First week of trainin camp in the books, plenty news surrounding our team. Lotsa injuries (understatement of the day), some moves and numerous possibilities to discuss.
Let's start in the secondary...with Barret gone, that opens up a bubble spot. This helps Nate Jones, who has safety ability, and can now give us depth while being there for the nickel and Special teams. However, this has to help Alphonso too; it seemed to me that him and Jones were competing for a similar role (tho jones might be more versatile and consistent), and with Jones stepping into fill the role Barret was hanging onto, it gives McD the flexibility to keep an extra nickel DB...or it gives another safety a chance at a roster spot (McKarthy?).
I prefer we use Jones to offer depth at both safety & corner, while keeping Phonz and Cox to back up Champ and Goodman. Bruton & McBath behind Dawk & Hill; that's 9 DB. From what I remember from last years MHR write-up on McBath, he played both corner and safety at Texas Tech, if that's the case, more versatility in our secondary. I'm not writing off Carter and Thompson, but they're not inside the bubble right now, and I haven't heard much news on either.
Elvis has left the building...and he took a piece of my heart with him. Realtalk, I was out real late wednesday night...out till thursday afternoon (essentially). I remember wakin up, turnin over and checkin my phone...my buddy (big Jets fan, super cool tho) had sent me a text. It said something like "sorry to hear about Dumervil bro, that sux yo"...I was still spinnin from prior exploits, but I immediately checked the net...Dumervil out 4-6months with Pectoral tear..."are you kiddin me? really?"...the first day was so sour when I saw Moreno and Buckhalter out in the A.M, now this!
What a "walk of shame" that was...anyways, onto LB's.
We heard McD talk about more 4-3 looks, this speaks to Ayers versatility, Reid too (when he's healthy). Kirlew offers similar options, albiet, with much less experience. Haggan allows us someone who is able to move from ILB to OLB, while offering consistency, size, durability & veteran leadership. Woodyard seems to be earning a spot as more than just ILB depth and a ST. I'm not questioning DJ's spot, but Woodyard seems to be making an impression thus far in camp, while earning more 1st team reps. And from what I've read, Greisen and Ayodole have also received more looks...haven't heard much about Baraka, or Alexander (since OTA's). Mays has to be in the running too, his obvious ST's value gives him a leg up. The big questionn still revolves around Moss, and whether he can finally turn the corner and contribute on Sundays at a high level. If he can, we may not be so snakebitten, if he can't, we have options (granted, unproven ones).
Not sure how many LB we expect to keep, I'll leave that to the members on here to speculate and inform.
Maybe Knowshon and Buck's injuries weren't such a bad thing...we've been able to focus on our RB depth, makes some moves (Smith, Arrington & White),and give guys like Ball, Hall & Baker good reps. Better to deal with this now, than later.
To me, pretty simple...Moreno and Buckhalter are no-brainers, Ball seems to have role formering (Smith probably felt the same way tho), Baker and White are probably in competition right now, leaving Hall odd man out. If White is good thru preseason, I see Baker or Ball filling his role until he comes back from suspension. If White doesn't work out, I see Baker and Larsen getting more looks on short yardage (that would be crazy if Larsen can offer that option in addition to ST's and emergency LB). Injuries have definitely kept this positional battle wide open. We shall see.
WR...news from last night's Invesco Field Practice was mixed...Receiver appears to be shaping up as a strength for this team. No way, how can we possibly replace Marshall's production? Mabey with a stouter line, better run and pass blocking should result in some extra yards, a better running game will help open things up for a better passing game...a better passing game will allow us to complete more passing for longer distances (more yards towards the Bmarsh replacement program), on top of all this, our receiving corp is looking deep. Gaffney is having a solid camp, so is Royal...Willis is standing out, a burner and a deep threat...Lloyd has been consistent (will see if it carries into the season), Demariyus has really stepped up in the last 2 days of TC (hope the injury is minor), and Decker seems to be who most of us hoped he be (minus the foot/ankle injury). I know there's a slew of other guys, including Stokely, just don't know how to reason their inclusion...
Not many questions @ TE or QB, or non that I'm asking. I think Orton's gonna have another "Career Year", barring injury of course. He seems to be slingin the ball around, in better shape, and much more confident. Hard to put any negative spin on that (probably why people aren't talkin much about him).
Quinn is a back-up.
Tebow is 3rd-String conventional QB, 2nd-string gimmick QB, 1st-string revenue stream! Still enjoy watching his development, and hope he can lead us to victories down the road; but I'd rather wait and see what Orton can do this year.
The Oline... I'll keep to what I understand. Clady, Harris and Kuper are locks...I'll roll with the same rational that has gotten me through the other positional injuries..."atleast the injuries have given us chance to examine and expose our depth now, instead of later".
With that being said, let Batiste be the back-up LT, with him and Beadles able to swing between both T positions, let Beadles and Olsen sit at LG (Olsen backing up both G positions), Walton at C, and Hochstein at wherever he's needed. And when I say Olsen, pick one...not sure what the differences between the Eric and Seth are (in my eyes)...both were drafted by McX to help solidify the interior of our line. Both haven't garnered much attention yet, both need to if they both wish to make the roster. That being said, if one can offer us competent depth, I'll be happy...does either Seth or Eric Olsen offer us an option at C, or just G? Hochstein may take Fry's spot as C depth, especially if we keep 1 or 2 Olsen boys...I defer to my fellow MHR peoples for answers/educated opinions on this one.
DLine...great to see J-Will eat up space like he's supposed to. By all accounts, are Dline is definitely stouter than last year. We all know the additions, but there's a couple players I haven't heard much about...Baker for obvious reasons (anyone heard anything other than the flu?), and Thomas (is he playing more DE, or DT/NT?). Bannan, Fields, Green and McBean are making their presence felt, I've seen LeKevin mentioned a couple times. Seems like Smith and Thomas are competing for a spot, with Baker essentially waiting in the wings to inherit the NT position from Williams. Garland has a military commitment, so I don't really factor him into this at the moment.
Of all the postions on our team, surprisingly, I have the least questions about our DLine...but here are a couple...Will either Smith or Thomas make the cut? Both or neither? Is Baker on borrowed time, or has he already earned McD's confidence moving forward?
Wanna quickly thank everyone here at MHR for helpin me get through that gap between OTA's and TC. And now, thanks for the constant training camp news, commentary and insight. Hopefully by week 1, we have a Broncos team that has already faced adversity, received meaningful reps/experience throughout the depth-chart (b/c of necessity) and has gelled together with the purpose of winning and persevering.
We shall see.