Archive for the ‘2007 Season’ Category

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My Gameday Epiphany

August 14, 2007

I have to admit, last night caught me a bit off guard.  I hadn’t really thought much about what this blog would contain during a Broncos game.  And, yes, I know I had all off-season to prepare game-day blogging strategies for My Denver Obsession, but in the end… I just watched the game.

I had originally thought about taking my laptop over to the sofa and doing up-to-the-minute blogging all during the game.   I also thought about doing a half-time or post-game summary last night.  But I had never (until last night) really taken the time to understand how I watch Denver football as a fan – and how that experience might not be very conducive to live game-blogging.

Everyone, I would assume, interacts differently with their favorite past time.  And most people probably don’t think much about that interaction.

For me, game days are something I eagerly await.  For example, everyone in my office on Monday knew (down to the minute usually) how many hours were left before kick off.  Friends and family called to see where I was going to watch the game and if I was ‘doing anything special’ for the preseason kick off.

Right before the game I usually tune-in for the pre-game telecast.  I can even get goose-bumps or teary-eyed when the announcers begin doing their usually emotional ramp up to the game with inspirational or heartbreaking background stories on individual players.

However, all that anticipation usually turns to tense nervousness around kick off time.  By the time our offense or defense takes the field, I’m usually a wreck.  It’s like watching a stage show from backstage – you know the script and all the players, but all you can do when the lights come up is hope they hit their marks, remember their lines and don’t actually break their legs.

I usually only use the front corner of the sofa cushion as I’m poised on the edge of my seat through everything but the commercials… well, that’s where I’m at when I’m not pacing the room.  I also have to admit, I’m pretty vocal.  Yes, I know no one but my very understanding wife (and my somewhat confused five-year-old foster daughter) can hear me, but I think it’s more of a way to release my tension than anything else.

I yell at the refs when they make a bad call.  I shout when we get a first down.  I curse when our QB gets intercepted.  I chant the player’s name if they break tackles and tear into the secondary.  And once, my wife thought I had a heart attack during a certain play off game against the Colts when she found me on the living room floor…

What – like you didn’t cry about that loss!?

The point of all this introspection is that I realized last night that I would not be providing a minute-to-minute blogging experience here.  If you are interested in that sort of detailed account of the game I would suggest checking out Andrew Mason’s blog.  Or, for a fan perspective, I would strongly recommend Kmonty over at BroncoTalk (a totally awesome Bronco blog).  Both of these, and several others around the web, can give you an in-game fix (or provide an alternative way to get the latest game updates if you’re without a TV).
Here, in this little corner of the web however, I think my pre-game-posts will primarily be about things I look forward to seeing in the upcoming game and my post-game reports will likely be about my personal fan experience and my feelings about the game.

I can’t promise that these will be minutes after the last whistle.  Sometimes, like last night, I spend a lot of time thinking about the game and trying to digest all that happened before I feel comfortable talking about (or writing) about it.

So, there you have it.  You’ll get my game blog entry soon, but until then I wanted to let you know why you were waiting… and what you can expect when it arrives.

I hope you stick around.

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“It’s not torture… It’s building confidence.”

July 13, 2007

Drill SergeantLeave it to Rich Tuten to say something like that. I mean, the dude is more like the angry drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket than a coach. But since strength and conditioning is his domain, he has vowed that our player’s constitution will not come between Denver and another Super Bowl ring.

“A strength coach is only good if he makes people do more than they would do on their own. I try to make things challenging to them.”

— Rich Tuten 7/12/07

And how does he ‘challenge’ them? Well, one way is to make them face “The Beast.” The Beast is a 300 pound wooden sled that players must push 25 yards across a grass field (with no wheels). Think that’s rough? Try doing it twelve times!

Players hate The Beast. In fact, it’s the most feared tool Tuten has at his disposal.

“Knowing Tuten, there is a little bit of sadistic stuff going on there. But it all has value going into the season, going into camp. You get your legs ready.”

