jump to navigation

Trashin Tebow 04/23/2010

Posted by sportretort in denver broncos, NFL, Sports, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Tebow shortly after he was drafted by Denver

The haters were ready to pounce. The venom came so quickly and with such veracity one would think that the articles were already written, just waiting for the team and coach names to be added. The Denver Broncos and head coach Josh McDaniels did what was apparently unthinkable. They drafted Florida QB Tim Tebow with the 25th pick. BAM! The haters did a quick edit and pressed the enter button. McDaniels has sealed his fate! Career suicide. Dead coach walking. The Broncos were the NFL clowns! Surely they were the butt of jokes in every other NFL war room. The crowd assembled at Radio City Music Hall to watch the draft live (I guess because they have no life. Come on. This is the Big Apple. Home to Broadway, the Yankees and about a million other distractions, and they choose to attend the draft? And they make fun of Midwesterners for watching corn grow for entertainment! But I digress…) laughed and jeered the pick.

To be sure, there have been poor QB picks in the first round. The Chargers picked Ryan Leaf from Washington State with the number two overall pick in

Tebow after winning the National Championship

1998. Former Broncos coach picked Tommy Maddox with, interestingly, the 25th pick in the 1992 draft. Those picks did not pan out. While Leaf did lead his WSU team to the Rose Bowl, they lost to Michigan, he had only 24 total career starts and was considered by many to be a head case. He was a total bust in the NFL. Maddox came out after his sophomore season at UCLA and had done nothing of note. Reeves was fired as the Broncos head coach after the next season, but because of his problems with star QB John Elway, of which the Maddox pick was merely a part. In these cases, people were right to question the choices. People also have a right to question the Tebow pick. But be honest. All Tebow did at Florida was play a key role on the 2006 National Championship team (he was the number two QB at Florida behind Chris Leak, played in 14 games and threw for and ran for a touchdown in the National Championship game), won the Heisman Trophy in ’07, and lead the Gators to a 12-1 National Championship season in ’08. This kid is arguably one of, if not the best college QB’s of all time. There are questions about his mechanics at the NFL level, but, come on, this is not the worst pick ever.

Tim Tebow plays with heart. He is a leader. He seems to have the drive and desire to do what ever it takes to improve himself. He won a Heisman, was part of 2 National Championship teams, and he is, in the estimation of some of the haters, no better than a 5th round draft pick? Unbelievable. I guess it is his personal life that has them upset. While many athletes are getting in trouble with the law, skipping classes and creating problems, Tebow talks about his religious values. He helps in the community. He was even the subject of a ‘contraversial’ choose life Super Bowl commercial where his mom talks about having been advised to abort him because of a medical condition. Guess in the minds of the haters he would be better suited for a high draft pick if he was a rapist or ran around drinking and getting arrested. Well, I am sure of this: if McDaniels felt he could wait until the Broncos second round pick to draft Tebow, he would have. There were others looking at him in round 2 (not 5 or later). McDaniels wanted him, and he went and got him. Remember, also, that Tebow was Denver’s second pick. They drafted WR Demariyus Thomas with the 22nd pick.

Denver came into the draft with one first round pick, number 11 overall, and managed to turn that into the 22nd and 25th overall picks. And they still have a second round pick, as well as 2 third round picks after the nights activities. Was it a stretch to draft Tebow at 25? Perhaps. Was it worth the gamble? Time will tell. Was it as bad a move as the haters say? Not even close. I have never been a big Tim Tebow fan, but the bile and venom spewed immediately after his pick has put me in his corner. Not because he was drafted by the Broncos, but because the speed and fury with which the crap hit the fan made it obvious that this attack was going to be unleashed no matter who drafted him. Time will tell about this draft, as it does with any draft. I for one hope the haters are made to eat their words.

Tebow with his Heisman Trophy

Advertisements

Transition’s end 01/05/2010

Posted by sportretort in denver broncos, NFL, Sports, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

There was an avalanche in Denver on Sunday.  No, we are not talking about the hockey team.  This avalanche came in the form of  yards.  Kansas City running back 

Kyle Orton proved to be a serviceable QB for Denver

 

 Jamaal Charles amassed 259 rushing yards against the Broncos.  The Broncos Knowshon Moreno managed only 50.  That disparity, more than any other, shows the weakness in the Broncos during the 2009 campaign. 

