Wes Welker reportedly considering retirement

Pending unrestricted free agent Wes Welker is seriously considering retirement after 12 seasons, according to Mike Garafolo. In 2014, Welker played only 27 snaps fewer than he did in 2013, but his production fell off signficantly - from 73 catches, 778 yards, and 10 touchdowns, to 49 catches, 464 yards, and two touchdowns.

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Report: John Elway not 100% on wanting Peyton Manning to return

Recent speculation from all corners suggests Peyton Manning wants to play in 2015. However, Jason Cole reports that the Broncos and John Elway aren't certain about wanting Manning back, especially if he's only going to play for one more year. As transcribed by FOX Sports:

At this point in his career, the Broncos could fail Peyton Manning for any reason, including the four neck surgeries that he has already had. In talking to sources close to the team, there's a big question here about whether the Broncos want to bring him back for one more year. They're going to have to feel very comfortable about this.

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Who are the Broncos’ likely cap casualties for 2015?

Every offseason, there's at least some caponomic housecleaning to be done. Most of the cuts and renegotiations are quite predictable, based upon a player's cap number and production, but there is the occasional bombshell. Before we look at 2015's likely cuts, let's look back at those from the first four years of John Elway's tenure.

In 2011, Denver's casualties were Daniel Graham, Jamal Williams, Justin Bannan, Correll Buckhalter, Renaldo Hill, and Nate Jones. A year later, Tim Tebow and Andre' Goodman were sent packing. 2013's departures included Elvis Dumervil, D.J. Williams, Willis McGahee, Joe Mays, and Caleb Hanie, while Champ Bailey rode off into the sunset last year.

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Deadline for Peyton Manning’s neck exam appears to be February 28

We've seen some unclear reports as to when Peyton Manning's neck examination must occur by, but Jeff Legwold has more of the details. Per Legwold, the annual exam must take place at least 10 days before the new league year starts, at 4pm ET on March 10.

That 10-day stipulation would actually appear to place the exam deadline on February 28 (Legwold says it's March 1), but if Chris Mortensen is correct (as he usually is in matters relating to Manning, as both are represented by CAA), Peyton figures to announce his return long before then.

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Mort: Peyton Manning likely to announce return this week

Peyton Manning may announce as early as this week that he's returning for the 2015 season, according to Chris Mortensen, who writes:

Manning has been fairly persuaded that all will work well between him and new head coach Gary Kubiak, who is ready and willing to fit his scheme to play to the quarterback's strengths.

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Mail: Should the Broncos rest Peyton Manning until crunch time?

Here's a fun idea for the upcoming season from longtime reader c_style:

What do you guys think about the idea of benching Peyton for 8 games of the season under these specific conditions:

1) Peyton comes in if Brock gets hurt
2) Peyton comes in if the playoffs are in doubt
3) Ideally Peyton comes in with 4 games left in the season to tune up for the playoffs

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Mail: Do the Broncos need to acquire more mobile linemen?

Questions on zone blocking have been pouring in. There’s no question that it has advantages for Denver, whether Peyton Manning stays or not. The question for today is whether we should expect Denver to begin a change to more mobile linemen.

The answer is, not necessarily. I see that as a good thing.

In Dennis Hooper’s March 2009 article on inside zone blocking, he laid out what you want in a zone blocking lineman. Here’s what he listed (I've numbered his bullet points):

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Broncos hire Joe Woods as secondary coach

The Broncos announced on Wednesday the hiring of Joe Woods as their defensive backs coach. Over the past 11 seasons, Woods has held that same position in Tampa Bay (2004-05), Minnesota (2006-13), and Oakland (2014).

Woods, 44, has apparently not worked with Wade Phillips or Gary Kubiak before; in Minnesota, he worked under Leslie Frazier; in Tampa Bay, he worked under Monte Kiffin and tutored Raheem Morris, who was his assistant secondary coach.

Broncos hire Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator

The Broncos have brought back Wade Phillips to be their defensive coordinator, it was announced on Wednesday. In his first Denver stint, Phillips coordinated the Broncos defense from 1989 to 1992 and took over as head coach for two seasons after the firing of Dan Reeves.

He was something of a placeholder head coach for Mike Shanahan, who turned down the head job in 1993 but returned two years later. According to various reports, Phillips may again be taking a temporary position, as Vance Joseph's contract in Cincinnati will be up after 2015.

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Perry Fewell won’t be facilitating a Broncos hire of Vance Joseph

The Broncos can forget about Perry Fewell stepping in as a replacement for Vance Joseph in Cincy. The former Giants DC is reportedly heading to Washington, where he'll take over as secondary coach for the departed Raheem Morris. As Jeff Legwold told it, Denver had hoped the Bengals might allow Joseph to become the Broncos' DC if Cincy could in turn hire Fewell as a replacement.

Instead, it now looks like the Broncos will turn to either Wade Phillips - who was/is interviewing today and may keep the seat warm for a year until Joseph's Cincy contract expires - or former Falcons head man Mike Smith.

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