Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Saints and Cardinals opened the preseason last night at the annual HOF game; Drew Brees was Drew Brees, and New Orleans won 17-10 in a game that featured only three second-half points (although Cardinals DB Justin Bethel impressed with a blocked FG).
With the referees association amidst a labor dispute with the NFL, replacement officials got off to an inauspicious start by screwing up the coin toss. Embattled Arizona QB Kevin Kolb also had a rough debut, completing just one pass out of four attempts, and bruising his ribs on the play.
Meanwhile, settlement talks are ongoing between the league and the suspended current and former Saints, with ESPN reporting that the league offered to cut Jonathan Vilma's suspension in half (to eight games) in exchange for him dropping his defamation suit against the Ginger Hammer. According to that report, the other three suspended players could also walk away with shorter bans, the NFL's attorneys has pushed Goodell to offer shorter suspensions, and he claims he likely would have reduced them anyway, had the players fully participated in the appeals process.
But of course, the NFL is denying that they've offered to cut Vilma's suspension. And if they are so certain about their proof of a bounty system, why would they settle and risk showing public weakness?
The team will release its first depth chart of the season today; according to Mike Klis, the most hotly contested position battles have been at backup quarterback, defensive tackle, and running back.
Although the Broncos are working to get themselves ready for a season, there's always that balance of hoping to get through preseason without any major injuries.
He reportedly worked out for both Buffalo and Denver before signing with the Broncos, but safety Jim Leonhard is apparently still rehabbing his surgically repaired knee, so the team placed him on the active PUP list. Keep in mind that this preseason PUP list has no bearing on his availability for the regular season though, as Leonhard simply needs to be cleared by the team doctor to begin practicing. Players placed on the regular season PUP list are required to sit out the season's first six games.
Lindsay Jones reminds us that Willis McGahee was having a fine season before the QB switch last year, even if the team as a whole wasn't rushing for much yardage. We're going to hear a lot that the Broncos were last year's leading rushing team, but who cares? The rushing attack was their passing attack, and that combination was only enough to make them 25th in scoring, 23rd in total yardage, and 31st in passing yards. They averaged 128.2 yards passing per game for the last 12 games of the season, a figure that Peyton Manning might eclipse on a per-half basis. Thank You, John Elway.
Dusty Saunders says KOA and The Fan are having a bit of a catfight over who will better cover the Broncos this season.
Former Broncos DE Derrick Harvey was released by Cincinnati; Oakland cut DT Travis Ivey; Bears WR Devin Thomas, who was part of the Giants' SB-winning team last year, is retiring at 25; Cardinals TE Todd Heap accepted a $1.1M pay cut for this season.
Fred Matua, who played guard for USC and four NFL teams, died at 28 of either an aneurysm or heart attack.
In his MMQB, Peter King tries to make the case against Terrell Davis's HOF worthiness, and naturally he comes up really short. Greatest postseason career of any running back, and how many guys who were the absolute best player on multiple SB-winning teams are not in the HOF? In another vacation from logic, PK says Robert Gallery's decision to retire was "the honorable thing." Huh?
Jim Trotter visited Chargers camp this week, and although he says the team is confident, he says they're also happy the Broncos and PMFM are getting all the attention within the division.
In considering the career outlook of Browns RB Trent Richardson, Chase Stuart examines the top running back selected in each draft class going back to 1970.
Bill Parcells doesn't think the presence of Tim Tebow will have a negative effect on Mark Sanchez, and he calls Teebs "a pretty good acquisition" for the Jets. In previewing their season, Andy Benoit says the entire organization is full of drama queens, and he reminds us that the Jets were actually really good in the red zone last season, pre-Teebs. According to Benoit, Denver's receivers aren't good enough to get open in a timing-based offense; suppose we'll find out for sure in the coming months.
Usain Bolt set a new Olympic record in the 100 yesterday; the NYT has a pretty cool multimedia presentation that shows 100m medalists across the Games' history, showing Bolt to be a man apart.
A NASA rover has landed on Mars.