— Chris Myers 7/12/07

If you don’t believe The Beast is really that bad. Check out this CBS4 video coverage of the players pushing it. Wait til the end of the video, when you see Herculean men doubled over on the field gasping for breath — then tell me it’s a piece of cake.

And, if you want to work on your own Strength & Conditioning, you can take a look at THIS feature by Tuten on personal S&C — enjoy! 

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Early DEN Fantasy Football Projections

July 5, 2007

With everyone getting ready for team camps coming up this month, I thought it would be great time to try out my fantasy football projection skills. I would NEVER claim to be an expert in fantasy football (although I’m very proud of the championship title I won in a co-worker’s league several years ago), so take these with at least one grain of salt. Also, I don’t see any point to projecting deep into the wide receiver or tight end positions right now because we have no real idea what the depth chart will look like in August. Therefore, I’ve limited my notes and predictions to the top player in each category. Here goes…

QB Jay Cutler: 3100 yrds passing, 130 yards rushing, 19 TDs, 11 int, 3 fumble

SUMMARY: The only way Jay finishes under 3000 yards passing would be if Denver is ahead every game at halftime and Travis Henry pounds out nearly 2000 yards on the ground (see 1998). With that not very likely, I’ll take 3100 yards for the season. I’ve seen very low projected numbers for Cutler’s rushing yards, and although I think Shanahan will try to keep The Kid safe, he’s more mobile than Griese and he still had between 100-130 yards each year. I’ll guess 18 TD’s as I believe many of Denver’s scores will be pushed in by Henry in short yardage situations. Several sites have Cutler’s INT numbers higher, but again I think the improved ground game puts less pressure on Jay therefore he keeps the picks low this year.

RB Travis Henry: 1450 yrds rushing, 200 yrds receiving, 12 TDs, 4 fumbles

SUMMARY: Unless he gets hurt, Travis Henry is putting up ~1500 yards rushing. That’s a flat out given. He will also increase his passing yardage over past years, as Denver uses it’s backs at checkdown receivers often. I have Henry down for 12 touchdowns because Shanahan likes to send his power-back in on goalline situations and Henry will get those calls. Henry only had 3 fumbles last year in 14 games, and with Denver’s RB guru Turner coaching Henry this off-season, that number will stay low.

WR Javon Walker: 1050 yrds receiving, 100 yrds rushing, 9 TDs.

SUMMARY: Many fantasy experts are citing Walker’s declined number after Cutler took over as a sign that Jay doesn’t look to Walker as much as Jake did. In reality, after Walker lite up the score board in the early part of the season, defenses started to view him as a serious threat and redoubled their coverage of him. I’m sure that will happen again this year; however, I also think we have enough other weapons that defenses will truly be forced to ‘pick their poison.’ My projections are lower than some because I see Denver having multiple quality targets for Cutler to throw to this year. And remember, with Shanahan’s system the ball will be spread around quite a bit.

TE Daniel Graham: 400 yrds receiving, 4 TDs

SUMMARY: Unlike New England, Graham will catch passes for the Broncos. In addition to that, he will be an endzone target (like many tightend before him). Shanahan likes to put his ‘blocking tightends’ into the endzone (see Carswell). So, I think Graham (who had great hands in college) will do well this year and will likely become an every down TE for the team.

K Jason Elam: 32 AFG, 28 MFG, 40 XPA, 40 XPM

SUMMARY: Jason’s career FG average is better than 80% and he’s coming off his best year in 2006 with 93% of his kicks going for points. Jason has placed in the top ten best kickers the last ten years with six top five placements. Kickers may not be the number one priority to Fantasy Football owners, but they play an important part in maximizing your weekly points. And in that area, Jason Elam is as solid as you can get.

TEAM Defense: 41 sacks, 17 INT, 13 FR, 3 TDs, 5000 yrds allowed, 290 pts allowed

SUMMARY: With Bates, Denver should increase their number of sacks considerably. With Champ AND Bly, our interceptions should be as good as last year’s and I even increased our defensive TD’s by one for 2007. Over all, Denver should have a solid team defense that will fall within the top 10 or 13 of the league. Again, this might be a great value pick after the top team defenses are taken.

