Thursday, April 25, 2013

Draft Preview - What's the Plan? Well, let me tell you!

Broncos Nation!!!  How do you do?

I'm hustling to get this post out before the draft starts tonight.  I've been crazy busy and haven't been able to do a mock draft this year, and I don't have my amigo Alex next to me to sit down and talk through the logic of those picks.  Anyway....here's what I think the Broncos should do in the NFL Draft.

The Denver Broncos have the 28th pick overall in the 1st round this year.  They have a pick in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 7th round.  Each round they are picking 28th with exception of the second round where they are picking 26th.

My thoughts on the this year's draft is that the draft itself is quite odd.  There is no clear cut top five draft picks.  In fact, the top pick overall this year is still unclear and it's 30 min away from the start of the Draft!  In addition to that, you can't tell the difference between the top player and the 20th best player.  Not to mention, this draft is very very good in the second to fourth rounds.  There is a lot of depth there and it will be possible to find pro bowl players and potentially future hall of famers in those rounds.  So, it seems that it would be good to try and accumulate picks in those rounds.

If I were the Broncos / John Elway making decisions in the draft, here's a couple of scenarios that I would consider.

1.  I would try to move out of the first round and accumulate additional draft picks in the 2nd-4th rounds.  The Broncos don't have a glaring need right now, so why not draft potential starters that you can train to start their second year in the league?  And if you're lucky...the middle of the first year.  The 3rd and 4th rounds you draft for second string players that will start soon for your organization.  If this happens, I would target a big cornerback (5'11" 200lbs plus or minus), a defensive sacking specialist that can be coached to be an every down lineman or linebacker, and a running back.

2.  If I can't get good value for my 1st round pick, I would pick the best player available regardless of position.  If you're a championship caliber team, you should be drafting for depth every year and not necessarily starters.  If you're in the playoffs, you don't really need to reach for need, you need to draft the most talented players available wherever available.  Do you think the Green Bay Packers needed a quarterback when they had Brett Favre starting, and starting for at least three years when they chose Aaron Rodgers?  No...but they drafted the best player available, and how did that work out for them??  Yup...Broncos need to do that.  With that being said, I would look for depth at Cornerback, Defensive Line, Linebacker, or Offensive Line.  I would not take a running back here.  If the Broncos do take a running back at this spot, I'd be concerned.  You can find good backs in the 2nd-4th rounds this year.

In general, the Broncos need to stick to their draft board and draft the players they like, find the best players available, and don't reach.  The following are the positions that the Broncos should draft in no specific order.

Cornerback - Look for big guys that can add quality depth
Defensive Line - Look for a sack specialist or a raw three down lineman like Derrick Wolf
Offensive Line - Need depth, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Broncos didn't draft one and went out and signed college free agents.  IF one of the top lineman fell to the Broncos, then yes, take a offensive lineman.
Quarterback - We have our number 1 and 2, but who's going to back-up the back-up?  Look for Denver to add a quarterback in the 4-7th rounds.
Linebacker - Always could use a good cover linebacker or sack specialist.
Safety - Why not?  If there is a good big safety with cover skills available, take him.
Running Back - If Denver can get their "big back" with good value, go get him in the 2nd or 3rd round.
Wide Receiver - Always look to add depth to the wide receivers.  Our first three are great, but our last three are ok...need more depth here.

Anyway, I need to go watch the NFL Draft!

Go Broncos!!!

Justin







Denver Broncos - Absence Makes the Elway Sign Free Agents

Greetings Broncos Fans!!

Wow...what a free agency period for the Denver Broncos!  In this post I highlight the positions of need and who the Broncos signed in these positions of need.

The Broncos targeted very specific free agents this year.  John Elway and company really feel that this team is going to remain strong and a competitive group by drafting solid and great young players.  But....there is always room to fill a need through free agency.  Elway doesn't want to get his core team from free agency because it hardly ever works, see the Eagles "Dream Team", but he loves to find a veteran to provide depth and experience in those spots.  They aren't necessarily looking for a 100% of the snaps / plays type starter when they sign free agents, they are looking for someone to compliment the need and help make the group stronger.

With that being said, here's a look at what position groups our Denver Broncos went after...

Defensive Line - Big men down front
Offensive Line - The more they push, the harder they fall
Wide Receiver - Come on...Peyton Manning can't have enough targets
Linebacker - Those guys that like to plug holes and hit things
Cornerback aka Defensive Corner - Did you see the playoff game?!