The loss to Kansas City brought the curtain down on Denver’s season.  The Broncos finished 8-8 for the second consecutive year.  Before the season started, there was turmoil in the Broncos camp, and not much was expected from rookie head coach Josh McDaniels and his team.  The over/under for Denver victories in Vegas was 3 1/2.  By that measure, McDaniels was a wild success.  Denver started the season on fire, and hit their bye week with a 6-0 record.  After the bye, the Broncos limped to the finish line with a 2-8 record.  At season’s end, there was turmoil in Broncos camp, and Denver watched its slim playoff hopes slip behind the Rocky Mountains like a Colorado sunset.  The fact that Denver was in the playoff picture on the final week of the season was an accomplishment by itself, though after the fast start it did not feel that way.  The 2009 Broncos were a team in transition.  They had a new coach, and a new offensive scheme.  They transitioned from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 scheme.  They had traded a prima donna ‘franchise’ quarterback for a game manager.  They had a diva wide out with crazy good skills that started the season having been suspended from the team for the last 10 days of camp and ended the season on the bench, coach’s decision, with his toughness in question.  Now, the Broncos must face some tough off-season questions.  

The rushing numbers from that last game point out Denver’s biggest area of need.  The Broncos were unable to control either line of scrimmage.  For a franchise that once 

Moreno needs better blocking to become the back Denver needs

 

thought 1000 yard rushers hid behind every bush, the lack of run game was disturbing and the o-line needs to be addressed.  While first year running back Moreno lead all rookie runners with 947 rushing yards, his 3.7 yards per carry average must improve, and Denver managed only 9 rushing TD’s all season.  Both of these numbers point to a lack of run blocking.  At quarterback, the Broncos Kyle Orton completed 62% of his passes and threw 21 TD’s to 12 interceptions.  Respectable numbers, to be sure, but the average gain of 7 yards per catch must improve.  Orton will probably be brought back next season, but his primary back up Chris Simms should not.  While Simms has another year on his contract, he proved himself almost useless in the limited game action he saw this season.  His performance was so poor in the one game he started that the injured Orton was put back into the game after Simms misfired on the 4 passes he threw.  Denver needs to either acquire a free agent, or take a chance on drafting another ‘quarterback of the future.’  Honestly, with the needs on both the offensive and defensive lines, I do not see Denver drafting a quarterback. 

One offensive need that will be addressed, however, is wide receiver.  Brandon Marshall is a talent.  There is no doubt.  But he also is a head case, and he will not be a Bronco next season.  Denver catches a break in the Marshall situation.  Since there is no CBA in place, and the prospect of the Players Association and the Ownership group reaching an agreement is remote at best, next year will be an uncapped year in the NFL.  Under the expiring CBA, Marshall would have been an unrestricted free agent.  As things stand now, he will be a restricted free agent, which means he still has value to the Broncos.  Denver will be working a trade for Marshall.  Interestingly, the decision to bench Marshall for the final game has again highlighted his issues and probably diminished his trade value some what.  

The jury is still out on McDaniels as a head coach, as one might expect.  Clearly this team was not as bad as people thought before the 

The feisty McDaniels must now produce results in Denver

 

 season started.  Just as clearly, this team was not as good as the 6-0 start made people think.  When all was said and done, after all the changes, after all the turmoil, Denver finished as it had last season.  Denver started strong, and squandered a playoff opportunity down the stretch, just as it did in 2008.  This team has now missed the playoffs for 4 straight years.  The pressure will now be on McDaniels to raise the level next season.  There was no back slide this year, but there was no overall progress, either.  Having turned almost 60% of the roster over last season, there is still work to be done.  Marshall must be traded.  Perennial all pro and 11 year veteran corner back Champ Baily also should be traded while he still has value.  Denver needs to continue to become younger and quicker.  McDaniels now has a year of head coaching experience under his belt.  Hopefully, the distractions of Marshall will be gone.  Denver will concentrate on defense and receivers this off-season.  They have a quality quarterback and running back returning.  All returning players will now have a better understanding of the offense and defense. The pressure to make the playoffs in 2010 begins now.

Fresh Blood 10/21/2009

Posted by sportretort in mlb, NFL, nhl, Sports, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

It was a tough spring for Denver sports fans.  With in the span of a few short weeks, 3 of the 4 major sports franchises that call the Mile High City their home fired their head coaches.  The local sports scene seemed to be a mess.  Now, not so much.

