At this point, I think most of you around here might have seen me around and are at least reasonably familiar with me. You also might have asked yourselves at one point or another, what the heck is a Luffabo?
Allow me to inform you. A Luffabo is a friendly mix between a buffalo, a handsome human being, and a fun-loving chinchilla. That might sound weird to you, but trust me, we're pretty cool. I want to warn you, if you happen to run into one of my ex-girlfriends and ask her what a Luffabo really is, she might tell you it's just a delusional idiot who spends too much time on a website learning and talking about a football team. I would advise you to disregard this person, as she clearly has no idea what she's talking about. If you ask one of my friends, they might tell you that I just like to say the word "Luffabo" in a weird voice, which is infinitely entertaining (to me). They may or may not be correct, those friends of mine. You'll just have to decide for yourself which version to go with..
Without further delay, jump into the land of random Luffabo Rumblings with me....
Samoans Kick Ass
And we don't have any.
Y'all might remember my All-Samoan mock draft from a while back, you can find it here: Drafting Warriors with Flying Hair.
In that mock, I professed my affinity for anything Samoan, and made it clear that I would be very disappointed if we didn't draft at least one of those beasts in this years draft. Obviously we didn't do that. And obviously, I am disappointed.
You see, I have this personal theory that having at least one Samoan player on your football team will net you at least one more win per season than you would have, sans Samoan. According to that theory, when we win 11 games this season, you will be able to reasonably assume that had we drafted a Samoan, we would have won 12 times. It's Science, or maybe math, but just don't question it.
Since we didn't bring in any Samoans, I'll just have to resort to watching New Zealand All-Blacks matches on youtube for my fix of Warriors with Flying Hair. Something like this.
I'll also just have to do another All-Samoan ass-kicking mock draft next offseason, and hope that somewhere along the way we bring in a Samoan free agent. But on a serious note, how the heck are we (seemingly) the only team that doesn't have one of these awesome dudes on our team? Seriously? My favorite players in the league and I can't get one of em'! The football gods kick me in the juevos, once again.
And always remember, Samoans kick ass.
Regarding Branson, and the Corollary I Choose to See
Our friend BTID just put up a nice post about second year "tight end" Marquez Branson. He showed us what an H-back does in football, and why Branson is a nice fit for the position. Good stuff.
I'd like to look at this from another perspective. The team building perspective. It's just another instance of what Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders are doing with this ball club of ours. In 2008, our tight ends consisted of Graham, Scheffler, and some other dudes I can't remember (maybe that Putzier guy? You remember him, the guy who sustained a life-threatening hit every time he stepped on the field). In 2009, we kept Graham (because he rocks), drafted a guy in the same mold as Graham in Richard Quinn (beastly in-line blocker) in the second round of the draft, and let Tony Scheffler prove once and for all that he's a good-for-nuthin' ninny throughout the year. This year? We still have Graham, Quinn will be improved and should have a largely expanded role on the squad, and we have a guy named Branson ready to step into the spotlight after we got rid of Sissy-Boy-Deluxe. We also brought him into the fold in 2009 as an undrafted free agent. He stayed behind the scenes last year, he did nothing but learn.
He learned some stuff, and when he learned that stuff, he learned it again. Then, he learned new stuff, learned other stuff, learned that other stuff again, and then learned stuff. You see how this goes? It's called "player development". What's going on here isn't lip service player development, this is the real deal. This ain't 2006 to 2008 Broncos football baby, this is the new-look Broncos! The front office saw a talented player, a guy with great measurables and a skill-set that they thought could work in the NFL. They picked him up for practically nothing. He came from a small school and shined against fairly weak competition. Does that mean he can't be a stud at the next level? Nope. It just means he might need some time to get there.
They put him behind the depth they already had, and they did that thing to him (learned him good). Now, according to my insider sources, he's ready to emerge from the grunge, he's picking his head up from the playbook, and he's ready to roll. At least I think so... he might need a little more time. :) But we'll see. This isn't to say he's a success and that he's going to be the next Shannon Sharpe, I simply love the way this new leader of ours (Josh McDaniels) goes about his business. He does things the right way. And that makes me a happy man/buffalo/chinchilla.
