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MHR Mailbag: Kaptain Kirk dishes on Training Camp edition

Hello folks! This morning the Kaptain will be lending his thoughts to Mailbag. He'll be joined by Scotty Payne, and Big Pete as we talk about Training Camp, Vonte Leach, and the new starting QB for the NE Patriots Tim Tebow. (I kid I kid).

What are your initial thoughts on the Patriots signing former Broncos QB Tim Tebow?

Big Pete

Initial thought? Man, I'm gonna hate to see anyone on the Patriots do good. When we play the Patriots, I'll view Tebow in the same vein as I view fantasy players: I hope they do good, but not good enough to make the Broncos lose. At the same time, I'm suffering from Tebow Fatigue, so while I'm glad he's in the NFL, I really don't care anymore. One thing I need to say though, and that's that New England is the PERFECT spot for him. I've said since the Broncos signed Manning that in order for the circus around Tebow to die down, he needs to go to a team where there is no possible chance that there will ever be chants for him to play. There are only a handful of teams in the league that possess a HOF/HOF in the making QB to keep the circus at bay, and New England is definitely on the short list. I'm glad he's in the NFL, but ultimately, I'm kinda tired of the media coverage. I hear he's going to play TE.... I just pray that Tom Brady doesn't hit him on a short dump pass with 1 minute to go and have him rumble to the endzone to beat us when we play them.

Scotty Payne

I wasn't too surprised. I'm sure Josh McDaniels pushed for this. Tebow is far from a lock to make the roster for them. Will they use him as a QB? or will they use him in a H-Back/TE role. If he does make the roster look for him in the red zone either as a FB, Zone Read QB or even as a TE. Belichick has used Mike Vrabel at TE, so dont put it past him to use Tebow. Much like everything Tebow, this news story will be over blown.

Bronco Mike

I'm glad he's getting another shot. Should be the ideal location with the right coaches and atmosphere. Let's face it, the Jets were a circus long before Teebs ever got to Florham Park. No Jets fan will ever be able to convince me Sanchez deserved playing time over Tim. On the other hand it's a hard dynamic to face because of the continued hype. Instantly had Tebow trolls all over twitter and elsewhere proclaiming Brady had lost something. That's something I'll never miss about the guy and while I wish him the best, I hope Von Miller hands him his ass come week 12 if he gets to carry the ball.

With reports that FB Vonte Leach might be released or cut by the Ravens, should the Broncos look to add him to the RB stable?

Big Pete

While I don't think that we need a new FB, adding pro-bowl players is never a bad thing. Leach has made the pro-bowl each of the last 2 seasons while paving the way for Ray Rice. Rice is dangerous in his own right, but how much of that can be attributed to Leach? One thing we all know for sure; Alex Gibbs likes fullbacks, and one of the unsung heroes from our Super Bowl years was Howard Griffith. I think with Alex Gibbs back, a RB who tailors his game after Terrell Davis, and a coach who loves to pound the rock, Leach is a natural fit. If he'd be willing to take a reduction in pay, I'm sure the Broncos wouldn't mind kicking his tires.

Bronco Mike

I don't see it. The guy is a nice talent and if we were talking the Broncos circa 1997-98 I would be all over the idea of adding Leach. Problem is, the guy won't provide the same sort of versatility as Jacob Hester. Hester gives you the ability to split out wide, to play the FB position, to carry the rock and catch it out of the backfield. He also does all those things at a much cheaper price and younger age than Leach. If I were convinced the Broncos were going back to the ZBS most of the time I'd love it--but we won't which brings me to a new feature on Mailbag.

Stud of the Week: CH74

You get that designation by totally tearing ass in the comment section. Doesn't mean you're confrontational or testy with people, means that your thoughts add some real insight to our community. We were have some good debate in the Montee Ball interview post and here's what CH had to say about the ZBS as it applies to the 2013 Denver Broncos.

Remember way back when Gibbs was first hired on as a consultant

And we first started having these discussions? I gave you the point on Franklin and Vasquez then and there. At that time, we both agreed that size wasn't the only deciding factor on who would be good in the ZBS. I have been consistent about that all along. I also stated that Franklin and Vasquez were best suited for a man system, but they were athletic enough to be utilized in zone concepts. For being monsters, they both have great footwork. The only real question mark I can identify is Walton. Everyone else on the Broncos Oline is more than capable of running zone concepts, in spite of being bigger than a typical ZBS lineman.

The size of both Franklin and Vasquez are irrelevant if you are not going to go wholesale down the path of a ZBS. I'll say it again for you; Franklin and Vasquez are not prototypical ZBS linemen, but in 2013, they don't have to be. If you limit zone plays to the smaller, more athletic left side of the Oline, you can man or combo block the right side and it will still be effective.

If you look at the 90's, quickness on the backside of those plays was irrelevant because they were cut blocking the backside DT and DE. It doesn't take a lot of quickness to cut block the man in front of you. Looking at the Gibbs cut-up videos will show you in vivid detail. Now if you look to the 2012 Washington Redskins, who are probably one of the most zone heavy teams around with exception to maybe Houston, you will notice that the backside is never cut blocked like it was in the 90's. You see the back side man and combo block to the second level. The reason we now see man and combo blocks on the back side of zone running plays is because it is no longer legal to cut block the way the Broncos did it in the 90's. What you are left with is a mixed look with a zone concept on the play side and a very old school man concept on the backside. It is a hybrid system in response to the rule changes on cut blocking and leg whipping. Which brings me to a point; when I say the league has evolved, I am alluding to that rule change moreso than I am towards bigger players, but that also plays a small role in my thinking.

