Monday, October 8, 2018
Should the Broncos get rid of Vance Joseph?
"I would not recommend firing Vance during the season. Who would replace him? The team doesn't have a good replacement among the current assistant coaches. I do recommend that Vance take over the defensive play calling from Joe Woods. Vance was a good defensive coordinator for Miami - I think he would call more tight coverages to take advantage of the Broncos strong pass rush."
Should Case Keenum be replaced as starting quarterback?
"No. Case gives the team the best chance to win games. Chad Kelly isn't ready yet. The Broncos need to rely more on their running game. Throwing the ball 51 times will not work. I do think the Broncos should have traded for Teddy Bridgewater to give Case some competition. Case played his best for Minnesota last year because his starting job was always in question - he could play better here if he had more competition for the starting job."
Are the Broncos using Von Miller correctly?
"They need to keep Von on the field. In the Seattle game Von played 88% of the defensive snaps and that was his best game this season. Then for Oakland he played 73% of the snaps, and 68% of the snaps for the KC game. The more repetitions a player gets in a game the better he gets. Von can take over a game and he can handle an increased work load.
I was in the same draft class as Von. When I went against him in practice that year I wondered 'am I good enough to play in this league?' as Von would beat me constantly. Then I played against Dallas and I realized Von is a special talent - the others I would face were not nearly as good."
Is the Broncos season a lost cause?
"I still believe in this team. The strength of the team are the running backs and the defensive line. Some fans complain about Devonte Booker playing but Booker is lights out in pass protection (the best of the backs). The other position groups need to step up their game."
What about Garett Bolles?
"I thought Garett played well the first two weeks. On the road he has struggled. In the Baltimore game he was looking for the snap of the ball too much and that put him in bad position. He needs to change up his sets more."
"What was it like playing for Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow, and Phillip Rivers?"
"Tim had great energy but relied on Chris Kuper (offensive right guard) to put us in the right position. Peyton always had us in the right position, When I first heard we were getting Peyton me and Ryan Clady high fived each other. Little did I know playing with Peyton was the most stress I've had in my life! He was very demanding - he'd call a play at the line we hadn't used in 8 weeks. But he elevated our play. After one play Peyton yelled at me to say 'what the hell are you doing!?' A former teammate of mine at the U of Miami was a linebacker on the other side and yelled, 'yeah Franklin - what the hell are you doing?!!' I know he isn't popular with the Denver fans but Phillip Rivers is a great guy. I felt more relaxed around Phillip compared to Peyton. Peyton was a practical jokester so you never knew what he was going to pull next."
Who was the toughest player you played against?
"In my rookie year I played against Tommy Kelly of the Raiders. I got a good pancake block against him (I was 330 pounds at the time) and was laying on top of him. Tommy lifted me off of himself like I was a rag doll. That guy was super strong - I couldn't believe it."
Overall it was another great evening of football talk with a football insider like Orlando with John Davis and the qb club group asking questions to get further insight into the team and the NFL.
Find out more about the QB Club at our website here.
Saturday, September 15, 2018
The Bronco QB Club hosted Haven Moses at our lunch meeting today. This former Broncos wide receiver told us entertaining stories of his playing days, including his big game in the AFC Championship January 1, 1978 (Haven caught 5 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns that day!)
- Haven didn't intend to have a career in football - rather he was focused on getting a good education. He played safety for his high school team. Haven's Mom forced him to go to an awards dinner after graduation. "What do you plan to do with your life, Haven?" a visiting coach at the dinner asked. "I need to get a job," said Haven. "How would you like to continue to play football?" said the coach. This resulted in an offer to play at a Callifornia Junior College which Haven accepted.
- The California Juco system at the time, Haven related, played a high quality of football. OJ Simpson was in Haven's league. Haven played defensive back. For one game the team's starting wide receivers were injured, so his coach asked him to play out of position at receiver that day. Don Coryell, the legendary coach who was then at San Diego State, happened to be scouting another player on Haven's team but couldn't help notice Haven's performance (2 touchdowns as Haven filled in at wide receiver). Coryell gave Haven a scholarship offer to play at San Diego State.
