One of the most underrated aspects of the Denver Broncos signing Case Keenum is the fact that the veteran roster just needed a leader at the position. To go from Peyton Manning to Trevor Siemian (or Paxton Lynch) was just too big of a disparity between leadership. And it showed on the field.
Since coming back and working through OTA’s, several players have expressed their feelings on the subject of leadership and how Keenum is fitting in on the team. One of the more vocal leaders on offense, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, offered a unique take on the situation.
“Yeah, he’s a great leader,” Sanders said. “Every day—the majority of the days—he’ll come in and ask me and D.T. to go and watch practices and we’ll sit in the back room and watch film and go over what he’s thinking and what we’re thinking. I’ve been a part of two Super Bowl teams and that’s what it takes. That extra work that’s not mandatory, where guys are in there working out or working on their mental game. That right there, when it’s fourth quarter or when it’s fourth-and-5 or third-and-8. That’s the stuff that gets you over the hill.”
Sanders and Demaryius Thomas both seem revitalized by Keenum’s addition and will be working hard to develop even more chemistry once OTA’s are over.
But it isn’t just the wide receivers who are singing praise towards Keenum’s leadership. Second-year offensive tackle Garett Bolles just loves the demeanor that Keenum brings to the huddle. It appears to be a complete 180 from what these younger players are used to.
“Oh absolutely, I’m grateful we have Case here,” Bolles said this week. “I think he brings a demeanor here. That season he had in Minnesota was not a fluke thing. It was 100 percent who he is. A man that has been benched and moved around multiple times and still fought his way to the top and took his team as far as he did. That’s a big picture in my eyes. When we brought him in I had to do my research and understand what kind of man he is. Knowing that he’s been with his life for a long time goes to show what type of man he is. Knowing that everything he does—he’s collected, he gets in that huddle and he demands. But he showed us in the offseason, before we even started OTAs. He’s bringing us along, we’re doing outings together—hockey games and all those things. He’s taking control. His does a great job bringing the other wives together, which I think is a big thing. We all get together and understand each other. Because that’s what a team is, understanding each other. If we understand each other then we get on the field, it’s easy.”
That’s quite a bit to take in. Bolles isn’t just talking about the leadership on the football field, he is talking about the camaraderie that Keenum has already developed in that locker room.
These may seem like unimportant developments, but after two seasons of lackluster leadership from the most important position in the NFL it is probably more important than you realize.
Running back Devontae Booker continued the praise this week talking about how Keenum is holding players accountable and pushing the entire group to do better each practice.
“It’s been good,” Booker said. “Case is a good guy, he’s got that leadership mentality. He’s going to push us and the whole team to go far this year.”
And when it comes down to it, that’s the biggest thing the Broncos have been missing since Peyton retired: pushing the team to get the most out of each player.
Broncos All-Time Greats
I think once the news around the Denver Broncos really dies down that I want to do an all-time great kind of series. I tend to revisit this topic every few years and after the overwhelming respond to this tweet, I think it would be fun to reboot that.
Feel free to reply to this tweet yourself, but be sure to add tight end and safety to the list. Those were egregious omissions.
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