Line Break

Projections and predictions aside, I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! My wife and I cooked out, had some friends over and watched the kids play with sparklers — good times. 🙂

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Historical Look at Shanahan’s Broncos

June 29, 2007

I have had a theory about Shanahan’s Broncos… It’s not at all scientific, but I believe it to be a quasi-accurate formula for charting our path to a Super Bowl.

The theory is simply this: It takes Shanahan three years to go from new QB to Super Bowl.

YEAR #1 (TRANSITION): The first year is a ‘Transition’ year, where Shanahan is both teaching his new QB as well as learning what that QB can do best. I guess it could be called a ‘rebuilding’ year, but I hate that term so we’ll use ‘Transition Year.’

YEAR #2 (PLAYOFFS): The second year Shanahan has nearly perfected the coordination of his QB and his playbook and the Broncos find themselves in the playoffs (hence ‘playoff’ year).

YEAR #3 (SUPER BOWL YEAR): um… pretty self-explanatory, really.

Now you might be asking: If that’s true why haven’t we won a Super Bowl every three years?

Good questions! The answer is very simple… things went wrong. Some of these were beyond anyone’s control (see 2001 below). The other major factor is the fact that, while Mike Shanahan can bring a team to the brink of the Super Bowl, he needs a QB that can finish the deal. I think he worked wonders with each of the post-Elway quarterbacks he has worked with, but until now I don’t think we’ve had ‘the closer’ we need at that position.

Here is a break down of the Shanahan Era Broncos according to my theory:

1995 Season: 8-8 (no post-season)
Elway: 3970, Davis: 1117, Miller: 1079/McCaffrey: 447, Sharpe: 756

TRANSITION YEAR: Shanahan takes over the Broncos.

1996 Season: 13-3 (Post-season: 0-1 lost Divisional Playoffs)
Elway: 3328, Davis: 1538, Miller: 735/McCaffrey: 553, Sharpe: 1062

PLAYOFF YEAR: The Broncos advance to the playoffs.

1997 Season: 12-4 (4-0 Super Bowl Champions)
Elway: 3635, Davis: 1750, Smith: 1180/McCaffrey: 590, Sharpe: 1107

SUPER BOWL YEAR: “This one’s for John.”

1998 Season: 14-2 (3-0 Super Bowl Champions)
Elway: 2806, Davis: 2008, Smith: 1222/McCaffrey: 1053, Sharpe: 768

SUPER BOWL YEAR: Team stays the same… same results.

1999 Season: 6-10 (no post-season)
Griese: 3032, Gary: 1159/Davis: 211, Smith: 1020/McCaffrey: 1018, Chamberlain: 488
TRANSITION YEAR: Griese takes over at QB.

2000 Season: 11-5 (0-1 post-season: lost Wild Card Playoffs)
Griese: 2688, Anderson: 1487/Davis: 282, Smith: 1602/McCaffrey: 1317, Carswell: 495/Clark: 339

PLAYOFF YEAR: The Broncos have a GREAT year and advance to the playoffs.

2001 Season: 8-8 (no post-season)
Griese: 2827, Davis: 701/Anderson: 678, Smith: 1343, Clark: 566

SUPER BOWL YEAR: Ok, it was supposed to be Super Bowl year, but this was the ‘Year of Tragedy.’ Monday night before the world-changing 9/11 attacks, Eddie McCaffrey breaks his leg. TD gets injured later that year and things fall apart. By Dec. 16th (the KC game) our 3rd string QB is throwing to our 5th string WR… Dark times for all Denver fans.

2002 Season: 9-7 (no post-season)
Griese: 3214, Clinton Portis: 1508, Smith: 1027/McCaffrey: 903, Sharpe: 686

LAME DUCK YEAR: This year is lost as Griese never recovers from 2001 and is finally benched.