- Haven's junior college performance got the notice of other coaches, too. Haven received an offer to play for USC (then coached by John McKay) as a defensive back. "I would have been 4th or 5th on the USC depth chart," Haven related, "a small fish in a big pound. I was more interested in getting a good education, so I chose the San Diego State offer instead." Had Haven accepted the USC offer, he would have been OJ Simpson's roommate.
- At San Diego State one of the assistant coaches was John Madden. "In addition to their football duties, coaches taught classes in those days. My future wife Joyce took a class from John Madden!" Later when the Broncos would play the Raiders, Madden always made a point to talk to Haven after the game (including that big AFC Championship game in 1978). "I never hated the Raiders (largely because of his relationship with Madden) - I respected them," said Haven.
- Haven really liked playing for John Ralston, and thought Ralston didn't get enough credit for the 1977 team. "John built the core of that team with good drafting," he said. While he liked Red Miller's coaching he thought Miller didn't have the same skill as Ralston in building a team. "After the 77 season, Miller let go of Lonnie Perrin, and didn't play Otis Armstrong as much. Three years later Miller was gone."
- Haven talked about that big AFC Championship win over the Raiders. "We were ready to play with Norris Weese at quarterback and we felt we would win - we were a team," he said when asked if the team was concerned about quarterback Craig Morton's health. Morton did play, and the offensive line did a wonderful job protecting Morton. "We didn't pass too much in that game - Lonnie and Otis behind our offensive line really sealed the win as we didn't want to give the ball back to Kenny Stabler - Stabler was really warming up in the 4th quarter," Haven explained.
- Haven was originally drafted by the Buffalo Bills - the #9 pick in the 1968 draft. "Me and Larry Csonka were the only non-linemen picked in those first 9 selections," Haven said. When former Bronco coach Lou Saban went to Buffalo to coach the Bills in 1972 Lou wanted to emphasize the running game (with OJ Simpson). "Lou wanted me to wear bigger pads so I could block for OJ," said Haven. "I was glad to get traded to Denver mid-season."
- Haven said he played 14 years and never had a serious injury. "I only dropped 4 passes in my career - and those were in practice," he joked. Long time Bronco fans like me remember Haven for the sure hands he had.
Saturday, September 8, 2018
Sep. 9 Seattle Seahawks
Sep. 16 Oakland Raiders
Sep. 23 at Baltimore Ravens
Oct. 1 Kansas City Chiefs
Oct. 7 at New York Jets
3 wins, 2 losses
The schedule works in the Broncos favor with a relatively easy start to the season. The Broncos are always tough to beat at home so starting with two very winnable games at Mile High helps. If the Broncos aren't 2-0 on Sept 17th it could be a sign of trouble ahead. That Seattle game isn't a gimme, Seattle coach Pete Carroll soundly outcoached John Fox in Super Bowl 48 and is one of the better coaches in the NFL, but the 2018 Seattle team is not the same as those Seahawk SB Champs. They still have Russell Wilson at qb though. Oakland will be last in the division, I predict, so that should be a win. How good will the Broncos be as a road team? The Baltimore and Jets games are winnable. KC I think takes a step back with the talented but inexperienced Mahomes at quarterback. I'll say 3 wins 2 losses with 4 wins 1 loss as a very good possibility. If the Broncos can go 4-1 it could setup a playoff run rather than what I predict below.
Oct. 14 LA Rams 2:05 pm
Oct. 18 at Arizona Cardinals
Oct. 28 at KC Chiefs
Nov 4 Houston
2 wins 2 losses
Now the schedule gets tougher. The Rams are Peter King's pick to get to the Super Bowl from the NFC and I think that's a good guess. KC is always a tough road game. At Arizona should be a win, and I say the Broncos beat Houston though the Texans will be a tough matchup if qb Deshaun Watson and jj watt are healthy.
Nov. 2 Pittsburgh Steelers
Dec. 2 at Cincinnati Bengals
Dec. 9 at San Francisco 49er
Dec. 15 Cleveland Browns
2 wins 2 losses.
