Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team held its first regular-season practice yesterday, with only Chris Kuper sidelined, due to his injured forearm.
John Fox (video) spoke after practice; team captains were elected yesterday, but will not be announced until tomorrow. The head coach says Tony Carter, fourth on the team's depth chart at corner, made the squad on the strength of his strong man-cover skills and special-teams play.
Brandon Stokley says practice was a bit more intense yesterday.
All teams must be under the salary cap at 4pm ET today; according to PFT, Denver has $11.1M in cap space, which suggests that any financial decisions for 2012 have been based upon budgetary considerations, not cap concerns.
Knowshon Moreno admits to having been a bit tentative on his surgically-repaired knee during the first two preseason games, but says he felt more comfortable over the latter two games.
Demaryius Thomas says he's been asked countless times about his game-winning TD against the Steelers, but that he's ready to look forward.
Linebackers coach Richard Smith is apparently due the credit for finding Steven Johnson among the rubble of Jayhawks football (Kansas has won just five games over two seasons but provided the Broncos with both Johnson and Chris Harris).
Jeff Legwold expects the Broncos will keep Julius Thomas even when Virgil Green returns from suspension, and he says the team thinks Thomas is nearly back to full speed.
In his latest mailbag, Mike Klis cites the strength-of-schedule bogeyman for his 9-7 record prediction, and he responds to another fan who wishes the Broncos had taken a "now" player in the second round over Brock Osweiler. Have that many people already forgotten the greatest lesson of the 2011 NFL season? You know, the one that says that when you have a 35-year-old franchise quarterback, you'd better be grooming a long-term replacement? The Colts and Packers were the worst and best teams last year, and their handling of that very situation is what made them so.
For some reason, Legwold is set on the notion that the Broncos have been a team of mercenaries for the past 30 years. That John Elway was acquired via trade instead of the draft shouldn't factor in here, because he was traded as a draftee. To call Elway and Eli Manning anything other than homegrown players is pure stupidity. Back to the original premise, Elway, Rod Smith, Shannon Sharpe, Tom Nalen, Karl Mecklenburg, Steve Atwater, Terrell Davis, Simon Fletcher, Matt Lepsis, and Trevor Pryce stand out as a great majority of Denver stars who first played for the Broncos.
Drayton Florence is zipping his lips regarding his departure from Denver.
The Broncos are a 10-1 bet to win the Super Bowl according to current odds in Vegas; only the Pats and Packers are ahead of them.
Steelers WR Mike Wallace practiced with the first team yesterday and may start Sunday; LBs James Harrison and Jason Worilds practiced, but the status of each for Sunday is unclear; RB Rashard Mendenhall surprisingly practiced with the starters as well, but is still considered unlikely to play Sunday. Via Nate Winkler, a handy reminder that Pittsburgh will again be without Ryan Clark due to Denver's altitude.
Oakland signed CB Joselio Hanson and waived CB DeMarcus Van Dyke, whom they'd drafted in the third round of the 2011 Draft. Along with Carolina's Terrell McClain, he's the second 2011 third-rounder cut loose in two days.
Miami worked out old friend Jabar Gaffney yesterday; Chicago brought back DT Amobi Okoye and cut DT Brian Price to make room for him; Arizona signed T Pat McQuistan and claimed LB Jamaal Westerman off waivers from Miami; San Francisco placed LB Parys Haralson on IR and signed LB Clark Haggans to replace him.
Chiefs safety Eric Berry turned to writing songs, poems, and screenplays to help get him through his injury-lost 2011 season.
As we prepare for the brutality of replacement refs officiating regular-season games, Mike Kurtz wraps up his officiating minicamp with a look at the big judgment calls.
Pat Kirwan hopes particularly that the refs don't blow any divisional matchups this week, and he expects to see less blitzing overall in 2012.
Mike Lombardi expects the Broncos to "blow past" their 8-8 record of last year, provided that Mike Klis and Woody Paige are correct in their percentage-basis assessment of PMFM.
In his list of Week 1 questions, Matt Bowen wonders if Eric Decker will emerge as Peyton's favorite target, if he hasn't already done so.
Neil Hornsby grades the preseason performances of the 2012 first-rounders.
Neil Paine examines the predictability of the NFL playoffs and finds more randomness in recent years. Anecdotally, this is shown in the Giants having won 19 games over their two SB seasons, two nine-win teams (Cardinals & Eagles) playing for the 2008 NFC Championship, and of course, the eight-win Broncos taking down the twelve-win Steelers last season. As we often stress, the quality of a team goes far beyond their record, but there's still been an unusual amount of Wild Card teams and nine-game winners making and/or winning the SB in recent years.
In his evaluation of the Cardinals, Andy Benoit sees a top-tier defense but an offense hampered by the lack of a clear starting QB.
Scott Kacsmar looks at the career comeback records of current NFL QBs to discover none other than Tim Tebow atop the list. Pretty wild to think that only two of his nine wins as a Bronco didn't involve either overtime or a fourth-quarter comeback (the 38-24 win at Oakland and the 17-10 snoozer at Kansas City last year). Anyway, here's looking forward to frequently entering the fourth quarter with a lead in 2012.
Bucky Brooks evaluates the play of some top NFL prospects from the opening week of college football.