Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tebow Traded To The Rockies | Inside the Colorado Rockies

Tebow Traded To The Rockies | Inside the Colorado Rockies:

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Ahh.. the poor Colorado Rockies.

This season has not been kind to the Rockies who have struggled to make any headway in the NL West standings and can't seem to put together any positive momentum.

Funny satire however about the Rockies trading with the Broncos for Tim Tebow.

Fox: Both Tebow and Quinn can and will be No. 2 QB - BroncoTalk

Fox: Both Tebow and Quinn can and will be No. 2 QB - BroncoTalk:

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John Fox has announced that he doesn't have to and won't name a number 2 quarterback.

This is because of the new rules for dressing 46 active players, instead of 45 active and one emergency third-string backup quarterback, Fox says, "It's a competitive disadvantage" to announce a backup quarterback. The rule changes help Tim Tebow who will possibly be used in short-yardage plays, in the red zone, or as a decoy on the field periodically this season. Brady Quinn will be the 'functional' backup number two guy.

Miami Football Scandal: Willis McGahee Among Broncos to Receive Subpoenas

Denver Broncos football players Willis McGahee, D.J. Williams and Orlando Franklin are expected to receive subpoenas for their alleged roles in accepting illegal benefits, money or gifts from the University of Miami's former booster Nevin Shapiro.

This was first reported by KDVR-TV Fox31 Sports.

The Broncos connected to the scandal at the University of Miami have mainly been mum concerning the allegations made against them, or have been defiant that their history at Miami is just that: history.

It appears like their past is catching up with them.

The Miami Herald has reported that players connected with receiving improper benefits may be subject to restitution for the services received at Miami from Shapiro.

The accused won't be able to ignore the allegations and remain silent about their roles in the scandal.

The Miami Herald reported that bankruptcy Attorney Gary Freedman warned former Canes that there would be consequences for players who do not cooperate.

“They can’t ignore it — it’s a subpoena issued by a bankruptcy court,” Freedman said. “If they ignore it, we will seek an order from the court to compel them to respond.

“If they don’t respond, they will face a contempt order.”

The bankruptcy judge can impose monetary sanctions or have any of them detained and brought into court.

As far as the desired restitution is concerned, the bankruptcy trustee Joel Tabas is seeking to recoup $111 million in investments for Shapiro's bogus wholesale food business. The bankruptcy trustee has recovered nearly $19 million.

Cooperation is key for these Broncos players, even if their reputations might be muddied with the dirt dug up on them. Better yet, if they have nothing to hide, why haven't they publicly denied Shapiro's claims.

Even if they were involved with Shapiro, it would be wise for these particular Broncos to start talking, instead of waiting for the media frenzy to catch up with them.

McGahee stands as the player with the most to lose.

Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports reported that McGahee received two custom-tailored suits paid for by Shapiro for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. He also alleges that Shapiro paid for airfare for two female acquaintances to accompany McGahee to the ceremony. It also accuses McGahee of receiving bounties equaling $2,000 for rushing yards and touchdowns against the University of Florida and Florida State.

How much could that be for McGahee in restitution? Maybe $10,000. That doesn't seem like that much for a guy who signed a contract with the Broncos this offseason for a reported $10 million.

The evidence that the claims might be true seem reliable. McGahee should either confirm or deny his part in the scandal, cooperate and pay for what was received illegally.

Most importantly, he should put it past him by doing the right thing.

Denver Broncos: Black Hole in Josh McDaniels' Lingering Scheme May Limit Success | Bleacher Report

Denver Broncos: Black Hole in Josh McDaniels' Lingering Scheme May Limit Success | Bleacher Report:

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Fellow writer, Chaz Mattson has some great points about the Broncos' scheme on offense and he points out some key changes that need to occur quickly, or else the Broncos offense could struggle all season.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Elvis Dumervil's small stature anchors the Denver Broncos' defense - ESPN

Elvis Dumervil's small stature anchors the Denver Broncos' defense - ESPN:

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Dumervil is a beast! He might be short, but nobody can stop him! I want to see Doom top his career high in sacks of 17 (if that's possible). Have an awesome season Dumervil! Stay healthy and knock down the quarterback!