3 tough games followed by what should be a gimme against the Browns. I say the Broncos surprise to win one of the first 3.
Dec. 24 at Oakland Raiders
Dec. 30 Los Angeles Chargers
1 win 1 loss
As mentioned, Oakland will be terrible so that's a win. The Chargers game can go either way. If the Chargers have the division clinched by now a Broncos win is a definite possibility. But I think the Chargers will still be playing for something this final week and will win. So that's 8 wins 8 losses overall. Better than last year but falling just a game or two short of making the playoffs. I wouldn't characterize an 8-8 record as a successful season. Making the playoffs, even as a wildcard, would be. There's a possibility of a 10-6 record if the team can go 4-1 in their first 5 games, and 2-0 in the last two is in play if the Broncos are in contention for a playoff spot.
Case Keenum - I like the Broncos new starting quarterback. But Keenum has to show the accuracy in passing that he didn't display in preseason games where he was frequently off target. Keenum was one of the most accurate passers in the NFL last year, and he looked sharp in training camp, so I expect he'll settle down.
Offensive line - Keenum and the Broncos won't do anything unless the offensive line improves from last season. Preseason results are encouraging here, with right tackle Jared Veldheer a good addition.
Bradley Chubb - Most everyone was happy with the Broncos selection of Bradley Chubb in the first round (including me). Chubb did not wow anyone in the preseason but I think eventually his talent will come through. It might be a rough start, though, against a veteran Seattle team who could take advantage of the rookie's inexperience.
Should the Broncos have taken a qb in the 2018 draft? Much as the draft reviews on Chubb were good, this may have been the year where the Broncos should have taken advantage of their early draft position to get a quarterback. The team only had to move up two spots to take 21 year old Sam Darnold, who is already going to start for the Jets and who Tony Romo called the next great NFL quarterback. Josh Rosen was available to the broncos at pick 5 and he's shown promise in the preseason.
Departure of Talib - I think the Broncos will miss him, and the "no fly zone" secondary won't be as good. Hopefully a better offense will make up for that.
Courtland Sutton - he looks to be the next great Broncos wide receiver based on his performance in camp. He looks better to me than Demaryius Thomas did as a rookie, and Thomas turned out to be one of the best Bronco wide receivers ever.
I'll be there on Sunday for what will be my 50th year owning Bronco season tickets. Go Broncos!
Friday, August 31, 2018
This is a PPR league (Point Per Reception) where each of the 12 teams has a $200 budget to fill their 16 player roster with these starters each week:
Monday, August 20, 2018
Some of you may know that I am President of the Denver Broncos Quarterback Club, a long time booster club for the team. Tonight for our kickoff meeting for the 2018 season we featured Broncos Ring of Famer and all time sacks leader Simon Fletcher as our guest speaker. As you can see from the picture above Simon is still in great shape!
Simon told us he was drafted by Dan Reeves and the Broncos in 1985, He was told before the draft that Denver was looking to take him in the second round, but when the Broncos took wide receiver Vance Johnson earlier in the second round he figured he would go to the Steelers or the Redskins, teams that also expressed interest in Simon before the draft. But Dan Reeves traded for another second round pick and nabbed Simon for the Broncos (pick #54 overall in the 1985 draft)
Simon told of when he first met Dan Reeves after the draft. "Are you Simon Fletcher?" Reeves asked. "Where's the rest of you?" It seems the scouts had told Reeves Simon was 270 pounds, but at the time Simon weighed in a 221 pounds. "We better fatten you up," Reeves told him.
Simon told us about his long Bronco career. "I didn't start until my 3rd year," he said. In his 11 year Broncos career he never missed a game due to injury, He was very appreciative of the Bronco fans. When he arrived in Denver he was a single Dad with a young daughter named Ashley. "The Denver fans were great in welcoming me and Ashley," he said, "they gave Ashley so many stuffed animals I couldn't count them all." To this day Simon says he doesn't turn down a request from Bronco fans (we at the QB Club were very appreciative of him driving down from Cheyenne to speak to us tonight)
Simon took questions from the fans:
"Who was your favorite quarterback to sack?"