The NFL Broncos fired long time head coach Mike Shanahan and hired New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to lead this storied franchise.  All McDaniels, a

McDaniels has them fired up in Denver

McDaniels has them fired up in Denver

first time head coach and one of the youngest NFL head coaches ever, had to do was to replace the only Super Bowl winning coach in Bronco History.  Though 10 years removed, Shanahan had led Denver to 2 titles in 1998 and ’99.  Replacing a popular head coach is never easy, and the tumultuous off season that greeted McDaniels is well chronicled.  All seems forgiven now, as the Broncos head into their bye week with a 6-0 record and a strangle hold on the AFC West title.   Those 6 wins double the season win total predicted by many pundits.  Fans that were calling for McDaniel’s head before he even coached a game seem to now embrace him.  All is well in Bronco Nation.

The axe fell on baseball’s Clint Hurdle after a rough beginning to the ’09 campaign.  The Rockies were 10 games

Tracy turned the Rockies around and led them to the post season

Tracy turned the Rockies around and led them to the post season

under the .500 mark and going no where fast.  Hurdle had struggled as the Rockies manager but did lead Colorado to the World Series in 2007, Colorado’s  only appearance in the Fall Classic so far.  A scant 19 months later he was gone, replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Jim Tracy.  Tracy had previously been a MLB manager, most notably in Los Angeles with the Dodgers.  The Rockies took off shortly after Tracy took over the reigns and were in the NL West race right up to the last series of the season.  While the Rockies failed to win the West, the improved Rockies played better than 30 games over .500 for Tracy and won the Wild Card playoff spot.  The team finished with a franchise record 92 wins and finished with more wins than losses on the road for the first time ever.  They made their third post season appearance in their short history, bowing to Philadelphia 3 games to one in the NLDS.  The Rockies are attempting to sign Tracy to a long term contract at this time.  The future looks bright for Rockies fans.

Colorado Avalanche coach Tony Granato’s second stint as the Avs head coach was a short one, just one season.  After leading the

Sacco has the young Avs off to an amazing start

Sacco has the young Avs off to an amazing start

Avs to their worst record since the move to Denver in 1995, Granato was let go just a week after finishing a 32-45-5 campaign.  Joe Sacco was promoted from the Av’s Lake Erie AHL affiliate to take over the Avalanche.  Many predict a dismal season for the Avs, projecting them to again miss the playoffs.  With a new goaltender and 2, yes 2, 18-year-old centers playing, this young team may have a long season ahead.  But the start has been simply brilliant.  The Avalanche enter their game in Minnesota as the top team in the Western Conference.  The 6-1-1 start is all the more impressive when you factor in the fact that all but 2 of the games have been played on the road.  It is too early to tell what will happen with this young team, but the fans are back and there is an excited buzz among Colorado hockey faithful.

What a difference a few months can make.  Three head coaching changes and all 3 seemed to have worked out.  Throw in the fact that the NBA Nuggets made the Western Conference finals last season and it seems that winning teams abound in Denver.

Class Act 10/12/2009

Posted by sportretort in cutler, denver broncos, NFL, Sports, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

The Denver Broncos defeated the New England Patriots 20-17 in overtime.   The win moved the Broncos record to 5-0.  Denver head coach Josh McDaniels defeated his old team, and his old boss, Bill Belichick. 

Remember the off season McDaniels had?  Hired as Denver’s new head coach, he became one of the five youngest head coaches ever.  As if that was not enough of a

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels points to the fans after the Broncos victory

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels points to the fans after the Broncos victory

challenge, the Cutler affair broke out.  Then Denver’s best receiver wants out.  The criticism grew and grew.  It seemed as if half of Denver wanted this guy gone before he ever had the chance to coach a game.  Bronco nation was atwitter with prognostications of outright failure.  The over/under in Vegas for the number of Bronco wins this season was at 6 1/2.  McDaniels had, after all, given away the best quarterback ever to play the game for the second coming of Ryan Leaf.  Now, five games in, it looks like the over will be surpassed, perhaps before the season is half over.  What a difference a few weeks can make.  Guess this guy can coach, after all.   A week one victory came on a deflected pass that was caught and turned into a long touchdown with just seconds left on the game clock.  Just luck, most said.  Never mind that Denver was in the lead until they surrendered a touchdown with less than a minute left in the game.  Then came victories over Cleveland and Oakland.  Just bad teams, the detractors said.  Wait untill the Broncos play a good team.  Then we will see how bad they are.  Denver followed the 3-0 start with a victory over Dallas.  They overcame an early 10-0 deficit, scored the game winning touchdown late in the 4th quarter, then future Hall of Fame defensive back Champ Bailey knocked down two Dallas passes in the end zone to seal the victory.  Many of the detractors said that the Broncos were lucky again and Dallas QB Tony Romo had a bad game.  Wait untill they play an exceptional team like New England.  Yep, the Broncos are now 5-0.