NFL Predictions: Denver Broncos' Eric Decker, Julius Thomas Breakout in 2011

After three preseason games and the regular season less than two weeks away, there have been two players on the Denver Broncos' offense who have stood out from all the rest: wide receiver Eric Decker and tight end Julius Thomas.

Former head coach Josh McDaniels drafted Eric Decker in the third round of the 2010 NFL draft (87th overall pick) out of the University of Minnesota.

At Minnesota, Decker set school receiving records with 227 receptions and 3,119 yards receiving. Those records are rank sixth and eighth, respectively, all-time in Big Ten history.

Decker is known as a big receiver with small receiver skills. He reminds me of the New England Patriots’ Wes Welker or the former Bronco Brandon Stokley. He finds open spots in the defense to camp out and then vacuums up every ball that comes his way.

photo by Jeffrey Beall via PhotoRee

Last season, Decker had only six receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown. Decker got most of his work in 2010 on special teams. He was utilized in the kick return game and racked up 556 yards on 22 returns, averaging 25.3 yards/return. His longest return went for 51 yards. He has eight receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown so far this offseason.

Decker should be a major contributor in this year’s lineup as a possession receiver. He should be a go-to receiver on short yardage situations or in tight spots, such as in the red zone, either to move the chains or put the Broncos on the board.

Decker’s game has only improved with time and experience in the NFL. I believe he will challenge the Bronco’s current slot receiver, Eddie Royal, for playing time this season. Decker has been a favorite target of each of the three quarterbacks so far this preseason.
Another breakout star in 2011 will be Julius Thomas.

He has already made waves in three preseason games, where he has made some spectacular grabs and shown off his big, athletic body, using it to shield defenders from the ball and haul in receptions for big chunks of yardage.

Before coming to the Broncos to play in the NFL, Thomas was a four-year basketball star at Portland State. He remained for a fifth year in Portland to play tight end for the Vikings.

Thomas has tons of raw ability and unmatched upside. He has demonstrated flashes of his true potential, making huge plays for the Broncos so far in the preseason. He has reliable hands and he has been able to position himself between defenders to make easy catches.

His detractors around the league were skeptical that Thomas could make the jump from college basketball star to a pass-catching tight end in the NFL. However, his play this offseason has warranted comparisons to a young Antonio Gates. Gates has been the gold standard when it comes to receiving tight ends, and there is an influx of former college basketball players that NFL teams have tried out in recent years, to replicate the success that the San Diego Chargers have enjoyed since acquiring Gates in 2003.

Thomas looks to make an immediate impact as a rookie this season and will be a huge contributor for the Broncos in 2011.

I am very excited to watch these guys play week in and week out here in Denver, they have been great bright spots for the Broncos during a few seasons filled with setbacks.

Monday, August 29, 2011

NFL Preseason Grades: Denver Broncos Defense Ferocious, Offense Unspectacular

The Denver Broncos had a lot of work to do with many questions about what the 2011 season would look like during offseason shortened by an ugly NFL lockout

New head coach John Fox offered some promise, but many questioned how long it would take to turn around a team who went 4-12 last season.

The Broncos benefited most immediately from the 2011 NFL draft, but how much the 2011 NFL free agents might add for the Broncos remains to be seen.

With only one game left in the preseason, the Broncos look forward to their season opener under the bright lights of Monday Night Football in exactly two weeks.

How did the Broncos do this preseason? I have preseason grades for the Broncos right here.

Passing Game:
Grade B-

Changes this offseason: None.

Kyle Orton is the unquestioned starting quarterback in Denver this season.