What I have been trying to get at, and probably failing to do so, is to state that I think the Broncos are trying real hard to have their cake and eat it too. I think they intend to add some zone concepts, almost exclusively to the left of the formation to balance out the productivity of the run game. Of course it is all conjecture at this point and I could be way off. This is the only way a lot of this makes sense to me, precisely because we do have monsters on the right side and athletic technicians on the left.

Great thoughts from CH74, thanks for being a great contributor to MHR!!!

Who can be a surprise cut come Training Camp?

Big Pete

Surprise cut? Shaun Phillips. Honestly, I don't think there will be any major surprises. There is a ton of competition at a lot of places, so unless it's a 2nd year guy or one of the vets they signed to a 1 year deal, I can't really say I'd be surprised by any cuts that we're likely to see. I mean, it isn't like they're gonna cut DT or Manning or Champ or Von. I would think that there might be a surprise trade if we have a ton of depth and deem a starter from last year expendable, but I can't see Elway straight up cutting someone that would shock us as much as the Broncos apparently were against the Ravens with 31 f*cking seconds left on the clock.

Scotty Payne

Jacob Tamme, Knowshon Moreno, Tony Carter and Mike Adams. Tammes spot could be in Jeopardy if Julius Thomas continues to impress during the offseason. Probably a bit of a stretch, but you asked for surprises. Morenos spot could be in Jeopardy especially if Hillman and Ball have a good camp. Now ideally i'd love to keep him as a third down back. Carter and Adams wont be surprises really.

Bronco Mike

Matt Prater. I thought up and down the roster at all position groups and there's guys who stick out but none more than our enigmatic struggling kicker. If the new kid they brought in to compete shows some consistency, don't be surprised to see Prater as the odd man out. If you find yourself at odds with this reasoning ask yourself this---say the Broncos need to convert a 45 yard FG at the end of regulation to go to the super bowl, do you really feel comfortable with Prater back there kicking?

Kaptain Kirk returns in cameo appearance

One of the great things about Broncos Country is we remain brothers and sisters no matter the circumstance. Kirk is a friend of mine and currently writes over at Bronco Planet after being the lifeblood here for so long. Be sure to pop on over to check on Kaptain's work and also the great things Bronco Planet is doing to promote the Denver Broncos Booster Club. Kirk has agreed to come on over and answer some questions every now and then, and all of us at MHR couldn't be happier to have him contribute. Without further adieu, here is what Kirk is looking forward to in training camp.

Besides the rookies, the Cornerback battle, really the Defensive Backfield battle will be something I will be keeping an eye on in Training Camp this year.Champ Bailey, Omar Bolden, Mario Butler, Tony Carter, Chris Harris, Aaron Hester, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Kayvon Webster. That's eight guys competing for five spots.

At Safety, there are another seven players competing for 5 spots. Mike Adams, David Bruton, Quinton Carter, Duke Ihenacho, Rahim Moore. Ross Rasner and Quentin Jammer.

I list Quentin Jammer as a Safety because he has been working at the position through OTA's. He will be a tough guy to cut in my opinion, simply because he can play Corner too. I believe that he was brought in to be a role player. Remember, opposing Tight Ends had very good outings against the Broncos last season. It has been a problem for a few years now as the focus on Tight Ends has turned into a trend throughout the league. That is why the Broncos were chasing Charles Woodson. However, they got Jammer at a much lower cost than Woodson.

In the past, Denver has kept 10 or 11 Defensive Backs depending on injuries for the most part. Roster math can be tricky to figure because of the many factors taken into consideration. The schedule and Special Teams contributions just to name a few.

The other area on Defense where I will be looking will be the Middle Linebacker and in general, how the Linebackers are being used. It has been said by the team, that the MIKE job is Nate Irving's to lose. I will be watching for improvement and basically checking to see how he adjusts, his confidence level and how at ease he is in the position.
One interesting storyline to watch will be how the Broncos plan to make up the loss of Elvis Dumervil. Robert Ayers, Malik Jackson, Quanterus Smith, Shaun Phillips could all be used. Stewart Bradley may have something to say as well.

On Offense, it'll be the Running Backs as usual. I fully expect Willis McGahee to be cut and ripped when he arrives, just like the last two years. He may be a little behind with Adam Gase's changes, but he is a veteran and it will shake itself out. Hopefully Knowshon Moreno is 100% healthy. I know there are people out in Broncos Country who think the Broncos should cut both of them along with Lance Ball, but only one guy can carry the ball at a time. Role players and salaries take precedence here, especially when we are talking about a position that is susceptible to injury.

I will be looking to see how Tight Ends Virgil Green and Julius Thomas can impact the Broncos Offense
And of course, who will the 4th and 5th (6th?) Wide Receivers be? There appears to be very good competition at receiver and it should be very enjoyable watching the Wide Receiver/Cornerback one on one drills. Those are always entertaining anyway.

Many thanks to all the contributors that took time to answer questions! Got questions? Send them to me!