Good morning, Broncos Country!
It's the offseason, but as team workouts and meetings begin to get underway, what does "offseason" really mean?
Following news that Demaryius Thomas would not attend Peyton Manning's Duke camp or OTAs and mini-camp, there was some discussion about the importance of being at those events.
Some believe it is in DT's best interest to work out on his own (as he plans) to avoid injury and jeopardizing any chances for the best possible long-term contract.
A few - like me - think it would be better to participate in the conditioning and team-building and playbook-learning that takes place in these early months of team work.
Reiterating my point - but hopefully not belaboring it - I believe there is more to be lost by not being part of these relatively injury-free workouts than there is to be gained by sitting out...for a couple reasons:
Timing is everything.
Last season, DT missed the beginning of training camp to attend the funeral of his grandmother. And it was clear Thomas was not in sync with Manning for the first three games of the season.
While this is likely due more to the psychological affect of his grandmother's death plus switching to slot receiver while Wes Welker served a suspension, it is still evident that regular practice in the offseason helps a great deal when it comes to timing and sync with the offense and especially the quarterback.
Risk of injury during the offseason v. preseason
I know many do not agree with me on this point, but I believe Thomas' risk of injury participating in OTAs and team conditioning is the same (low) as any workout regimen he may be doing on his own.
On the other hand, not participating in the team workouts and drills can possibly increase the likelihood of injury when training camp rolls around.
I don't think DT will get so out of shape that he would be at high risk of injury. But beyond general conditioning, getting in "football shape" is better served with teammates - and gradually getting back into full-pad practice via the offseason plan is a better approach than working out alone and then showing up in July for what will be hardcore football.
Obviously Thomas can study the playbook on his own. And perhaps it won't change much. But we all know that just reading up on a subject isn't the same as having to also apply it.
And with a new coaching staff, the more time together, the better. Being around the offense (or defense), asking questions, getting help from coaches, going over the plays, looking at film, etc., is going to be far superior to just studying the playbook.
All that said, I do like the news/humor out of the Duke camp with Manning and his crew showing some love to DT in his absence.
If you missed the prank, it's pretty funny (TD;LR - In a picture with Manning and the players attending his Duke camp - Emmanuel Sanders, Cody Latimer, Virgil Green, Owen Daniels, Andre Caldwell and DE Kenny Anunike - someone photoshopped DT's face to go with Anunike's body and then tweeted that maybe Thomas did show up after all).
Aside from the obvious humor, it does indicate that neither the quarterback nor any of Thomas' fellow receivers are mad at No. 88 for not being there.
This bodes well for camaraderie and timing issues because I'd like to assume Manning must feel confident enough in DT's abilities and their timing to not insist his star receiver be there (either that or there will be no mystery why DT only has five targets a game this season!)
My own athletic background was in a year-round sport in which a two-week vacation could derail the entire season. So I always marvel at players who will finish the season, gain a bunch of weight, sit around and not work out, and then spend most of the preseason work just "getting back into shape."
Actually, it kind of ticks me off. Getting paid millions a year (even hundreds of thousands) should have some stipulation for staying in shape.
I much prefer to see it when players consider the offseason a time to improve.
I remember last season having to wait until Week 3 before our defensive and offensive lines looked remotely capable of handling 60 minutes of game time. And it really wasn't until Week 5 (after our early bye in Week 4) that we no longer looked "out of game shape."
And while most players do seem to take their NFL career seriously, I just don't understand having to spend so much time getting back into football shape every season when it could have been easier.
Conceptually I get that there is a difference between "conditioning shape" and "football shape," but if you stay in good conditioning shape during the offseason, those drills and scrimmages would be a whole lot easier come July and August. Like this:
It's important to rest, have some fun and not think about football for a few months in order to rejuvenate and be ready to attack another - hopefully long - football season. It's also important to be ready to begin almost where you left off at the end of the season (minus injuries, of course).
In action selfie. Putting in miles pic.twitter.com/pMPCyKVkp6— David BRUTON JR. (@D_Brut30) March 28, 2015
The offseason is more about healing aches/pains and mentally getting away in order to rejuvenate; athletic shape should be a given - and a constant. But that's just me. I look forward to hearing from you football players about getting/staying in "football" shape.
Doing good and having fun
In addition to the offseason training that many players do, the few months off are a great time for players to get involved in their charity work and participate within the Denver community - which many of our Broncos do.
And a lot of R&R is definitely in order - which, of course, means bowling, video games, kids at the beach...
On my visit to Children's Hospital, this inspiring cancer patient signed an autograph for me. Never give up Troy! pic.twitter.com/s4n46xBaDo— Ben Garland (@BenGarland63) March 21, 2015
Doing my favorite hobby as usual pic.twitter.com/agdcfygJms— Cody Latimer (@CodyLatimer14) March 3, 2015
Are Broncos going to miss the playoffs?
NFL writer Mark Sessler believes the Broncos are one of five teams that will not go back to the playoffs this year:
While we don't expect the Broncos to force Manning into an attack that doesn't make the most of his gifts, changing up the regime midway through Peyton's Super Bowl-or-bust run in Denver was risky. It's a hunch, but the Broncos feel snakebit.
I, of course, think Sessler also needs to do some offseason "training," but I'll let you all debate the rest of his opinion. The Broncos have tough opponents, a new coaching staff, a much less star-studded roster and a couple aging players (you know the ones).
Is Sessler right, or will championship culture, Manning and the rest of the team's Pro Bowlers be able to prove him wrong?
David Bruton is as nice as he seems on TV
I interviewed David Bruton, Jr. yesterday about a host of topics - his offseason cycling program (don't worry, he's not joining Le Tour de France), goals to be a starting safety this season, and of course, that unbelievably beautiful fake punt against the Chiefs last season.
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