McDaniels and Orton talk before the game.

McDaniels and Orton talk before the game.

At the end of the game, McDaniels looked quickly for Belichick, then went  to the area in the stands where his family was sitting, pumping his fist into the air.  Lost in the moment, he seemed more cheerleader than coach, and the fans in the area were pumped up by the gesture.  During the post game news conference, McDaniels allowed that while, yes, it was special to beat his old team and mentor, it was not all about him.  The victory was a testament to a team of players who worked hard and fought hard and earned the victory.  For someone who had taken as many shots as McDaniels has, it was a class move to give the credit to the players, where it belongs.  His first big moment in the sun and he rose above the pettiness that had engulfed his chaotic start in Denver.  Some will point to the fact that he and Belichick did not shake hands on the field after the game, but McDaniels did shake hands and hug every member of the Patriots that he could find.  And the emotion he aimed at the stands will go a long way to getting Bronco fans on his side.  It will do almost as much as the 5-0 start.  It also turns out that Kyle Orton, the new QB in town, is not that bad, either. 

Perhaps McDaniels had a clue all along.  To borrow a line form the classic Movie Casablanca: Denver, I think this may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

McDaniels and NE QB Brady converse.  Should Jay Cutler feel slighted?  Perhaps he will now demand anothre trade!

McDaniels and NE QB Brady converse. Should Jay Cutler feel slighted? Perhaps he will now demand another trade!

Cowboy Showdown 10/05/2009

Posted by sportretort in NFL, Sports, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Do you believe yet?

The Denver Broncos spotted the Dallas Cowboys a 10-0 first quarter lead, then rode a 51 yard catch and run by Brandon Marshall for a

Knowshon Moreno scores the Broncos first TD

Knowshon Moreno scores the Broncos first TD

 touchdown with 1:46 left in the game to a 17-10 win.  The Broncos now stand 4-0 at the one quarter mark of the NFL season.  Denver came into the game undefeated, but getting little respect because their victories were over Cincinnati, Cleveland and Oakland, none of which are considered NFL elite.  The Cowboys, so the conventional thinking was, would expose the defense that had allowed a league low 16 points in the first 3 games.  In the early going, it looked like that is what was going to happen.

Dallas dominated the first quarter, mainly because their running game kept the clock moving.  Running back Marion Barber pushed his way through several Broncos for a one yard touchdown run with 43 seconds left in the quarter.  The extra point gave Dallas their 10- zip lead.  It was to be the last point scored by the Cowboys.  At that point, the Cowboys had run 23 plays to Denver’s 6.  The defenses then took over the game, and it was a play by Denver’s defense that changed the game.  On a third and 14 play, Broncos

Brandon Marshall makes a nice catch over the Cowboys Terence Newman on his way to the game winning TD

Brandon Marshall makes a nice catch over the Cowboys Terence Newman on his way to the game winning TD

strong safety Renaldo Hill blitzes Dallas quarter back Tony Romo.  Romo never saw him, and Hill sacked him at the 17 yard line and forced a fumble.  Denver linebacker D J Williams scooped up the ball and ran it to the 9.  Denver wasted no time with the gift as Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton hit running back Knowshon Moreno with a swing pass on the first  play after the fumble, and Moreno raced to the end zone for the score with 10:10 left in the half.  While both defenses dominated, Denver’s offense began to gain the upper hand until, with 6:02 left in the forth quarter, Bronco kicker Matt Prater kicked a 28 yard field goal to tie the game at 10.  The Cowboys managed to possess the ball for only 6 plays before they punted it back to the Broncos.  On the first play after the two minute warning, the Broncos had the ball at their own 49 yard line.  Orton, in the shotgun formation took the snap.  Dallas came with a blitz, and Orton found wide receiver Brandon Marshall on a go route along the right sideline at about the 34.  Marshall out jumped corner back Terence Newman for the ball, caught it and separated from him.  He cut back towards the center of the field at about the 30.  When he reached the near hash marks, Marshall found himself among 5 Dallas defenders.  He stopped, reversed his direction, and out raced the Cowboys to the far sideline and the corner of the end zone.  The touchdown gave the Broncos their first lead at 17-10.  But the game was far from over. 

