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.
Heya, TJ, I'm the biggest fan you've ever seen down here! I'm almost coming undone with excitement for this upcoming season. I wonder sometimes if you are giving away too much critical information in your mail sack. Couldn't some other team use your sack to their advantage? I'd certainly use your sack if I thought it useful. Have you ever heard of another team getting unintended Broncos data from your sack and using it?
--Jenna J., BraSwell, Georgia
Jenna: Hey, now, my sack is my own. If someone is going to take advantage of my sack, it's most certainly going to be me. I've never really thought of how my sack affects others--specifically, the Broncos. I'm sure, given my stature in the blogging world (out of the basement of my parents), Josh McDaniels has one of his assistants taking a look at my sack.
As to how all my information influences other teams, I would say greatly. And I can prove it. Last year I said the Broncos would draft Matt Stafford, and you know what? The Lions took him at #1. Then in 2008, I said the Broncos would draft Jake Long and the Dolphins took with the top pick. So let me be the first to say, the Broncos are going to draft Sam Bradford this year. You see if some other teams takes what I just wrote and uses it. I'm betting they will.
But on the field? I'm not sure I have too much influence. Once I saw John Madden at a RV-rest stop, and standing in the urinal next to him, he told me that after the whistle starts, the sack matters little. I tend to agree, and not just because a large man was dispensing football wisdom while relieving himself.
Dude, Jason Elam decided to retire a Bronco. Is he a Hall-of-Famer? If Elam was a 80's-Hair Band, who would he be?
--M. Anderson, Copenhagen, Denmark
M: Those are two questions, but I'm feeling pretty spry today. Yes, I think Elam is a Hall-of-Famer. His 63-yard field goal (sans boot) in 1998 and his ranking (5th) in all-time scoring should be enough. But as Pat Bowlen said yesterday, it's almost impossible for a kicker to get into the Hall of Fame. It's as impossible for a kicker to get into the Hall of Fame as it is for a Denver Bronco to get into the Hall of Fame. Elam has both strikes against him, which means that if he gets into the Hall either the Raiders will have won another Super Bowl or hell will have frozen over.
As of today, Jan Stenerud is the only kicker in the Hall.
I also agree with what Adam Vinateri said in 2008:
"I understand that the kicker and punter position is undervalued to other positions," he said, "but for me, any person who is good at their job and accumulates a lot of years and good statistics, those people are in their Halls of Fame in other sports, like basketball and baseball. I look at gentlemen like Gary Anderson and Morten Andersen, who have 20 years on the job and played into their 40s. They performed at a high level for a long period of time, staving off rookies and other guys coming in. You accumulate that many points and it sort of speaks for itself, because if you're not good, they're not going to keep you around. You can see a million reasons why they should be [in] and one or two why they're not, and that's because they're kickers or punters."
While not completely analogous, I see kickers a bit like closers in baseball. They are coming in at the end of a game for a very specific purpose. They are usually going to be the hero or the goat. Their one kick or pitch determines the outcomes of only the most intense and closely contested games. There is no greater pressure.
One could also make a legitimate argument that kickers are even more important than closers given that many kickers are influencing field position during a game through their kickoffs, thus having an even greater impact on the outcome of games. If only more Hall of Fame voters understood the true impact of field position in football, perhaps we'd see more kickers in the Hall. For a primer on this subject, you can always check a piece I wrote on Matt Prater earlier this year called Matt Prater is No Kathy Ireland.
Regarding Elam as a 80's-Hair Band, I'd have to go with the easy choice, Bon Jovi. They were good for a long time and can still kick it, but retiring wouldn't be a bad idea. Although I'm not ready for any Richie Sambora solo albums either.
Alright, TJ, put your money where your mouth is. I want a real prediction. Who are the Broncos drafting at #11? Remember, I'm coming back after the draft and making sure that everyone knows how bad you messed up. There is NO WAY a guy like you can accurately predict who the Broncos are going to take. I suppose you are blogging right now from your parents' basement. Give it up already.