2003 Season: 10-6 (0-1 post-season: lost Wild Card Playoffs)
Plummer: 2182, Clinton Portis: 1591, Smith: 845/Lelie: 628, Sharpe: 770

TRANSITION YEAR: Plummer takes over at QB.

2004 Season: 10-6 (0-1 post-season: lost Wild Card Playoffs)
Plummer: 4089, Droughns: 1240/T. Bell: 396, Smith: 1144/Lelie: 1084, Putzier: 572

PLAYOFF YEAR: The Broncos play well and advance to the playoffs.

2005 Season: 13-3 (1-1 post-season: lost Conference Championship)
Plummer: 3366, Anderson: 1014/T. Bell: 921, Smith: 1105/Lelie: 770, Putzier: 481

SUPER BOWL YEAR: Ok, it was supposed to be a Super Bowl year. We had one of our best shots at it since Elway left and we blew it. Most people blamed Plummer (and so did Shanahan- he drafts Cutler in the off-season).

2006 Season: 9-7 (no post-season)
Plummer/Cutler combine: 2995, T. Bell: 1025/M. Bell: 677, Walker: 1084/Smith: 512, Scheffler: 286

TRANSITION YEAR: Plummer starts at QB, but is replaced by Cutler in Nov.
Cutler begins to work the offense and learn what it’s like to be a QB in the NFL.

Follow me so far? Well, at least pretend you do for my sake…

IF we count 2006 as a Transition year (and not a Lame Duck year), that leaves us two years remaining on the three year development theory of mine . So, it’s time for my predictions based on this wildly unscientific theory that I just made up! 🙂

2007 Season: 11-5 (1-1 post-season: lost Conference Championship)
Cutler: 3500, Henry: 1500, Walker: 1200/Marshall: 700, TE: 550

PLAYOFF YEAR: Cutler plays well his sophomore year aided by Henry on the ground.

2008 Season: 13-3 (3-0 Super Bowl Champions)
Cutler: 3300, Henry: 1800, Walker: 1300/Marshall: 1100, TE: 775

SUPER BOWL YEAR: Shanahan finally gets his post-Elway ring!

As fun as this is, I hope none of you are taking this too seriously…..

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Off-Season Recap

June 27, 2007

In an attempt to put our busy off-season into perspective, I’ve organized most of our moves and notable news this off-season into one timeline.  I did add two items from 2006 (Jay Cutler’s starting at QB and Al Wilson injuring his neck).  I’ve also added this timeline to a page under the Information.

Let me know if I missed anything.

