Doc's Musings

Tales from the SunnySide Part 1

The More the Merriman

Sun Tzu said that the first lines of attack or defense are spies, so my recent move to the climes of southern California may have multiple advantages for this Broncos fan and hopefully the members of the Mile High Report. Since along with my new location in Carlsbad I get both the Sunday LA Times and the daily San Diego Union-Tribune, I hope to provide information and occasionally perspective while deepening my knowledge of the game as provided by the local media. Thanks

I got off the plane in San Diego this week to find three things waiting for me - a great soaking tub at my new home in Carlsbad, a sea of boxes and the San Diego Union-Tribune. The first was spectacular, the second inevitable and the third was awash with the latest on Shawne Merriman.

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Who the heck is Jordan Beck?

Jordan Beck (6-foot-2, 233 pounds, DOB Apr 18, 1983 - Mount Herman, CA) is currently fighting it out for a slot as a 2nd string LB and special teams player. Information on him is fairly sketchy, but he is a third-year pro who was waived by the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 2, 2007 (Atlanta cut him after he lost his job to Tony Taylor, an undrafted rookie.) and we picked him up shortly after. He joined the Falcons as a third-round pick out of Cal Poly (SLO, CA) in the 2005 draft and was a surprise pick at #26 of the 3rd round, 90th overall. Unfortunately, he missed his 1st season with a broken foot. He played in 15 games last season for the Broncos and made 13 special teams tackles which was good for 2nd on the team behind Jamie Winborn even though he only played in 10 games. Beck is essentially a special teams ace who brings a lot to that part of the field.

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Putting it in perspective

For those of us who staunchly follow the Broncos, Training Camp can be a time of giddy highs and crashing lows, trust and hope followed by doubt and ill ease. Eddie Royal looks to be the true real deal, but will McCree and Barrett revive the safeties? Is the O line solid, or are our defenders too easily held back? Can Moss defend the run - and will Boss prove out? It can strain our emotional sinews.

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Barrett breaks out

Josh Barrett S Pick 220 Round 7

(6'1 ", 223, 4.349) | ARIZONA STATE

Regarded by the ASU staff as one of the finest safeties to ever play at the university. Has good range and can cover the deep half of the field. Reads quarterback's eyes, shows adequate ball skills and flashes big-play ability. Big enough to line up in the box, aggressive and can make plays at the line of scrimmage. Flashes the ability to shed blocks quickly. Always seems to be around the ball at the end of the play. Is a reliable open field tackler that flashes the ability to deliver the big hit. Times the blitz well. Is a ball hawk and tries to strip the ball when in a trail position. Very good intangibles. Plays the game hard and shows good football intelligence. Quarterback of the secondary and leader of the defense.
NFL.com said: It is fitting that he hopes to one day become a dentist, as he spent his last four years drilling any receiver that dared to come into his area. With his 4.35 clocking in the 40-yard dash, he is the Sun Devils' fastest player to ever wear a defensive uniform.

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A healthy Tony Scheffler?

Training camp is the time for getting your feet under you. For tight end Tony Scheffler, that’s meant literally. Hampered by a foot injury last year, Scheffler is showing the camp and the coaches what he can be like when he’s completely healthy. "Tony Scheffler! Made it through a practice today, congratulations!" teased Cutler, referring to Scheffler’s injury of the first day of last year’s camp. Scheffler still felt winded on the 1st day of this year’s camp, but was encouraged that the foot was pain free. By the second day he was on everyone’s highlight reel. The third year tight end was also unstoppable on 4-on-4 drills.

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A final word on Jacob Hester

Patriotic Obsession: Chargers Enter '08 season with One Goal in Mind

...(AJ) Smith even swung a deal this year with the team he's chasing, giving up a fifth-rounder this year and a second-round pick next year to New England in order to take LSU's multi-purpose running back Jacob Hester in the third round. The idea was in part to give the Patriots defense, with its aging set of linebackers, another weapon to defend

The article lays out AJ Smith's obsession with catching the Pats. Could that obsession have lead to wasting a pick or over-paying for Hester?

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A tale of two franchises

A recent sportingnews.com article by Vinnie Iyer brought out a principle that was first noted by our very own hoosierteacher. It bears on Coach Nolan of San Francisco, Jamie Winborn and on the Denver Bates Experiment. From HT’s brilliant article on the 3-4 defense (find it here):

The truth is, any defensive coordinator can run a 4-3 or 3-4 indifferently.  While coaches have preferences, they more often defer to what they have available.  If the team could go either way, the coordinator is probably going with what he is more comfortable with.

What's better, the 3-4 or 4-3?

Don't get in the mind set of "better" when thinking about formations and systems.  They are different, and do different things.

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The character of Jamie Winborn

#51 / Linebacker / Denver Broncos. Height: 5-11  Weight: 230

Like a lot of Broncos people, I first noticed Jamie Winborn when the Broncos acquired him last September – we needed help at LB and he was an interesting pickup. The word potential was used a lot. With seven years of experience behind him, I hoped that he could help bolster our corps. He played well in a few games, made a lot of good tackles on ST and this off-season I rooted for him to catch on to the squad.

Then, on a whim I began to Google him. A few articles widened my eyes, and after several hours I decided to share a little of what I found. The Broncos are going heavily after players who have character and IMHO Jamie Winborn has it in spades.

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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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