Doc's Musings

Why Denver can’t afford to let Chris Harris walk via free agency

Nearly halfway though the season, Denver is playing like the champions they intend to be. It’s an amazing privilege to watch Peyton Manning rewrite the record books. The question of the week tends to be what other Broncos played like champs. There’s always a list.

We talk about the importance of the lines, the guys in the trenches, and rightfully so. Terrance Knighton in particular has been a force of nature. It’s good to see Derek Wolfe playing so well after his last season. The secondary has played well. The Broncos have even held on goal line stands.

We can marvel at the kinds of financial choices Denver will face next offseason. They have Emmanuel Sanders locked up, but the Thomases and a slew of others to sign.

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Has Ronnie Hillman taken Montee Ball’s starting job away from him?

The Broncos' promotion of Kapri Bibbs to the active roster was a response to reported interest from the Bills, who lost two backs to injury last week. Denver now has five active running backs, four of whom aren’t badly injured.

Ronnie Hillman leads the group for now, with Juwan Thompson backing him up. C.J. Anderson, with only 13 carries in the last three games, has apparently dropped to the third string. What can we expect from each, now that we’ve seen all but Bibbs in game situations?

Bibbs is an impressive young runner. He’s missing the receiving and pass protection aspects of his game. Those, along with building the NFL body that coach Fox likes to mention, are the things that he should be working on. It’s a full time job.

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A Second Helping of Bradley Roby covering tight ends

Every year, we talk about the Broncos' issues with covering tight ends. Who’s strong enough, long enough, motivated enough?

We talk about it because the era of the tight end is back. Sid Gillman, who said that with two good TEs you can control the middle of the field, has again been proven right.

But the reality is that you don’t need to be tall or long to cover a TE. Strength helps, especially when the TE is firing off the line. You need a guy who can redirect him or change his timing. It’s the moment when the TE is most vulnerable. Most will be bigger than the coverage player. With good leverage and a nasty attitude, the defender can use the five-yard window to make the TE change his route.

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What’s wrong with the Broncos’ offensive line?

A couple of readers emailed us about a recent post from Jeff Legwold, in which he suggested the Broncos' offensive linemen are tipping running plays with their footwork:

If you can, would you shed some light on what he means about the O-linemen tipping the run with their footwork? Isn't that something if a writer knows about the Broncos should know about and fix? Thanks. - Anthony

Doc - have you noticed anything like this while watching the OLine this season? Very curious if this is a legitimate claim. It could help explain why our running game has been so putrid to this point. Any thoughts are appreciated! - Isaac

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Nate Irving’s long road to Denver’s starting lineup

It started with an innocent, bad decision. On June 28, 2009, Nate Irving was tired, but wanted to sleep in his own bed.

Irving aimed his car at North Carolina State.

At 4:40 am, he fell asleep at the wheel.

The one-car accident resulted in severe injuries, including a collapsed lung.

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Evaluating Brandon Marshall

When the news broke that Danny Trevathan would go out with an injury, so did the hearts of many Denver Broncos fans. Last summer, Terrance ‘Pot Roast’ Knighton was asked who the most important defensive player was. Without hesitation, he named Danny Trevathan.

The only good news was that Denver was flush with talented young linebackers. They have Von Miller back from injury and starting to develop his old skills, while Nate Irving is opening some eyes. Denver’s young linebackers looked good in camp and preseason. 

Denver had again picked up a quality player. This time, the lowly Jaguars didn’t see a future for him. Richard Smith and Jack Del Rio disagreed. As I’ve said before, I don’t argue with those two regarding linebacking.

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New approaches for reducing concussions

There’s a new treatment being developed that’s hoped to prevent concussions. The US government has issued a new licence to KannaLife Sciences.

Its purpose is to develop a medication, molecule, or compound that creates a dome-like inner strengthening of the cerebral cortex that would protect the brain from damaging concussions.

KannaLife Sciences had received a license in June, 2012, to use marijuana byproducts to develop a treatment for Hepatic Encephalopathy (HE). The results are encouraging enough to move forward on the concussion problem.

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Broncography: Marvin Austin

Marvin Austin was born to his single mother, Donna Johnson, on January 10, 1989, in Washington, DC. Athletic as a child, by the time he was in high school, Austin was already a rising star.

He began high school at Coolidge HS, although other, bigger schools had made a run at bringing him on. As a junior in 2005, he helped Coolidge to the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association title game for the first time since 1986. It ended badly, though, with a 43–14 loss to rival Dunbar.

Coolidge assistant coach Moses Ware moved over to Ballou HS in 2006 and took Austin with him. That turned out well, as Ballou met Dunbar in that year's title game. This time, Austin, Ware, and Ballou triumphed 34-33. Austin made the All-Metro HS First Team as chosen by the Washington Post, in both 2005 and 2006.

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A Second Helping of Ronnie Hillman & Chris Clark against the Niners

Shutouts are always encouraging. When the Broncos' third string managed a stellar goal line stand, the team and fans went wild.

That is, except for Peyton Manning, who quietly stood and watched San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh as if he could read Harbaugh’s mind. Given Manning’s skills around football, he probably could. The newly built Levi's Stadium would forever be broken in with a 34-0 shutout.

It’s fair to say that both teams withheld many of their real strengths for their Week 7 Sunday night clash, but there's still plenty to take away from the contest.

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Scouting the 2014 Broncos: Danny Trevathan’s injury

Outside of an injury to Peyton Manning, Danny Trevathan is one of the toughest players for the Broncos to lose. The good news is that this isn’t a dangerous injury - it will take a month or two to heal, but it could have been vastly worse.

Trevathan had been fighting for his professional life since leaving college. Two years ago, he fought through a pulled hamstring to perform his combine drills. Yet, all the pundits seemed to see was a guy who was too small, too light, and too slow.

Denver got him into camp and found that without the pulled hamstring, he was a lot faster. The player who had led the SEC in tackles for the previous two seasons was showing signs that he was a lot more than a small, slow linebacker. He still tackled just as much.

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