Saturday, August 13, 2016
The scrimmage started with several special teams drills. Place kicker Diego Gonzalez was accurate in all of his field goal attempts. He looks improved from last season where he made 18 of 29 field goal attempts.
Next head coach Mike MacIntyre divided the team into the offense (black jerseys with gold for the quarterbacks) and the defense (white jerseys). MacIntyre yelled out the name of an offensive lineman and a defensive lineman to battle one on one while their teammates looked on. The lineman who won the skirmish was cheered by the teammates on his side of the ball.
Overall MacIntyre was much more engaged in the scrimmage than ones I had attended by two previous CU head coaches (Jon Embree and Dan Hawkins). MacIntyre was shouting encouragement throughout the scrimmage while he roamed the field.
Other players that stood out to me:
Tony Julmisse caught a long touchdown pass. The Buffs aren't sure whether to put Julmisse on offense or defense yet. He looked like an athlete to me who'll have an impact wherever the Buffs decide to play him.
Phillip Lindsey ran hard from the running back spot.
Ahkello Witherspoon had a nice interception on a long pass.
Whether the offense is improved this year depends on the quarterback play and the offensive line. The receivers look solid and there are a number of talented running backs. The defense always has the advantage in these earlier scrimmages and today was no exception, but I do think the defense will be much improved this year.
I wish I could have stayed for the whole scrimmage (I had an appointment in Boulder later that morning). From others I heard that the fans were allowed on the field to mix with the players after the scrimmage was over. I like that Mike MacIntyre has one open scrimmage like this for the fans in the Fall. I understand why practices are closed as the team prepares for their big opener against CSU, but open scrimmages like this get the fans excited for the upcoming year and gives us an early preview of some of the new players (like Julmisse)
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Legwold is currently the president of the Pro Football Writers of America. He has been on the Board of Selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 1999. He attended his first Scouting Combine in 1987, and has been covering the NFL over 25 years. Jeff has covered the Broncos since 2004, including writing for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. Previously Jeff has also covered the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, and Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans.
"There are over 990 saints in the Catholic church, and 295 members of the NFL Hall of Fame. It's easier to become a saint than to get enshrined in Canton!" Legwold said, giving us a sense of how difficult it is for a player to enter the Hall. "The fans of every NFL city think they have at least five players that are a slam dunk for the Hall. Multiply that by 32 teams. But we can only elect five total from the modern era each year."
Legwold said he just got his ballot for this season's Hall of Fame class. The 46 members of the selection committee vote and reduce that list to 25. Legwold then sends out information packets on all the Broncos on the list of 25 to the other voters. That list then gets cut to 15, and Legwold again sends out followup information packets on the Broncos in the group of 15. "If you get into the final 15, more than likely you'll get in eventually," said Legwold. But often players have to wait. Lynn Swann, for example, was in the final 15 12 times before he was selected for the Hall. This gave us hope that Broncos Terrell Davis, Steve Atwater, and John Lynch will eventually get in, as they were in last season's 15 finalists.
The Hall of Fame voters are members of the media. They are not compensated for their work - it is a voluntary effort. The Hall of Fame Board of Directors is its own entity, consisting mostly of Canton, Ohio area businessmen, who don't answer to the NFL. Given the size of NFL rosters the pool of players from which the Hall chooses from is bigger than any other sport. When the Hall voters have pushed for more spots, the Board of Directors has refused. "They want to make it hard to get in," Legwold said.
Legwold said Terrell Davis has a good shot at getting in the Hall but maybe not for February’s class since LaDainian Tomlinson will first become eligible in 2017. "A center or a safety has a long hill to climb," Legwold said (only 5 safeties are in the Hall currently) which reduces the chances for Atwater and Lynch. Louie Wright has a chance to make it from the senior pool, Legwold feels.
On this year's Broncos draft class, Legwold said the Broncos reached a bit for their first two picks, but they really like both players (Paxton Lynch round 1, Adam Gotsis round 2). He said the Broncos found out later three teams had Gotsis targeted for early round 3, so Gotsis wouldn't have been there for Denver's third round pick. He thinks Lynch has a stronger arm than Brock Osweiller but needs to sit a year to learn the NFL game. He thinks the Broncos may stick with their current 3 quarterbacks to give each more reps in training camp.
Legwold hears that the Broncos should get an overseas game in 2017. The team will be visiting the White House sometime during the next six weeks to celebrate their Super Bowl championship with the President.
Legwold spoke on these and other topics, answering our many questions for over an hour. It was a great opportunity to pick the brain of a long time NFL reporter and Hall of Fame voter.