Orton outplayed the three other quarterbacks on the Broncos roster this offseason and has shown poise and veteran leadership in handling himself amidst the media frenzy concerning Tim Tebow. He held off Brady Quinn as well who looked much improved compared to last year.

I give the Broncos passing grade however, a B- because of the passing game's performance during preseason games. In Orton's most recent performance against the Seattle Seahawks, he looked out-of-sync with his receivers and it seemed to take him a long time to get comfortable.

Orton does a good job in the short yardage passing game, but hasn't really emerged as a quarterback who looks down the field to make plays.

Running Game:
Grade B

Changes this offseason: Added Willis McGahee through Free Agency.

Knowshon Moreno is in his third season in the NFL. In his first two seasons under head coach Josh McDaniels, he has rushed for 1,729 yards, has 585 yards receiving, and scored 17 touchdowns.

Those numbers are good, but not great. For a first round draft pick (No. 12 overall) the Broncos have expected more from him than he has done to this point.

This season Moreno needs to show he can carry the running game and break through the 1,000-yard mark, or else his time in Denver might be running out.

Good news for Moreno, he has shown a new spark and speediness that we haven't seen in Denver before. This positive sight gives fans reason to hope for the Broncos run game in 2011.

The major acquisition that the Broncos made in free agency to pick up Willis McGahee for $7.5 million over three years. McGahee has been utilized mostly in short yardage pick ups and red zone situations. He can catch the ball out of the backfield and pound it to the end zone.

If Moreno rushes for over a 1,000 yards and is a contributor receiving the ball out of the backfield, this grade would improve.

Offensive Line:
Grade B-

Changes this offseason: Added Orlando Franklin through the NFL Draft.

The Denver Broncos offensive line is a young bunch. Between four of their five starting lineman, there are only five years experience. Last year was an up and down season on the offensive line with injuries and inconsistencies and a myriad of penalties.

The O-Line is getting better with every game, but there will be growing pains again this season.

The Broncos need to help rookie Orlando Franklin improve with every game and avoid letting defenders into the backfield, giving rushing ends free shots at the quarterback.

The Broncos will rely heavily on their offensive line this season as it is head coach John Fox's intentions to run the ball early and often to control games.

Pass Rush:
Grade A+

Changes this offseason: Added Von Miller through the NFL Draft.

Von Miller already appears to be the best NFL player from this season's NFL Draft. He is a ferocious player with a knack to get to the quarterback.

Couple his addition with Elvis Dumervil back on the field following last year's pectoral muscle injury and the tandem makes the Denver Broncos the most feared pass rush in the entire NFL.

Dumervil had 17 sacks in his 2009 campaign. He came into camp after his injury in the best shape of his career with a deep desire to get back to football. From the camp's opening he has been far and away the best Denver Bronco on the field.

Von Miller is getting better and better. He is electrifying as he pursues opposing team's quarterbacks. Some people are already chalking up Miller as this season's defensive rookie of the year, he is that good!

The Denver Broncos are going to be the best defensive pass rush team in the NFL this season.

Run Stopping:
Grade B-

Changes this offseason: Added Brodrick Bunkley via trade with Philadelphia Eagles, added Derrick Harvey through Free Agency, added Jeremy Jarmon via trade with Washington Redskins.

Last season, the Broncos defense against the run was 31st. Head coach John Fox was brought in to address those issues in 2011.

After passing on top defensive tackle options in the NFL Draft, Fox looked to add talent to the DT position through trades and free agency.

The biggest defensive signing in free agency for the Broncos was the experienced Ty Warren from the New England Patriots. The Broncos suffered a huge blow when Warren went down during training camp a few weeks ago with a serious triceps injury. The Broncos are hopeful he will be back by the end of season after the news that the tear was only a partial tear.

With Fox's "next guy in" approach, the Broncos will rely on the reliable Brodrick Bunkley to fill the gap in the middle along with Kevin Vickerson who was brought in by the Broncos last season.

