Grand Junction native Ben Garland is back with the Broncos after receiving an early release from his Air Force commitment. The 24-year-old defensive tackle was originally signed by Denver as an undrafted free agent in 2010 and tallied six tackles that preseason before being placed on the Reserve/Military list.
During his time at the Air Force Academy, Garland started 34 of the 39 games he played and accumulated 115 tackles and 11.5 sacks while forcing three fumbles and blocking two kicks.
Finally, The Old Man and the Hyperbole, Woody Paige, wrote:
Hannibal never endured such a demanding march, or October — road games against the Patriots and the Chargers and a home game with the Saints. Guess what? The final eight games are no bargain. The Broncos do get the Bucs and the Browns at home, and conclude the regular season at SAF at Mile High, as they did last year, against those pesky Chiefs. But they must play at Carolina — ever heard of Cam Newton? — and K.C., Oakland and Baltimore.
Woo. I've been covering the Broncos since 1974, and there hasn't been a schedule this grueling in any season since then — or, certainly, before.
This, of course, settles the issue, since 1974 was a watershed year. It brought us "Jungle Boogie" from Kool and the Gang, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (warning, nightmares will ensue), and Woody Paige, Denver's own cuddly serial killer of football knowledge.
Great news for all of us out-of-town fans - DirecTV has cut prices for its NFL Sunday Ticket package. The Max package, which includes computer and mobile access to game broadcasts, the Red Zone channel, and the 30-minute Short Cuts versions of games, will now cost $299.95, down from the $385 price from 2011. The price for the standard Sunday Ticket package has been slashed 40% from $334.95 to $199.95, and Sunday Ticket will again be offered at no extra charge to new DirecTV subscribers.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Now that the 2012 schedule has been released, Judy Battista offers a fascinating look at how the schedule makers come up with their final product. And as silly as the leadup to the announcement each year may seem, with talk that the slate may or may not be made public on a certain day, there's apparently good reason for it.
What starts as 14,000 skeds gets narrowed down to 150, and those are painstakingly studied to come up with the best possible schedule, all the while accounting for religious holidays, weather, time zones, baseball playoffs, and even concerts. And that's before they even get to requests made by the teams themselves, nixing lengthy road trips, and trying to keep the TV networks happy.
As Battista tells it, it wasn't Peyton Manning's presence that spurred the league to schedule Denver for five primetime games, as was written by every football writer under the sun this week. Rather, it was Tim Tebow. The SNF opener which will have Denver hosting Pittsburgh in a rematch of their playoff meeting? That was already likely to happen pre-Peyton, and the league was looking to capitalize on Tebow's immense popularity with plenty of night games for the Broncos this season. So, they would have happened anyway - Denver will just have a better chance now of winning those games.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! We're only one week away from the start of the 2012 NFL Draft, and that can mean only one thing: it's time to celebrate The Passion of the Legwold.
Legwold kicks off Passion Week by breaking the news that Denver desires an impact player at #25, as opposed to the middling prospects they would normally be after in the first round. He also reiterates that the team has interest in BSU runner Doug Martin and could see them taking Martin at #25 if the top defensive tackles are all gone at that point. In fact, that's exactly what he has them doing in his first-round mock.
As for offensive linemen, The Impassioned One says the team is "giving long looks" to center and guard prospects because Peyton Manning is coming off an injury, not because J.D. Walton and Zane Beadles were pretty terrible last season. And, if Peyton were 100% healthy, they wouldn't want to give him great protection?
Presumably it's Legwold (or, could be Klis) who reviews Denver's 1st-to-3rd-round picks of the past 11 years, incredibly calling Jay Cutler just an "OK" pick, while generously calling Beadles and Walton "Good" picks. Look, Cutler may be a jerk, and we give the guy a ton of grief here, but let's be serious - he is a legitimate starting NFL QB and should remain one for a long time, and he is BY FAR the best QB from that 2006 Draft. To equate the expenditure of resources to select Cutler with those spent for Tebow, and to call Beadles and Walton better values than Jay is pure hackery. Really, it's a complete and utter joke.
Bill Walsh pretty much had it covered, even over 20 years ago. He said this about cornerbacks:
Ideal size: 6-2, 195, but good ones come in all sizes
You would prefer a good-sized cornerback, but fortunately they have come in all sizes. Some of the best coverage men have been extremely small and dwarfed by their wide receivers and still were able to cover because of quickness, explosion and anticipation.
