When the awards for the Broncos MVP come up next month two names won’t be on the short list. They aren’t players – they get less press, but have greater responsibilities. Jim Goodman is the architect of the Denver youth movement, and has been rightfully praised to the rafters on this and many other sites. But there is probably a man who is getting more press this year than he has in his 13 year history with the Broncos – running backs coach Bobby Turner.
Champ Bailey calls the safety position: "...your last line of defense." With the Broncos preferred defensive formations, that has often included the cornerbacks. But, with the hiring, starting and releasing of R. Rogers in four days, the Broncos gave new meaning to the phrase, "Speed at the safety position." In a season-long search for simple competence in the defensive backfield the Broncos seem to have finally stumbled on a decent pair of players: Josh Bell at CB and Vernon Fox at Safety.
After a long consideration of the Josh Barrett situation, I decided to go back and get a better understanding of who the player is, why his draft stock dropped precipitously and what we might expect from him. What I found didn’t surprise me, but it filled in the gaps in my understanding. Unlike a lot of players I research, there was a plethora of info on Barrett. The problem was getting through everything and achieving comprehension.
For Whom the Bell Toils...
Since we're in desperate need of a couple of new running backs, I took a look at the background of two who might both help the team and avoid pilfering their luggage. A quick trip to the SunnySide is in order.
No one becomes an offensive lineman for the accolades. The past Broncos requirement that no O lineman speak to the media may have been snuffed by the NFL, but it lives on in their hearts and traditions. Ryan Clady fits right in.
He’s used to a quiet approach to life. As a young player, he couldn’t get any interest from the schools in his home city of Rialto CA. He was a DT at Eisenhower High Schools there, and got offers from San Diego State, Idaho State and UTEP before settling on Boise State. Once a Bronco, always a Bronco.
Clady is one of the reasons that his college Broncos changed their stars. They perennially went undefeated in the regular season and blew their chances at the upcoming bowl games. When he was a freshman, it was a 44-40 lose to Louisville in the Liberty Bowl. In 2006 he started 11 of 13 contests at right tackle and his offense ranked ninth in the nation in scoring at 36.1 points per game, 19th in rushing and fifth in rushing touchdowns before dropping another one to Boston College in the MPC Computers Bowl.
Will the Real Chad Jackson Please Stand Up?
The signing of Chad Jackson may be the offense’s answer to Jarvis Moss. Surprised? Don’t be. Chad Jackson is the perfect combination of incredible metrics, minimal experience and knowledge of the game, and all the potential in the world. He’s the definition of upside with a side order of frustration. It will be up to the Broncos to teach him the game, make sure he knows the playbook, and bring him along slowly. If they try to thrust him into too much too soon, he’ll be just another confused and released player. And this is why.
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.