In case you haven't had a chance to look at Branson on the field, get yourself acquainted with this jumbo-sized ballerina.
I hope you enjoyed the one-handed catches, the big-man speed, and the passion as much as I did. Now get ready to see it in orange and blue.
Meet your new Strongside Inside Linebacker
No, that's not Shrek. That's Mario Haggan. You guys are so insensitive sometimes.
By this point, seeing as how we're the most edumacated football fans on the planet around here, I think we're all aware that there's about a 93.4% chance that our starting SILB this season is going to be Mario Haggan.
When this news first drifted my way, I can't say I was overly ecstatic about it. I was one of the goobers hoping for us to get someone in the draft to fill the role (not necessarily McClain, since he's slow and all). So, after the draft, I started looking at this guy as our new guy next to DJ, our run-thumping, tackle making, pass-deflecting force of nature. Having trouble seeing it?
Let's sit down and have a little chat about this: Haggan started at LOLB (left outside linebacker) for us last year. His main duty when he was on the field was to set the edge on run plays. In other words, his job was to make sure the runner didn't get outside of him, where there would be no one to tackle him. His job was to funnel runners back into the inside linebackers who were free to make the tackle (in theory). Mario Haggan did a damn good job of this for us. After skipping around from a 4-3 defense in Buffalo, to coming to a "Who-knows-what-the-heezy-that-was" defense in Denver in 2008 where he saw very little action (luckily for him), he finally got his chance to show what he's got last season. And he took it.
Mario Haggan is a big dude. He's 6'3" and around 270 pounds, significantly bigger than our run-thumper from last year and the man Haggan is replacing, Andra Davis. Davis checked in at 6'1'' and 250 pounds. This represents a trend that McDaniels has been showing us in our linebacker positions: Bigger. McDaniels wants to be bigger, tougher, and smarter than our opponents along the front 7, and that's exactly what he's doing. I saw some evidence of Haggan having decent pass-coverage skills at the linebacker position for us last year, even though it's certainly not his strong suit. He will be asked to do this more often at his new position, so it is something I will be keeping an eye on. If he can be more effective in pass-coverage on third down than Davis was last year, it will go a long way toward solving our woes in that area. Although, I still believe it is the only true remaining weakness of our defensive roster (3rd down pass coverage from our LB's). That sure feels nice to say, considering the only things on the defensive roster that weren't a weakness in 2008 were Champ and Doom.
Ninja Edit Addition: The other aspect of Haggan's move from OLB to ILB that I love is this: We are putting our best players on the field. I repeat, we are putting our best players on the field. This is something you are able to do when you have a team full of versatile players who can play multiple positions, and it's a beautiful thing. It's yet another example of how our leadership's philosophy and team-building principles will benefit us in the present, and more importantly, in the future. Haggan fits pretty well at OLB on the left side, he did a bang up job for us there last year. But, we drafted a guy who also fits that role pretty well in Robert Ayers. Ayers had his time to learn last year in sharing time with Haggan at OLB, now it's his time to step up there. Now, because we have a guy in Mario Haggan who happens to be a darn good leader and linebacker and who is also one versatile son-of-a-monkey, we can keep them both on the field. It can't be said enough how important it is to be able to field your best players whenever possible, versatility is the key to this, and we have it in spades.
To sum it up, if you haven't guessed already, I feel pretty good about the man stepping into the vital role of LILB for us. Mario Haggan is a smart player, he will know what to do at his new position. He is a solid tackler, he has terrific athleticism for a player of his size, and he is a sure tackler. I expect him to perform at least as well as Davis did against the run from that position last year, and possibly bring some other perks as well.
To close this portion of my random rumblings, I would like to lead you through a visualization of sorts. Just play along...
