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Horse Whisperings - Broncos Draftermath and Running Forward


With the Draft over, the next two months will be rather quiet. The Denver Broncos return to work this morning to continue their Organized Team Activities (OTAs) while we speculate which prospects will improve our team, who to keep an eye on in Training Camp and who is likely to be the surprise player this year.

The tentative dates for the Broncos' offseason schedule at the team's Dove Valley headquarters gprs something like this:

  • Through May 10: Voluntary conditioning and meetings, Monday through Friday from approximately 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. each day.

  • May 11-13: Rookie minicamp. This is for all drafted and undrafted rookies, plus members of the practice squad. This will be the Orientation for the new kids, how to get around the Paul D. Bowlen Complex at Dove Valley. Where to eat and where their meetings are held. A visit to the equipment manager and receiving their Playbooks.

  • May 21-23: New Quarterback Peyton Manning will have his first organized team activity (OTA) with the Broncos.

  • May 30-June 1 and June 4-7: OTAs continue after a week off.
  • June 12-14: After another week off, Minicamp begins.

July - Training Camp is held near the end of the month. The dates have yet to be announced.

The Agency representation for new Broncos players are as follows:

Derek Wolfe – Vantage Management Group
Brock Osweiler – Creative Artists Agency
Ronnie Hillman -- Maximum Sports
Omar Bolden – Joel Segal (Lagardere Unlimited)
Philip Blake -- Lock Metz Malinovic Panos
Malik Jackson – Lock Metz Malinovic Panos
Danny Trevathan – Bus Cook
Wayne Tribue -- HOF Player Representatives
Austin Wuebbels -- Ascent Sports

One more pickup

The Broncos weren’t finished with their Undrafted College Free Agent shopping on Sunday. They picked up Running Back Demario Pippen out of Tuskegee on Monday. Pippen, 5-9, 215 lbs., played his first three years of collegiate football at Jackson State University, before transferring to Tuskegee for his senior season in 2011 where he led the Golden Tigers in rushing.
I found an interview from February with New Era Scouting in which Pippen describes himself as a hard worker willing to do whatever it takes to put his team in a position to win, lists his strengths as his versatility and agility and believes his style of play compares to players like Lesean McCoy, Reggie Bush, Percy Harvin, and Ladanian Tomlinson.

Speaking of Running Backs, there are still a few decent options under 30 in the Free Agent Pool. Doubtless they will come into play as the first Camp casualties occur. Here are their ages and stats from last season.

Cedric Benson (Age:29) 1,067 yards and 6 TDs for the Bengals in 2011.
Ryan Grant (29) 559 yards and 2 TDs in 14 starts.
Jackie Battle (28) 597 yards and 2 TDs in 4 starts.
Tim Hightower (25) 321 yards and 1 TD in 5 games with the Redskins.
Mewelde Moore (29) 157 yards, 7.1 average in a limited role in Pittsburgh.
Justin Forsett (26) 4.6 yard average, career.

Hightower is rehabbing an ACL injury and still has interest from the Redskins. Moore may end up back in Pittsburgh due to Rashard Mendenhall’s injury status. Forsett was being phased out in Seattle and Jackie Battle received his playing time when Jamaal Charles was placed on Injured Reserve. Grant may or may not be back with the Pack. He seems to have a lukwarm interest there. Benson had a good season in 2011, but has trouble with the law at various times and at 29, probably fits better sharing the load in a "two-back" system. Still, it’s tough to argue with production and experience.

What were they thinking?

Washington Redskins fans have Mike Shanahan to blame. After drafting Heisman winning Quarterback Robert Griffin III with the number 2 overall draft pick on Thursday, Shanny selected another QB on Saturday -- Kirk Cousins of Michigan State in the 4th round. Forever remembered in Denver for creating Quarterback controversies (Bubby Brister v. Brian Griese, Jake Plummer v. Jay Cutler), Micromanaging Mike will stop at nothing to pick a Franchise Quarterback. Even if it means ruining other players.
The Cleveland Browns are doing something similar in Ohio. They have been through a litany of Quarterbacks since the retirement of Bernie Kosar, the last good QB they had, IMO. Since then, Eric Zeier (1995), Tim Couch (1999), Spergon Wynn (2000), Luke McCown (2004), Charlie Frye (2005), Brady Quinn (2007) and current whipping boy Colt McCoy (2010), have been drafted by the Browns. Vice President Mike Holmgren has teetered on the fence about Colt McCoy, one day promising to keep the Texas Longhorn graduate and the next waffling about the young Colt’s future with the team. By selecting 28-year old Brandon Weeden with the 22nd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft on Thursday, Holmgren has stutter-stepped his own way into a Quarterback controversy yet again. It’s clear to me that Holmgren has lost his edge and has mistakenly been given too much power in the personnel department, much like Shanahan’s tenure in Denver. In Green Bay, Holmgren had a General Manager to build a dynasty with, but again, history shows us that an NFL Head coach cannot be given General Manager status and remain effective. Put simply, no NFL fan wants their head coach to be like Mike.

I’m looking forward to Training Camp this year. With the roster increase to 90 players, there will be more action and storylines. In the meantime, I will be covering this years Broncos opponents and how they have changed during the offseason. On this years schedule are the NFC South, the AFC North, the Texans, Patriots and of course the AFC West. I haven’t decided if these will be broken down into divisions or each individual team.
The month of May won’t be dull that’s for sure.

Go Broncos!

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