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Kollar gives Broncos' defense all the motivation it needs

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Players using the "chip on the shoulder" card for motivation is fine, but it gets old - especially after so many other teams try to claim it too. But the Broncos have Bill Kollar, and this bear-wrestling D-Line coach seems pretty good at motivating his players.

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country!

There has been a lot of talk lately about all the ways the Broncos have been disrespected...even after winning Super Bowl 50 when no one seemed to think the Broncos could do it.

Apparently the analysts have short memories as this week has been one snub after another for the Broncos:

PFF ranked its top 101 players in 2015, putting Von Miller at No. 7 - which would have been fine, except Raiders' Khalil Mack somehow finished one step higher than the Super Bowl MVP.

Getting snubbed twice in one day, Miller was passed over for the cover of Madden 17 in favor of Patriots' TE Rob Gronkowski.

Of course we can't leave out those NFL post-draft power rankings that came out on Tuesday and put the Broncos at No. 8. Or the Super Bowl odds last week listing the Broncos at 12 to 1, sixth-best.

But the ultimate snub came Wednesday with the Football Outsiders projecting the Broncos to go 7-9 and place third in the AFC West (behind a 12-4 Chiefs and 8-8 Chargers) but just ahead of a 6-10 Raiders.

So what should we make of all this? Is it just offseason hyperbole or is it more motivation for that perennial "chip on our shoulder?"

"I don't know, but it really doesn't matter," said T.J. Ward on Monday. "We lost a couple guys on defense. Maybe they like us to play with a chip on our shoulders. It's more entertaining that way."

Darian Stewart was a little more matter-of-fact about it.

Nobody believed in us. Nobody gave us a chance. I don't mind working for my respect. We did it last year. We'll do it again.  -Darian Stewart

"Nobody believed in us, nobody gave us a chance," Stewart said of last season. But look how that turned out. "I don't mind working for my respect. We did it last year. We'll do it again."

I made a comment in a thread earlier this week stating that I'm all for players using whatever they can to get motivation for what will be a long and grueling season. And especially as the defending Super Bowl champs - when every team is going to be hungry to knock us off - players should use whatever they can to stay energized, pumped up, even angry for a win.

At the same time, too much Rodney Dangerfield just gets annoying and cliché - and I'm no fan of annoying and cliché. Mostly because it's offseason and none of this matters. (As Scotty Payne famously said yesterday, "It's May, everyone loves the Chiefs this time of year.") But also because it's just granting too much credibility to these pundits not worth the attention.

Ultimately, though, I'm not worried about our players and their motivation because the Broncos have the X-factor.

We have the guy who will keep players grounded, humbled, hungry - and definitely angry.

We have Bill "I can wrestle a freakin' bear" Kollar.

The same guy who as a Cincinnati Bengals lineman in the 70s agreed to take a picture with a bear for $50. Only it turned out to be "wrestling a bear" for 50 bucks.

Did he back out of the PR deal?


"I just bulled it. I just went and put it over backwards, I'm on top of him now. Everybody went nuts. This bear was probably 7 feet. I told the guy, 'I know how to do it now.' He said, 'We're going to Columbus next week, we've got a Kodiak coming in. Would you like to wrestle him? He's 10 feet.' I said, 'No I'll end up passing on that.' Nowadays these players walk across the street and they make a thousand bucks."

It's just a hunch, but I have a feeling this guy isn't letting one single defender rant out loud for very long "we just can't get no respect."

Stewart told me last week that he believes the secondary has the best DBs coach in the league in Joe Woods, but he also has tons of respect for "Coach Bill."

"I love Coach Kollar, man," Stewart said. "He's another coach that just gets us pumped and ready...gets us fired up. I just appreciate the way he has passion for the game."

Kollar reminds me of a history professor I had who yelled at me every day: "Lattimore! You've supposedly read your textbook?!? Then tell me why the Russians invaded. AND don't give me a silly high school answer!"

He was intimidating and hilarious all at the same time. And I didn't want to disappoint him, so I always came prepared. Kollar strikes me as that kind of motivator. He knows what he's talking about, he comes prepared and he puts all he has into coaching them up. And they better put all they have into playing right - or watch out.

Mic'd up for practice on Wednesday, Kollar was his usual awesome-sauce (see quotes below but read with ALL CAPS and lots of !!!!! in mind). Enjoy!

"I got to go, got to explode out, got to get after the passer!"

"Sly, he runs 4.7. You run 5.7. You beat him!"

"Got to go, got to go, got to go get that sack, got to get that ball out!"

"D-ware, you're LINED UP offsides. Behind the line! You're offsides every time!!"

"Wooo! Good LA-AWD! That was on the money, brother!"

[whispers to D-Ware]: "You're a lot slower than you were last year."

I guarantee this guy doesn't care a lick about the respect or disrespect his defenders are getting from the media - or even other teams. Instead he's going to make them earn it on the field every. single. time.

And a guy who wrestled a bear is probably pretty motivating.

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