Defensive Line
Resigned Kevin Vickerson.
Last year, Kevin flew to Denver and met, then, newly hired defensive coordinator Jack Del'Rio.  He asked Jack "What do I need to do to be a starter on your defense?"  Jack simply said, "I like big men".  After taking a step back from Jack, Kevin acknowledged the comment and left to go train for the offseason.  Kevin came back to training camp 30 lbs heavier at 330 lbs plus or minus.  He went home and got big like Jack wanted.  Kevin played a very solid season and contributed as one of the starting defensive tackles that accounted for a top 5 defense against the run.  The Broncos made a good decision bringing him back for another two years.

Signed the big defensive tackle Terrance Knighton - 6'3" 336lbs "Pot Roast" from Jacksonville.
I don't know too much about this player, but considering he played for Jack on his old team and the Jaguars consistently lead the top half of the lead in run defense, this is a good signing.  He's big, cheap, and knows the system.  He'll provide youth, depth, and a possible starter on the defensive line in the middle as a tackle.

Offensive Line
Signed Guard Luis Vasquez, a power right guard that is strong and durable.
This was pretty obvious.  At the end of the season, the Broncos had four, cout'em four offensive line starters go under a knife to fix some health concerns.  The Broncos needed a solid starter or back-up but I didn't think they would go for a great starter from within the division (the Chargers).  Vasquez is a force inside against the run and can hold the pocket from collapsing against a inside pass rush, which was desperately needed as Peyton was sacked the most from an inside push.  I'm looking forward to the competition of the guard spots between the three pro bowlers as guards on the Broncos roster.

Wide Receiver
The Denver Broncos signed / stole receiver Wes Welker from Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Again, a no brainer.  Brandon Stokely had a AWESOME season last year, but like what the Broncos did last offseason by going out and getting Peyton, the Broncos saw that they could upgrade the wide receiver spot and went after Welker.  This not only instantly makes the Broncos the best receiver trio in the league, it also hurts the Patriots, so that's a good win win.  It will be great to see what the Broncos do with their offense with this crazy good trio.

Linebacker
Denver signed Stewart Bradley to a one-year prove it deal.  Not an immediate impact player, but he will add some quality depth to the linebackers of the Broncos.  This I think is a great signing as Stewart was kind of inconsistent and didn't live up to expectations on his previous teams.  He probably has the best chance to meet or exceed those expectations this year because Jack Del'Rio is an old linebacker himself, and it's said that all of the linebackers that have played in his system, love it.  So...if you love the system...wouldn't you want to try to improve and exceed expectations?  Yes.  Not to mention, Jack is a pretty dang good coach too.

Cornerback
Dominique Rodger-Cromartie was signed by Denver essentially on a one year deal with an option to extend to two years.  This is a great signing again by Denver.  DRC is not a better corner than Champ Bailey, but then again, who is?  DRC will come in and be the second best cornerback on the roster.  This signing immediately upgrades the secondary and provides some good depth to the corners.  The Broncos played with 5 defensive backs on 65% of the plays last year.  That means, three cornerbacks and two safeties.  The times have changed where you need three starting caliber cornerbacks to be on your team, and Denver just completed their three.

To summarize, the Broncos made smart, solid, free agent signings.  I can't wait to monitor their progress and see them come into their own on this Denver Broncos roster.

Welcome to the team boys!

Go Broncos!

Justin






Thursday, March 28, 2013

Back for the Offseason!

Hi Broncos Fans!

I am back to the blog!  Man what a season; who would have imagined that the Broncos might have been able to pull out a Superbowl victory this last year!?  I did....And I think I may have just gotten over the bitter defeat to the eventual Superbowl champions.

I'm sorry I didn't write at all over the last few months and especially over the season.  Life and football was crazy and well...I just didn't make the time to keep NFL 5th Quarter up to date.  So, with a new location, different role, and some free time this offseason, I'm going to try and jump back on the Bronco and hammer out some quality posts.

I thoroughly enjoy writing this blog over the offseason because it forces me to learn and try to understand and predict the NFL and for that matter the Denver Broncos' offseason moves.  It's quite fascinating to me how the business of football can sometimes drive the business of coaching football and playing football.  And for that matter, the complete opposite.  Look at what the Raven's did with Joe "Cool" Flacco.  They paid the man a salary, that in my opinion is too much, and then they loose Ed Reed to the Texans because they didn't feel he was worth the cash. I agree that Joe needed to be paid, and should have been paid in the top 7 and maybe even top 5 salary but what he received was huge; considering he's not the typical "put the team on my back" quarterback like Rodgers, Brady, or Manning.

I also like to write this blog over the offseason because there just isn't any football news from the end of April until the end of July.  Yeah there's rookie camps, and mini camps and all that stuff, but there isn't really the competition or the excitement as their is during the season or the early part of the offseason.  So, during those months I will probably have the most blog posts as I am just staving for NFL news that I like to create my own football information.  And...it's actually fun to just have a blog.