Bunkley and Vickerson have had mixed results stopping the run in the middle thus far during the preseason.

One bright note has been Elvis Dumervil's play at stopping on the edges. He has shown some ability to pull down running backs trying to get around the end.

Overall, there still remain several questions as to how improved the Broncos will be in 2011.

Pass Coverage:
Grade A

Changes this offseason: Added Rahim Moore through the NFL Draft.

One of John Elway's first personnel re-signing during the offseason was retaining Champ Bailey with a four-year $43 million contract.

This signing was one of the smartest moves by the organization in recent years. Bailey, a fan favorite, is still a dominating cornerback. He still shuts down half of the field every week.

Andre Goodman lines up opposite of Bailey for a third straight season. Goodman has been consistent and does a very good job breaking up passes. His biggest issue last season was injuries. If he can remain healthy the Broncos look good at corner.

He has been the most consistent, reliable player on the Broncos since he arrived in 2004.

Also, the front office re-worked Brian Dawkins contract to keep him at a significantly reduced rate in 2011. He will work with the rookie Rahim Moore who appears to be the starting free safety for the Broncos this season.

Moore has some adjusting to do: to the speed of the game, to opposing receivers who run much sharper routes in the NFL, and to more skilled quarterbacks who do not telegraph passes. He is the weakest link in defensive coverage unit right now. Overall, however, the Broncos have some of the best cover guys in the league.

Denver Broncos Overall
Grade: B+

Overall, the Denver Broncos have made several key personnel changes this offseason and I believe they are much better because of it.

Not only has the personnel changes made an impact, but the defensive mindset that John Fox has brought to the Broncos will give them a great edge this season.

The Broncos had a lot of great defensive talent the past few seasons, but the leadership that the Defense needed to thrive was remiss.

I believe that in 2011 the Denver Broncos will be one of the best defensive units in the league. If the offense can do what's necessary to get a lead against opponents, this season, the defense will have no problems holding a lead.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fantasy Football Sleepers: Breakout Stars Profiting Most from Change of Scenery

In Fantasy Football, the team around the player can drastically effect his output. With the flurry of free agency moves, trades, and offseason signings it can be hard to keep track of where key fantasy contributors have landed.

Even though their season last year may have been mediocre, a change of scenery with new teammates, coaches and schemes could dramatically boost their production.

Follow me as I walk you through a few key fantasy producers who are going to greatly improve their fantasy output with their new teams in 2011.

Lee Evans, Baltimore Ravens

Lee Evans was traded this season by the Buffalo Bills to the Baltimore Ravens for a fourth round pick in next years draft.

While in Buffalo, Evans showed brilliant flashes of greatness. However, the revolving door at quarterback for the Bills really stunted the complete potential he offered.

Buffalo dealt him to a team, and quarterback desperately needing the deep threat.

Evans is going to have a breakout year this season in Baltimore.

Joe Flacco finally has a home run hitter with better speed than Derrick Mason and better consistency than Malcolm Floyd, two other potential receivers the Ravens looked at.

Evans and the Ravens are the big winners here and if you are lucky enough to pick up Evans on your fantasy team, you too will not be disappointed.

Tim Hightower, Washington Redskins

Tim Hightower was acquired by the Washington Redskins from the Arizona Cardinals this offseason in a trade for Vonnie Holliday and a 2012 draft pick.

Hightower spent his three seasons in Arizona in a crowded backfield.

Hightower saw two top draft picks selected after his brilliant rookie season, the highly touted Beanie Wells in 2009 and Ryan Williams (2011). Williams selection was what prompted the Cardinals to finally deal Hightower.

Hightower though has gotten new life under the Redskins' head coach Mike Shanahan.

Shanahan has been known for his ability to create fantasy production out of running backs. In his prime, Shanahan would get late draft picks with the Denver Broncos and they would become the Broncos latest 1,000 yard rusher.

