The Dude’s Mail Revue: Mocks, quarterbacks and kickoffs

Dude's Mail Revue 400x145Fat Man writer TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions and gets your opinion about the state of the Denver Broncos.

You wanna tie the room together?  Or say what you'd like about the tenets of national socialism?

Drop TJ a question: tjthedudejohnson@gmail.com.

(NOTE: Marmots were harmed in the writing of this Revue)

TJ, last week I read your piece on the lockout in which you very much sided with the players.  I see your points about the players having very short careers and that most of them aren't millionaires.  I even get that most of them are going to have health problems.  I'm even willing to cede that the owners are old, rich white guys who throw temper tantrums when they don't get their way.  But aren't you missing the whole point here?  Your socialist rant didn't address the fundamental issue of the negotiation itself. 

--Ayne Rowdy Rand, Boulder, Colorado

Ayne:  I'm guessing you're the kind of chick who deconstructs the ire from satire. The point of the piece wasn't really to take sides in the technical points of the debate, but rather to dispel the notion of the players being in the same socio-economic class as the owners in order to justify fan anger at the players.  

Honestly, the lockout is beginning to bore me.  I can make fun of Joe Ellis at any time (like in the next question).  There has been so much written on both sides at this point that I'll simply defer to my own story and those from others, like this excellent piece by our own Ted Bartlett.  Besides, I'd rather watch girls jumping on trampolines or these Mike Tyson interviews:

Stay rowdy, Ayne.  Live free or die.  You know I will.

Hey, TJ, why don't you do interviews with players, coaches, and management during the lockout?  For example, I just saw that MHR interviewed Joe Ellis.   Maybe you guys could get Ellis.  Then go after Kyle Orton to balance the scales!  Nothing drives traffic like a good argument between the owners and the players, eh?

Juanita Ebnitita, Beaver, Utah

Juanita:  It's always good to hear from the good citizens of Beaver.  I've surmised from time to time we are big down there in Beaver country.  We're certainly fans of Beaver.  Can anyone ever have enough?

Regarding Ellis, I don't think we can afford his speaker's fee.  He also hates my video series (completely fictional and in no way a representation of the real Joe Ellis according to our lawyers) poking fun at him and Brian Xanders.  I'm guessing Fat Man isn't on his Christmas card list next to his cousin George.  Kyle Orton probably disagrees with my assessment of his play during the 4th quarter and on 3rd downs.  So, there you go.  I guess I'm stuck generating content from my own tiny brain.

You can see the dilemma we face here at Fat Man.  If we give a real opinion, we risk alienating someone, somewhere, sometime.  We can't really have that, can we?  It could lead to anarchy--at the very worst, it might cause some fans to question the direction of the Broncos.   Maybe we should have started a site in which we never criticize anyone who works or plays for the Broncos, at least until they make contract demands.  

Which brings us back to the players.  If you are going to take sides as a blogger who lives with your parents as I do, you should probably prepare to throw the players under the bus before management: the players are likely to be traded or concussed out of the league within four years.  Management is going to be around for awhile.  If you are going to get drunk, euphoric, and emotionally invested in a sports franchise, better to wake up next to Joe Ellis than Jake Plummer.  Plummer might just take his (hand)ball and go home.

So I'm sorry, Juanita, we probably won't be able to get Ellis.  We did put it to a staff vote, however.  It turned into a long and dramatic argument about whether we should suck up to Jim Saccomano and Patrick Smyth while shilling for them; the elves in the room favored doing so, and fought hard for their point of view, but in the end, we decided not to go that route.  

BTW, did you know that they actually still believe in elves in Iceland?  Sounds like the NFL owners could use some of this pixie dust also.

Dude, I'm back!  While the rest of you have been talking incessantly about a lockout, I've been meticulously researching the Broncos' needs.  I've consulted two astrologists, watched every bowl game, and I was glued to every minute of the NFL combine.  There is no doubt in my mind, this is what the Broncos will do come draft day:

  1. Trade Kyle Orton for a 4th-round pick (Minnesota's pick, # 105)
  2. Pick Patrick Peterson (CB) at #2.
  3. Pick Corey Liuget (DT) at #36
  4. Pick Stephen Paea (DT) at #46
  5. Pick Daniel Thomas (RB) at #67 
  6. Pick Mason Foster (OLB) at #105

Don't even think about questioning any of this.  Like the Mayan calendar, this draft class is going to explode in 2012.   Watch and learn, duder.  