2007 OFFSEASON TIMELINE

  • 11/27/06 — Cutler is named the starting QB. 
  • 12/3/06 — Al Wilson injures his neck during the Seattle game.
  • 1/01/07 — Shooting death of starting CB Darrent Williams.
  • 1/02/07 — Denver signs ten players for the 2007 season: FB Troy Fleming, QB Darrell Hackney, DE Carlos Hall, LB T.J. Hollowell, P Eddie Johnson, TE Teyo Johnson, G Kevin McAlmont, CB Lamont Reid, T Jacob Rogers and LB Cameron Vaughn.
  • 1/04/07 — Denver signs FB Thump Belton, CB Eric Hill, WR Glenn Martinez and G Doug Nienhius for the 2007 season.
  • 1/05/07 — Denver signs RB Andre Hall and CB Jeff Shoate for the 2007 season.
  • 1/09/07 — Denver fires Defensive Coordinator Larry Coyer.
  • 1/10/07 — Denver cuts loose defensive line/tackles coach Andre Patterson.
  • 1/11/07 — Jim Bates is is named Denver’s assistant head coach/defense and Bob Slowik is promoted from secondary coach to defensive coordinator.
  • 1/12/07 — Denver allocates five to NFL Europa: C Greg Eslinger, TE Teyo Johnson, G Kevin McAlmont, T Doug Nienhuis and CB Lamont Reid.
  • 1/16/07 — Denver’s TE coach, Tim Brewster, accepts the head coaching job at the University of Minnesota.
  • 1/17/07 — Bill Johnson is hired as the teams defensive line coach.
  • 1/28/07 — The Broncos hire Scott O’Brien as special-teams coach, Joe Baker as linebackers coach and moving former special-teams coach Ronnie Bradford to assistant defensive backs coach.
  • 2/11/07 — John Lynch and Champ Bailey help the AFC win the Pro Bowl.
  • 2/25/07 — RB Damien Nash passes away after a charity basketball event. 
  • 2/26/07 — Rod Smith undergoes hip surgery.
  • 3/02/07 — Denver trades with Detroit: CB Dre Bly for RB Tatum Bell, George Foster and a 5th-round pick in the draft.
  • 3/03/07 — Jake Plummer retires as the Broncos trade him to the Bucs for a conditional draft pick in 2008.  Denver also trade their 6th-round pick to Miami for a DT Dan Wilkinson.
  • 3/05/07 — Denver signs RB Travis Henry, G Montrae Holland and RB Paul Smith.
  • 3/09/07 — Denver signs TE Daniel Graham.
  • 3/12/07 — Denver re-signs WR Quincy Morgan.
  • 3/13/07 — Denver re-signs DE Kenny Peterson.
  • 3/19/07 — DE Courtney Brown is released.  Denver signs QB Patrick Ramsey.
  • 3/20/07 — Denver signs DT Alvin McKinley.
  • 3/22/07 — Denver signs WR Brandon Stokley.
  • 3/24/07 — Denver hires defensive assistant Charlie Jackson.
  • 3/28/07 — CB Dre Bly and the Broncos agree to a contract extention.
  • 3/31/07 — Denver’s trade with Miami for Dan Wilkinson is voided when Wilkinson doesn’t showup for his physical.
  • 4/03/07 — Off-season workouts begin.
  • 4/09/07 — Mike Shanahan agrees to a contract extention.
  • 4/12/07 — Denver signs WR David Terrell. 2007-08 NFL schedule is released.
  • 4/20/07 — Denver signs kicker Todd Sauerbrun.
  • 4/26/07 — Denver releases LB Al Wilson and signs LB Warrick Holdman and LB D.D. Lewis.
  • 4/28/07 — Denver moves up to draft DE Jarvis Moss.  They also draft DE Tim Crowder and OT Ryan Harris. 
  • 4/29/07 — Denver again moves up and drafts DT Marcus Thomas.
  • 5/01/07 — Denver waives RB Cedric Cobbs.
  • 5/02/07 — Denver signs five college free agents: G Tim Duckworth, DT Steven Harris, WR Marquay McDaniel, S Roderick Rogers and RB Selvin Young.
  • 5/07/07 — Denver signs college free agents C Mark Fenton and kicker Brandon Pace.  They release Tim Duckworth.
  • 5/14/07 — Denver waives TE Landon Trusty.
  • 5/16/07 — OTA days start with QB Camp.
  • 5/21/07 — TE Tony Scheffler breaks his left foot during practice. 
  • 5/29/07 — OTA days continue as Team Camp begins.
  • 6/04/07 — Denver signs DT Sam Adams.
  • 6/07/07 — Denver trades with St. Louis for DT Jimmy Kennedy.  They release CB Eric Hill.
  • 6/21/07 — C Greg Eslinger is named to the All-NFL Europa Team for his performance with the Cologne Centurions. 
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Individual Ticket Sales start July 28th

June 19, 2007

The Denver Broncos announced today that individual home games tickets for 2007 will go on sale July 28th.  Ticket availability will vary, but there will be a limited number of tickets for all games.  Available ticket types will include full-price tickets, half-price tickets, ADA tickets and club-seat tickets.

Ticket Sales Schedule for July 28th: 

den-logo.jpg  At 11:00am MDT on July 28th, Full-Price tickets will go on sale.

den-logo.jpg  At 1:00pm MDT on July 28th, 2000 Half-Price tickets for each game will go on sale (available through Ticketmaster online or by phone only). 

For additional information, visit the Denver Broncos online ticket office: to.denverbroncos.com.