The term "Shadowboxing" is used in combat training, especially boxing, as way to train your muscles to move and react in a certain way. Typically this exercise is done alone, hence the term "Shadow", which implies boxing with your own shadow. The term was introduced to me in the GZA's album Liquid Swordz. By doing this, the thinking is we can really see what options can immediately improve the Broncos. With future consideration factoring in as well. MHR member Donbok1 and Steve O' are putting on their GM hats to "shadowbox", Broncos style.
So without further ado, I present to you...Donbok1...
The first, and most obvious need is the personnel change needed on the defensive side of the ball. Defensively, the Broncos were horrible last year, and Nolan alone won't fix the problem. An infusion of talent on this side of the ball is overdue. We need a NT first and foremost as a centerpiece for the 3-4 style defense. We also need help at the Safety position and to get younger at Cornerback.
Our offensive situation isn't nearly as bleak. Last year the offense, although predictable at the end of the season, was very potent until the injuries were too much to overcome. We have a great young nucleus in place, and could use just a few additions to add depth in key areas. Our stellar OL is one injury away from falling apart. As the injury bug ran rampant through out the team last year, the OL managed to stay healthy, and played as well as any line ever has for the Broncos. It would've been hard to ask much more from them. This won't last forever, and depth must be added to this group before we start the new season. I think Polumbus and K-Lich show real promise, and I'm also glad to see Eslinger back on the team, but one more interior lineman would make me sleep a little easier at night. I love what Scheffler brings to this offense, I just wish he could bring it every week. I would be disappointed to see another offseason go by without at least trying to add another TE to come in when he goes down again this year. Peyton Hillis and Spencer Larsen have better things to do than block, and the wacky idea of keeping either one at the FB position should be scuttled.
The special teams squad will have a new coach, and I can't see that being a bad thing. Another wise investment in this area would be either someone to fix Praters mental glitch, or a new kicker. I don't care which, just so the little guy that trots out onto the field a handful of times every game kicks the ball through the uprights, and into the end zone on kickoffs.
Let's start with free agency. There are some big name players out there this year, and they will be paid a lot of money. Just not by the Denver Broncos. We are handcuffed in FA in two ways. The current contracts for our two starting corner backs, and the upcoming contracts that our young offensive stars will require. To sign Peppers or Haynesworth would surely cost us the ability to resign the guys we currently have on offense. I'm also fairly sure that Haynesworth has no interest in going to a 3-4 and eating double teams all year, and giving up his stats. My major FA signing would be Chris Canty at RE, and one or two affordable players at the NT position. Shaun Cody and Colin Cole are the two I'd prefer. Both have size and talent, and may be a better fit in a 3-4. I'd also draft this position, and keep which ever FA NT performs the best in training camp. The addition of Canty provides a mentor for Marcus Thomas at the RE position, and the two of them should be a great rotation. This leaves Carlton Powell, Tim Crowder, Nic Clemons, Josh Shaw and a couple new additions to battle for the LE spot.
1)With Raji and Maualuga both off the board, we jump on the trade offered by Minnesota. They move into the #12 spot to pick Mark Sanchez, and we get their first, and fourth rounds this year, and their second round pick next year. With the #22 pick we hope for either Brian Cushing or Larry English. DJ moves back to the inside, and Cushing becomes a Bronco. LOLB USC
2)Ron Brace is on the board, and will not make it to our pick in the third round. I like him as a third, but can't spend a second on him. Clay Matthews is also still there, but the log jam at ROLB with Woodyard, Doom, and Moss makes me pass on him. The pick isn't difficult. Louis Delmas, welcome to Denver. FS Western Michigan
3)So much talent still here, and so many holes on this defense. I still haven't landed the NT of the future either, and also need to keep my promise of backing up Wiggy at center. Pressure is building. Jon Luigis is reunited with Hillis, and we now have two Rimington Award centers on the team. C Arkansas
4)This is a no brainer. Our big boy is still here. Terrance Taylor. DT/NT Michigan
4b)Christmas comes early this year when we find Shawn Nelson still on the board. He's fast with great hands, and a willing blocker. TE S.Mississippi
Rounding out the draft I select a LB, SS, WR, DL, FB.
I feel this draft added a couple of difference makers, a lot of depth, and maybe a few nice surprises. Coupled with an additional second rounder next year, this draft was successful in adding hope, if nothing else.
Woodyard DJ Larsen Cushing
Canty Cody Powell
Key reserves for the defense are E. Dumervil, J. Moss and M. Thomas.
Royal Clady Hamilton Wiggy Kuper Harris Garaham Marshall
The defense was the focus of change for my Broncos. The offense will run with last year's personnel except for Hillis starting at RB, and Fiammetta at FB. The key reserves added to the offense were Luigis at C, Nelson at TE, and Stroughter at WR/ kick/punt returner.