Anyway, enough about me...Let's talk Broncos.  What do the Broncos, i.e. John Elway and company need to do during the offseason to improve the talent on the roster.  Well, we've seen some moves through Free Agency and if I can pick one word that describes the Broncos moves, that word would be "Scratch" as in a scratch golfer.  A scratch golfer won't win major tournaments or championships but if you have that scratch golfer on your best ball team for the company tournament, you can almost guarantee victory.  So in essence, the Broncos didn't win the golf tournament with the lowest round player, but they did win the for-fun best ball tournament.  That means, we've already seen some progress overall towards upgrading the team in the early stages of the offseason.

More to come on the new Free Agent acquisitions.

Go Broncos!

Justin

Sunday, September 23, 2012

5th Quarter Points - Quick Hit

So...let's get right into it. The Broncos play the Texans today. Here's the points that the Broncos need to excel at to win.

Get Sacks - The Broncos are playing at home and need that Mile High Roar to help them win today. Sack the quarterback of the Texans and this will happen. Not to mention the more important piece of knowledge; the defense needs to get off the field on 3rd downs and a sack will only help.

Stop the run - Arian Foster is dangerous along with Ben Tate backing him up. The Texans will try to keep the game away from Peyton, so stopping one of the premier rushing attacks is a top priority.

No turnovers - if you have noticed the last two games, the Broncos defense and offense has kept them in the game. Imagine if Peyton had four more chances to score with getting the ball from midfield last Monday....Denver needs to stop giving the ball away.

Joe Mays - Who is this? Well, he's our middle linebacker. He's a run stuffing machine and had the highest efficiency of stopping a running back last year, but he didn't play on obvious passing downs. He's playing on passing downs this year and is asked to stop the run and drop into coverage in Nickel packages. Who's been covering the tight end on the 3rd and very longs? Joe Mays. So...he has some learning to do in coverage, but I believe he will get better and better as time progresses. Look for him on 3rd downs covering Owen Daniels. Hopefully Joe will make an impact today to stop those long conversions.

My prediction today: Broncos win, 24-17. Denver controls the second half.

Go Broncos!

Justin

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

5th Quarter Points Summary - Denver Broncos vs. Pittsburgh Steelers


Before the game, we predicted the key "5th Quarter Points" to the game and how that would dictate the outcome of the football game.  Let’s take a look at those points and see how each team fared.

Protect Peyton Manning – As pointed out, if the Steelers were able to get to Peyton three or more times with a sack, the Broncos would have a hard time winning the football game.  As it turns out, the Steelers recorded only two sacks.  Thus, the Broncos offensive line was able to protect Peyton Manning.  There are still areas for improvement, but count this as a solid “check mark”. 

Sack Ben Roethlisburger The Denver Broncos sacked Big Ben a total of 5 times (three came on the last drive, and two of those were by Von Miller)!  The Broncos could improve in this category.  They hit Ben several times but failed to bring him down.  If the Broncos were playing any other quarterback in the league, they would have had more than 5 sacks.

The whole point of getting to Roethlisburger was to limit the big offensive pass plays.  Well.The Broncos only allowed 4.6 yards per passing completion!  This number is amazing since the Broncos averaged almost double that amount, 8.6 yards per passing completion.  What does this mean for the secondary of the Denver defense?  They did their job against those speedy wide receivers.  Champ Bailey and company kept the high powered, quick Pittsburgh offense at bay.  There is still room for improvement, but still an excellent job by the Denver Broncos secondary!

Run the Ball and Stop the Run Denver stopped the run, cold. Pittsburgh ran the ball 26 times (71 pass/rush plays total, including sacks) and averaged 2.9 yards per carry.  With Denver holing the Steelers to 2.9 yards per carry, it limited the Steelers offense (to passing) and allowed for the Broncos to anticipate the pass on most offensive plays.  Therefore, if the Steelers were going to beat the Broncos, it had to be done with Bens arm.

How did the Broncos do with their own rushing game?  They were not great.  The Broncos had 27 rushing plays (55 pass/rush plays total, including sacks) and averaged 3.5 yards per carry.  Last year, the Steelers allowed an average 4.0 yards per carry, so the Broncos have room to improve in their rushing game.  The key point here is that the Broncos didnt get beat by the running game.  The Steelers did control the time of possession, but with quick scores by the offense, and a pick six scored by the defense along with a stingy defense, the Broncos came out on top.

In summary, the Broncos executed two of the three suggested points.  Not bad, but there is room for improvement.  Lets see what the Broncos can do against a very difficult opponent in their home town on Monday Night Football next week when the Broncos take on the Falcons.  As a word of wisdom; dont go thinking the Broncos are the team to beat just yet, but feel good that the team got a win against a tough opponent in the Steelers.  They can improve, just hope for zero setbacks.

Go Broncos!

Justin