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Broncos doing their talking on the field while Patriots answer to Deflategate

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What a crazy week in the NFL! Following a whirlwind of activity in the Draft, the week has been dominated by investigations, cheating scandals...we almost forgot our team has been quietly working the whole time.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Good morning, Broncos Country!

Holy Karma Batman! After a flurry of football activity over the weekend thanks to the NFL Draft, this week has certainly been interesting - and very entertaining.

Beginning with the drama surrounding top offensive line draft prospect La'el Collins that culminated in a sweet rookie deal for the Dallas Cowboys (how do they get so lucky?) - and ending with potential sweet revenge on the New England Patriots via Deflategate ... I mean, you just can't make this stuff up.

But let's start with what really matters - the Broncos!

Veteran Mini Camp

After listening to players on the defensive line following veteran mini camp at the beginning of  this week,  a few things were clear - 1) Bill Kollar is a stud coach and 2) our guys are playing everywhere, so don't bother trying to figure out who is where just yet.

"Right now, we're really just playing all over," said Sylvester Williams, who was listed as a nose tackle. "I've been playing the nose and end spot, really both spots. Coach has been switching us up. Right now everybody is learning all three positions because you never know how it's going to end up shaking out. They're kind of moving us all around right now and seeing where we all fit it."

For Derek Wolfe this 3-4 is definitely a better fit for his skill set, he believes.

"Really, that's where I thought I was going to end up - with a 3-4 team. It is nice to be in my natural position," Wolfe said."I think the length and the size combination. I'm not really a speed rusher. I'm not really a big 330-pound defensive tackle either. I'm kind of tweener, and that's really what you need at the 3-4."

Malik Jackson credits the coaches - specifically Kollar - for teaching and preparing the defense better.

"Bill Kollar just got us moving better and doing the right things," said Jackson, adding that the scheme isn't as important as a player going after it on the field. "I think as long as you are a player, you can get it done. It really doesn't matter."

But all three agree Kollar makes a difference.

"I'm excited to play for him," Williams said. "I think he can be a great guy. Like I said, he's got a lot of history in the NFL. What we noticed is that he is going to get us a lot better, and that's exciting."

He's got a lot of fire. He gets after guys. He keeps you going and he makes you hustle. I love a guy like that. -Derek Wolfe on Defensive Line Coach Bill Kollar

Jackson added that there's no slouching with the defensive line coach.

"If you don't have a good work ethic and you're not willing to learn and go out there and produce, you're not going to play for him," Jackson said. "I've just learned that you have to put in the work to get the success. That's what I'm trying to do."

Wolfe - who noted he is feeling better physically this season now that he's had a year back from his 2013 spinal cord injury - called Kollar a "great guy."

"He's got a lot of fire. He gets after guys. He keeps you going and he makes you hustle," Wolfe said. "I love a guy like that."

Rookie Mini Camp opens today

While the veterans had a few days to get some tough workouts in earlier this week, the Broncos' rookies - which include drafted, undrafted, tryout and 2014 practice squad players - will start their camp today with 36 guys.


Deflate Gate

First, I'm more happy than I should be that I get to type "Deflategate" again. In the wake of the Patriots' stunning Super Bowl victory, it seemed the scandal was going to disappear. But thanks to the Wells Report, it's back in vogue.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who is at the center of the scandal and is believed to have been aware of tampering with the inflation levels of the footballs, had been scheduled to do a live interview Thursday night with Jim Gray as part of the Salem State Speaker Series.

Being that this would be Brady's first public appearance since the Wells Report came out, the quarterback honored his commitment but basically deflated (yes, totally meant to do that) any discussion about the accusations.

An excerpt of the conversation that kicked off the night at a packed Salem State follows (*editor's note: comments in parentheses are totally my opinion and usually meant with sarcasm font):

Jim Gray: We're going to keep the event to what it was supposed to be. However, there is an elephant in the room.

Tom Brady: Where? (oh, ha. Ha. that was so funny I forgot to laugh).

What is your reaction Tom? (nice - bold redirect, Jim.)

Member of the audience yells out: Who Cares? (loud laughter from all; obviously this was really a Patriots rally)

TB: Yeah, see I can't usually say those things. (raucous laughter).  No, I don't have much reaction, Jim. Our owner commented on it yesterday. It's only been 30 hours; I haven't had much time to digest it, but when I do, I'll be sure to let you know how I feel about it. ...And everybody else (laughter erupts again...Tom, you are so hysterical).

Jim Gray: Are you that slow a reader? (what? whoa. zing!)

TB: Well my athletic career has been better than my academic career. Usually I'm used to reading Xs and Os. This one is a little bit longer. (yeah, but those texts will just take a few seconds. Go on, we'll wait. Or do you need someone to read that for you too?)

JG: When do you expect to address it?

TB: Hopefully soon.

While I know Brady probably has lawyers telling him to say nothing and PR people trying to keep his public image in tact with a few seemingly benign talking points, those four minutes last night - where Brady is outside the pocket without a protective offensive line - are going to get him sacked. As they should.