On 4th and 3 from their own 27, Romo took the snap, avoided the rush, scrambled out to his left and some how found Sam Hurd at about the 40.  Hurd caught the ball and raced all the way to the Broncos 21 yard line. The 53 yard gain set the Cowboys up deep in Denver territory with 59 ticks left on the clock.   Three plays later, Romo hit Patrick Creighton, who lunged to the 3.  With no time outs left, Romo spiked the ball to stop the clock with 9 seconds left, making it 3rd down and goal.  Romo then tried to hit Hurd on two successive plays, but he was covered by future Hall of Famer Champ Baily who deflected both passes.  Game over.  Broncos win.

Denver’s defense was up to the task.  They gave up 10 points, bringing their 4 game points allowed total to a paltry 26, by far the least in the

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels is now 4-0 as an NFL head coach

Broncos coach Josh McDaniels is now 4-0 as an NFL head coach

 league. The Cowboys came into the game having rushed for over 200 yards in each of its previous 2 games.  Denver held them to 74 total rushing yards.   Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton was workman like again, completing 20 of 29 passes for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns.  He has yet to throw an interception this season.  So what is the reason to diminish the Broncos now?  Poor competition?  Home field advantage?  Face it, the Broncos have been prepaired for each game so far.  Their defense is light years ahead of last seasons verson.  And they join the Colts as the only unbeaton teams in the AFC.  It is time to give head coach Josh McDaniels credit.  This is a good team.

It is time to suspend disbelief.  These Broncos can play.

Orange Crush 09/21/2009

Posted by sportretort in denver broncos, NFL, Sports, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

So, anyone who took the under on the Broncos winning 5 games this season want to change their mind?

The Denver Broncos are 2-0 under new head coach Josh McDaniels.  The embattled McDaniels had a tumultuous off season, trading the

Josh McDaniels is 2-0 as Broncos Head Coach

Josh McDaniels is 2-0 as Broncos Head Coach

 ‘franchise cry baby, er, quarterback’ Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears for Kyle Orton and draft picks.  McDaniels has also had his best receiver demand a trade and serve an almost 2 week suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.  McDaniels has been lambasted in the media for the past few months, excoriated by fans on talk radio and in blogs.  Yet, here they are at 2-0.

Flying under the radar during the pre season love fest that has been Bronco Nation is perhaps the biggest move McDaniels made during the off season.  Without much fan fare or notice, he hired recently deposed 49er head coach Mike Nolan to be his defensive coordinator.  Nolan has 11 years of experience in the NFL as a d-coordinator, and is one of the best defensive minds in the league today.  Nolan has quietly gone about the task of reshaping the defense.  Gone is the old 4-3 scheme, replaced with the 3-4.  With the new scheme there needed to be new players.   On the current active roster there are 14 players on the defensive side of the ball who are in their first season with the Broncos.  Last season the Broncos were among the worst defenses around.  They allowed 448 points, third most in the league.  They had only 13 take aways all of last season.  In the first 2 games this season, the Broncos have allowed a total of 13 points to the opposition.  That total is less than half of their per game average of 28 points in 2008.  They have 5 take aways in the first 2 games, a 2.5 per game average, up from a .81 per game average last season.  Granted, the Broncos have not met the stiffest of competition so far, but Cleveland scored 20 points in week 1 against Minnesota and were held to 6 points against the Broncos.  Denver’s week one opponent, Cincinnati, scored only 7 points in a loss to the Broncos managed to put up 31 in a win over Green Bay in week 2.  Nolan’s defense is much improved.

Orton has yet to throw an interception this season

Orton has yet to throw an interception this season

As for the ‘poor’ quarterback now playing in Denver, all Orton has done in the first 2 games is complete 36 of 65 passes for 506 yards and 2 touchdowns.  He has thrown no interceptions so far this season.  Orton has a respectable 90.9 quarterback rating through the first 2 games.  He has done all this while wearing a glove on his passing hand to protect a lacerated index finger, injured during the 3rd pre season game. To be sure, those numbers pale compared to the gaudy numbers produced by Cutler for the Broncos last season.  But, still, you can not do much better than 2-0.  And there is a new coach, a new offensive concept, and a new attitude in Denver.  My preseason prediction of 7-8 wins seemed outlandish compared to what many were predicting.  Now it seems it may have been too conservative.  Only time will tell about that.  But all of you who predicted only 3-5 wins want a Mulligan?

