Denver Broncos Vice President of Football Operations John Elway had a lengthy appearance Monday afternoon on 850 KOA's The Dave Logan Show. Elway updated Broncos fans on where the team stood with free agency, the draft, his feelings on Dwight Freeney, John Abraham and Wes Welker, amongst many other subjects.
Despite not making a move since the failure of re-signing defensive end Elvis Dumervil, Elway says that the team is still looking around for free agents before delving into the draft, "We'll start our draft meetings on Wednesday and [begin] getting ready for the draft. It's an exciting time of year, especially on the personnel side. We'll start digging in on Wednesday and then hopefully come the end of the month I'm sure we'll find some good football players."
Of course there is can be no discussion about free agency without broaching the hot button issue of what is going on regarding Dwight Freeney and John Abraham, "We're still looking into that. We haven't made any decisions on what we're going to do."
"We also feel very comfortable with Robert Ayers," Elway continued, "He's going to be at the right [defensive] end -- as of right now he's our starter at right end,."
Perhaps most evoking is the fact that Elway chose to go with, 'As of right now,' as opposed to not following his sentence up with that. I say that, because Elway pointed out in previous interviews matter of factly that either Nate Irving and Steven Johnson would start at middle linebacker and that Rahim Moore would continue to be Denver's starter at safety.
That does not seem to be the case here with Ayers and there is no nod to Derek Wolfe, which probably means that he is set as starter opposite whomever ends up starting on the right side of the defensive line.
Elway didn't just keep that conversation on the defensive side though. He offered his thoughts on how a defense fairs matching up against all of the Broncos' weapons on offense, "When you've got a guy and they decide they'll play two-man and try to man up [on Wes] Welker -- no one can really cover him one-on-one because of the quickness that he has. Then if they start doubling him we've got great options outside with [Demaryius Thomas] and [Eric] Decker and also with the tight ends, [Joel] Dreessen and [Jacob] Tamme."
Bombs away Denver, sounds like the team feels like their offensive power has just gone nuclear.
Heading into the subject of the draft, the Vice President of Football Operations reiterated his mantra, "You don't draft All-Pros, you've got to coach them and you've got to get them in the right situations."
He continued, adding that it is more important to draft guys that fit into the Broncos' system, before again pointing out that a team must depend on good coaching.
Now, despite draftniks pointing out the low hanging fruit that is the Denver defensive line, Elway declines to say that there is great need anywhere on the depth chart, "The good thing is where we are right now we feel like we're a pretty solid football team."
Elway went on, before reiterating that abundance of riches problem that most dynasties have in the beginning of a run -- being able to select the best player available, "We're going to use that method this year in the draft as we have the past two, and that's to get the best available."
For fans who are looking a bit more into the crystal ball and trying to figure where need may be, if in fact the Broncos had depth chart need... Don't, because, the team doesn't have a glaring depth chart need, at least according to one man in their front office...
Perhaps one of the more subtle intricacies to point out from the interview is the fact that Elway ran through a perceived position of need (by many fans) and neglected to mention a player that has been on Denver's roster for awhile, "We'll have a good competition [at middle linebacker] with Nate [Irving] and [Steven] Johnson, as well as [Stewart] Bradley."
Without mentioning Joe Mays, Elway stated that, "We feel good about [what we have at middle linebacker] and the fact that we're going to come out with a darn good football player, whoever wins that job."
Elway continued on to talk about one of the newest Broncos signings Louis Vasquez. While doing that, he ended up solving a conversation that we had today within the walls here at Mile High Report,"When you look at where we are right now with [Chris] Kuper, [J.D.] Walton, both those guys are hurt and won't be ready until training camp, as well as [Ryan] Clady won't be ready until training camp. Then [Orlando] Franklin had some offseason surgery. When we opened free agency, we had four of our five linemen that were hurt at the time. So we just really felt it was important for us to get some healthy bodies inside there and see where everything else falls."
There is a chilling thought, if the season started today, Denver could field a total of two healthy starting offensive linemen, Vasquez and Zane Beadles.
Not to end this on a sad note to some, but Elway wrapped up his interview by basically bidding adieu to Brandon Stokley, "Brandon came in for the year when he was under contract and really battled back with the injuries that he'd had two or three years prior to that. He really hadn't been able to play a whole lot or get on the field. But he came in and was a tremendous help for us. Great guy. Great leader. It's always hard to have a quality guy like that leave you."
A couple of discussion points for the fine commentators here at MHR:
- Is Joe Mays just gone and why haven't the Broncos freed up the $4.166 million ($833,334 in dead money) that cutting him would provide?
- It looks as if, for now anyway, the $2.745 million in dead money that Denver would be taxed in dead money for cutting Chris Kuper from the roster is just too much and the team will go ahead with three starting guards into the season.
- John Elway did mention that the Broncos are not yet done in free agency, but by Wednesday will turn focus to the draft. Do you think either Dwight Freeney or John Abraham are still in the team's plans?