Thirty hours is plenty of time for Brady to read the report and offer an explanation. It just hasn't been enough time for his PR team to figure out how to justify those glorious text messages.

The defense is coming, and it better be coming hard.

Thirty hours is plenty of time for Brady to read the charges against him and offer an explanation.

It just hasn't been enough time for his PR team to figure out how to justify those glorious text messages made public in light of Brady's comments two months ago.

While Brady's agent attempted a smokescreen with vague accusations that the Wells findings contain "significant and tragic flaws" and "is a significant and terrible disappointment," a Boston Globe columnist argued that while much of the information seems damning, Brady never explicitly says to deflate the ball to under 12.5.

Fair point, but when you put all the evidence together (and you must), such as ...

1. Text messages linking Brady to two guys in charge of tampering with the footballs

2. An obviously much lower inflation level of all Patriots footballs compared to all Colts footballs during the AFC championship game where the problem was first noticed by referees:

psi chart

3. Circumstantial statistics - such as the odds that the Patriots' much lower fumble rate than any other team between 2010-2014 could happen by chance:

fumble rates

And combine it with other facts - Brady's non-cooperation to give over his cell phone data, lying about not knowing Jim McNally and John Jastremski...

Well, then it's easy to see why the quarterback just couldn't think of a good enough excuse in the last 30 hours.


Mother's Day

Finally, I got to interview possibly the coolest mom on the planet (besides my own, of course) and she happens to belong to one of our Broncos.

Look for that story this weekend, and then DO NOT FORGET to call your momma :)

Horse Tracks - DeflateGate

Now the Pressure Is on Roger Goodell. Poor Commissioner. - NYTimes.com
After the release of a critical report detailing the Patriots’ apparent deflation of footballs, Goodell must determine punishment for the team and its star, Tom Brady.

Tom Brady Probably Knew Footballs Were Doctored, N.F.L. Finds - NYTimes.com
Ted Wells’s report, released on Wednesday, found that "it is more probable than not" that Patriots personnel deflated the footballs in the A.F.C. championship game to gain an edge.

The 10 hidden highlights from Ted Wells' report on deflate-gate | Shutdown Corner - Yahoo Sports
From Yahoo Sports: Investigator Ted Wells' report on deflate-gate runs 243 pages. Don't have time to read it? That's OK, we did, and we found 10 items that are worth noting:

Tom Brady's agent says Wells report is 'significant and terrible disappointment'
Don Yee, the agent for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, said in a statement Thursday that the findings of the Wells report "is a significant and terrible disappointment."

Tom Brady faces his first major image crisis - Sports - The Boston Globe
The damage has been done to Tom Brady and his brand that has made him millions in endorsement income.

Case can be made for Tom Brady’s defense - Sports - The Boston Globe
A lot of the evidence pointing toward the Patriot quarterback’s knowledge of underinflated footballs can be explained away rather rationally.

What could potential punishment be for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady? - NFL Videos
NFL Media's Judy Battista describes similar suspensions that could be similar to potential punishment for Tom Brady following the Ted Wells report.

Report: Tom Brady could be suspended for up to one year - CBSSports.com
Could Tom Brady be suspended for the entire year?

FiveThirtyEight Dissects The Deflategate Report | FiveThirtyEight
Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight uses statistical analysis — hard numbers — to tell compelling stories about politics, sports, science, economics and lifestyle.

Tom Brady’s comments don’t quite match Wells Report findings - Sports - The Boston Globe
A comparison of Tom Brady’s comments on Jan. 22. with the findings of the Wells Report shows some key differences.

Tom Brady’s father calls Wells Report ‘Framegate’ - Sports - The Boston Globe
Tom Brady Sr. said he does not believe the conclusions in the official investigation into Deflategate.

New York tabloids are all over Tom Brady's balls - SBNation.com
Daily News wins the New York tabloid Tom Brady balls joke war.

Horse Tracks - Broncos/NFL

Broncos rookies face a tough climb, but few could make it to roster
Cornerback Lorenzo Doss and nose tackle Darius Kilgo are the later-round picks with the best chance of sticking because of their unique fits.

Four of Broncos' key defensive players gearing up for contract years
Linebackers Von Miller and Danny Trevathan and defensive ends Malik Jackson and Derek Wolfe -- all projected to have significant roles in the new 3-4 scheme -- are all also poised to be unrestricted free agents next March.

Broncos rookie camp to include 10 non-roster invitees
Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick headlines the list of players on tryouts who will join the Broncos' signed and drafted rookies this weekend.

Get Tim Tebow jersey insurance for just $10
Want to get that Tim Tebow Philadelphia Eagles jersey, but you're afraid he'll get cut or released before the season's over? Fear not.

La'el Collins, ex-LSU lineman, signs deal with Dallas Cowboys - The Denver Post
The Dallas Cowboys have signed former LSU offensive tackle La'el Collins, who had been a projected first-round pick in last week's NFL draft until his name became associated with a murder investigation.

There’s A Difference Between Broke And Bankrupt For Ex-NFL Players | FiveThirtyEight
Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight uses statistical analysis — hard numbers — to tell compelling stories about politics, sports, science, economics and lifestyle.