For starters, I chose to put this post here because I wanted to have some discussion with my MHR brethren, so you won’t find it on Broncoplanet. That said, my summer vacation, aka. this offseason, I managed to put a dent in my stockpile of reading material and one of the books I ingested was Loren Landow’s "My Off-Season with the Denver Broncos: Building a Championship Team (While Nobody's Watching)." This book tells the story of Camp Dawkins and what many of the Broncos players were doing during the 2011 NFL Lockout. It is an easy read, much like Stefan Fatsis, "A Few Seconds of Panic," but really not as detailed.
The reason I’m bringing this up is because of the chatter around here regarding Linebacker Joe Mays. Now I’m not concerned so much as to if the guy stays or goes, or what anyone thinks of his salary. I just wanted to interject why he is still with the team and why he was re-signed. I’m still not sure why he received such a big contract, but given John Elway’s recent record as a Front Office guy, I’m feel confident he has learned a few lessons and adjusted his philosophy regarding contracts (see Elvis Dumervil).
Anyway, Landow’s book reveals that while the Broncos were betting that Nate Irving would step up and take the Middle Linebacker position (since that’s why they drafted him), Joe Mays would be the insurance policy. Sounds reasonable right?
Well, what ended up happening was, Nate wasn’t sufficiently recovered from his accident (my belief) and he hadn’t picked up the nuances of playing the MIKE in the Pros. Meanwhile, Joe Mays went to work on his biggest weakness, "closing speed." Loren came up with a plan to improve that facet for Joe. Not only that, he taught every Bronco player who attended Camp Dawkins, a better method to train and work on the kinetic actions they use as football players.
Now I’m not a Trainer or a kinesiologist by any means, so I won’t go into detail. If you are interested in these things, there are diagrams and instructions for quite a few exercises that Landow talks about in the book.
The whole idea came from Broncos Guard Chris Kuper, who had been using Landow to train during the offseason for a few years. Kupe talked Zane Beadles and JD Walton into joining him working out at "the Bubble," a covered practice field near the team’s Dove Valley complex. A few other guys were rehabbing injuries and after Brian Dawkins found out about it, he had a meeting with Loren to get acquainted with the trainer. Brian had the idea to get as many teammates together to work out and be ready when the Lockout was over. Even though no one knew when that would happen. Dawk paid all the expenses for the facility and Landow’s (and his staff) time. Being as he was the Player Rep for the team, it provided a way for the other players to keep tabs on the Lockout discussions.
Getting back to the premise, Landow was able to help Joe Mays, along with the rest of the team, so when the Lockout was lifted and Training Camp began, Mays was able to fend off Irving. He was in such good shape, the Broncos confidently gave him a 3-year, $12 Million contract.
For those of you teetering on whether or not to read the book, there is also some data regarding Tim Tebow (sorry, I said it) that will shed a little more light on things.
Anyway, it all may be a moot point since neither of the John’s have mentioned Joe Mays during this offseason and that could speak louder than words. Then again, Nate Irving may show enough improvements and progress to stake his claim as the starter.
Either one of the books mentioned are worth the money spent, especially the Fatsis book. If you are apprehensive, try the Library.