The Denver Broncos have now completed three weeks of OTA practices, along with the usual opportunities for the media to interview a couple of players after practice. The team is required to make a couple of players available for interviews after each practice, but the team gets its choice of which players that will be.
Due to that we can look at who the team has had talking to the media for some interesting patterns and insights, and there are definitely a couple to be found:
1) No Rookies
The Broncos had to allow rookies to be available to the media during the team’s rookie minicamp at the beginning of May, and each of the team’s six 2019 draft picks took a turn in front of the cameras. But the rookies have been conspicuously absent ever since.
There have been some young players made available, including 2nd year wide receivers Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton, as well as linebacker Josey Jewell. But not one of the fifteen players made available so far during OTAs has been a rookie. That’s interesting considering the automatic interest both fans and the media have in the team’s crop of new players, and particularly so in the cases of Noah Fant and Drew Lock. But rather than cater to that, the team has been very intentional to keep as much media attention off of the rookies as possible.
I’d say that this tactic is a wise one. It lets the rookies keep their focus on learning the playbook and acclimating to being a player on the professional level. Dividing their focus with the pressure of standing in front of the media- and doing so without saying the wrong thing- would not benefit the team on the field this year.
It also starves the mainstream media of narrative-building material. We’ve already seen how over the top many outlets got over relatively innocuous comments Joe Flacco made in regard to mentoring Drew Lock, often ignoring the fact that head coach Vic Fangio said the same thing. With few or no opportunities to interview Lock, the outlets that are prone to such things are left trying to get traction for narratives some other way.
What do you think of the Broncos holding the rookies back from post-OTA interviews?
This poll is closed
It’s good. Keep them focused on football!
It sucks. I’d rather hear from them more often.
I don’t really care. Can we just start the season already?
2) Focus on Defense
If there’s a notable absence outside of the lack of rookies, it’s the heavy trend toward defensive players being made available for interviews. Of the fifteen players interviewed so far, ten have been defensive players vs only five guys on offense.
The four offensive players includes starting QB Joe Flacco, who interviewed after the first OTA practice and hasn’t been made available sense. That feels a bit unusual in QB-crazy Broncos Country, but makes sense as he works to learn OC Rich Scangarello’s offense. The other four have all been skill players, including Sutton and Hamilton as mentioned earlier, tight end Jeff Heuerman, and running back Devontae Booker to round things out.
For contrast, the list of defenders interviewed includes Von Miller, Chris Harris, Derek Wolfe, Shelby Harris, Todd Davis, Justin Simmons, Adam Gotsis, Bryce Callahan, Josey Jewell, and Dekoda Watson. That’s almost all of the Broncos’ anticipated starting defense, with Watson the only defensive backup interviewed so far.
Weighting the media availability 2-to-1 in favor of more defensive players is intriguing. It makes you wonder what Scangarello is cooking up over there in the offensive meeting room. And after years of anemic offense, I feel the same way about it as I do with the rookies: Good! Let them focus on football rather than PR.