Hightower is also the main beneficiary of Ryan Torain's broken left hand only days after arriving in Washington. Hightower should have his best season yet under Shanahan's tutelage. He will be a breakout player in 2011.

Mike Sims-Walker, St. Louis Rams

Mike Sims-Walker was acquired through free agency by the St. Louis Rams on a one-year $3.7 million contract.

Sims-Walker has been limited in demonstrating his full capabilities by the offensive he has been in the past three seasons in Jacksonville. Head coach Jack Del Rio is content having Maurice Jones-Drew dominant the game on the ground as quarterback David Garrard stood in there as a game-managing QB.

Sims-Walker's stats tell the story. Over three seasons and 38 games Sims-Walker has accrued 1,648 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Fast forward to 2011 where Sims-Walker finds himself in a more balanced offense with a strong-armed quarterback and an offensive coordinator looking to open the field and utilize Sims-Walker in deep routes and goal line situations.

Sims-Walker will get a chance to make a huge impact in 2011 across from fourth-year player Brandon Gibson.

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers

Greg Olsen was traded by the Chicago Bears to the Carolina Panthers this offseason for a third-round pick in next year's NFL draft.

Olsen was under-utilized in Chicago by offensive coordinator Mike Martz. He was a solid contributor in Chicago, but his move to Carolina will make him a breakout fantasy star in 2011.

Olsen will likely get lots of passes in a conservative offense that appears to be led by Cam Newton in 2011.

Newton, a rookie will heavily rely on Olsen a dependable receiver with great hands and athleticism. Olsen should surpass expectations in Carolina and should get lots of touchdowns and a ton of yards.

Plaxico Burress, New York Jets

Plaxico Burress was recently reinstated by the NFL after doing jail time and was picked up in free agency by the New York Jets on a one-year $3.017 million contract.

Plax might not be considered a "sleeper" pick because he has had a lot of success throughout his career. But after being out of football for over two-and-a-half seasons, his new home with the Jets sure beats his old residence, the Oneida Correctional Facility in Rome, New York.

The Jets got a steal in the acquisition and it appears like Burress will make an immediate impact for the Jets.

Burress should return to form in 2011 for the Jets and his fantasy production should soar.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Tim Tebow vs. Cam Newton: Analysts Pick at Tebow & Praise Newton for Same Flaws

After Cam Newton's second preseason start in the 2011 season, analysts from ESPN and NFL Network loudly praised Newton's exciting game, however, his game looked surprisingly similar to Tim Tebow.

In the game against the lowly Cincinnati Bengals, Cam Newton completed only 6 of 19 passes for 75 yards. Instead of critiquing the persistent inaccuracy he displayed in the game, the news programs highlighted his few completions.

A couple of weeks ago, in the Broncos first preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys Tebow was 6 of 7 for 91 yards. Tim had a beautifully lofted 40-yard pass completion, which was glossed over by analysts.

In fact, one specific Tebow-hater, Merrill Hoge personally attacked Tebow's game explaining away the huge gain that it was an easy open passing lane. Hoge blasted Tebow saying: "Yes, he completes it, but that’s a perfect setting. In the National Football League, almost 50 percent of all throws are under duress. So you’re not going to have that every time."

Hoge went on to say (paraphrase): "Tebow has developed so many bad habits as a passer that it’s too late for him to change. And he said that any player on the Broncos can plainly see that Tebow has no business being their starter."

That was after a near perfect passing day, where he only had one incompletion. Tebow's quarterback rating was 118.8%.

Newton's passing accuracy is much worse than Tebow, but even the former Denver Bronco, Mark Schlereth glossed over the glaring passing accuracy issues and instead reassured Newton fans that the Panthers shouldn't force him to be a pocket passer right away:

"Listen, don't try to take this guy who is an exceptional athlete and make him a pocket passer right away. Obviously, that has to be a part of the repertoire but to me you have to get him comfortable. Get him outside of the pocket. Give him a run-pass option. Create some easy throws for him to get in a rhythm... The coaching staff has to put him in a situation where he can have success and he can get more comfortable outside the pocket because that's really what he is."

