Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his Sunday column, Dan Pompei considers the possible growing importance of interior linemen in today's game, as more pressure and sacks have apparently been coming from up the middle in recent years. Pompei writes that shorter pass drops may be to blame, and of course this only magnifies the Broncos' already desperate need at defensive tackle. Plus, Pompei is hearing that Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert was actually quite impressive in his combine interviews and team visits (in contrast to the reports that he's the next Jay Cutler) and that Von Miller should be a playmaker immediately.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Bill Williamson spoke with several scouts and draft experts to compare Tim Tebow with the 2011 crop of QB prospects. While Gary Horton thinks Tebow is the answer in Denver, Mel Kiper and Steve Muench both think Tebow would be a fourth-rounder if he were a part of the 2011 Draft. Matt Williamson thinks Denver never should have drafted Tebow in the first place, and that they'd be better off with a QB they could potentially draft in the second round later this month. Finally, Tony Softli thinks the Broncos should stick with Tebow, whose football intelligence and intangibles impressed him last year. Here's what it comes down to, though - obviously, all of these evaluators have every right to think some of this year's QB prospects are better than Tebow; but even if they're right, it doesn't make any sense in the world for Denver to draft one. As Bucky Brooks points out, every guy has question marks, just like Tebow does - and unless there were a standout guy (Andrew Luck?) then why bother?
If Brian Xanders has his way, the Denver Broncos are going to draft Nick Fairley.
How do I know this? I'm speculating of course, but after watching all of his interviews five times over this week in an effort to build our wildly popular Brian Xanders Random Quote Generator, new information has come to light, man.
First, let me point out the obvious--the Broncos would like to trade out of the #2 spot. If someone tries to claim that as an original thought or breaking news, flog them. This fact has been widely known for weeks. Xanders himself has said on numerous occasions that his general strategy (which is sound) is to trade down and accumulate picks. So you won't find me claiming that mantle.
What I will claim is that Xanders is not your typical General Manager. As I suggested yesterday, the guy simply has a hard time with public speaking. Moreover, he tends to get slightly animated and nervous, which causes him to search for what he likely perceives are high-quality football buzzwords. Take this quote for example, which is included in the Random Quote Generator:
"We researched their personal character and their football character…we never want the character grade to bleed into the football grade."
Xanders' interviews are ripe with this sort of material. What Xanders wanted to say here in simple terms is that the Broncos initially treat a draft prospect's play on the football field seperately from their potential off-field character issues. In his search for fooball speak, the words fall short.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Mike Lombardi is revving up his draft coverage, and he leads off with a bombshell of sorts - he says he would pass on Nick Fairley. While he does think the Auburn DT has loads of talent, Lombardi would prefer lesser-skilled players like UNC's Marvin Austin and Corey Liuget of Illinois due to their work habits and passion for the game. Lombardi goes on to astutely point out how silly it is to say a guy is overvalued at one spot in the draft but is worthy a few picks later. Statements like that would only be valid if scouting the draft were a surefire, accurate process, and we all know it's not. In a second post, Lombardi shares a few more of his draft thoughts, including that Julio Jones' combine speed doesn't show up in games. Oh, and he writes that everything a team says about players over the next few weeks is a lie - so don't bother paying attention to all those ridiculous "A source says/tells me" posts and tweets around the interwebz.
Brian Xanders doesn't exactly fit the mold of what we expect from a general manager: He's got a double chin. His clothes don't fit. He has a tendency to rush his sentences, omit words, state facts as if they were original thoughts, and mix verb tenses. Hell, the guy used to clean pools.
In short, he's everything Joe Ellis isn't. It's for this reason, and the way he handled the recent re-signing of Champ Bailey, that the X-Man is starting to grow on me.
So I went back and spent an exceedingly long time reading and listening to interviews Xanders has given since he was named General Manger of the Denver Broncos for real. At first, I mistook his responses for gobbledygook. My mind went numb; my senses failed. Soon, I was unable to determine the questions from the answers. I fell into a Xanders-induced stupor.
When I came to, however, I realized that inside all of this undeciphered madness, Xanders had a plan. After so many interviews, he's let a few things slip.
Later this week, I'll tell you what I think that plan is. Today, however, I wanted to have a little more fun at the expense of Xanders before I begin singing his praises.
So I gathered together a few dozen of the best quotes Xanders has given. I plugged them into a random quote generator. I think you'll enjoy....
