Demaryius Thomas returns to practice, Zach Kerr does not and the Denver Broncos are nearing a return of running back Devontae Booker. Denver named their captains for the season, they will be Von Miller, Aqib Talib, Trevor Siemian, Demaryius Thomas and Brandon McManus. Kyle Sloter was thought to have been given the largest practice squad contract, but Denver seems to have topped it with their $30,000 to running back Jonathan Williams per week. We've got Broncos, we've got Chargers, we've got Monday Night Football. Let's get it! Get in where you fit it, because study long, study wrong. Join your host Ian Henson and the greatest group of Broncos fans on the internet live, right now.Posted by Mile High Report: A Denver Broncos Blog on Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Demaryius Thomas returns to practice, Zach Kerr does not and the Denver Broncos are nearing a return of running back Devontae Booker.
Denver named their captains for the season, they will be Von Miller, Aqib Talib, Trevor Siemian, Demaryius Thomas and Brandon McManus.
Kyle Sloter was thought to have been given the largest practice squad contract, but Denver seems to have topped it with their $30,000 to running back Jonathan Williams per week.
We've got Broncos, we've got Chargers, we've got Monday Night Football. Let's get it!
Get in where you fit it, because study long, study wrong. Join your host Ian Henson and the greatest group of Broncos fans on the internet live, right now.
We have previously introduced that the Broncos base defense this season (and hiddenly last season) is what Andrew Mason and we will refer to as 'the dime formation with nickel personnel'. What Vance Joseph said in today's opening quote was that Will Parks would be starting at 'dime backer'. So, now we have a new position.
This is the position on the team that evolved out of T.J. Ward and then evolved past him. This is what will stop running backs from going off on Denver's defense this season. A safety (mostly Will Parks, undrafted rookie phenomenon Jamal Carterwill substitute) will replace a middle linebacker (mostly Todd Davis or Corey Nelson) and play right next to Brandon Marshall (who is backed up by Zaire Anderson). This puts a defensive back immediately on the back out of the backfield and the strongside inside linebacker (sometimes called the SAM, 's' in Sam for strongside) matches up against the more difficult to handle tight end. Or the strongside inside linebacker plays zone while an outside linebacker covers that tight end and the strong safety (mostly Justin Simmons, but Will Parks will backup) helps out over the top.
What we've seen out of the dime backer position thus far:
A majority of tackles seemed to come from this position and as you witnessed it was chaos to most teams in terms of fumbles and batted passes. A sack was difficult to come by in the preseason though, before defensive end Shelby Harris went off against the Packers in Week 3 of the preseason the Broncos had combined as a team for one sack through two games. To Denver's credit they were playing without Von Miller for all except six snaps of this preseason (one of which Miller accumulated a sack) and Shaquil Barrett. Things should change for left tackles that got used to seeing DeMarcus Ware over the last few seasons and Shane Ray more recently. Barrett is a much different outside linebacker than either Ray or Ware. Barrett is nearly as good in pass-coverage and run-defense as Von Miller, but falls just under ProFootballFocus's ranking of Ray's pass-rushing grade.
Here is where we have told you all offseason that it doesn't really matter who the slot receiver is for Denver this season, they're hardly going to see the field. The Broncos base offense this season will be a two tight end set. Virgil Green will likely be used as an extra blocker, as he is one of, if not the best pass blocking tight ends in the NFL. Green can and will be seen more often this season as a receiver, if he ends up with a mad case of the dropsies, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy is likely to dropsies those plays from the playbook if Green is in the game. This points to the likelihood of Junior (because it's his third season in the NFL) tight end Jeff Heuerman having a heck of a season.
No, Heuerman sucks:
No, Odoyle sucks, his whole family went down. Jeff Heuerman has been and is Trevor Siemian's security blanket. On the practice field Siemian and Paxton Lynch target Heuerman like he is the only capable receiver on the field. They go to him, because he makes the catches most of the time.
So, why not start Heuerman and A.J. Derby?
They will, a lot, all three tight ends are also h-backs. Fullback Andy Janovich also plays as an h-back. Derby is renown for having zero issues taking on a nose tackle head-to-head. Janovich is renown for ruining defensive player's memories of a good game. As h-backs they line up as fullbacks, off the line as wide receivers and straight-up as tight ends. These are the Shannon Sharpe roles. Derby handles most of that type of work, he nearly specializes in it.
So, who is the slot receiver?
Still Bennie Fowler. Behind Fowler is Cody Latimer, behind Latimer is Isaiah McKenzie and then Jordan Taylor. More realistically Latimer backs up Fowler, McKenzie backs up Emmanuel Sanders and Taylor plays backup to Demaryius Thomas.
What does this offense do for us?
It is a slow bleed to a defense, we're talking ten-minute drives of just utter-monotony. Drives sustained on three and four yard rushes with a 14-yard pass to a tight end or an occasional deep shot to a wide open receiver. This is the offense that McCoy used to employ in an attempt to temper the beast that was Peyton Manning. His plan was to simply not allow Manning the time to operate.
And it worked occasionally, against Manning. And of course it's worked perfectly against Tom Brady, with the exception being Siemian's offense's turnovers in the 2016 game.