A new location for The Denver Broncos Quarterback Club meetings! We had our first meeting at CB&Potts restaurant near Arapahoe and I-25. Club members enjoyed yummy appetizers before listening to a Bronco insider - Andrew Mason, senior digital reporter from denverbroncos.com
Andrew spoke briefly about his background and role with the team. He has been covering the NFL for 17 years, including a stint with the Carolina Panthers when John Fox was the coach there. Combined with his time with the Broncos "no one has covered Fox more than me" Andrew said. He told us how denverbroncos.com has grown over the years, with 6 full time employees now working on the site.
The bulk of the meeting featured a question and answer session with Andrew - a reporter as close to the team as anyone. Some of the questions asked and a summary of Andrew's responses:
Can Peyton Manning still play at a high level?
"Father time is undefeated," Andrew said. But Manning is able to adjust to a new reality better than any player he has ever seen. Manning is trying to do what Brett Favre nearly did in 2009 - reach the Super Bowl at an advanced age (Favre was 40 when the Vikings almost made it). Also losing Wes Welker and Julius Thomas has affected the offense as Welker and Thomas were reliable targets for Peyton.
Will Brock Osweiller be the next Bronco starting qb?
"Brock is at an impasse in his development. He needs snaps in real games. Some players do tell me that Brock looks terrific in practice."
What has Wade Phillips brought to the defense?
"The Colts playoff game showed that a change needed to be made. Chris Harris told me the week before the game that he wanted to cover TY Hilton, yet Jack Del Rio kept Aqib Talib on Hilton and the results weren't good. The Colts offensive line had been decimated by injuries yet the Broncos rushed the same 4 guys every play with little variation. The Colts knew what was coming. In contrast Wade moves guys around, showing so many different looks. It's a simple defense for the Bronco players to run, but can be tough for the opposition to adjust to. Wade still has wrinkles up his sleeve that we haven't seen yet - we've only seen a fraction of what the defense can do."
"No one has benefited more from line coach Bill Kollar than Sly Williams. Kollar is the best defensive line coach in the game. You could hear Kollar yelling alot during training camp. Sly responded to that and has shown the biggest improvement."
How about the offensive line?
"It's a work in progress. People should remember that under Alex Gibbs most linemen had a year or two to develop before being thrown in as starters. Ty Sambrailo doesn't have that luxury."
"The pistol requires a quarterback to take a 3 to 5 yard drop behind the center. Peyton plays it with a 5 yard drop. Last week 31 of the 53 snaps were out of the pistol. We're going to see alot more of it as the season progresses."
Who will be the next Bronco in the Hall of Fame?
"We may see two Broncos next year. Terrell Davis candidacy is gaining momentum. The other is John Lynch. Safeties are under represented in the Hall because it is hard to statistically quantify that position - that helps Lynch's chances. Louie Wright has some momentum to be nominated out of the Senior Committee."
How about who is next for the Broncos Ring of Fame?
"Other than Pat Bowlen, who will be inducted this year, I'm guessing it'll be Jason Elam. Mike Shanahan definitely is a strong candidate but he has to clearly define he's done coaching in the NFL to get in."
At the meeting we also had an interesting display of Bronco jerseys and the infamous "striped socks".
Overall it was a great evening of Bronco football discussion from one of the most knowledgeable reporters who covers the team. If you are a Broncos fan living in the Denver area, joining the QB Club is a bargain. Only $50 for a family membership, and $20 per person for our dinner meetings. During the season we have ticket giveaways, too. One lucky fan won two tickets to the upcoming Green Bay game at Tuesday night's gathering.
Guests are welcome to try out our meetings before deciding on membership. We have a mix of reporters covering the team and players as speakers at our meetings. Visit www.denverbroncosqbclub.com for more info.