Talk about a double standard!

Every missed pass Tim Tebow throws is criticized and analyzed. Every critic in the league jumps at the opportunity to point out Tebow's development issues and unorthodox throwing motion. It's disgusting.

Newton, a no. 1 overall draft pick needs to be given time to develop, to learn and grow as a quarterback. But Tebow after three NFL starts and a couple of offseasons needs to already be a pure pocket passer.

Aren't no. 1 overall draft picks supposed to be players that are at such a high level that they only need minimal work to get them ready for pro football?

I see the same type of "flaws" in Newton that critics have attacked Tebow about, deeming him a long-term project.

Schlereth states that he needs to be given a run-pass option where he can look at the defense and tuck it and run if he sees things break down because that's who he is.

Is Tebow any different?

When Tebow tucks the ball and runs to try and make a play out of nothing when the pass blocking breaks down he is called reckless and impatient. When Newton runs for a 15-yard diving touchdown in the preseason he is called brave and courageous.

In the recap of the game on NFL network the commentators encouraged Newton when he took off towards the end zone for his rushing touchdown: "Do a whole bunch of this Cam! One read, two reads.. hit 'em with the left shoulder Cam. He could not be stopped."

On another play, Newton scrambled for 26 yards and the commentator exclaimed: "Look at him go!"

Are you kidding me?

Newton and Tebow's games are so similar but every one with a "credible" opinion seems to think that if Newton does it, then he should receive praise but when Tebow tries every says he shouldn't even be in the NFL.

I wonder what Merrill Hoge has to say about Newton's mechanics, his lack of touch with passes, airmailing the ball over receivers' heads. I wonder if Hoge's twitter account will be firing shots at Newton.

I doubt it.

Everything that the analysts believe about Newton should apply to Tebow. It's not Tebow's fault if the offense is designed for a different type of quarterback that he is still working at becoming.

Instead, it is the coaching staff's fault for failing to create an environment for Tebow where he can thrive, succeed, and utilize the special skill set that he possesses.

Everyone who thinks that Tebow isn't anywhere near ready to be a starter in the NFL had better not praise the Panthers for their decision to start Newton in Week 1 of the season because the two look very similar.

All this hypocrisy is ridiculous!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kyle Orton Named Denver Broncos Starting Quarterback, But For How Long?

Head coach John Fox has named training camp standout Kyle Orton the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos for the 2011 season. However, the coach has had problems sticking with his quarterback, especially when under pressure from a vocal fanbase. His naming of Orton as the starting QB for the Broncos, begs the question, “Yes, but for how long?”

I am not here to take away from the body of work that Orton has done in preseason thus far. Throughout the preseason, Orton has shown that he has the best command of the offense, he knows the reads, he looks the most polished and for those reasons, Fox has gone ahead and ended the debate of who will start in 2011.

In the Broncos' two preseason games, Orton has successfully led several drives, most ending in field goals, and has one touchdown thus far. He continues to improve on the field.

Orton for sure has the leg up on backups Brady Quinn and Tim Tebow; he has been the starting quarterback in Denver for the past two seasons, barring a couple of missed games due to injury and because the season was already “lost.”

However, the NFL is all about winning. Unfortunately for Orton, he managed only three wins in his 13 starts last season. Some may say that Orton had a career year in yards (3,802 yards) and touchdowns (21 TDs). He also had 12 interceptions and 10 losses.

The year before he came to Denver, as the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears, Orton had similar stats to 2010. He passed for 2,972 yards, 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The Bears offense is similar to the type of offense Orton will run in 2011. It was run-heavy, and Orton was a “game manager” quarterback, a role that is best suited for him.

