Mile High Report blogger TJ "The Dude" Johnson posts The Dude's Mail Sack on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions about the state of the Denver Broncos. Got a burning question? Drop it into the The Dude's "Sack." or visit the homepage of Mile High Report.
Hey, TJ, just give me the stats! I've noticed that with the signings of Jamal Williams, Jarvis Green, and Justin Bannan, the Broncos are getting a little long in the tooth on the defensive line. Are these guys really the answer? I mean they are really really old.
---Mike, Norman, Oklahoma
Mike: Quit whining for Gerald McCoy already! Bannan (age 30) stands the greatest chance, but you're right. In terms of the NFL, this group is more seasoned than an Al Davis jumpsuit. Josh McDaniels knows very well that in the games the Broncos lost last year, it was primarily the run defense that broke down. Green is more situational, but both Bannan and Williams, if healthy, won't allow the kind of yards on the ground that you saw this year. Here's a stat for you. The Broncos were worst in the league in allowing 6.70 yard per carry off of left tackle. You can bet Bannan, to whom the Broncos gave the biggest contract, will end up seeing some time there.
In case you were wondering, defensive tackles generally begin declining after age 31 and defensive ends around the age of 30 (Bill Romanowski and Chuck Norris never decline), so the Broncos are taking some risk with these players. But make no mistake, the Broncos just got better with these signings. Starting Kenny Peterson (released yesterday) was not an option going into 2010.
By the way, last year, after the Broncos signed so what seemed like 1,000 running backs in free agency. The prevailing wisdom was that they would go defense in the draft. Then they went out and drafted Knowshon Moreno, This shocked many people, including many of us here at MHR. This year, they've signed several defensive linemen, and are expected to draft an offensive player like Dez Bryant or Mike Iupati. Could we be looking at a defensive lineman like Dan Williams?
TJ, I'm a 26-year old aerobics instructor and I think Kyle Orton's beard is extremely sexy. What do you think the chance is that the Broncos sign him to a long term contract? I'd like to keep this eye candy in Denver for a long time.
---Charlie, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Charlie: I like your style. While most aerobics instructors are eyeing the likes of Tom Brady and Matty Ryan or recently-on-the-trading block Brady Quinn, you clearly don't follow the crowd. Facial hair aside, the Broncos recently tendered Orton with a first-round-draft pick, which was their way of saying they'd like Kyle to stick around for another year. If someone wants to get Orton from the Broncos, they're going to have to put together what would amount to a long term commitment to Orton, which I don't believe will happen.
However, it's unlikely they'll lock him up long term, for two reasons. First, and foremost, it doesn't make good business sense until we see how the lockout evolves. Second, and more important to the Broncos, they want to see how Orton progresses in his 2nd year under the McDaniels system. Brady himself said it takes two or even three years to begin to grasp this offensive system. Matt Cassel, let's face facts, had several years of studying the system before he got his break. So, we should probably give your eye candy another season to see how far he can come.
If McDaniels senses that Orton is regressing in the coming year, you can bet he won't waste time putting in his replacement, which will either be Tom Brandstater or a QB the Broncos will draft (or sign) this year between rounds 3-6. Conversely, if McDaniels believes Orton is the guy for this system and the Broncos win, let's say, 11 games, I think you will see them lock him up. Sweet, indeed.
I'm not sure how many Super-Bowl-Winning QBs have had facial hair, but who knows, maybe I'll run this down someday.
Dude! Love Mile High Report! Do you think we'll draft Tim Tebow? I am a rabid Gators fan, and the kid could run the Wild Horses like nobody's business while he develops under Kyle Orton for a year or two. Let's saddle him up already. Who's gonna ride our wild horses?
--Bubba, Gainsville, Florida
Bubba: rabid is a relative term, but knowing football in that neck of the woods, I'll take you mean it literally. The only thing more talked about in the last month than Tim Tebow's religion is his place in the draft. With such a varying opinion on the guy, who really knows. It's rumored that Denver is looking at the kid. And we know that McDaniels doesn't mind a little quarterback challenge. With more pressing needs at linebacker, wide receiver (you know why), and offensive line, it's hard to think McDaniels would draft him with the 1st or 2nd pick. However, if Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler are traded and additional 2nd-round draft picks come Denver's way, it could get really interesting. By the way, rabid gators and wild horses are a deadly combination.
TJ, why do you constantly mock the Raiders? Every time you write anything at Mile High Report, you attack Davis and the Raiders for no reason. Al Davis is a treasure.
--Raider Cindy, Black Hole, California
Cindy: Let me guess. You must be one of those Raiders fans that say they go to every home game but really just listen on the radio during the blackouts. Have you seen the Raiders lately? Why, you ask. Why not? Until Raiders fans lose their fetishes for leather, face paint, and bobble-head skulls, it will be hard to stop. Raiders fans make Alice Cooper look like Buddy Holly. And until the team stops ranking its draft board according to 40-yard dash times, it's just too easy. If you haven't heard, Taylor Mays runs pretty fast. Faster than Darren McFadden or Darrius Heyward-Bey? Al will draft Mays just to find out.
The treasure is the inventor of the franchise tag. Otherwise, no one would stay in Oakland.
TJ, what's the most overlooked stat in football? For me, it's the number of times Peyton Manning complains to the referees per quarter.
--Thor, Bear River, Wyoming
Thor: First, I''m betting you're the kind of guy that speaks softly but carries a big...hammer. That's why you are a Broncos fan. Peyton Manning does indeed put up a high Yards After Complaint (YAC) statistic. Regarding your question, the most overlooked stat is field position. Turnovers are huge, but they get a lot of press. Field position is rarely mentioned, and you never see it in the box score. That's why I keep track of average starting field position throughout the year. It correlates to winning. There's a reason you don't kick to Josh "they call me Mr." Cribbs.
Lebowski, if you were locked in a closed door, coaches-only meeting with Tom Cable, what would you say to him?
--Sarah, Aurora, Colorado
Sarah: That's easy. I'd say, "I want my lawyer. Now."