Afterwards Legwold stayed to talk to Bronco QB Club members individually, and take pictures (like this one with me!):
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Cecil was right. Elway's free agent acquisitions that offseason (like Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware, and TJ Ward) were key players on the Super Bowl 50 Champion Denver Broncos. Cecil was back last night to give us his annual offseason review of the Broncos and a look forward to the NFL draft. Cecil currently can be heard weekdays on Denver radio station 104.3 The Fan from 9 to 11 am as the station's "football insider".
"John Elway plays chess, while the rest of the league plays checkers," said Cecil, again emphasizing the theme that the Broncos will come out of this offseason just fine under John Elway's leadership. A few insights Cecil gave us this night:
Malik Jackson gone: Malik signed a 90 million contract with Jacksonville - too much! "This is the best defensive line class I've seen in a decade," said Cecil. "The Broncos can find a replacement for Malik in the 4th round."
Danny Trevathan gone: The Broncos can replace him from their linebacker depth. "Zaire Anderson had 100 tackles a year with Nebraska and he can cover sideline to sideline," said Cecil. Expect Anderson to have a bigger role with the team this year, and Todd Davis will see more playing time, too. The Bears overpaid for Trevathan.
CJ Anderson contract: It was a good deal for the Broncos. If CJ had been given a 2nd round tender, he'd be a unrestricted free agent next year. Elway expects CJ to have a big year, and his current multiyear contract will then be considered a bargain.
Colin Kaepernick: "if he doesn't want to be here, move on"
Russell Okung: great contract for the Broncos. Elway showed patience in not waiving Clady, and this paid off with the trade to the Jets last week. The Broncos were getting calls for Clady (the Ravens were one team inquiring) so Elway held out until he was able to make a trade, saving cap space and acquiring a 5th round pick in the end.
Mark Sanchez: Cecil's guess right now is that Sanchez will be the opening night quarterback for the Broncos. A rookie QB could be groomed behind Sanchez and take over before the season is complete. Cecil didn't have much confidence in Trevor Siemian. When Siemian was selected by the Broncos in the 7th round Cecil called it "the worst pick in the draft. He couldn't beat out a running QB at Northwestern." After seeing Siemian in camp Cecil concedes that Trevor has a cannon of an arm but one that is very inaccurate. "We'll see the Broncos add two more quarterbacks," Cecil predicted. "Siemian is on the hot seat this year."
Sylvester Williams/Phil Taylor: Sly is still a bit of a project. The Broncos have not exercised the 5th year option on Sly which could be an indication of what the team really thinks of him. He's a situational player at best. Free agent Phil Taylor who the Broncos signed this offseason will be the best nose tackle on the team if he is healthy.
Mike Sullivan: the Broncos capologist. Sullivan was a bulldog as a player's agent, always getting the most for his clients. Now that he's working for the Broncos, he's the master of the salary cap. The Okung deal was very cap friendly. There's a clause in Demaryius Thomas contract, too, where the broncos can convert the money owed to a signing bonus, freeing cap space.
Cecil also mentioned some 2016 NFL draft prospects to keep an eye on:
Keith Marshall, Georgia running back. Will be a bargain in the 6th round.
Jaylon Smith: Will likely miss his rookie season due to injury. Can play all four linebacker positions. If he's on the Broncos he'll be the second best player on the defense.
Paxton Lynch: Good QB fit for the broncos, the team likely would have to move up to around pick 20 in the first round to get him. Paxton Lynch would be a long term solution at quarterback. Mark Sanchez or another vet is just a short term answer. The broncos need a QB solution, not an answer.
Josh Forrest, Kentucky linebacker: another possible 6th round pick, reminds Cecil of Malik Jackson
Cecil gave a 20 minute talk and then answered many questions from the NFL savvy Bronco QB club crowd. Thanks to Cecil for once again sharing his opinions on the Broncos - it is always one of our club's best meetings of the year.
Next up for the Broncos QB Club: ESPN's Jeff Legwold, the Broncos representative on the Hall of Fame committee, will give us an inside look at the Hall of Fame selection process. He'll also give opinions on the Broncos 2016 draft class. Join the QB Club now and you, too, can attend this May 3rd meeting!
Saturday, March 19, 2016
In addition to his playing exploits Keyworth is best known for his "Make Those Miracles Happen" song during the Broncos AFC Championship 1977 season. "We were flying home from Houston after clinching the division title," Keyworth said. "The celebrations on the plane were wild - it was the first time the Broncos had won anything in their history." Keyworth had a conversation with a couple of friends who were restaurant owners at 1 am the following morning. "There should be a song to celebrate this," one said. Keyworth's friends had connections in the recording industry and within 2 weeks the "Make Those Miracles Happen" song was recorded.
Keyworth even was able to convince some of his teammates to strategically pose naked for the album. Keyworth's roommate, running back Jim Jensen, was on the album cover.
