around. And so it went. This year may prove to be somewhat redundant in that respect - everything that I've been able to accumulate about Smith indicates that he, very much like Eddie Royal, may become a favorite of the Broncos' fan base in the near future.

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Broncos Dreams and Musings

Today I decided to give in to the weaving flow of the Web and pass on some items that should interest you. If you have children, work with children or if you're an older athlete yourself, I've gathered and included some items that matter. I also had to give a brief nod to Denver's playoff basketball team.

Broncos Dream 1

Is there a Broncos fan out there that isn't dreaming of seeing Wesley Woodyard, David Bruton and Spencer Larsen chasing down kickoff- and punt-returners together? The three of them together should go a long way to getting the Broncos past the nightmare that has been special teams of late. Bruton's obvious grasp of the special teams role and his love of doing what he's been involved with since he was young is especially laudable.

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Tales from the SunnySide: Lee Robinson

Every year, it seems a linebacker comes into camp that hardly anyone has heard of. Spencer Larsen was just such a player - some scouts had him as too old, too slow, not flashy enough. He just was good at one thing - playing football. A year later, every Bronco fan knows his name, and in Larsen's case, much of the nation has heard of him for either his robust special-teams tackles or his selfless three-way play.

How about Wesley Woodyard? Anyone who watched his preseason play had an inkling that there was just something special about the man. Undrafted as a safety/linebacker 'tweener', it didn't take Wesley long to prove that he had the heart, courage and skills to be what Mike Shanahan would soon say that he should be - a starting linebacker in the NFL.

This year, that player might, just might, be Lee Robinson.

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Shallow Thoughts & Nearsighted Observations

Monday, MONDAY, MONNNNNNNNNNNNDAY!!!!!!  Good morning, and welcome to another edition of Shallow Thoughts & Nearsighted Observations.  For this week's official ST&NO picture, I chose Knowshon Moreno being coached by Bobby Turner.  It kind of gave me a warm fuzzy feeling, knowing Bobby is still with us, and that he's devoting his considerable coaching talents to developing a future star.  It's the time of the year where football news is slow.  If I were a newsman, I might have to resort to making up some trade rumors.  Since I am an avowed opinion-writer, though, here comes a portion of that instead for you to chew on.  Bon appetit!

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Tales from the SunnySide: Rulon Davis

Here's what you probably know about Rulon Davis. If you've been reading at all about him, you probably know that he was a Marine in the Iraqi conflict. He was in a fire zone, fought for his country, and came home.

He went to Cal (University of California) and is a defensive lineman. He survived a near-fatal motorcycle accident when his bike was struck from behind by a car and Rulon slid under a truck, which ran over his legs. And, famously, he was named after legendary Denver Broncos football player Rulon Jones, he of the 129 games with 52.5 official sacks. It's a lot of live up to.

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Tales from the SunnySide: Everette Pedescleaux

Tyson Jackson stunned a lot of people by being the third player taken in the NFL draft. Many said that this was, in part, because of the laws of scarcity – there were few true 5-technique defensive ends in this year’s draft, making the ones that were there more valuable. The 5-technique DE lines up on the outside shoulder of the offensive tackles, giving them a chance to stack the line, stuff the outside run or rush the passer with equal verve. It’s a staple of the modern 3-4 defense, which the Denver Broncos will be switching to from their traditional 4-3 as quickly as circumstances permit.

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Tales from the SunnySide: Chris Baker

A lie can run around the world twice while the truth is still getting its shoes on. - Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

Like all college players whose names weren't called on Draft Day, Chris Baker knows that he has something to prove. He's heard all the opinions - "Boom or Bust," "Must be in the right system," "Left school too early," "Character concerns abound," "Troublemaker," "Takes plays off."

Once projected as a 3rd- to 4th-round pick but left undrafted, the 6'2", 326 lb. Baker knows that he is lucky to have his first chance with the Broncos. Listening to the NFL Draft for two days without hearing your name, your heart gets weighty and your thoughts darker with each passing pick. By the time you're listening to the 7th round and knowing in your very soul that you're a better player than the ones who are being chosen, that darkness can coalesce in one of two ways - depression,or commitment. Chris Baker has chosen commitment...

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Shallow Thoughts & Nearsighted Observations

After going with focused and snark-free on Wednesday, I'm back with what everybody is more used-to from me.  Meandering and snark... it must be ST&NO.  Ready... BEGIN!!!!!

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The Dude Abides: The historical importance of field position

In a previous post, I wrote about the important of drafting to improve special teams and field position. So until the Kahlua runs dry, I'm going to continue to beat this drum.

The Dude wasn't so good in school, but it's time for a history lesson, man. And yeah, that's right. Certain things have come to light.

Simply put, I wanted to look at the Denver's win/loss record since 1998 and see if there was a correlation to wins/losses and field position differential. In other words, does field position matter? This is a question that I return to again and again. And admittedly, I have a huge biased towards thinking that it matters...with a vengeance.

The results were enlightening, although not surprising to the Dude. We begin with 1998, Elway's last season, when it really was in fashion to drink Orange and Predominately Blue Kool-Aid.

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Tales from the SunnySide: 2009 Draft edition

In the wake of this year's draft, as plays out every year, we have those folks who knew, thought they knew, wished they knew and know they didn't. But on the SunnySide, I've got the advantage of knowing that my guys are probably going to be drafted, and it adds a little spice to the days as I watch them going to different teams and wishing them well. It's kind of a small rite of passage.

It didn't take long before the first Tales recipient went off the board. Knowshon Moreno (pick #12) will be happy making his home in Denver, and making his way with the help of three other Tales alumni. He'll be learning from running-back guru Bobby Turner and running behind Ryan Clady. He'll also partner with Peyton Hillis to spark a running attack as good as any in the AFC West, which is saying a lot.

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