Cannabis, as it is legalized for many medical conditions, has been changing the treatment of many disorders.
I believe that recent discoveries about the cannabis family will change the face of pro sports as well.
One branch of that family is the recent ability to extract a specific class of substances derived from the hemp plant, the fertilized cousin of marijuana.
That branch isn't smoked. It's ingested orally or used topically, on the skin. It's safe, and it's legal in all 50 states.
When someone visiting Dove Valley asks who will play right tackle, they’re going to get a stock answer.
Ryan Clady and Louis Vasquez will start at their traditional slots. Orlando Franklin will will start at left guard. Manny Ramirez leads at center going into training camp. Chris Clark has earned the right to head the right tackle depth chart going into camp, with Winston Justice his first competition.
Beyond those factors, it’s wide open.
The Broncos have added plenty of speed and physicality to their offensive backfield this offseason.
Denver didn’t take a running back in the draft, which was no surprise - they already had Montee Ball penciled in as their starter, and C.J. Anderson to back him up. If he shows maturity and better hands, Ronnie Hillman can certainly be the third back.
But it wouldn’t come as a surprise if Hillman ends up fighting for his job, given his history and the quality of the undrafted backs behind him.
Another free agency period dwindles away, and the draft is finally in the books. Most of us are about to fall over, myself among them. Doug, Ted, and TJ did an incredible job - again. Now I wanted to consider the team as it stands.
The question always comes up after free agency and the draft have given the Broncos a wealth of new talent. How will these players be used? Are some of them just practice squad/training camp bodies? Are the Broncos a stronger team today than they were in January?
Football is a game of constant change. And yet, many of the scheme changes of today are refinements of techniques that were being played in colleges back as far as the 1870s.
Once in a while, you get to see one that’s new. Or perhaps just new to me, in this case. Somewhere, someone’s almost certainly already done it - I just wasn’t there. The changes are made to help a player’s weakness(es).
Last season, Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman was trying to get the best out of his left tackle. Jermon Bushrod has the size for the position, but lacks the functional strength to play as well as he can. It makes him something of an underachiever. He just doesn’t fit the traditional mold of an offensive tackle, from being a bit light in the bubble. That leads to problems anchoring.
Linebacker is not a small issue. Granted, both Johns Elway and Fox have said that they’re less concerned with the Mike situation than most people think.
While the draft is enticing, there aren’t a lot of true Mikes out there. Many fans adore Alabama's C.J. Mosley. Some even call for trading up to get him, which I don’t see.
Other fans praise Ryan Shazier of Ohio State, with good reason. He’s a good, fast, quick, and instinctive player. As a nickel linebacker, defending the pass, he can play well - provided he can tackle in the open field at the NFL level. He could be developed into a true three-down player, giving Denver a trio of them, along with Von Miller and Danny Trevathan.
Early last week, we learned that Orlando Franklin's oft-rumored shift from tackle to guard is indeed happening. The move clears the way to place Chris Clark at right tackle, and gets Denver's five best linemen onto the field together.
Just knowing where Franklin will be has provided Denver with several benefits.
Firstly, it leaves the team with one less need going into the draft. They could still take a guard or guard/tackle, and I expect they will.
With Lindsay Jones having left the Denver Post, I’ve enjoyed Benjamin Hochman's work on the Broncos. He also writes on basketball, for those who partake.
His story on one of his mentors carries some strong concepts on modern sports journalism. Some teachers seem to stay with us. Here’s what Hochman had to say with one of his better articles:
But I do remember Fred Vultee. He taught copy editing at the Missouri School of Journalism, and to this day I recall his lesson about cautiously quoting athletes about issues out of their realm. "Our job is to ask - how do they know what they know," he'd say.
One thing that everyone can agree on is that the Broncos have a wealth of gems in the area of receiving. Pass-catching running backs, tight ends, and skilled wide receivers abound. The team couldn’t get much better than they were last season.
Or could they? Gerell Robinson could be a path to the receiving corps staying even or getting better. If that’s so - is he a wide receiver or a tight end? To me, the differences are small with Denver’s current approach. With Gerell, they’re minuscule - and that’s about the only thing about him that is.
Schadenfreude. It’s impolite to take pleasure from the travails of others.
It’s also hard to pretend that I have any particular sympathy for the Raiders, and free agency is showing why.
Oakland was going to give Dennis Allen and Reggie McKenzie two years to make changes; this may not be the way to prove that.