OK, close your eyes. Wait, don't close your eyes, because then you can't read the rest of this. Keep your eyes open, but turn off TeleTubbies (I can't believe you watch that. I know, the blue one is cute), so that you can fully focus. Imagine you are Darren Sproles (it's OK, you're only a midget in this imaginarium, and it's only for a bit), you take a hand-off from a lanky, goofy douche-nozzle with a stupid look on his face, you make a slight cut to your right and head towards your intended lane of glory, the hole opened up by your center and right guard. Good lord! Your former teammate Jamal Williams has killed your center and is waiting to eat you! You quickly make another cut, and dart towards the outside. Uh-oh, Justin Bannan has shed his blockers, closing your lane just inside of your right tackle, what now? You glance to the outside, where your blocking tight end has been engulfed by Robert Ayers, he's got the outside angle, there is no way you could beat him to the outside. Even if you could, the Champ is there to cut you down to size, you know this deep in your brain, without thinking. While these thoughts of impending horror are racing through your brain,
Shrek Mario Haggan darts through the only hole available, untouched by your comrades, and spears you square in the chest. Stars, visions of sugar plums, wishes of playing for another team, twinkies, daffodils, other munchkins, all these things dance through your head. The play is over, and so is your game.
I may have gotten slightly carried away just then, but my point stands. People are going to have a hell of a time trying to run to their right side against this defense of ours. Teams run to the strong side of their formation the majority of the time (the right side), which is good news for the way this defense is shaping up.
We have a 350 pound nose tackle in the middle, 310 pound Justin Bannan right next to him at LDE, 275 pound Robert Ayers outside of him, and 270 pound Mario Haggan knifing through all of them to make the tackle if they don't. If you're keeping score at home, that's 1,205 pounds of meat in 4 persons on the left side of our defense. Oh, and they're backed by one of the best tackling cornerbacks in the game on that side in Champ Bailey, and flanked in the end of it by Brian Friggin' Dawkins. Good luck with that.
I would also like to thank Emmett Smith for taking the time to share e-mails with me recently about Mario Haggan. He and I had a few chats about this over a week or so period, so if anything I said about Haggan above sounds remotely intelligent to you, it probably came to me through Doc.
The Forgotten Scrambler
He hasn't really been forgotten, but it sure feels that way sometimes. I want to remind you all of something. We have an elite talent at running back. His name is Knowshon Moreno. He is coming into his second year in this league, he's taken his rookie lumps, he will improve. He is a hard-nosed, versatile, intelligent, humble, spark plug of a kid who's too gosh-darned determined to do anything but dominate in this league.
All I have to say is, GET READY FOR THE FIREWORKS!
Another episode of "All My Quarterbacks" and "As the Quarterback Turns" and "The Bold and the Quarterback"
There is a lot of drama out there about the quarterback situation in Denver. It has damn near turned into a soap opera. My response to anyone who might be having such thoughts would be this: What the hell is wrong with you?
Here's the situation. We have 4 talented quarterbacks learning how to play behind one of the best quarterback coaches in the game. THIS IS NOT A BAD THING.
Last year, we had Kyle Orton, Chris Simms, and Tom Brandstater (rookie) as our QB's. That means, and we all saw this first hand, that when our only viable QB got injured, we were in trouble. As bad as our season ended last year, how much worse would it have looked it Kyle wasn't able to recover and play after the Redskins game? Chris Simms for 6+ games? Shudder, faint, thud.
This year? We have a solid QB entering his second year in the system, he will surely be improved. If he gets injured this year, there are three guys I feel much better about stepping into the most important position on the field than I did when Chris Simms stepped in last year. And yes, that includes a second year Tom Brandstater, regardless of his fate.
On top of all this, if either Quinn or Tebow beats out Neckbeard this year and earns the starting spot? Terrific! They earned it, McD believes they can do a better job, and they're going to play there. Terrific! If Kyle lights it up this year, stays as our starter throughout the year... Terrific! If he gets hurt, not quite terrific, but we have two studs sitting behind him, TERRIFIC!
Are we getting the theme here? Our QB situation is TERRIFIC! Short of bringing in a reincarnated Johnny Unitas to add depth to the position, I couldn't be any happier with the position group. I'm going to sit back, continue drinking my Sailor Jerry and Coke, and just see what unfolds with this fearsome foursome.
Allright fellow football junkies, I'm signing off. Depending on the response to this post, I'm thinking about making "Luff Rumblings" a bit of a series. I want to check in from time to time and hopefully be able to entertain a little bit, and possibly drop a small shred of football knowledge on some unsuspecting victims (these are not Luffabo droppings, have no fear). What say you, MHR?