Good Morning, Broncos fans! With precisely three weeks to go til the opening of the 2011 Draft, it's time for the DP to
return to their hacktastic glory focus more on the annual selection party. Unfortunately, Klis starts out with a real doozy; remember how he had seemingly put to rest the Legwoldian thread of Denver has ONLY six picks (before they were awarded a compensatory pick for sucking)? Well, he's now creating a narrative of a different flavor (and omitting facts to make the story fit, of course): the Broncos should have a lot more later-round picks because Josh McDaniels got ripped off monthly! Of course, there is some validity to it - dealing away a fourth-rounder for Laurence Maroney wasn't so hot, although no DP writer has ever? mentioned that Denver got back a sixth-rounder in that deal. Perhaps giving up multiple draft picks along with Peyton Hillis doesn't seem all that great for Brady Quinn, although the fact that Quinn didn't play in 2010 shouldn't factor in.
But should we really be riled up about giving up a 2011 fifth-rounder to get a year's worth of Syd'Quan Thompson? And if you're going to decry the loss of a seventh-rounder in the Alphonso Smith/Dan Gronkowski deal, aren't you supposed to point out that Denver received a sixth-rounder in that very same deal (which is, you know, better than a seventh-rounder)? As if it's not enough to leave out these facts, Klis goes on to write that there's a big difference between having a pick near the top of the sixth round rather than at #21 and #24 like Denver does. It's gonna be a long three weeks, friends...
In the April 11 issue of Sports Illustrated due to hit newsstands this week, Atlanta magazine senior associate editor and SI freelancer Thomas Lake revisits the murder of Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams. The lengthy and engrossing article explores the backgrounds of Williams, his convicted killer "Little" Willie Clark, and Williams' friend and teammate Javon Walker, in whose arms Williams perished. While expectedly saddening, Lake's retelling of the events from that fateful New Year's Eve of 2006 casts more light on the roles ex-Broncos WR Brandon Marshall and his cousin played in the night-long conflict, including the perceived likelihood that they were the intended targets of Clark's gunfire.
It’s become common in recent times to say that the quarterback, left tackle and rush linebacker are the three most important parts when constructing a team, but that hasn’t always been the case. When John Madden used to talk about team building, he was very firm that the two most important things were your offensive line (especially the left tackle, but you need the whole group to be anywhere from solid to exceptional) and the cornerback slot. There’s good reason to still see things that way. How important is the defensive secondary? Just consider these numbers:
You easily get the idea: it’s not news that the NFL’s passing game has been bolstered since the (in)famous 1978 rule change that permitted offensive linemen to hold, as long as it was within certain parameters. That rule change began a long series of decisions that put the power in the hands of the offenses in order to make games more exciting to the fans.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Today is the first big day in the players' antitrust suit against the league (Brady v. NFL) to try and end the lockout. As Andrew Brandt points out, Judge Susan Nelson has the power in this case to halt the lockout (which would then be subject to appeal), allow it to continue, defer to the National Labor Relations Board (unlikely), or she could even order the two sides to undergo more mediation towards a settlement. Although Brandt says it's hard to figure out which way Judge Nelson may turn (unlike the predictable Judge David Doty), he thinks the lattermost option makes the most sense.
Meanwhile, Albert Breer writes that several of the most important figures in the case don't think it important enough to attend, including Commissioner Goodell, his incendiary head counsel Jeff Pash, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. However, it is expected that DeMaurice Smith, David Boies and Von Miller will be present. Aren't you excited for all of the relentless TV coverage from outside the courtroom starting today?!?! Hopefully you've got plenty popcorn. Yay legal wrangling!!!
Happy Tuesday, friends, and welcome to a Great day to be from Connecticut edition of You Got Served. As you can imagine, I was tied up for most of Monday evening, so this is going to be shorter than usual, but since it didn’t really cost you anything, I was thinking you’d be happy enough with it anyway. Armed with home-state pride, a minor snakebite buzz, and the knowledge that I’m unlikely to wind down enough to fall asleep until about 3 AM, we’re getting underway. Ready…. BEGIN!!
1. In case you hadn’t heard, not much of substance has been going on in the NFL lately, and a couple weeks ago, I swore off speculating on the CBA situation until something real happens. I knew in a small way that I was handicapping my ability to find interesting football topics during the lockout, but I didn’t quite fully appreciate the gravity of the decision.
Of course, I’m a stubborn SOB, so I am sticking to my guns, so add that to the more obvious reasons I’m hoping for an injunction in the next couple weeks. Your boy needs something to write about.
Something interesting beyond the glorious Connecticut victory happened today, actually. I made a deal on a new place to live and decided to rent a townhouse in Westlake, which is one of the nicest suburbs of Cleveland. A key feature of the new place is that I am able to get DirecTV and fire Time Warner Cable, which is the corporate personification of awfulness.
I didn’t exactly announce this during the OneManFootball era, but a key reason that I was less prolific as a writer in 2010 than I had been the previous two seasons was that I didn’t have access to nearly as many games. I have a policy that I don’t comment on football that I haven’t seen with my own eyes, so I honestly had less to say.