The Bears were 9-7 in 2008 under Orton. The year before, the Bears went to the Super Bowl and Orton watched from the bench.

Again, the NFL is all about winning.

Quarterbacks in this league are one of the most important factors in winning. Look at all the quarterbacks in the past seven years who’ve won rings: Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Besides Eli, who claims to be elite, few would dispute that these quarterbacks are the best of the best. Also, few would argue that the play of these quarterbacks is the reason why their teams won the Super Bowl.

Many fans forget how wretched the Broncos were last season. The Broncos did so poorly that they “earned” the No. 2 draft pick in all the league, ahead of only the Carolina Panthers, John Fox’s old team.

Fox has the task of transforming the worst defensive team in the NFL into a dominant defensive force. But, Fox also must show that he has some acumen on offense to lead the team to more than the measly four wins it mustered in 2010.

The lowly Panthers won only two games last season as Fox and the coaching staff vacillated between quarterbacks, starting three different quarterbacks: Matt Moore, Jimmy Clausen and Brian St. Pierre. St. Pierre came in as a starter having only thrown five passes in his NFL career.

Now the pride of average Broncos fan would protest, “We aren’t as bad as the Panthers!” But in the win category, we aren’t much better—especially coming out of an era with a reckless head coach who was given full control of all personnel decisions, and did everything he could to completely dismantle the Broncos franchise.

I think that the bar is set low for Fox though, at least in terms of wins. The Broncos need to be competitive enough in the AFC West and maybe come away with six or seven wins overall before the front office hits the panic button on Fox.

Last season in Carolina, Fox was set on Matt Moore as his starting quarterback—so much so that the team cut Jake Delhomme, their starter for seven seasons. But when things went south quickly, Fox heard the cries of the fanbase for the “Golden Boy,” Jimmy Clausen. Clausen started for a few weeks and then Moore was again named the starter.

With the rise of the former fan favorite, Brady Quinn, in recent weeks in Denver, it’s very interesting how things seem to recycle around amongst the league’s bottom feeders. Quinn was acquired from the Browns for Peyton Hillis (one of McDaniels’ most infamous trades), when the Browns decided to go a different direction, signing Delhomme to a two-year deal.

Quinn’s ascent to the No. 2 slot on the depth chart was not particularly surprising with Tim Tebow’s struggles in training camp and then the second preseason game, where Tebow as the third-stringer had no chance to showcase any of his talents as he handed the ball off and was asked to run and slide to run down the clock in the one-sided preseason game against the Buffalo Bills.

It is curious that a coach would run down the clock in a preseason game, basically a training exercise to see the talents your team possesses before the start of the regular season.

If the Broncos get off to a rough start similar to last season, look for Orton to receive the blame, as is the case for most starting quarterbacks in the league. In favor of Orton, Quinn would be Fox’s first choice, and if playing for more draft picks next season, Fox would turn to Tebow.

In my estimation, this will be Orton’s last stand in Denver as the starting quarterback. His contract ends this season and he will be looking for big-time money that the Broncos won’t want to pay him unless he is the reason that they put together a stellar season, which would be a shocker to the rest of the league.

I expect next offseason will be another quarterback controversy with Orton out of the picture and fans continually irritated by another below-average, playoff-missing season by the Broncos, calling to start Tebow.

Ultimately, the Broncos need to draft a quarterback or trade for a quarterback whom they believe can get the franchise behind them and really take the team to the next level.

Look at the Arizona Cardinals—they believe in Kevin Kolb. Do I think they will succeed with Kolb? No. But they do—they have given up a great deal to acquire Kolb, and they are going to get behind him to push him to succeed. Their franchise’s future in the short term depends on his development and achievements. If the project fails, like most NFL teams, they go back to the drawing board to find the next great quarterback.

Denver needs to go through this process and upper management needs to stick with it and see it through to the end, not give up on it after they fire the head coach—for example, see Tebow. Until they do that, they will be rotating through quarterbacks for the next 10-plus years or so.