Any of the haters ready to change their mind about McDaniels?

Also Sunday, Former Bronco Shannon Sharpe was inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame.  Sharpe won 2 Super Bowl rings while with the Broncos (and a third with Baltimore).  He redefined the position of  tight end in the NFL.  Sharpe was not voted into the NFL Hall of Fame last season in his first time on the ballot.  It WILL happen.  In true Sharpe fashion, he arrived at Invesco Field by parachuting into the stadium during pregame with the game ball.  Congratulations on the honor, Shannon!

Shannon Sharpe arrives at Invesco Field

Shannon Sharpe arrives at Invesco Field

Frisco Flop 08/15/2009

Posted by sportretort in NFL, Sports.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Quick!  Someone wake up quarterback Kyle Orton!  Tell him it was just a nightmare!  The good news for Orton is that he completed 12 of his 16 passes.  The bad news is that 3 of those 12 completions were to players wearing the wrong

Broncos QB kyle Orton throws a pass against SF

Broncos QB kyle Orton throws a pass against SF

jersey.  In reality, Orton did not look bad.  He seemed to grasp the offense.  He moved the team.  He also made some very bad decisions. 

The best news for new head coach Josh McDaniels is that this was week one of the PRE season.  Week one of the regular season is September 13 for the Broncos.  One month and 3 more pre season games to go.  And McDaniels is going to need all of that time.  McDaniels’ first edition of the Broncos is a work in progress.  They need a lot of work because they need to make a lot of progress.  It is hard to draw firm conclusions from the first preseason game.  But here are some observations any way.

Rookie running back Knowshon Moreno is the real deal.  The Broncos made him the first running back picked in the draft.  He held out for the first 8 days of camp, and has been practicing for only a week, but the kid can run.  He left the game in the first half with a slight limp.  Hope it is nothing major because he is going to be fun to watch.

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall was found not guilty in his assault trial

Eddie Royal (19) looked good vs the 49ers

Eddie Royal (19) looked good vs the 49ers

in Atlanta. You may remember that Marshall has demanded a trade.  He has also missed much of camp with a leg injury.  He my want to get well in a hurry and adjust his attitude.  Eddie Royal is going to give him a run for his money for the title of best receiver on the team.  Royal, who caught 96 passes in his rookie season last year, has added some weight and strength during the off season, and is developing  good chemistry with Orton.

After a shaky first series when they allowed some big plays to 49er tight end Vernon Davis, the defense looked pretty good in the first half.  They managed to shut down that first drive and hold San Francisco to a field goal.  After the next three Broncos possessions resulted in turn overs, the Broncos defense forced 2 punts.  The 3rd turn over resulted in a SF td, but it was only a 4 yard drive.

Let the buzz begin!  Back up quarterback Chris Simms had a decent 2nd half against, basically, air, and led the Broncos to 16 points.  Can you say quarterback controversy?  NOT!  Not after one pre season game.  All the fans who are upset at the Shanahan firing and the Cutler trade will be calling for Simms to start and for McDaniels head.  They will conveniently forget that when the game was on the line and the Broncos went for a 2 point conversion at the end of the game against a bunch of guys who will be bagging groceries in a few weeks, Simms also threw an interception.  Selective memory can be a good thing.  Just ask any politician.  McDaniels will not make a knee jerk reaction based on the first pre season game.  Orton will be better than he looked tonight.  There is no qb controversy in Denver.  At least not yet.

Over all, It was not a good start for Orton, the D looks improved, ant there is much still to be done.  That’s what pre season is for.

Mining Ore(ton) 08/10/2009

Posted by sportretort in cutler, denver broncos, NFL, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , ,
add a comment

The king is dead.  Long live the king.

Fans of the Denver Broncos must get over the fact that Jay Cutler is no longer their quarterback.  The spoiled brat is

Broncos QB Kyle Orton

Broncos QB Kyle Orton

 gone.  In his place is Kyle Orton.  You would think that the Broncos threw away any chance they had to ever win another football game.  But just how good are these two quarterbacks?  The reality is that Jay Cutler’s record as a starting quarterback with the Denver Broncos was 17-20.  Orton, as a starter with the Bears, was 21-12. 