Steve O' you're up -
The 2008 Denver Broncos led their division for 16 consecutive weeks until finally the injury problem at Running Back put an enormous strain on a defense that wasn't very talented, kind of young and a little banged up. My first decision is to change the philosophy in Denver. I would like to get back to a ball control rushing attack, using Cutler and his weapons when appropriate. My goal is cut down on turnovers and keep my rebuilding defense off the field. The first weapon I want on my roster is Knowshon Moreno. He solidifies and completes my young and dangerous offense. I now have every young weapon that a team could have. Hillis and Moreno will split carries maximizing each of their potential, helping each other avoid excess wear and tear that occurs during the haul of the season. My overall plan is to have the running game become the bridge from a bad defense to a good one. This approach will greatly help Cutler control the game, manage the ball and help the rebuilding defense stay off the field. In my opinion this gives us the best chance to win while we rebuild. The RB position, according to Ourlads article on rookie impact, shows the position has the most impact to their team compared to rookies at other positions. Immediate impact to improve the Broncos probably means playoffs for a team that lead their division for 16 straight weeks. The chance to pick Moreno is too good to pass up, especially if other defensive players that are worthy of the 12th pick are already off the board. Apparently I am not alone. According to Fantasyfootballjungle.com, out of 116 random NFL Mock drafts Moreno is selected by the Broncos in 39 of them or 23.2 percent of the time.
The next thought process for me is building an attack defense. An important factor is the NT position. Carlton Powell to me is very intriguing. NFL.com's scouting report of Powell said he is more suited as an "under tackle" and I'm not quite sure he is ready to start at NT. Since I don't know yet, I am going to have to assume he can't and plan for centerpiece. Are there good NT's in Free Agency, maybe, but nothing that blows my hair back. I plan on taking the best NT on the board with my second round pick, targeting Peria Jerry, Sen'Derrick Marks, Evander Hood, Ron Brace or Fili Moala. In my opinion Moala is a good fit as a pure NT and he should be there in the 2nd Round. For the DE's, I target Peppers first in Free Agency. I need the most help on the defensive line and I am going to address it. Peppers will be costly but being roughly 35 million dollars under the cap, I can structure a deal that works. M. Thomas and his athletic ability will man the other DE spot in the 3-4. At LB, I really need to think long and hard about Boss Bailey. I need to factor in cost vs production and I will am leaning towards cutting him. I am not going to act in haste however, I will wait to see him in OTA's and Minicamps then on to Training Camp. Boss needs to step up though. A Free Agent I am targeting is Jermaine Phillips the UFA from Tampa Bay. He is a major upgrade over M. McCree and will instantly upgrade that unit. WalterFootball.com has Phillips the top rated Free Agent Safety. Initially I wanted Dawan Landry but time in the war room showed me he has two issues: 1. He is coming off a Spinal Cord Concussion 2.He is a Resticted Free Agent, so I'll pass. For the rest of the new guys in the secondary, I will pick FS Rashad Johnson from Miss. St in round 3 and Jairus Byrd S/CB from Oregon in Round 4.
So let's recap the key 2009 Offseason additions.
Running Back - Knowshon Moreno. Paired with Hillis gives the Broncos all the dynamics they need to control leads and eat up clock. Ball control is the first step to helping the defense.
Defensive Line - new additions 3 - J. Peppers (FA Carolina), F. Moala (2nd Round USC), Jonathan Babineaux ( DT FA Atlanta...for Depth). I am still high on young M. Thomas and N. Clemons. Josh Shaw also shows potential. (If I can't land Peppers I will try to sign Chris Canty, FA Dallas)
LB's - No new additions. I like Larson and WW enough to consider them starters at this point. They will be much improved going into year two. I would move DJ to ILB and in Nolan I trust. Keeping an eye on Channing Crowder and Bart Scott in Free Agency. I will bring them in for a visit at the very least.
Safety - Two new additions in J. Phillips (FA Tampa Bay) and R. Johnson (3rd Round Missippi St.)...both project as starters and both are versatile in the secondary with Byrd and Barrett for depth.
Cornerback - Jairus Byrd (4th Round Oregon). He is very versatile, can play Corner or Safety and will be a factor as a Punt Returner...(if I can save Eddie Royal from taking extra hits, I will) Bly, Bailey, J. Williams and J. Bell
Final Roster Starting Roster
E. Royal R. Clady, B. Hamiltion, C. Weigman, C. Kuper, D. Graham B. Marshall
Key Reserves - B. Stokley, T. Sheffler, A. Hall
R. Johnson J. Phillips
D. Bly C. Bailey
W. Woodyard DJ Williams S. Larson J. Winborn
M. Thomas F. Moala J. Peppers
Key Reserves - E. Dumervil, J. Moss (Pass Rush Specialists), B. Bailey (Nickel coverage LB), N. Clemons, E. Ekuban, C. Powell, J. Babineaux (Line rotation) J. Bell, J. Byrd (Nickel and Dime Backs)
Long Snapper - M. Leach, Kicker - M. Prater, Punt Returner - J. Byrd, Kick Returner - Andre Hall
As we can see, there are many roster options for the 2009 Denver Broncos. Please share with us what players you would like to see donning the Orange and Blue next year. The more ideas we can look at, the better we can see what fits.