--W. Paige, Denver, Colorado
W: First, I'm going to tell my mom you said that. It just makes me feel better. But guess what? You are on, old man! It's on! I've come to accept that the Broncos aren't going to get my favorite player in the draft, Safety Eric Berry. And I've got to take McDaniels at his words when he recently suggested that Mario Haggan will be moving to ILB and Russ Hochstein to Center, in this little-picked-up story from Frank "I eat the Post for Breakfast" Schwab from the Colorado Springs Gazette:
"The Broncos opened up a couple starting positions when they released center Casey Wiegmann and linebacker Andra Davis. The Broncos could draft or still sign players at those positions, but McDaniels indicated the current plan is that Russ Hochstein is penciled in at center and Mario Haggan will replace Davis, with Ayers getting promoted to a full time role at outside linebacker. Haggan started on the outside last year."
I'm not the first to suggest that we are targeting Mike Iupati even if it's a reach at #11. Ideally, the Giants will trade up from #15 so they can get McClain. This way, the Broncos will ensure they get Iupati at #15. And they'll add another late-round pick for the trouble. And as MHR member aLuffabo has said, Iupati is Samoan. He has great hair. He kicks ass.
So there you have it. Iupati will be a Bronco, although I wish it were Maurkice Pouncey And Head and Shoulders will have a client in Denver. Mark it down. Or just mark it zero!
Dude, I resent your constant Raider jabs. The cop in me wants to find a reason to either arrest you or ticket you for stupidity. You watch. The Raiders are going to O-W-N you this year. JaMarcus Russell already OWNS your defense, Ho Ho. That's right, you're an orange and blue Ho Ho and the Raiders are hungry. Silver and Black, 4-eva!
--Bubba, Humboldt, California
Bubba: If you haven't heard, JaMarcus Russell doesn't care what color of Ho Ho he is eating. He eats them all. Given that he tipped the scales at almost 300 lbs. last week, I'm thinking that he may have swallowed Tom Cable, Randy Hanson, and a couple of stray cats as well. It's sad that Donovan McNabb would rather play anywhere other than Oakland (see: Seymour, Richard), because it would be nice to see the Raiders make the division competitive once again (7 straight years with 11 losses is getting ridiculous). However, something tells me that we still might see McNabb in the silver-and-black. It's too bad really. He probably wanted to end his career with a bang, not a black hole. It's almost criminal that someone can still be traded to Oakland.
Speaking of crime, as a member of law enforcement, I think you'd stand with me and denounce the Raider-on-Raider violence we are seeing out there every Sunday as your offense continues to assault your defense.
Lebowski, Dez Bryant is toxic. Did you hear about him forgetting his cleats at his Pro-Day? And he showed up at Pacman's workout. Can you believe this? If the rumors are true, and he was late for games and for practice, why would we ever, in a million years, pick him in the draft? Let him slide. Make him earn his straight cash, homey. He deserves it. I'm telling you, his shoulders are not broad. Those shoulders that he has on his body, you couldn't put the earth on them. No way, man. No way.
--Randall G. Moss, Boston, Massachusetts
Randall: I don't think the Broncos are drafting Bryant, but let's not get too carried away. It's not like the guy smokes weed in the off-season, makes fun of plane crashes, or quits on his team when they are losing. Someone is going to take Bryant. But I agree, it won't be at pick #11. But it will be at a pick high enough so that he doesn't have to write checks, homey.
TJ, I've been thinking about writing to you for a long time, and even last night I was unsure if your sack was the right place for me. Even as I write these words, I'm regretting this. But the truth is that I'm still in so much pain. So much grief. I wrote all of this the other night in my LiveJournal, but it wasn't enough. Ever since Josh McDaniels took Jay Cutler from my life, there has been a deep void. Nothing can fill it. There is no hope. There is no tomorrow. Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn. They are not love. I find myself sleeping with my Cutler jersey and nothing else. But every night, it feels more and more like cold steel.
When I first came to MHR, I registered under a beautiful screenname, but there was so much hatred and so little understanding here. I simply gave up. I just KNEW they hated Cutler and they hated me, too. I could feel myself being made a scapegoat. I'm tired of being persecuted by everyone at every possible moment. Even now, if I see a kitten walk up to me, I'm very suspicious of its motives. I know it's just waiting to make a fool out of me.
And all I have now is this emptiness and My Chemical Romance, whose songs I have all downloaded illegally. This started after the trade.
--Serendipity, Cherry Creek, Colorado
Serendipity: There is a guy. He works at the Denver Post. Goes by the name of Woody Paige. I think you might find solace in writing to him regarding these important issues.