Monday, August 12, 2013

Colquitt Signs Extension

By Ryan Ebert |

     On Sunday the Denver Broncos signed fourth-year punter Britton Colquitt to a three-year extension.  That will keep the Tennnessee Volunteer until the year 2016.  He also is the franchise record holder for punting average as he has made and break his own record the past two seasons.

     "I pinch myself everyday driving into work that I'm blessed to do this job." said Colquitt.  "The fact that you get paid to do this is even better.  I think it's just icing on the cake."

He is the franchise career leader in gross (46.1) and net punting average (39.5) for punters with at least 100 punts.  Colquitt was third in the NFL with a 42.1 net punting average and second with just six yards per return!

     He's played every game in his three years with the club.

     "I just want to help the team win and want to go further than we did last year" Colquitt said in May.  "I think if I'm focused on that, the individual things kind of take care of themselves.  That's all good to get kind of up there in the statistics as long as it helps us win."

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Clady has returned!

By Ryan Ebert |

     Pro Bowl LT Ryan Clady has returned to practice for the first time since he had surgery on his rotator cuff back in February!  He was not in full pads as the rest of his teammates were, but he was wearing shoulder pads.  "It was all right.  I was just adjusting" Clady said about his return.  Clady had a total of four reps in practice as he gets back into things.  He was rusty coming back as DE Derek Wolfe got past Clady and and got a hand on Manning as he was throwing the ball.

     This makes the worries of the offensive line go away for the most part:

"When you're missing a $15 million left tackle it can look different," said Broncos coach John Fox.  "But he'll be there.  I think our offensive line will be fine.  In fact, I think it's a strength."

     The three-time Pro Bowler signed a five-year $52.5 million dollar contract extension in July and will be earning $15 million in signing bonus and salary this season.  The last concern is how well he does after his surgery.  "I have full range of motion, all that stuff." Clady said.  The two-time First-Team All-Pro played through a torn labrum during the latter part of the season.  "It's just getting used to being out there."

He is to have reps now and then during this next week of practice.  Then have him play in the third preseason game against the Rams August 24.

     "That's the goal." said Clady.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mile High Salute to Continue Despite New Rules

By Ryan Ebert |

     A photo released just yesterday revealed that players can't celebrate after a sack or a touchdown.  Take a closer look at the rules and it's not what we think.  It actually states that the actions can not be performed towards an opponent.

The photo that got every football fan upset:

     Only if the players do these actions at the opponent will they be penalized as stated in NFL Rules, Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1, Note 3 (emphasis added):

Violations of (b) will be penalized if any of the acts are committed directly at an opponent. These acts include but are not limited to: sack dances; home run swing; incredible hulk; spiking the ball; spinning the ball; throwing or shoving the ball; pointing; pointing the ball; verbal taunting; military salute; standing over an opponent (prolonged and with provocation); or dancing.
     So no worry Bronco fans, Demaryius Thomas can still salute you after a touchdown, Von Miller can still salute to you, the fan, after a sack.  As Bronco great RB Terrell Davis said, "Atlanta had the ‘Dirty Bird,’ Green Bay had the ‘Lambeau Leap.’ We had the ‘Mile High Salute,’".  

Monday, August 5, 2013

MLB Position Battle

By Ryan Ebert |

     Last year the Broncos started off with Joe Mays and ended with Keith Brooking at the middle linebacker position.  Both of those players will not be returning this year with the team this upcoming season.  The challenge for Jack Del Rio for the duration of training camp will be to find the anchor of the Denver defense.

     While Von Miller may be the most indispensable player on defense, the anchor of the defense still comes from the middle linebacker position, the one who reads the offense and communicates with his teammates to adjust their defense to best defend the offense, the one who gets the calls from the defensive coordinator for what defense they should run, the one who  establishes a physical presence, and the one who should always be at the ball leading the pack.  Names like Randy Gradishar, Al Wilson, and Bill Romanowski come up when we think of middle linebackers in Broncos history.  The new season will need one in order for the Broncos to get farther into the playoffs this time around.

     This year Nate Irving, Stewart Bradley, and Stevie Johnson are competing for the job (though if you ask me it's really just between Irving and Bradley).  Irving is entering his third year in the National Football League, Bradley his seventh, and Johnson his second year in the NFL.  Each have different traits and qualities that can benefit the Broncos defense, but which one will help us win the most?

     I'm looking towards Irving to make the starting spot mostly since he has a bit more talent than the others, faster than the others, and has been improving nicely in each phase of the game.  Also he was drafted by Denver (just an added bonus).

     I would like to see Stewart Bradley claim the position because he has the most experience of the three.  Bradley also has been a part of a couple good defenses with Philadelphia and most recently with the twelfth overall Cardinals defense in 2012.  Stewart has been on some good defenses, that shows he can be the leader that is needed in the middle.  He may not pose a huge physical threat based on talent, but he has a knack for the ball.  The only knock on him is that he is injury prone.  Ever since he tore his ACL in 2009, Bradley has not been the same player.  Hope he can be the man though.

     Then there's Stevie Johnson.  While I'm sure he's full of potential the coaches may see in him and that he may have good talent, I don't want him to earn a starting spot.  He's too young, and too inexperienced.  He did produce two forced fumbles against the Ravens in Week 15 last season, but can that production last throughout the season as the physical beat down wears on his body?  I'm not saying can he make two fumbles a game every time out, but I am saying can he be consistent enough while improving his game to the next level?  I hope the best for Johnson.

