MHR Mailbag: 200th TD Edition

This post marks Bronco Mike's 200th post here on MHR. John Elway threw his 200th TD pass on September 10th, 1995 to Anthony Miller against the Dallas Cowboys @Texas Stadium. Peyton Manning got his 200th on Sunday, November 21st, 2004 against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Reggie Wayne was the recipient of that pass. Manning would go on to shatter a number of records that season en route to 49 TD passes and the league's MVP award.

Why do NFL teams sign a long snapper to the 53 man roster? Is it too much to expect a backup lineman to take that roll so that the team could have an extra roster spot?

Good question. Long snapper is one of those positions that is highly specialized and highly important. The player may only play 10-15 snaps per game but their role is directly responsible for valuable field position and points. That said, I don't see why the game wouldn't gravitate toward what you suggest. Especially with rule changes now where opposing defenses are barred from lining up on the snapper or rushing through the snapper, this guy simply put does not get touched.

The way I see the lineup now, the Broncos will keep the following: 3 QB, 4 RB, 5 WR, 4 TE, 8 OL, 8 DL, 7 LB, 10 DB, 4 specialists. That's 53 players. If the Broncos had someone from their reserves that could also longsnap that frees up another spot as you say. I suppose one argument against what you suggest would be that the team wouldn't want a backup player that most likely plays special teams on kickoffs to be injured and therefore out of commission for long snapping duties. That is still stretching it and I'm on board with your idea;)

What unsung hero will make the pro bowl in 2013?

I don't know if he's unsung anymore, but I'm thinking Chris Harris finally gets rewarded for his excellent play next season. He seems to be getting the recognition he deserves so he no longer is just a household name known only by Broncos fans.

Another guy I would keep an eye on is Wesley Woodyard. He had a breakout year last season starting in place of DJ Williams. His impact and play should have been more widely regarded by the talking heads last year.

What would be your ideal Super Bowl Halftime show?

Ian Henson:

New York has such a rich group of bands and since the game is in "New York" this season, but technically in New Jersey, I fully expect Bruce Springstein and Bon Jovi, but being that it is "New York" the NFL has a really interesting opportunity to do what they did with having Beyonce sing last year. New York is the birthplace of hip-hop (RUN DMC, Wu-tang Clan, Jay-Z, KRS-One, LL Cool J), but also gave birth to a lot of current alternative huge acts like MGMT, The National, TV on the Radio, Vampire Weekend, Matt & Kim, Yeasayer, Dirty Projectors and Grizzly Bear. It also has the earliest documented punk rock scene, so we've got The Velvet Underground, New York Dolls, Sonic Youth, et cetera.

Imagine Matt & Kim opening to Jay-Z leading to Velvet Underground or the other way around. Not a popular suggestion amongst a vocal majority of NFL fans, but it would be one heck of a show and the TV audience would eat it up. Hopefully there is someone on the NFL's end reading this, I know that they are tired of my generation switching to The Puppy Bowl while The Who, Madonna, Prince or Kiss perform-- I work for free.

Big Pete:

Metallica baby!!! Forgive me if I vomit a little in my mouth each time that the superbowl rolls out some lame act. I want a rock band and I want a rock band that puts on one of the best live shows ever. If you don't think you'd get goosebumps the second you hear the opening riff of Master of Puppets, then you have no business watching football. Go join a knitting group instead!

Topher Doll:

Anything that's not this pop crap we've seen recently, I mean Madonna and Beyonce? Come on. But then again the half time show isn't about appeal to football fans, it's about keeping their uninterested spouses happy.