John Fox's Denver Broncos Struggle to Run the Ball, Stop the Run

The Denver Broncos' point of emphasis on offense this offseason has been the running game. Saturday night against the Buffalo Bills, Head Coach John Fox and Co. saw the Broncos' top two rushers, expected to carry the load in 2011, pick up 34 yards on 11 carries. Stopping the run has been Fox’s point of emphasis on defense. However, right now, the defensive line has been struggling to bottle up opposing offenses’ running backs.

The Broncos backfield is going the wrong direction (on both sides of the ball).

Not only did the Broncos top two rushers, Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee, average only 3.1 yards rushing, but they faced the Buffalo Bills, the only team in the NFL last season, behind the Broncos’ beleaguered defense in opposing rushing yards allowed per game.

The backups, Brandon Minor, 6 rushes for 24 yards, Lance Ball, 7 rushes for 20 yards, Jeremiah Johnson, 5 rushes for 16 yards, didn’t fare too much better.

Fox wants to return the Broncos to balance in the run and pass games in 2011, however, he has his work cut out for him as although the Broncos did rush the ball 32 times compared to 31 pass attempts, the offense only rushed as a whole for 101 yards.

The Broncos' struggles stopping the run continued as they surrendered 126 yards on 24 attempts for an average of 5.3 yards/attempt by the Buffalo Bills.

The key to the running game is the point of attack: the offensive line.

There is only one offensive lineman among the bunch for Broncos with more than five years experience. Right tackle Orlando Franklin is a rookie. Center J.D. Walton is in his second season with the Broncos. Left guard Zane Beadles is also in his second season. Pro-Bowl left tackle Ryan Clady is a pass blocking specialist for the Broncos and is in his third season. Right guard is in his seventh season in the NFL.

The offensive line needs to work on opening holes and pushing the defenders off the line. That opens up running lanes for the speedy Moreno to burst through to the second level.

The second key element in the running game is once through the first level, make a defender miss at the next level. The two longest runs of the night were an 11-yard run by Minor and a 9-yard run by Moreno. The rushers are not making the linebackers and the cornerbacks miss. They aren’t shaking tackles and opening up huge gains.

Moreno has yet to break the 1,000-yard mark in his two seasons in Denver. McGahee is pushing 30-years old and has spent the majority of his career as a red zone and short yardage specialist. He has not been known for breaking off large gains throughout his NFL career.

The Broncos hope that history will not repeat itself again in 2011, but with the baffling additions by Fox, it doesn't appear like a huge run game will materialize for the Broncos at this rate.

In contrast, all of the top Bills’ backs had huge gains over 14 yards apiece. C.J. Spiller had a long of 14 yards in one rush and Fred Jackson had a rush for more than 20 yards. This is worrisome for a defense that ranked 31st against the rush last season with a new head coach preaching that he will improve the run defense in 2011.

On the other side of the ball, the Broncos believed that bringing in the behemoth nose tackle, Ty Warren would close the gaping holes that filled the defensive line last season, but a partial tear of his triceps dashed those hopes, until at the earliest week 15 or 16 of the season. Marcus Thomas also went down with a pectoral muscle injury, another key piece to the Broncos defensive line re-build, and he is out for the remainder of the preseason.

With those key absences in the defense, the Broncos’ holes have returned; Fox will need to work his magic he has demonstrated with his defenses of yesteryear to bring the backups up to speed as soon as possible.

Although the main focus for the fans and media has been the quarterback controversy, the success of the Broncos in 2011 and beyond depends on running the football, and limiting the opposing offenses' rushing yards. If you can do both of those, you can control the clock, the ball, and the game. As evidenced by last season, when you cannot run the ball or stop the run, the game turns in to a shootout on offense, and none of the Broncos' quarterbacks will win that matchup this season.

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