Doc's Musings

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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The story of Peyton Hillis

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.

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Shanahan’s hot seat?

Those who can, do. Other than the Sports Guru and his band of merry and accomplished men, those who can’t are too often sports writers. Case in point:

Denver Broncos: Mike Shanahan has something that no other coach in the AFC West has: A Super Bowl ring won as a head coach, and he has two of them. Granted, at the time he won those he also had John Elway and Terrell Davis to fall back on. Since Elway and Davis have departed, his "genius" label has become tarnished. He is to the point where he could end up on the hot seat in Denver, but he doesn’t seem to have the horses to make a run at this point. OUTLOOK: Look for Shanahan to get his team up for the games, but don’t expect it to translate into wins.

The above post was part of a comparison of AFC West coaches that decided, not surprisingly, that Lane Kiffen is the only good coach in the AFC West. I like Lane Kiffen. As HT says, he’s a teaching coach who uses similar schemes up front on offense to Shanahan’s and seems like a good guy in a tough position. In that respect, I support him and wish him well.

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