Christopher Hart:

Awesome question. As a musician, I am really stoked that this got in the mailbag. I am a big fan of post-rock so an instrumental group jam session with bands like Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky and Tortoise would be absolutely amazing. If you guys haven't given them a listen, check them out on YouTube. I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Bronco Mike:

I'm going to think a bit outside the box and pine for a collaborative halftime show. The NFL could make it interactive and propose 4-5 different categories/eras of music for fans to vote on. It could even be genre based. Anyway, have fans vote their pick and then from there choose 3 different acts to perform from that style/genre. If you wanted you could also get current artists to cover some oldschool songs. Anyway, with this format it would be more likely that the NFL halftime show would actually be good for a change.

Word is that Von Miller has bulked up to 260 lbs. This seems awfully big for Sam backer. Do you think this is to move to RDE full time, in nickel situations, or not at all? Since Lynch and I didn't get our MLB in the draft, any chance Von switches to MLB in base downs with Phillips as the SAM and Woody as the Will?

Ian Henson:

Given what Elway has said so far this year, it seems like the plan is to use Von Miller at Sam, Shaun Phillips could be used at right defensive end replacing Robert Ayers and the team keeping some form of Derek Wolfe/Terrance Knighton/Sly Williams/Phillips/Ayers up front. That way you've got the Miller pack-a-punch overwhelming the blind side. Using Von as a Mike in a base package would certainly scare the hell out of someone there in the middle of the offensive line, so it's hard to say if they don't at least come out in that formation at some point and switch up following the audible.

Big Pete:

No, Von Miller is staying right where he is as a SAM linebacker. Miller said that he wanted to get bigger and stronger to be more punishing and be able to take on linemen. He was also very adamant in saying that he would not add a single pound to his frame if it meant that he would be less agile and fast. He believes that he will lose absolutely no speed or agility at 260, so why not play at 260? It makes sense. If he is just as fast and agile, then why not be stronger and harder to push around? It's a win/win for Miller and the Broncos.

The addition of Phillips will be to help replace Doom. Phillips can help overload the line on Miller's side, or he can help overload it on Ayer's side so that Miller sees more 1 on 1's. Either way, Phillips will not cut into any playing time for Miller, especially seeing that Miller moves all over the defense anyways. There will be plenty of different looks to throw at opposing offenses without it impacting Miller's actual position on the team.

Topher Doll:

Von is a fantastic linebacker who is a premier pass rusher and run stopper and a decent coverage linebacker. He can do it all but if I'm Del Rio I want to put him in a position where he can be most disruptive and that is rushing the QB or playing the run every single down. I know he's solid in coverage but teams aren't planning against Von in coverage, they plan around him rushing the passer. If I had my way I'd have him rush the QB on every down, pure and simple. Now if the defensive leader needs him to drop into coverage, he can, but that won't be his job. Now does this mean a full time defensive end job, well he kind of had that job anyways, the breakdown of how he played snaps was more in line last season with a DE anyways. So I don't see any real change here, he will always lineup outside and I don't think we should make any issue out of a little weight gain or whether he puts his hand down or not, it doesn't matter, what matters is what he does after the snap not where he lines up.

As for MLB, that's crazy, he's incredibly versatile but that's not his skill set or training. If he and Phillips are both on the field it likely won't change anything, heck they could line up on the same side of the field, but they likely will be both rushing the QB. He's a three down linebacker, he doesn't need to come out in the nickel, I mean why, even in a three line formation like the 3-3-5 he can still rush the passer effectively.

Christopher Hart:

Von Miller is going to be staying at SAM linebacker. He will not be making the full-time switch to end and likely never will. The Broncos play a majority of their snaps on defense in the nickel package. Schematically, when this happens Von moves down towards the line and Wolfe gets kicked inside. He rarely is, if ever, one of the two half-field linebackers on the field in those situations. The situation described above is when he gets to pin his ears back and go after the quarterback. Furthermore, there is absolutely no chance that he switches to MIKE on base downs. His biggest strengths are his explosiveness off the edge and ability to get to the quarterback which would be wasted on the interior.

Thanks to all the staffers that took time to answer questions this week! Thanks to all the folks that sent me questions--remember, email or tweet your questions to Bronco Mike!

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