Wait a minute.  I thought Cutler was Gods gift to the position.  Did he not have great wide outs?  Is his right arm not the most powerful cannon this side of the US Army?  To hear the horror stories, I thought that the Broncos had acquired the next Ryan Leaf to be their Quarterback.  You know, all hype, no substance.  Perhaps there is something to this Orton fellow, after all.

To be fair, the Bears have a good defense while the Broncos defense had more holes than swiss cheese.  But, also to be fair, the Broncos offense is a Ferrari while the Bears was a clunker.  If the Bears could have traded their O in at the nearest car dealership they would have gotten $4500 in return.  The leading receivers on the Bears last season were the tight end and running backs.  In the Bear system, a bomb is a pass completed PAST the line of scrimmage, as opposed to the rest of the league, where a bomb is at least 20 yards down field. 

Orton proved he could throw the ball while at Purdue

Orton proved he could throw the ball while at Purdue

Actually, Orton was off to a great start with the Bears last season.  He was among league leaders before an injury slowed him down.  Still, he lead the Bears to a 9-7 season.  Orton may not possess the arm that Cutler has, but he can throw the football.  At Purdue, He had a very productive career, throwing for 6,247 yards and had only 23 interceptions in 947 attempts.  He tied Drew Breeze’s single game Purdue passing record by amassing 522 yards in a game against Indiana.  He led the Boilermakers to bowl games in sophomore, junior and senior seasons.  Last season was hist best with the Bears.  He set career marks in completion percentage (58.5%) and yards (2,972).  He threw 18 touchdowns to 12 interceptions.  Granted those numbers are much less than Cutlers.  But then again, he will have the Denver offense to work with this season.  Last season, Orton attempted 465 passes with the Bears.  Cutler, in Denver, threw 616.  Orton will love playing behind that offensive line.  The Broncos gave up just 11 sacks of Cutler last season.  The Bears allowed Orton to be sacked 27 times last year.  To be sure, some of those are on Orton, but the pressure will be much less this season in Colorado.

Orton has traded up.  And as for Denver, while he may not be Cutler, new head coach Josh McDaniels is vested in Orton’s success.  McDaniels will give him every chance to succeed.  Orton will look more like the qb he was at Purdue, rather than the qb he was at Chicago. 

New head coach McDaniels knows that Orton holds the key to his success in Denver

New head coach McDaniels knows that Orton holds the key to his success in Denver

Monday mish mash 08/03/2009

Posted by sportretort in denver broncos, mlb, NFL, Sports, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

A little bit about a lot of things.  Today is update day, revisiting several topics we have discussed in the past few weeks.

The Denver Broncos have begun training camp, and the saga continues with disgruntled wide out Brandon Marshall.  Marshall left practice during the morning session on Sunday.  He missed the afternoon session, and the morning

Josh McDaniels and Kyle Orton (8), the Broncos new head coach and quarterback.

Josh McDaniels and Kyle Orton (8), the Broncos new head coach and quarterback.

 session today.  As I write this, there has been no definitive word from Denver as to the nature or severity of the injury.  Marshall limped off of the practice field, and some speculate it is either a hamstring or hip issue.  Marshall, who has demanded to be traded,  is recovering from off season hip surgery, and had, from all reports, looked good during the early camp sessions.  As you will recall, it was a tumultuous off season for the Broncos and new head coach Josh McDaniels.  He was the subject of a segment of ESPNs Outside the lines.  It is an interesting piece.  Watch it here: http://sports.espn.go.com/videohub/video/video?id=4369078

University of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz stated last week that running back Jewel Hampton is expected to be fine and at 100%

Quarterback Ricky Stanzi returns to lead the Hawkeyes in 2009

Quarterback Ricky Stanzi returns to lead the Hawkeyes in 2009

for the Hawkeyes training camp.  That is good news for Iowa, but still watch for significant contributions from red shirt freshman Jeff Brinson and perhaps even true freshman Brandon Wegher at the position.  During the Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, the Hawkeyes were picked to finish forth in the Big Ten this season.  The Hawkeyes face a brutal away schedule within the conference.  The Hawkeyes face Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State, all on the road.  My thoughts are that the Hawks will be better than the Media experts predict.  On defense,  they have a solid linebacking corps, lead by seniors A. J. Edds and Pat Angerer, solid defensive backs including returning starters Tyler Sash and Amari Spivey, and there is experience up front.  Offensively, the Hawks have a returning starter at quarterback in Ricki Stanzi.  Besides the before mentioned running backs, Stanzi has experienced wide outs led by Darrell Johnson-Koulianos and Trey Stross, and tight end Tony Moeaki.  Place kicker Daniel Murray, who hit the last second, game winning field goal against Penn State last season, also returns.  Look for a 9-3 or 10-2 regular season, and another January bowl for the Hawkeyes this season.

