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Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks - 4/20/11



Broncos fans get scoop on Dumervil, Invesco atmosphere and Elway as QB coach - The Denver Post
Mike from Ft. Collins said he wants entertainment to go along with the team's winning ways and wondered if new head coach John Fox would have a grind-it-out type style, or would it be unpredictable. Xanders began by saying there is an explosive element to Fox's passing game. "There will be a running game, that's part of the heritage of the Denver Broncos," Xanders said. "The Broncos have been No. 1 in the run since 1995."

Elway looks to rebuild Broncos through NFL draft - The Denver Post
Xanders said that, as part of the evaluation process, the team is trying to picture how each prospect would fit in Denver, either in the defense run by Fox or the offense run by Mike McCoy, and how each player will fit for a number of years. "We have to have a plan for success for every guy we draft," Xanders said.

Woody's Mailbag: Dareus is right way for Broncos to go in draft - The Denver Post
I go back and forth on the issue, honestly, even at night lying in bed. And I imagine John Elway is having problems sleeping. If they could move down in the first round and stay in the top 10 — and get a second-round choice, and maybe a fourth or fifth — they'd still get a quality player who could start for them, perhaps Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley (who I'm not high on), North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn or even LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson. DL Cameron Jordan out of Cal might be worthy

Paige: ABCs in Broncos' record - The Denver Post

(D) The Broncos draft one of the following four quarterbacks — Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick or Jake Locker. Elway, on the conference call, described Locker as the QB in the draft most similar to him. They decide to go with the rookie, or Quinn. They win two games, against the Bengals and Lions. The four scenarios average out to a 6-10 record. So, take your pick.

Broncos need a DT in this draft, even if it isn't Dareus - The Denver Post
Down the draft board from Dareus and Fairley, there are other defensive tackles the Broncos recently have visited with to get to the bottom of some character-related issues. That group includes North Carolina's Marvin Austin, Hampton's Kenrick Ellis and Baylor's Phil Taylor.

Broncos taking a good look at defensive tackles in NFL draft - The Denver Post
Call it good fortune, or perhaps the fruits of a dismal 4-12 season, but one of the Broncos' biggest roster needs also happens to one of the positions where this NFL draft is the strongest — at defensive tackle. And sure, the Broncos like Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. And they like Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley. Why not? Everybody else likes them as well.

Broncos' season-ticket holders talk with Elway & Co. in conference call - The Denver Post
For the first time since the franchise kicked off 51 years ago, the Broncos held a question-and-answer conference call with its season-ticket holders. From the 24,000-plus accounts, more than 7,000 people joined in Wednesday to hear what Elway, the Broncos' new executive vice president of football operations, and general manager Brian Xanders had to say about how they would fix a team coming off a 4-12 season.

Broncos' Tebow staying in shape - The Denver Post
"Every where I go, I'm working out," said Tebow, who was in Atlanta on Wednesday to present an award at the Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards. "I'm constantly working out. I'm concentrating on throwing the ball. I've worked out a lot in Denver, and in Florida I'm throwing to receivers I played with in college. I mean, it's constant."

Broncos' defensive change adds players to draft board - The Denver Post
In short, all front seven players know how to play in a 4-3 system. But players such as Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley — and for that matter, Robert Ayers, whom the Broncos tried to convert from defensive end to outside linebacker the previous two seasons — are not good fits in the 3-4.

Goodbye, Groupthink … Hello, Myriad Opinions
That flexibility continues down the draft board, both said. The team’s available pool of potential picks has increased from approximately 100 to 190, Xanders noted. "Maybe this is just a stronger draft, but we have more players," Xanders said, adding that the move to a 4-3 defense alignment expanded the available pool of players. "The 3-4 is really specific in the traits that we were looking for at linebacker and defensive line," Xanders said. "The 4-3 shift allows more players to come onto the draft board."

Draft Strategy: Take the Best Player Available — or Pick for Need?
Best player available? Or drafting to a specific need? It’s a combination of both, executive vice president John Elway told fans during the first of multiple conference calls arranged between Broncos and NFL officials and over 7,000 season-ticket holders. "What I’ve learned is that you pick best player available at a of position of need," Elway said on the call. "A lot of times if a player is taken that’s not at a position of need, that team may feel he was heads above the next player at a position of need," he added. "You have to look hard at that."

