Tuesday, December 16, 2014

David Treadwell at the Denver Broncos Quarterback Club

Former Broncos place kicker David Treadwell was the guest tonight at this month's meeting of the Denver Broncos Quarterback Club.  Treadwell had some interesting comments about the current Broncos team and about his playing days in Denver.

Treadwell thinks the Broncos are playing their best football right now.  He likes how the offense has changed since the St Louis loss - "we can't just rely on the pass anmore.  The running game is much better and the defense has stepped up," he said.  He thinks if the San Diego game was one month ago the Broncos would have lost.  The one concern he has with the team right now is the linebacker depth.  "We are down to playing our inexperienced guys," he said.  Though the Broncos do like rookies Lamin Barrow and Corey Nelson.  "Unlike the offense I like a lot how Jack Del Rio (Broncos defensive coordinator) plays all his guys," Treadwell said.

On the Broncos kicking game Treadwell is happy to see Conner Barth handling field goals and Brandon McManus as the kickoff man.  I asked when he was with the Broncos did he mind that he was in a similar situation - with Treadwell doing the place kicking and Brad Daluiso doing the kickoffs.  "Not at all," Treadwell said.  "Kickoffs were from the 30 yard line back then and Brad had a stronger leg.  Having Brad to the kickoffs kept my leg fresh for field goals.  When I did both jobs my leg would get tired late in the season."  Treadwell said the 53rd man on the roster is usually just a special teams guy, anyway, so he didn't see a big difference with the 53rd man being a kickoff specialist now (McManus) instead of a returner (Isaiah Burse).

Treadwell was asked why the Broncos let Matt Prater go.  While Treadwell was reluctant to share all he know about the situation, he did say Prater had a drinking problem and the Broncos knew Prater would be suspended back in April.  The Broncos wanted Prater to go to rehab before training camp which Prater did not do, and then Prater had a mediocre preseason kicking the ball.  The Broncos had enough and let Prater go, plus they liked the potential of Brandon McManus.  Treadwell said in his time with the Broncos coach Dan Reeves would help players with alcohol problems since Reeves' brother was an alcoholic.  He said Reeves even tried to help golfer John Daly with his drinking problems, and had Daly out to Broncos practice several times, yet Daly never could beat the bottle.

Treadwell was asked if CJ Anderson should have been the #1 back in the preseason.  "CJ came into mini camp overweight, and that set him back.  CJ was told if you don't lose weight, you won't make the team," Treadwell said.  He felt Montee Ball was the best all around back headed into training camp based on Ball's pass protection and play late last year, but then the appendectomy set Ball back and in compensating for that Ball injured himself further.  Treadwell thinks CJ is the Broncos best back, now that CJ is in shape, and that Ball could still be effective next year once Ball gets healthy.  Ronnie Hillman is best suited for a Darren Sproles type of role (3rd down back) and not as a runner between the tacklers.

On the NFL rule proposal to narrow the goal posts, Treadwell thinks it would have an impact.  He said when he was at Clemson he practiced with narrower goal posts and when he got into a game the distance between the regulation goal posts looked huge.  He did say it was more difficult to kick in college than the NFL since in college the hash marks are farther apart.

I asked Treadwell what his most memorable field goal was for the Broncos.  He said the 28 yard field goal to win the playoff game against Houston in the 1991 season.  In that game the Broncos had a great drive at the end (Treadwell labeled it "the Drive II") converting two fourth downs.  He said on that play coach Dan Reeves had told holder Gary Kubiak to throw an incomplete pass if the snap was bad, because the field goal try was on 3rd down.  Well the snap turned out to be one of the worst of the year, with the ball rolling back to Kubiak.  Treadwell had to stop in his motion but still was able to make the kick.  "Why didn't you throw the ball away??!!" Reeves asked Kubiak as Gary returned to the sideline, not enjoying the moment of victory as much as Reeves could have.

Treadwell had other interesting comments about the current Broncos and his days in the NFL.  I always enjoy these Bronco QB club meetings with a chance to hear from NFL insiders like Treadwell and the opportunity to ask questions.  Treadwell was great in answering our group's many questions and in signing autographs afterwards.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Visit to Bronco Headquarters

Tonight I had the opportunity to visit the Denver Broncos Headquarters at Dove Valley with the Denver Broncos Quarterback Club.

The Broncos are doing lots of renovations to their facility.  Here's a picture of the new lobby area:

The trophy case is much bigger than when I visited last year.

The Broncos two Lombardi trophies highlight the display.  Plenty of room to add more of these - how about another one in February?!

In front of the Lombardi trophies were the Broncos two championship rings.  Here's a closeup of one:

After some time in the lobby, we were escorted to another building to be in the audience for the Broncos Huddle weekly TV show taping.  Along the way we got a view of the practice field.  Notice the hill where the fans sit during training camp.  This area has been extended and all the trees have been removed. 

The new indoor practice facility, completed in November, towers over the complex.  Joe Ellis of the Broncos later told us this is one of the most modern indoor facilities in the NFL, with a full 120 yard practice field and 9 yards of space on the sidelines.

Then it was back inside for the Broncos Huddle taping.  We sat in the audience and listened to Channel 9's Rod Mackey and player host Emmanuel Sanders talk about last week's game.

The player guest on this week's show was Broncos running back CJ Anderson.  Here CJ demonstrates to us how he carries the football to avoid fumbles.

Mackey asked Sanders how it liked the run oriented offense the last two games.  "I love it!" Sanders replied.  "CJ brings another dimension to the offense," Sanders said.  CJ received lots of praise from Mackey and Sanders, and responded humbly, "Give it to the big fellas up front.  I try to run to the open space they create."  CJ said he's not the fastest guy, but "I like to be nasty in my running style.  This is what you are going to get for 60 minutes."  Sanders said, "That's the type of running back you want in the cold games of December and January, where the defenses are wearing down."

Sanders remarked how CJ worked hard in practice early in the season despite not seeing much playing time.  Sanders asked CJ if he had any advice for youngsters watching.  "Your dreams never die until you give up on them," CJ said.

After the TV recording finished, Broncos President Joe Ellis came out for a special question and answer session just for members of the Quarterback Club.  I asked him if the renovations will be ready for training camp next summer.  "Yes," Ellis replied, "we want the fans back for training camp."  Ellis went on to say there will be more room for fans, with a new concession area and bigger team store.  Fans will get to peek through the glass of the indoor practice facility, too.

Ellis was asked the status of Broncos owner Pat Bowlen.  "He's doing the best he can.  His Alzheimers is now in an advanced stage and it is difficult for him and his family." Ellis replied.

Ellis told us the renovations included a new kitchen.  The Broncos no longer have to bring in catered food.  Rather they have their own chefs now and cook everything on site.

Ellis answered other questions.  He recognized our club's 50th anniversary this year.  How often do you get a chance to meet with the President of an NFL franchise in a small group setting?  The Denver Broncos Quarterback club gave me that opportunity tonight!

Overall it was a fun and informative evening to get a behind the scenes look at how the Broncos operate.