Keyworth played for the Broncos from 1974 - 1980. He was originally drafted by the Washington Redskins. "Jon, you don't want to come here," said Keyworth's friend Bill Brundige. Keyworth was a teammate of Brundige at the University of Colorado. "With George Allan as the coach, you won't play for four years," Brundige cautioned. Allen was notorious for playing veterans over rookies.
Kay Dalton was on the CU staff during Keyworth's college days. When Dalton was fired from the Buffs he got a job on John Ralston's Bronco staff. "Dalton told Ralston to trade for me," Keyworth relates, and that's what happened.
Keyworth's rookie season was a tumultuous one. He came to camp during an NFL strike. With the Bronco vets holding out the coaches were able to get a good long look at Jon. "I remember in the first preseason game coming into our locker room under the South Stands. Above me were a group of Bronco vets holding out. 'I'm going to kick your ass!' the vets yelled down at Keyworth, not happy that Jon had crossed the picket line.
The strike was soon settled and Keyworth found himself third on the depth chart at fullback, behind Joe Dawkins and Bobby Anderson. Dawkins was soon traded, and Anderson broke his leg in the last preseason game. The Broncos then decided to go with a backfield of Floyd Little and Otis Armstrong. When Little was hurt in a game vs the Colts, offensive coordinator Max Coley turned to Keyworth and said, "OK Jon, you're on!"
The next week Keyworth, starting with Armstrong, had his best game as a pro, rushing for 148 yards in an upset of the Raiders at Oakland. At the time it was the second most yards gained by a Bronco running back in team history. Keyworth kept a positive attitude through his early struggles with the team and eventually it paid off with a starting gig. "It doesn't matter what happens to you, it's what you do with what happens to you," Keyworth said - a motto he lives by.
Keyworth told us other entertaining stories of from his Bronco playing days:
- The time coach Red Miller wrestled linebacker Glenn "Lumpy" Hyde to the ground in front of the players, with the team cheering both sides on. "Red was a great player's coach," Keyworth said.
- A practical joke Randy Gradishar played on Floyd Little. Floyd had a special shampoo that he used to help with his hair loss. Gradishar took a bottle of regular shampoo and dumped it on Floyd in the shower, destroying the effects of Floyd's special formula. Little was incensed! Little connected on a punch to Keyworth as Floyd exited the shower. "Do I fight back against 'the franchise'?" Jon wondered. He thought the better of it, and 15 minutes later he and Floyd were laughing about it as Little discovered Gradishar was behind the prank. Incidents like this built team unity, Keyworth said.
- Bronco guard Tom Glassic overslept and missed the team bus to Super Bowl 12. Glassic's Dad drove Tom to the game (at the Super Dome) but Glassic couldn't get in. Nobody believed he was a member of the Broncos.
Since I was a kid I have been collecting newspapers from great moments in Bronco history. On the morning of the Keyworth meeting I dug up an old Denver Post Sports Section from 1974, "Otis Jon Run Raiders Defense into the Ground" the headline read. It was the story of Keyworth's career 148 yard game he had in the big upset of Oakland that year. I took the above picture with Jon. "I don't have much memorabilia from my playing days," Jon told me. "I want you to keep this," I replied, handing him that old newspaper. Jon was very appreciative and even had a tear in his eye as he thanked me.
It was the least I could do for this ex-Bronco who I enjoyed watching in his playing days, and for his contributions today in promoting new treatment options for retired NFL vets still suffering from the effects of concussions.
Sunday, February 28, 2016
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Thanks to the Denver Broncos Quarterback Club I won the opportunity to purchase a pair of tickets at list price to the game.
We arrived at the San Francisco airport at noon on Saturday. As we walked to the baggage claim we saw scenes from the previous 49 Super Bowls on the terminal walls. Naturally I was drawn to this picture of Super Bowl XXXII and the Broncos big win over the Packers that day.
A closer look at the Broncos display revealed the shoe that Jason Elam wore to kick his record tying 63 yard field goal. To the left was the draft card the Broncos turned in to select Demaryius Thomas.
Hold on, Broncos, hold on! The defense gave Denver the early lead. The intensity grew in the second half as Carolina threatened to get back into the game. No worries as the Bronco defense was dominant on this day.
Broncos win!!!! There is nothing like seeing your team win a Super Bowl in person. I was so glad to be able to experience this once in my lifetime, and be able to share it with my son. A day we will remember forever!!!
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Our seats, in the second deck in the northwest corner behind the end zone, would prove to be a perfect vantage point for the drama we would witness at the end of the game. Every game I bring binoculars (to see plays near the south end zone) and a radio to listen to Dave Logan's KOA Radio play by play.