With the onset of yet another strange distraction this offseason, as Brandon Marshall ignores the effects of his injury and additional problems this offseason with his personal life (neither of which kept him from demanding a trade), there is a lot of talk about the Broncos and the potential receivers who are out there and might be part of a trade for Marshall. While I wouldn't rule those out, from one perspective it's difficult to imagine how an injured problem-child with more offseason issues on his radar (he's already been suspended once and has more court hearings upcoming) will bring a king's ransom in a trade. It's entirely possible that Marshall will be spending 2009 with the Broncos. Whether or not he is, however, I thought it worthwhile to do a quick rundown of who Denver already has as receiving options. For purposes of organization, I broke them down into wide receivers, tight ends and running backs. How they are used may not be the same as how they are listed, but I wanted to keep it as simple as possible.
There are a few things that you can count on with Tom Brandstater. He's a big quarterback with nearly perfect size for the position. Drafted with the 1st pick of the 6th round (pick #174), Tom Brandstater is a 6'5", 222 lb. solid physical specimen. He's very intelligent and finished his degree in communications at Fresno State in only three years, also earning academic honors each year, a three-time Academic All-WAC choice. He's already finishing his Masters degree in psychology. His last name is pronounced Brand-STATE-ur. And after that, no one really agrees.
With 3rd-and-5 the offense is in the shotgun. The quarterback takes the snap and steps up into the forming pocket. The defenders come screaming in off of both sides and the MLB comes up the middle on a delayed blitz but the quarterback coolly performs his checkdowns and threads the ball between two defensive backs towards his receiver. The ball falls just out of reach and the play is over. What just happened? The truth is, we'll never know.
Innovation and the Forward Pass In the NFL
Last April, the Denver Broncos used a 7th-round pick on a player who was ranked by one service as the 76th-best player in the draft (Eddie Royal was ranked by the same service as the 78th). Peyton Hillis of the Arkansas Razorbacks had blocked for two of the best running backs in college football - Felix Jones and Darren McFadden. Just as importantly, he was known amongst college ranks for his power running and his soft and efficient hands out of the backfield.
Back in the 1970s, a couple of organizations evolved that would change the way we see and experience NFL football. They arose on the basis of a need teams to share the expenses of having area scouts - in those days, they didn't want to have the costs of supporting their own organizations of scouting. The first of these is still known as 'BLESTO'. This originally stood for Bears Lions Eagles Steelers Organization and was formed in 1963. The Eagles are no longer associated with it, but it boasts a roster of 12 teams, including the Atlanta Falcons. The second was National Football Scouting, which is known by the contraction, "National" and currently has 15 teams associated with it that I've been able to uncover. Four teams use independents and/or their own organizations exclusively, including the New England Patriots who only uses their own.
Horse Tracks listed a great article on the possibility that we may be in a Golden Age of Offensive Tackles. It got me to thinking about a great Super Bowl where the offense was so good - sometimes called the Greatest Show on Turf, with Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk - that the defense of the New England Patriots had to take a new and slightly different posture on it's way to a stunning win. The Game was the super Bowl of the 2001 season, the St. Louis Rams with Kurt Warner at the helm - against the New England Patriots. Here's what went down...
Born in Mableton, Georgia on January 31, 1987, Kenny McKinley was a sought-after quarterback at South Cobb High School. Kenny earned All-County honors as a junior and senior. As a junior in 2003, he racked up 1,575 yards and 12 scores passing and rushed for 400 yards and eight touchdowns more. McKinley threw for 1,470 yards and 16 touchdowns while rushing for 750 yards and 12 more TDs during his senior year, and was ranked as the 57th-best athlete in the country by Rivals.com. You can catch four recruiting videos of Kenny from high school at Mableton here:
Prior to the draft, NFLDraftDog.com commented,
South Carolina's Kenny McKinley (6' 0" 189 lbs) doesn't get much respect and I don't know why. He has gotten it done on the football field for years. He has been a four year starter with 2,781 career yards and 19 touchdowns. Now he goes to the combine and has a very solid performance. He ran a nice 4.44 forty and had the 2nd best 20 yard shuttle time of 4.10 seconds.
Broncos fans, this is Memorial Day week. There is a very good article in the National Football Post that you might want to check out, dealing with the great service that some of our NFL players have given. I'd like to add something that came up for me due to the NBA playoff this week.
In the game of professional football, being a quarterback, running back or a wide receiver is very much akin to baseball: You try to accumulate stats. You could say that a 5-yard run is like a single. Pulling in a pass for a 1st down is kind of like a double. A 35-yard play is a triple for all involved and if it breaks an invisible plane, it's a home run. Increasing your stats is a positive. The quarterback even accumulates the ultimate stat - wins and losses. No other player has this ability and in many ways it emphasizes the way that we have chosen to portray and perceive this position.
There was a second offering from Matt Bowen at the National Football Post that took the perspective that if you ask about the Bears' receiving corps, Jerry Angelo counters by asking you how many real #1 WRs there are in the NFL (no definition is given: you‘ll know one when Matt or Jerry sees one) in an attempt to avoid the question and to turn it back on the person asking. This is a good example of a straw man argument. It takes the question of Chicago's receivers and avoids it by claiming that most other teams don't have good receivers either.