Unlike the conversations he had with reporters during his six-year stint with the New England Patriots – whose coach, Bill Belichick, scrutinizes his players’ public comments with NSA-like zeal – Welker felt no urgency to walk the line between bland and unrevealing.
“I feel like I can be myself a little more for sure,” said Welker, who signed a two-year, $12-million deal with the Broncos on March 13, a day after becoming an unrestricted free agent. Asked if he’d received any pre-interview lectures about what subjects to avoid, Welker laughed and said, “Here? No. … All they told me was, ‘Just be yourself.’ “
Not sure if Johns Elway and Fox have ever been described as touchy-feely, but relative to Bill Belichick, who isn't? We'll see if it helps translate into a ring in Denver, which of course, would be Welker's first.
“It’s nice when you have an extra hour or something you go watch some extra film or whatever. [Last year] there were no extra hours cause I was in the training room. My day was covered…”
As much as Manning tried to delve into the nuances of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy’s scheme and ensure that Thomas, Decker and company shared his sensibilities, time became an enemy. Though he put in exceptionally long hours, as per usual, Manning spent so many hours in the training room tending to his physical issues that certain staples of his weekly routine, such as film-watching and post-practice fine-tuning sessions with his receivers, tended to suffer.
Peyton's already said he's throwing the ball significantly better than he was a year ago; now he tells us he's back in his comfort zone, with more time to watch film.
If 2012 Manning was the weak-armed, underprepared, and uncomfortable version of himself, then what can we expect of him in 2013?
Teams pass on chance to squat on 160 UFAs
The labor deal has a little-known provision that gives teams that ability to squat on unrestricted free agents who haven’t signed elsewhere by June 1. As of June 1, the player’s most recent team can offer a contract worth 110 percent of his prior year’s base salary (if it was a rookie contract that expired) or 110 percent of his total compensation from the prior season (for non-rookie deals).
The list contains 160 names, including Broncos receiver Brandon Stokley and linebacker Keith Brooking, Chiefs safety Abram Elam and running back Peyton Hillis
This provision must be little-known, because it's my business to know stuff about football, and I'd never heard of it. Nice job bringing some real knowledge, Florio.
In other news, did you notice that the nephew of Hercules himself, Mr. Peyton "Madden Cover" Hillis, doesn't have a job, and wasn't even valued enough by the Chiefs for them to lock him up for 110% of last year's bargain price? Remember when I declared White Boy Day? Remember when my friend accounted for more than half of the vote, and rigged the Madden cover election? Oh, how the mighty have fallen in only two years.
Broncos mourn loss of parents of running backs coach Eric Studesville
According to a report by ConnectAmarillo.com, Alfonso Studesville, 67, and his wife Janet Studesville, 68, were riding a motorcycle along U.S. Highway 54 when a truck towing a grain trailer veered into their lane and struck them head-on.
Unfathomable. All of us here at IAOFM extend our thoughts and condolences to Eric Studesville, his family, and their friends.
Broncos Magazine: Summer Edition: Meet the club's 2013 draftees and read an exclusive Q&A with John Elway.
Second-round pick Montee Ball said he patterns his game after Broncos Ring of Famer Terrell Davis, your former teammate. Did you see that in him as you were evaluating him?
“That’s who he reminds me of, a little bit…When I was watching him run, he looked a lot like Terrell. He ran a lot like Terrell. We put his Combine numbers up next to Terrell’s and they were pretty similar as well. He just reminded us a bunch of Terrell. So hopefully we can get that same thing out of Montee that Terrell produced during his years.”
Sheesh, way to manage expectations...
Photoshop Fun With Peyton Manning Handoffs
For instance, some folks on Reddit took this otherwise unremarkable photo of Peyton Manning going through handoff drills at Broncos OTAs and had some fun with it in Photoshop.
Julius Thomas emerges as new weapon for Peyton Manning
The most intriguing new face turning heads at the Denver Broncos’ offseason workouts isn’t Montee Ball or Sylvester Williams. It’s third-year tight end Julius Thomas.
We were only partly kidding when we suggested Julius Thomas would be the star of OTAs.
It's hard not to think of former hoopster/project TE Wesley Duke whenever Orange Julius is brought up, but of course, there is a big difference between their stories. Duke played no college football and went undrafted, while Thomas played one year of football at Portland State before Denver paid what has since looked like a steep price for him - a 2011 fourth-rounder.
What connects Wesley and Julius though, is that going on a decade now, the Broncos are still searching for the next Antonio Gates.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers says 'good chance' he wears gloves in 2013
Seems like a useless piece of information but Rivers wore gloves on three occasions last season and three times the Chargers came away with wins. Put another way: 43 percent of San Diego’s wins came—coincidence or not—with Rivers wearing gloves.
You know what really stands out about those three wins, even more so than Phil's having worn gloves? That they came against the Steelers, Jets, and Raiders, who went a combined 18-27 in their other games.
Taken a step further, the teams San Diego defeated in 2012 combined to go 32-73 (.305) against everyone else. This includes the woeful Raiders and Chiefs, whom the Chargers defeated twice each, for four of their seven total victories. Meanwhile, the eight teams who beat the Chargers (including Denver twice) went a combined 76-59 (.563) against other teams.
The comparison between Thomas and Bryant is as close as any I’ve made since starting the “Who’s Better?” series a year ago. Both players have developed into Pro Bowl-caliber threats who are on the verge of joining the ranks of the elite at their position.
With any exercise like this, the default reaction is to get upset that one's team's guy didn't "win." But as with draft grades, it's more useful to focus on the analysis (which Brooks has always been great with), than to worry about the debate-inspiring conclusion.
As Brooks writes, there were serious questions about Demaryius's pro prospects back in 2010 - especially his ability to run routes, and to transition from a triple-option to a pro-style offense. Three years and three quarterbacks later, Demaryius has emphatically justified Denver's decision to make him the first wideout selected that year, and it wouldn't surprise us to see him become even more efficient in 2013, what with Wes Welker to draw coverage, and another year's familiarity with Peyton Manning.
“Tim’s religion isn’t a factor at all,” Dungy says. “People don’t care about your lifestyle off the field as long as you’re performing every week. If he’s getting blackballed, it’s because backup quarterbacks are not supposed to be the focus, and if Tim’s on your team, he’s the sole focus. Nobody wants to be answering those questions all day long, every day, from the fans, media and teammates.”
When the Broncos defense was on the field, offensive coaches would often tell Tebow the first series of plays they wanted to run when the team got the ball back. Tebow would nod, and they’d separate. And then, invariably, a short while later he’d ask for the information again. Sometimes this ritual would repeat right up until Tebow had to duck into the huddle and call the play.
This article could have come together as a total hit piece, but I think it's a very balanced portrayal of the good and bad of Tim Tebow. It ultimately reaches the conclusion that I've been reaching for quite a while now; he's almost certainly not worth the nutjobs, and the circus that follows him. Maybe the rest of the world is getting hip to the zombie code.