Whoever was wearing Silver and Black, replied Simon. That drew quite a cheer from our Raider hating group!
"Who was the best offensive lineman you played against?"
Gary Zimmerman. Wade Phillips was smart enough to move me to the other side against the Vikings, though, and I had 4 sacks that day (his 4 sacks in one game still is tied for a franchise record)
"What was it like to play for Joel Collier?"
Joel Collier was on the Ring of Fame committee when they selected me, so I am very appreciative of that. Joel's defenses were as complicated as Dan Reeves' offenses. He was so thorough - we practiced against all different types of formations. Joel would put you in position to make plays. Joel was also no nonsense - you worked hard or you didn't play.
"What do you think of the new NFL tackling rules?"
For what we were paid my entire salary would go towards fines! A defensive player has to defend himself when the ball carrier lowers his shoulder.
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Today I visited Denver Broncos training camp for the first time in three years. This was the last day preseason practices were open to the public, and it was also special because the Chicago Bears were in town for a joint practice.
- New QB Case Keenum is impressive. He was very accurate with his passes this day, and showed better touch on his deep ball than I expected. As long as he doesn't get hurt and the offensive line can protect him, we'll be fine at quarterback.
- New 2nd string QB Chad Kelly had his moments but was inconsistent. I saw him miss a crossing pattern over the middle to an open receiver that would have been an interception in a real game. But I like his upside, I think bringing in a veteran as backup qb would be a good move, keeping Kelly on the roster to develop as the 3rd stringer.
- Forget Paxton Lynch. The sooner the team moves on from Paxton the better.
- Wide receiver Courtland Sutton is for real. He looks better to me than Demaryius Thomas did as a rookie (at 6' 3" both are big receivers with Courtland showing good hands and speed at today's practice)
- Surprisingly, tight end Jeff Heuerman looked good. Stay healthy Jeff!
- Other than dropping a wide open swing pass from Keenum, Royce Freeman looks like the best Broncos running back.
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Bradley Chubb - a steal at pick 5. Before the draft I was concern they'd pick the ohio state cornerback (Ward) - thankfully the Browns did us a favor by taking Ward not Chubb. I didn't like how Vance Joseph immediately said Chubb would be a linebacker and be "in the linebacker room". Chubb is an immense talent - can the current coaching staff use him correctly? (not wanting to see another DeMarcus Walker situation)
Courtland Sutton wr - he's the pick I see the most disagreement about among the draft gurus I follow. Some say "a steal! a first round talent!" another had him 10th on his list of wr's, another had him 20th! I liked the highlights I saw from his college days (good hands, good at winning one to one battles in traffic). Can he get separation from NFL cornerbacks? Is he just a Bennie Fowler type? Elway said afterwards they were after an offensive lineman early in the draft but it didn't work out. I think the Bronco draft would have been overall stronger with a solid offensive lineman here (even if they had to trade up) rather than Sutton. But I'll root for Sutton to be DT's eventual replacement.
Royce Freeman rb - great pick. Some say "he has alot of miles on him" due to heavy usage in his four years at Oregon. I say that proves he's durable.
Yiadom cb - seems ok will be good on special teams at a minimum
Jewell lb - I like when the Broncos pick productive team leader types who played in a big time conference, and who may have slipped in the draft due to athleticism issues. Jewell looks to be that type of player. I was hoping for qb Lualetta in the 4th (a Gary Kubiak type - smart, accurate with average arm strength). When the Broncos took Jewell I thought the Giants could take Lualetta before the Broncos next pick, and that's exactly what happened.
Hamilton wr - looks like a good pick. Another productive ncaa player, team leader type, in a big time conference. The next pick, Fumagalli, fits that mold too.
Jones, Bierria - look to be decent 6th round gambles
David Williams - no rating service I follow had him as a draftable player. Heck, he's just a 7th rounder, if he doesn't work out no big loss.
I think the sooner the team moves on from Paxton Lynch the better. I hope Chad Kelly beats Lynch out and I wish the Broncos had taken a qb somewhere in the draft as a development type. Overall, though, this draft looks good on paper.