—Yasser Bin Gered, Tel Aviv, Israel

Yasser:  I've noticed each time you email, you bring more hubris.  Perhaps you are destined to be Mel Kiper, Jr. after all.  Listen, man - this draft of yours would be pretty great and all, but there's one big problem.  All of your picks, outside of Peterson, are likely to be off the board when the Broncos are scheduled to make their picks.  Paea might actually be gone before Liuget.  Thomas and Foster could also go late in the second round as well.  I'm guessing the only pick the Broncos could realistically get from your list is Paea and they would pick him at #36, not #46.

Doug Lee can vouch for me on this, but at least seven months ago I told him that the Broncos ought to try to pick Marcell Dareus in the first round and Stephen Paea in the second.  This was well before I knew the Broncos would be picking so high.  I see no reason to change my view on the matter today, although I'd be equally as happy if the Broncos took Nick Fairley with their first pick.  

Your choice of Peterson is interesting.  It wouldn't be my pick, but in going with Peterson, the Broncos would be playing the true "best player available" card.  Peterson might end up being a safety also, which is another need the Broncos should get around to addressing.  Not bad, Yasser.

Lastly, I think your take on Orton is right on (see the answer to the next mailbag question).  I think he and his Prius could be hitting the road.  

By the way, I don't believe you watched every bowl game and every moment of the combine, but neither have any of the other guys doing mocks on the internet, so you are in good company.  

And Yasser, the Mayan calendar isn't set to explode in 2012.  Actually, what is going to happen is an army of aliens will land off the coast of Los Angeles and engage the United States Marines in a epic battle of human survival.  Only the extremely good-looking will survive.  And cockroaches and draft mockers.  Oh, and Al Davis.  All in that order.

TJ, if the Broncos draft a quarterback with any of their top 3 picks, I'm telling you, I'm letting my season tickets go.  They have 3 quality quarterbacks on their roster already.  It would be such a waste when we need defensive players.  I mean the Broncos should draft all defense this year to make up for the mistakes of McDaniels, don't you agree?

Anonymous, Denver, Colorado

No-name guy: They are not going to pick a quarterback.  It's actually a signal that the Broncos will try and trade down.  I'm not the first one to point this out, but all of this talk about quarterbacks and not missing out on a potential "franchise guy" is a way for the Broncos to try and entice another team to trade up to grab Gabbert or Newton.  Brian Xanders, John Fox, and John Elway have been interviewed several times and they keep talking about "franchise" guys, as if Andrew Luck is still in this draft class.  Sounds to me like there are a few guys in Dove Valley who really want others to think the quarterbacks in this draft class are worthy of the second pick.

Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow, and Brady Quinn are on the roster.  I'd rather go with any of them right now over the quarterbacks in this draft class, with all due respect to the "franchise" guys Fox, Elway, and Xanders have seen.  And if none of these guys work out, Andrew Luck will be waiting next year.

Dude, in the name of player safety, the league has moved up kickoffs.  You believe they really care?

--Richard Karlis, Cincinnati, Ohio

Richard:  Well, the NFL believes there will be more touchbacks, so I'm sure that was the league's intention.  However, I'm not so sure that kickers will automatically drive all of their kicks into the end zone.  I think guys like Matt Prater will be encouraged to try and place the ball inside the 5-yard line.  But we just don't know until we see it in action.  Like hiring Joe Ellis into your organization, you may not know the true damage until several years down the road.

Prater's kickoff numbers are more interesting than one would surmise.  I promoted the guy as a Pro Bowl-level kicker after the 2009 season (and you are about to see why), but during his three years in Denver, his average kickoff distance has actually decreased:

  • 2008: 65.1 yards per kickoff
  • 2009: 68.4 yards per kickoff
  • 2010: 64.6 yards per kickoff

What happened to Prater in 2009?  The league average did not spike that year.  Generally speaking, the average in the NFL each year is around 64 yards.  Perhaps Prater simply chose a different strategy in the other two years of trying to pin the opponents inside the 20-yard line.  He probably didn't count on Denver's special teams being quite so special.

I would recommend he explore the Jose Canseco-school-for-kickers-who-want-to-kick-good during this lockout.

This week's fake Tim Tebow Bible tweet:

Galatians 5:22

What good will it be for an NFL owner if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his rookie salary cap?

I’m glad we had this talk.  Now, vaya con Dios, Brah.

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