Elway, the draft dodger, changes view of selection process | ramsey, elway, cqenglewood - RAMSEY - Colorado Springs Gazette, CO
John Elway is an NFL draft dodger, and that’s why it’s jarring to listen to him talk about, yes, the NFL draft. The Denver Broncos new guru is a draft nerd. He’s given his life over to the selection process, which he hopes will transform his franchise from weak to mighty. He talked for nearly an hour about the draft Wednesday afternoon. You get the feeling he could talk for a couple of days.

Using Strength to His Advantage
At the NFL Scouting Combine, one of the most talked about events is the bench press. Each position group gathers around what amounts to a stage where one player grinds out as many repetitions of 225 pounds as he can while fellow prospects shout encouragement and dozens of coaches and scouts look on. So when the defensive linemen entered the room, it was packed. Everyone wanted to see what the biggest men at the combine could do.

Devising a Plan
"It's been a great process in terms of all three of us having different experiences and perspectives," Xanders said. "John (Elway) is a Hall of Fame player who's been in great locker rooms and knows what the team should look like and where he wants it to go. He offers that experience and leadership. And then Fox has been excellent in terms of his knowledge of football and his defensive background. This is his 22nd year in the league and he came from some very good organizations. This is my 18th year and 15th draft, so I think we all have a bunch of different perspectives.

John Elway: Broncos haven’t heard from anyone wanting to trade up | ProFootballTalk
Teams owning picks near the top of the NFL draft have had a hard time trading down in recent years, as other teams don’t want to move into a position where they’ll have to guarantee tens of millions of dollars to an unproven rookie. This year there might be a rookie wage scale that brings those guarantees down, which would make the top picks in the draft more valuable because they would carry less financial risk. But teams won’t know for sure whether there’s a rookie wage scale until the lockout ends, and that won’t be until after the draft.

John Elway on Cam Newton: 'He's incredibly talented' | National Football Post
"If you look at the way he plays—and not only do we watch point-of-attack tapes on him, but also if you watch game tape of Cam—he’s a guy that has rare competitive instincts in the second half. A lot of those football games they were behind in that second half and he was, the great competitor that he was, he got them back in and won all of those football games. He’s got a lot of unique traits. I think that he’s, obviously being in the shotgun like he has, he hasn’t spent a lot of time under the center, which I think is an adjustment, and it takes a bit of time. But obviously he’s a guy that mechanically and athletically is not going to have an issue when he goes under center. It’s just going to take a little bit of time." news: Broncos executive Elway learning ropes of draft in new role
"I think my feeling on that is it actually helps us with the draft. Because now we can find the best players that are on that draft board ... and then really fill in with free agency," Elway said. "Rather than having free agency and then filling through the draft, because if you're filling through the draft, then you're drafting to need. "I think there's several different opinions about that, but that's kind of my gut is that it doesn't put the pressure for us to draft a need in the draft.


NFL will lose equity of schedule if weeks are lost to labor dispute - Don Banks -
Now we can see how much we might be missing. It's hard to look at the NFL's 2011 schedule through any other prism but the obvious one: It may feel like a long way off, but the first three weeks of the new season is where the real pain of the league's labor stand-off would be felt. The impact would be immediate, losing the Saints at Packers star-studded opener on Thursday night, Sept. 8, as well as the Cowboys at Jets, Steelers at Ravens, Falcons at Bears, Giants at Redskins, Colts at Texans, and Patriots at Dolphins in Week 1.

Source: Michael Huff of Oakland Raiders to test market due to rule - ESPN
Any player whose salary escalated at a higher rate than 30 percent from 2009 to 2010, as Huff's and other players' did, was precluded from signing a contract extension with his team, according to an NFL source. This is not the "30 percent" rule that prevented certain players from signing contract extensions that paid them 30 percent more than their previous deals; this is a separate rule that prevented long-term deals for any player whose salary already escalated more than 30 percent from one year to the next.

