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Horse Tracks: Where will John Elway find our next Champions?

Champions aren't made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. –Muhammad Ali

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As The Great One said, Champions aren't made. Imagine trying to find 53 players who burn within. Each a Champion. When you assemble a group of people, you're only as strong as your weakest link. Where and who will John Elway chose to be the links in his iron chain?

As we've seen, offensively he's heading in a different direction from last year. Which makes sense. The Kubiak WCO that held so much appeal was a good tool for aging quarterbacks who need to throw less and allow the run game to be the driving factor. Unfortunately, if you can't run, the whole thing falls apart. It appears we are now looking at something closer to 2012.

We also have a "new" Defensive Coordinator in Joe Woods. Sylvester Williams' contract was not renewed. DeMarcus Ware may not be back and Derek Wolfe is dealing with a neck injury. We have questions at middle linebacker. This adds up to wondering if we continue with a 3-4 or switch to a 4-3?

What type of Champions Elway brings home will determine the systems and the identity of our team.

Defensively, we need DWare to either be fully recovered and stay that way or we need his equal because he's the lynch pin in Denver's 3-4 being so badass. I could've used the word dominant, but there's just no better word to describe dominance, with a nasty side of scary, than the word, badass.

Offensively, what type of OL they target will determine the RB and/or TE/Slot we pursue. Based on an interview we already had this week, I'd say the writing is on the wall for a traditional power one.

I hope that with these changes, Elway also adds in something else. Scouts who were at practices for real college games, not just attending the The Shine Bowl and Senior Bowl. Not suits in Denver accepting scouting reports from others. Or a coach who likes a player solely based on what he saw in a game on TV.

Elway has mostly done a good job with his FA choices (minus the OL) because there's a history of knowing what's in a man's heart. His draft picks have been far more questionable.

How can you draft a player without knowing if he burns from within with Desire, Dream and Vision? You can't tell that from a televised game or game film. You may get a sliver if the camera catches a private moment between a target and his teammates. Like what happened during the finale minutes of the Orange Bowl.

FSU DE DeMarcus Walker is captured telling a teammate, "get your head up, get your head up". When it looks like you may have lost a game and gave up Belief, you want a guy who doesn't go there. Who not only holds his head up, but won't let others get down.

Even that moving brief glimpse still doesn't tell you the whole story. Is he just a positive guy, but lacks a work ethic? Does he stroll off between practice plays? Does he watch game film even when he doesn't need to? Does he push other players to be better? Only one way to know that and it's by watching them in person. Talk to them. Evaluate their sideline behavior as much as their play on the field.

The only way to get back to being a World Championship team is to assemble a team of champions. I'm curious how this new coaching A-Team will go about picking their players. What mixture of vets and rooks? What traits do they share? Last year's crop reminded me rugby players. Fast and Brutal thumpers, not finesse guys. Will we see more of the same? I hope so.

With the addition of TE Coach Geep Chryst, who is more an overseeing coach of TEs, not a developer of one, Denver may choose to look at bringing in a UFA, like my personal choice, Jack Doyle, instead of drafting one, except for depth.

Below are a few UFA that we could target.

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Combine some vets with desire, plus newbies with a vision and John Elway and Company will be seeing the frozen tundra of a Minnesota winter.

Today is the East-West Shrine Bowl Game. The Broncos have already interviewed HUGE OT Storm Norton who is projected to be a RT, not LT in the NFL.

There are other names to keep an eye on. As an aside, I will be in Mobile, Alabama this coming week for the Senior Bowl. I'm sure one of the names I watch practice throughout the week will show up on our roster. Hopefully, we see the kind of fire that's needed for our team.

Have a great week everyone!

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