But the great cornerbacks have been able to play a physical game with receivers. They can bump the receiver on the release, but more important go up for a ball and not be overwhelmed or knocked off the pass by the receiver.
Of course, you need quickness and explosion. Full-sprint speed is important, but there have been cornerbacks who have overcome a lack of sprinters' speed and played many years and become Pro Bowl participants. You'd like to think of the cornerback being able to run 40 yards in under 4.5 seconds.
He must be able to do the kinds of things receivers do when they go up for a ball.
My emphasis added. Now, let’s walk through some game film and start seeing who Denver has this year, starting with new CB Tracy Porter.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Jeff Legwold continues his The Position I'm Writing About Today is a Notably Risky One to Draft series with wide receivers up next. Now, in fairness to Legwold, we did cite this piece yesterday in which Matt Waldman said teams find it especially hard to evaluate QBs, WRs and DBs. But name a position that Legwold hasn't written up as being a super duper gamble and we'll give you a gold star sticker.
Legwold also claims Denver needs more depth now that they have a QB who loves to throw the ball a ton, although this of course ignores the fact that running a no-huddle offense means not changing personnel all that much from play to play. As Ted has noted, the same players tend to stay on the field with Manning.
In reality, Peyton Manning does distribute the ball to a lot of players, but those players are basically all starters. A look back at his time in Indy finds that each year, the bulk of his passes would go to two or three wideouts, two or three tight ends, and two or three running backs. At almost no point in his career has a fourth WR caught very many passes, and early on it was essentially Marvin Harrison and nobody else.
Here is the 2012 schedule; all times are expressed in Eastern Time.
|1||Sunday||Sep 9, 2012||Pittsburgh Steelers||8:20 pm||NBC|
|2||Monday||Sep 17, 2012||at Atlanta Falcons||8:30 pm||ESPN|
|3||Sunday||Sep 23, 2012||Houston Texans||4:25 pm||CBS|
|4||Sunday||Sep 30, 2012||Oakland Raiders||4:05 pm||CBS|
|5||Sunday||Oct 7, 2012||at New England Patriots||4:25 pm||CBS|
|6||Monday||Oct 15, 2012||at San Diego Chargers||8:30 pm||ESPN|
|8||Sunday||Oct 28, 2012||New Orleans Saints||8:20 pm||NBC|
|9||Sunday||Nov 4, 2012||at Cincinnati Bengals||1:00 pm||CBS|
|10||Sunday||Nov 11, 2012||at Carolina Panthers||1:00 pm||CBS|
|11||Sunday||Nov 18, 2012||San Diego Chargers||4:25 pm||CBS|
|12||Sunday||Nov 25, 2012||at Kansas City Chiefs||1:00 pm||CBS|
|13||Sunday||Dec 2, 2012||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||4:05 pm||FOX|
|14||Thursday||Dec 6, 2012||at Oakland Raiders||8:20 pm||NFLN|
|15||Sunday||Dec 16, 2012||at Baltimore Ravens||1:00 pm||CBS|
|16||Sunday||Dec 23, 2012||Cleveland Browns||4:05 pm||CBS|
|17||Sunday||Dec 30, 2012||Kansas City Chiefs||4:25 pm||CBS|
Happy Tuesday, friends. Welcome to Part 6 of our seven-part series about how Peyton Manning plays offense. Today, we’ll cover the seven-step passing and screen games. Later this week, we’ll close out the series, and then it’s on to Draft coverage.
Here are links to the first five parts of the series if you need to catch up on something:
As I mentioned on Wednesday, the Manning offense tends to revolve around the three- and five-step passing games, particularly the five-step version. The seven-step game takes a long time to work and requires better protection, generally with fewer receivers in the pattern.
Manning says he's still basically living at Dove Valley, although that's probably something of an exaggeration. Judging by his secretive nature, he probably already bought a house in the area. Of course, the practice nut seems very excited to have started the official, albeit voluntary, portion of the offseason.
Meanwhile, Miller says his injured thumb is still only at 85%, while Decker's knee is free of pain. The third-year wideout says he is already familiar with the "new-age" techniques utilized by strength coach Luke Richesson from having worked out at API the past couple years.