Cold, Hard Football Naughty Nurse: ugly images of Vikings' lost season
There were plenty of surprises to be found in the 2010 NFL season, few bigger than the complete collapse of the Vikings. Coach Brad Childress went from getting a four-year contract extension on Nov. 19, 2009 to getting fired on Nov. 22, 2010. That pretty much tells you what you need to know. It was fitting that the season ended with the Metrodome roof sagging with snow and BrettFavre sailing shame-facedly and silently into the football hereafter. The last vision we have of Favre is his limp body lying motionless on the frosty field at the University of Minnesota, in a humiliating 40-14 loss to the Bears. It was a sad end for the greatest of all Iron Men. The collapse of both the stadium and the all-time legend were ugly images that captured Minnesota's 2010 season perfectly.

Contract details hit Oakland again - AFC West Blog - ESPN
San Diego Chargers’ general manager A.J. Smith told the San Diego Union Tribune that he knows this is a big draft for him. "I am very much aware of all the disappointments we have experienced on my watch," Smith said. "I don’t like any of it. I don’t like that we are not Super Bowl champions, but we are bound and determined to one day be champions. I believe strongly in our philosophy. I believe we have the capabilities of winning a Super Bowl. We will continue to get better and grow as a team. I can’t wait to start the season and begin the chase … When you are hired to be a general manager, ownership gives you an opportunity to lead an organization. You formulate a plan for success, you surround yourself with trusting, loyal, competent people and you focus daily on winning the Super Bowl."


Source -- Jags, Titans "very high" on Kaepernick -
Sources tell me each club is "very high" on Kaepernick, suggesting that either one of the two teams could use their first or second round pick on the Nevada quarterback. I'd be stunned to see Kaepernick go to Tennessee at No. 8, but Jacksonville has surprised us before in the first round and either team could do worse than to take a gamble on the athletic, strong-armed passer in the second round. Blogs " Blog Archive Mayock: Draft will be ‘feeding frenzy’ for QBs "
Looking at a quarterback draft class that most feel has plenty of depth but no elite prospect, Mayock believes eight could go in the first three rounds in a "feeding frenzy" for QBs. He rates four QBs as having first-round talent, the "cleanest" being Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert. We were also treated to a Mayock-ism: "There’s not one guy I would pound the table for," he added about the QBs. - Colts eyeing QB; Gabbert worthy of top-five pick?
Q: Is there a chance the Broncos will draft Von Miller? Nawrocki: Yes, the Broncos could have their choice of any defensive player in the draft. But with John Fox shifting from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense and Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers projecting from outside linebacker back to the DE position that they played in college, it's more likely that the Broncos look elsewhere. Miller is most ideally suited to line up as a 3-4 rush linebacker and better fit the odd front previously installed by Mike Nolan in Denver than he does Fox's preferred 4-3.

Day three gems | National Football Post
DT David Carter: UCLA Carter’s best football is still ahead of him. A one-year starter who has played both the nose and three-technique at UCLA. However, when given a chance to get comfortable as a three-technique this year his game really took off. I like his upside and seems like the kind of long-framed kid to take a shot on during day three who could pay dividends down the line.


Courtroom football: what's ahead | National Football Post
The better question is whether the season opens with a full training camp and/or a reasonable period to sign and trade players. And as to the London game between the Bears and Bucs, the NFL may have given us a hint of their internal deadline for reaching a new CBA by saying that the game will be played in Tampa, not London, in the event the labor dispute is not resolved by August 1. That may be a key date. news: Q&A: Legal analyst Feldman breaks down labor situation
Should we expect (U.S. District Judge) Susan Nelson to issue some sort of ruling any minute now since obviously her court-appointed mediator decided 26 days of respite is required right now? "Yes, I think we can expect it maybe (Thursday) or Friday. ... She said exactly two weeks ago it would take her a couple of weeks, mediation is now on hold, there's no reason for her to hold back the ruling any longer, so I'd expect to hear it in the next 24, 48 hours."

Report: More NFL players to file for seat at talks - ESPN
The new group of players, which the Sports Business Daily said could not yet be identified -- is reportedly unhappy that earlier mediation talks ended in Washington last month before the NFLPA filed for decertification. "We've had discussions about representing some additional players who want to have a voice in the matter," said Bryan Clobes of Cafferty Faucher. But Clobes said the number is "nowhere near 70" and that it does not indicate any dissatisfaction with the way things are progressing.