     Whoever Del Rio picks I will be happy with.  Or maybe even get Urlacher out of retirement!  Not.  I would have liked to keep D.J. Williams even though he was a headache to the team because he produced on the field.  No matter where he was lined up ILB or OLB, he made plays.  I am looking forward to seeing Denver being a stout defense this year led by anyone who is worthy to be our middle linebacker!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ryan Lilja Brings More Versatility

By Ryan Ebert |

Wednesday, the Denver Broncos signed a one-year deal with nine-year veteran Ryan Lilja, bringing him out of retirement.  Lilja was with the Colts from 2004-2009 and with the Chiefs from 2010-2012.  While in Indianapolis he held his ground at left guard; in Kansas City he moved to right guard and then shifted to center last year.

Lilja's numbers are better than most people think, even without Peyton Manning behind him.  When he started twelve games for Kansas City he was 14th among 36 centers according to  Also he only committed one penalty and allowed just one sack after his transition to center.  Steve Vallos, who was signed when Koppen went down, has three less starts than Lilja and Ramirez never started at the position.  Another interesting tidbit over his career is that he has started 104 games, allowing an average of 0.139 sacks per start, or one every seven games,

With the thirty-one year old lineman playing all inside offensive line positions that brings much needed versatility to the line.  The line now consists of Ryan Clady at left tackle, Zane Beadles at left guard, Ryan Lilja at center, Louis Vasquez at right guard, and Orlando Franklin at right tackle.  Ramirez and Lilja will be fighting for the starting center position throughout the preseason, and veteran Chris Kuper will be competing with Vaquez for the right guard spot as Kuper is currently at the latter end of recovering from his ankle injury suffered last season.  Third-year lineman Philip Blake is capable of playing center and guard as well as C.J. Davis who's in his fourth year and Manny Ramirez who's entering his seventh year.

Now the team can only keep so many lineman.  The usual number of lineman carried throughout the season is eight - the starting lineman and three backups.  I believe the best way to be ready for the backups is to have two versatile players such as Blake and Ramirez, then have offensive tackle Chris Clark be prepared for game-time backing up Clady and Franklin.

Barring anymore injuries and setbacks the Broncos should hold up quite well.  Good starting players and good quality depth are one key to a championship team.  At the end of the season Lilja just might get his second ring!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Missy Franklin wins the gold!

By Ryan Ebert |

On day three of the London 2012 Olympic Games Missy Franklin, a Colorado native, won the gold in the Women's 100m Backstroke!  She visited with the at the Bronco's HQ back in June meeting a couple of friends including Peyton Manning and Eric Decker.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Broncos players visit Aurora shooting victims

By Ryan Ebert |

Bronco players visited with victims of the Aurora shooting at the Medical Center of Aurora on Sunday.  Left tackle Ryan Clady, right guard Chris Kuper, wide receiver Eric Decker, tight end Jacob Tamme, linebacker Joe Mays, defensive end Ben Garland, and the retired Brian Dawkins were present.  Peyton Manning also called the victims on a one-by-one basis earlier in the day.  Twelve were killed and 59 injured in the tragedy.

“It was just such a tragic event,” Mays said. “You just wish that things like that never happened, but it did and my heart goes out to all the family members and loved ones. Today, we just wanted to come here and speak to those that were in the hospital and just talk to them a little bit. We just wanted to show extra support to them.”

The players spent time with the victims listening to story after story and learning about some connections with a few of them.

They first met with Steve Barton, who was biking across the country when the event happened.  The players grouped up in the room with his family and his friend Evan Rodriguez-Torrent ,also on the biking trip with Steve.

“We just wanted to come out show support and to be able to crack a smile with these guys -- it’s good to see that they’re making progress,” Decker said. “I think they’re excited to get out of here, but it’s just good to see a smile on their face.”

The next victim they met with was Carey Rottman, who has a gunshot wound in his leg.

After a while the conversation with Rottman turned to football and right guard Chris Kuper learned of a connection the two had.  Rottman played runningback at Winona State, and his team played against Kuper's North Dakota team.

“It meant the world,” Rottman said. “Especially with some of the guys I had a connection with through college football – we knew a lot of the same people and that just brings them down to more of a real level. It’s surreal.”

The two continued talking and talked about their games and Rottman discovered a few of his friends played with Decker and Mays in North Dakota State and Minnesota.

"We’re just here to show support for the medical staff and some of the victims and just kind of do what we can to help people,” Kuper said. “Hopefully we can lift someone’s spirits after such a tragedy.”

Next up the players met up with Josh Nowlen, who is an Iraq war veteran.  Nowlen jumped on his friends to protect them.  He suffered hits to his arm and leg.

While talking with Nowlen and the family, the players found out they were talking with Patriots fans.  The two groups were not on the same page with teams, but each left with a smile on their face.

  “A lot of these victims are in great spirits and just happy and blessed to be alive,” Clady said.

The seven players also spent time with the emergency room staff, who first treated the patients.

“We’re just thrilled to have the Broncos here to visit with the patients and uplift their spirits as well as the staff that was here,” Acting President of the Medical Center of Aurora Bill Voloch said. “There’s no doubt it helps the patients in every way. As they’re trying to recover from their injuries, it’s just a wonderful thing for the players to be able to come down and visit with them.”

The players felt that coming to visit the patients before training camp was the least they could do.
“When a tragedy happens to us as people, what I quickly do is think, ‘What if that was me? What if that was my brother? Or what if that was a friend going through that?’” Dawkins said. “It’s such a surreal thing that can happen in any place. So, I wanted to get in here and visit as many people as I could as quickly as possible to just bring a smile to their faces in the midst of what they’re going through right now.”

Ben Garland, a Colorado native, extended Dawkins thoughts.
"Colorado is a tight community,” he said. “We just wanted to come together and do anything we could for these victims. It’s been a tough summer for everyone, so if we can do even a small part just to help them out, we will.”