Friday, May 8, 2015

The Denver Post's Troy Renck at the Denver Bronco Quarterback Club, May 2015

As President Elect of the Denver Broncos QB Club, I have been recruiting speakers to talk to our group.  This offseason, with all the changes at Dove Valley, I wanted guest speakers from the media who have access to the team that is not available to regular fans.  Cecil Lammey gave the Club an excellent pre-draft look at the Broncos in March.  Last night we had another great speaker - the Denver Post's lead Broncos reporter, Troy Renck.  For one and a half hours it was pure Bronco football talk - and our group loved it!  Troy displayed a good sense of humor and "insider" knowledge of the Broncos during his presentation. 

Here is a summary of some of his comments:

John Fox: John Elway wasn't intent on firing Fox. Rather John wanted Fox to make some changes, like replacing a couple of coaches (on the offensive and defensive lines) and finding more playing time for young players (Michael Schofield and Cody Latimer hardly saw the field last year).   Elway also was disappointed in how the team performed in big games.  Then the situation changed towards the end of the season.  Fox wanted a contract extension which Elway was unwilling to give. Fox leaked that he was looking for other opportunities around the league on the morning of the Colts playoff game through Fox Sports Jay Glazer.  This upset the front office and many players.  Raiders owner Mark Davis told defensive cooordinator Jack Del Rio when the Broncos visited Oakland in November that he wanted Del Rio as the next Raiders coach.  Del Rio knew he was leaving the morning of the playoff game.  Finally offensive coordinator Adam Gase was up for the San Francisco job at the time of the playoff game and Gase figured the playoff game might be his last one in Denver, too.  After the playoff loss Elway sat down with Fox and both agreed it was time for Fox to move on.

Gary Kubiak: His time in Houston didn't end well but overall he did a good job rebuilding that franchise.  Kubiak is a teacher and his new staff are teachers, which Elway hopes will work better with the young players.  Kubiak and Elway realize the Broncos can't be the NY Yankees, with a big free agent splash each year, because of the salary cap.  So the development of young players is key.  Kubiak's style is to pound the ball with the run while mixing in play action passes.  The offense will be designed to run a few plays really well rather than running a whole arsenal of plays like the Gase offense.  Kubiak has no ego.  Rather than telling Manning the type of offense that was going to be run, he reached out to Peyton to make Peyton part of the planning process.  Kubiak's offense isn't that much different than what Peyton ran in Indianapolis when running back Edgerrin James was featured as the Colts lead runner. 

Wade Phillips: Wade's Bronco defense is going to blitz.  In his last stint as defensive coordinator with Houston the Texans blitzed 47 % of the time.  This season's Bronco defense may give up more yards, but they'll get more turnovers.  TJ Ward will be used much like he was in Cleveland in an attack mode rather than playing like a stay at home safety/linebacker in Del Rio's defense.

The draft: Linebacker Shane Ray is a top 10 talent.  It was a great move to trade up as Manny Ramirez probably wasn't going to make the team, and the 5th round draft picks surrendered were inconsequential.  Ray has a motor, a great first step on the pass rush - skills that can't be taught.  Second rounder Ty Sambrallo at offensive tackle got physically manhandled a few times in college but he's a smart player - the broncos hope he'll excel in the zone blocking system.  The Broncos valued Sambrallo more than the rest of the NFL.  4th rounder Max Garcia is another offensive lineman with average physical skills who is very smart.  Tight end Jeff Heuerman, selected in the 3rd round, is 6'6" 250 lbs and still growing.  He played hurt in his senior year.  If Ray is a star and one other draft pick is a solid starter, this will be a successful draft.  Troy was surprised the Broncos didn't draft a linebacker.  Watch Lamin Barrow's playing time as he needs to be more than a special team player this year to give the Broncos depth at linebacker.

Brock Osweiller: the old offense didn't fit him.  It was too complicated for Brock to grasp and as a result he played slow.    The new offense is similar to what Brock ran in college and he's much happier.  He's been in Denver since March throwing to wide receivers in his own workouts, and texting his teammates.  He's completely engaged.  Had Gase stayed another year Brock would be gone after this year.  Under Kubiak he has a chance to stick around, Elway loves him, but the true test will be how Brock performs in practice and in the preseason with the new offense.

Terrence Knighton: Troy questioned why the Broncos got rid of him.  Pot Roast was an effective run stopper even at an inflated playing weight.  Wade Phillips thought they needed a player with more flexibility at that position.

Demaryius Thomas: DT wants a new contract, and sitting out is his only leverage.  The thing to watch is that DT is a very sensitive person - he lets things bother him.  Troy thinks it's 50/50 that the Broncos sign DT to a new contract before camp.  If they don't, Troy thinks DT is gone next year as DT won't be comfortable playing under the "franchise" tag two years in a row.

Troy had other comments on the Broncos, on his time covering the baseball Rockies (from 2002 - April 2014), and covering CU football during the national championship year.  He is one of the most knowledgeable media persons in the Denver area and it was great to hear his opinions in this offseason of change for the Broncos.

An added bonus for our May meeting was Tom Jacobsen's impressive display of Bronco game day jerseys he has collected over the years.

If you are a Broncos fan living in the Denver area, the Quarterback Club is a great place to hear from media people like Troy who follow the team closely, from former and current players, and more.  Membership is only $50 for a family, with an additional $20 per person charge for our dinner meetings.