Joe Thomas and Ryan Clady

There's a decent article right now on Ryan Clady by Jim Armstrong of the Post. He made several good points, and it's worth a read (find it here). One point is that until Clady has played for a while in the league it's too early to be talking Pro Bowl for him. Still, I have a lot of respect for John Lynch, who said,

"I know we haven't put pads on, but he looks like a guy who could go to 10 Pro Bowls. He's got very good feet. That jumps out at you right away. And he's strong. I know from personal experience that, once he gets his hands on you, he's a strong guy."

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The Broncos’ most exploitable weakness

Whatifsports is doing the simulation season projections for Fox Sports. Since many athletes aren’t Republicans, Fox is unable to do the projections themselves. Whatifsports has some interesting things to say about the Broncos:

"Most Exploitable Weakness: Lack of a star - Simulations like these take human bias out of the argument, but what is going on here can be explained in a very human way. With the possible exception of Champ Bailey, there are no stars on this team. There is not really anything to get people excited. In the sim, that translates into the fact that no player puts the team over the top. Yes, it is balanced and lacks an obvious weakness, but Denver is balanced in a very average way across the board."

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The story of Peyton Hillis

With yesterday's signing of Peyton Hillis to a rumoured 4 year contract, I looked over my notes from draft week and considered what we saw of him through the early camps. For some reason, I have the impression that Hillis may turn out to be one of the Bronco’s best picks in ths year’s draft. I can’t prove this – it’s more the effect of a lot of little things that seem to add up to a heck of a player. But I digress.

Hillis was born on January 21, 1986 in Conway Arkansas where he attended high school and where he resides to this day. In a sense, that greatly describes Hillis – if there is one word that sums up his life and his approach to football, it might well be ‘consistent’. He is a hard worker, a man who recognizes the gifts that he has been given and who works with single-minded determination to maximize them and to use what he has in any way needed to help himself and his team. Wherever you place him, he will attempt to excel. And this is the kind of character that the Broncos are filling the depth and range of this year’s team with – the kind that makes us pant for the start of training camp.

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Shanahan’s hot seat?

Those who can, do. Other than the Sports Guru and his band of merry and accomplished men, those who can’t are too often sports writers. Case in point:

Denver Broncos: Mike Shanahan has something that no other coach in the AFC West has: A Super Bowl ring won as a head coach, and he has two of them. Granted, at the time he won those he also had John Elway and Terrell Davis to fall back on. Since Elway and Davis have departed, his "genius" label has become tarnished. He is to the point where he could end up on the hot seat in Denver, but he doesn’t seem to have the horses to make a run at this point. OUTLOOK: Look for Shanahan to get his team up for the games, but don’t expect it to translate into wins.

The above post was part of a comparison of AFC West coaches that decided, not surprisingly, that Lane Kiffen is the only good coach in the AFC West. I like Lane Kiffen. As HT says, he’s a teaching coach who uses similar schemes up front on offense to Shanahan’s and seems like a good guy in a tough position. In that respect, I support him and wish him well.

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John Clayton mentions the Broncos in a stupid article

John Clayton Article About Uncapped 2010

ESPN is at it again.  Did you hear that 2010 will be uncapped if a new Collective Bargaining Agreement isn't reached before then?  A few new rules will go into effect if that happens, including an extra transition player, a restriction on conference championship game participants signing free agents, and an increase from 4 to 6 years of service time before a player can be eligible for unrestricted free agency.  First thing, this is not going to ever happen.  These provisions are mutually unacceptable to both labor and management, and it's their nature as poison pills to prevent an uncapped season.

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Hall of Fame vs. Hall of Very Good

People here in Cleveland are just convinced that Bernie Kosar was a great player. Really, he was merely a good player in an era with lots of great QBs (Elway, Montana, Marino, Jim Kelly, Warren Moon, Steve Young) and some more good ones who were better than Bernie (Esiason, Simms, Randall Cunningham.)

Bernie does color commentary for Browns pre-season games now, and he always sounds like he chain-smoked two cartons of non-filter cigarettes and drank a big bottle of Jim Beam directly before coming on the air. It’s really difficult to listen to, and even though his analysis is typically solid, he would never be put on TV anywhere but here.

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Offensive minutiae

Have you ever been watching a game and wondered why a team doesn't use a formation that you think would be great?  Why does a team send players in motion.  What about what a QB is looking at when he is under center?  What does audible mean, other than "able to be heard?"  Are there audibles that can't be heard?

In the spirit of Hoosierteacher's great recent work explaining defensive concepts and methodologies, I've decided to put some general football educational items down related to offense.  Please add your thoughts on anything I include or don't include, as I'd like this to be a value-adding discussion for all our readers.

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The character of our football team

It’s really shocking to me how irrelevant the Broncos currently seem to the national media.  Their draft picks got almost no discussion this past weekend, and they’re getting graded consistently at a C level for their rookie class.  For the most part, the graders are fools who don’t know what they’re talking about, but it still speaks to this ho-hum feeling around the team.  I saw two 2009 mock drafts (by Andrew Perloff of SI and Todd McShay of ESPN) which project the Broncos to be picking in the low teens again next year.  We’re irrelevant, and we have no chance for improvement.  Viva la Broncos fanhood!

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SI’s Mike Lombardi: Time for Broncos to beef up O-line

Mike Lombardi's SI article

Mike Lombardi is a longtime NFL personnel man who most recently worked for the Broncos for about a year.  I'm not sure what the circumstances surrounding his departure were, but he now writes for SI.com, and he's got a surprisingly nice writing style for a football man.  Imagine Shannon Sharpe as a graduate of Syracuse University's broadcast journalism program.

I'm posting this, because he makes the point that if he ran the Broncos, he'd be looking to inject more size into the offensive line, and I fundamentally agree with his thinking.  I'm kind of a QBs/WRs guy when it comes to where my real knowledge lies, but I've been doing a lof of posting about offensive line play on here.  In this case, I'm going to talk about defense in order to explain my position.

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Quarterbacks and asinine articles

There is not a Quarterback in the NFL whom I would trade Jay Cutler for.  That includes Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.  Go ahead and call me crazy, but those two are in their primes now, and can only go down from here.  Jay, on the other hand, is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential.  Sometimes, I watch him play, and just feel really lucky to have been blessed with another soon-to-be-great QB.

There was an asinine DP article by Jim Armstrong today that made the case that Phyllis Rivers is better than Jay.  In terms of isolating individual play, it’s pretty clear that he is not.  It’s also clear that Phyllis has a much lower ceiling, and is already beginning to bump into it.  The best he’ll ever be is an accurate-throwing game manager, which he is on his way to being now, once he improves his accuracy a bit.  You put good talent around a credible guy like Phyllis, and he wins more than he loses.  Think Phil Simms with the Giants as a good comparison.  Simms was a good player who played in an era full of great players.

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