In Baseball, the Cubs remain within 1/2 game of the Cardinals in the NL Central, and the Rockies have pulled within 7 games of the Dodgers in the NL West  and are tied with San Francisco for the wild card lead.  Chicago visits Colorado for a 4 game set beginning Friday.  Look for both the Cubs and Rockies to be in the post season.

The Rockies and Cubs meet again this weekend for 4 games in Denver

The Rockies and Cubs meet again this weekend for 4 games in Denver

New Dawn 04/03/2009

Posted by sportretort in cutler, denver broncos, Sports, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

So long, Jay.  Hello, Kyle Orton. (And the #18 pick in this year’s draft, PLUS the 84th pick PLUS the Bears first round pick in next years draft.)

The Broncos showed their QB the door as requested, trading him (and their 5th round draft pick) to the Chicago Bears

Jay Cutler got his wish and was shown the door in Denver

Jay Cutler got his wish and was shown the door in Denver

 for their QB Kyle Orton and the before mentioned picks.  On the surface, advantage Broncos.  Denver now controls 5 picks (12, 18, 48, 79 and 84) in the first three rounds of the draft later this month.  If they want, they can parlay a trade up to get QB Mark Sanchez from USC.  Broncos coach Josh McDaniels is said to feel that he is the best QB in this years draft.  Or, they could keep their picks and address multiple needs. 

The Bears now have a Pro Bowl quarterback for the first time in nearly a quarter century.  They gave up a lot.  Two number ones and a quarterback that is 21-12 as a starter.   They showed Cutler the love.  But make no mistake, they are not done paying.  They expect Cutler to be in Chicago for 10 years, and agent Bus Cook will make them pay dearly to keep Cutler happy.   Having said that, the Bears are now the favorite to win the NFC North.  They need to find a receiver or two for Cutler to throw to, but they have a  good defense and a legitimate running back in Matt Forte.  They are now a force in the NFC.  If Cutler performs, this is a good trade for Chicago.

The Broncos now have options.  While Orton does not possess the arm strength of Cutler, he has a winning record as a starter.  He was in a run first system in Chicago, but came out of Purdue as that school’s all time passing leader. In Chicago last year, the leading receivers were running backs and tight ends.  In Denver, Orton has actual wide receivers he can pass to.   By all reports, he also has the intangibles.  He was a team leader in Chicago and is a hard worker.  And when he was called by McDaniels after the trade, he actually answered the phone!  With Orton and Chris Simms, the Broncos now have a manageable QB situation for next season should they choose to trade up and draft their next QB of the future.  And Orton has one more thing going for him.  Reports out of Denver are that for the last 2 weeks or so, Cutler not only ignored calls from the Broncos owner and coach, but he also snubbed his teammates as well.  Cutler broke ties with the teammates he left behind, easing the transition to a new QB in the locker room.

Was it a good trade for Denver?  Only time will tell.  The answer to that depends on what the Broncos do with the draft

The future is now for McDaniels and the Broncos

The future is now for McDaniels and the Broncos

choices.  I find it hard to believe that they will trade away the picks to move up to get Sanchez.  That would make this a Cutler for a rookie deal, and that is a big gamble.  If the Broncos get good, solid players for those 3 draft choices, and Orton can run the McDaniels system, it will be a good trade for Denver.  That means that it all hinges on the decision making skills of Josh McDaniels and GM Brian Xanders.  Are they up to the task?  McDaniels, the 30 something rookie head coach, along with the rookie GM, literally have the future of the franchise in their hands. They did not exactly cover themselves with glory in handling the Cutler situation.   Can they pull it together and make good decisions?

The Cutler era is over in Denver.  Chicago has given McDaniels the ability to make this HIS team.  This is the moment in Denver that will shape the next 10 years. Is McDaniels up to the task?    If so, no one will remember Cutler in Denver.  But if this opportunity is squandered and the Broncos fall flat,  McDaniels will be the next person banished from the Mile High City.  Bronco fans hope they can look back on this trade with Chicago the same way Cowboy fans look back at the Herschel Walker trade to Minnesota twenty years ago.  The Cowboys parlayed the draft choices received in that trade into the foundation that won 3 Super Bowls.  No pressure, Josh.