Archive for the ‘Brandon Clark’ Category

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The Game vs Dallas

August 20, 2007

I did well on my self-imposed internet ban from Saturday 8pm until the re-airing of the Denver/Dallas game on the NFL Network 5pm (Eastern) Sunday. It was pretty easy, all things considering, as I stayed very busy.

I worked a bit more on clearing the half-acre of woodland behind my house, went to church, took my wife and our 5-year-old foster daughter to a nice Chinese restaurant for lunch, visited a gun & craft show (don’t ask) and continued working on a chainmaille coif (for those of you in Oakland, that’s medieval armor for your head). All in all a pretty full day!

So, I was ‘all ready’ for the game Sunday evening! My wife made chilli and I promised not to jump around and shout too loudly — it is only preseason after all (and I did a pretty good job keeping it quite while the little-one slept during the 49ers game).

However, I broke my promise almost immediately after the re-broadcast started. Not more than two minutes into the game the NFL Network scrolled the following news along the bottom of the screen: DEN Travis Henry to undergo MRI on injured knee.

All that preperation and effort went to piss within two minutes of the game. Oh, well. 🙂

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Things I’m looking forward to tonight

August 13, 2007

“We don’t pay much attention to the first preseason game… I hate to say that, but it’s the truth.” 

— Mike Shanahan 8/10/07

Mike Shanahan doesn’t care about the rematch against the team who knocked the Broncos out of the playoff less than a year ago.  He hasn’t broken down the 49ers offense or defense.  He hasn’t spent hours preparing a special game plan or scripting the plays for Cutler’s first drive.  He just doesn’t care.

OK… more correctly, he cares — just not about the term ‘game.’

Mike Shanahan and his coaches view the coming Monday night skirmish as an extended practice, not a full football game.

Yes, it will be under the glaring lights of ESPN’s Monday Night Football cameras.  Yes, a football hungry nation will be watching, as tonight symbolizes the beginning of the season to many fans.  But just because millions of viewers will be tuning in won’t mean that the Bronco’s Head Coach will take his eyes off the prize.

And the ‘prize’ is a championship season in 2007.

From that perspective, the only thing that matters tonight is evaluating his personnel under game-play situations.

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That’s why I love the preseason, really.  I look forward to seeing all the fresh faces and lesser known players give 110% effort as they fight for a roster spot.  These preseason games can bring more energy and emotion than playoff games sometimes (just ask TD about Tokyo).

So, here is a list of things I’m looking forward to seeing tonight (mostly in order of importance to my personal entertainment):

1.  Jim Bates sideline manner – Oh, PLEASE get him a mic ESPN!!!!!

Bates and his coaches have been very vocal during camp and I can’t wait to see his sideline coaching style in his first game as a Bronco!

2.  Pass Rush – Blow ‘em up boys!
With all the attention the Broncos have placed on the D-line, I want to see even our 3rd and 4th teams terrorizing the 49ers tonight.  We will also get to see our rookies playing for the first time in orange and blue, which should be fun… And, heck, a little bit of payback is a good thing!

3.  Patrick Ramsey and Darrell Hackney – Let’s see your fastball guys!

Patrick Ramsey has shown great strides in learning Shanahan’s offensive system, so I’m looking forward to seeing him tonight.  I know there will be some struggling (especially early on) as this is his first game with the new unit, but the coaches have been impressed with his intelligence and the speed at which he’s picked up the scheme.  Darrell Hackney has also had a very good camp.  Tonight will give him a chance to show off his talents (not the least of which is his arm strength).

4.  Our young WR’s – who’s left?
We have some talented guys with not a lot of starting experience (and some with none).  However, players like Kircus, Hixon, Morgan and Clark have all done very well at camp.  It will be interesting to see how they do during tonight’s skirmish.

5.  Ground Assualt – Let’s see ‘em roll!
While I look forward to seeing our RB’s take the field, I have my doubts about their production this evening due to the missing starters along the O-line.  Lepsis and Hamilton will sit this one out.   That will cause the rest of the line to shuffle (all but Tom Nalen that is).  However, I think we should still be able to see flashes from our backs well into the 3rd and 4th teams tonight.  Of course, my favorite lesser known Bronco RB is Andre Hall and I can’t wait to see what he makes of his chances when the lights are on.

6.  What about SAM – who’s going to make the big play on the Strong Side?
Well, the reps have been split between Nate Webster and D.D. Lewis throughout camp.  Holdman and Moore are out and Green (listed as the starter) is battling a knee injury.  So, will it be Webster or Lewis that stands out this evening?


OTHER AREAS TO WATCH:

Broncos Logo   Strong Secondary – With the starters not getting many reps we’ll have to wait to see much of the Champ & Bly show for at least another week.  Still… We have some good backups, and it will be fun to see how well they do.

Broncos Logo   Full Backs – Watch the FB’s tonights carefully.  Kyle has been leading the work, but Paul Smith, Tony Fleming and even Cecil Sapp may get some reps.

Broncos Logo   Depth at O-line – Backup and rookie O-linemen should be fun to watch tonight.  This will be a great chance to see how they’re coming along.

Broncos Logo   D.J. in the Middle – Again, the starters won’t be in very long, but while they are D.J. Williams will likely make some big plays.

Broncos Logo   TE’s catching & blocking – We should see some of both from our TE’s this evening – it should be fun to watch!

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TRAINING CAMP: DAY 11

August 9, 2007

 

NOTES AND NEWS FROM DAY ELEVEN OF TRAINING CAMP:

“I’m bringing it back. Today’s an old-school day.” — Javon Walker 8/9/07

And with that, Javon Walker broke into another dance in front of Brian Clark who was admirably trying to keep a straight face while covering #84 during 1-on-1 drills.

Today marked a cheerful day for our #1 wide out, as Javon joke and smile all morning. He danced, he high-stepped, he laughed and he even spent the end of practice impersonating a sideline judge — holding the down marker and even whistling the play dead as Cutler worked on spiking the ball to stop the clock.

Shanahan didn’t have to talk about how important Javon Walker’s much improved emotional state was, instead he commented on Walker’s sideline referee work.

“Just like coaches, you never know for sure how long you’re going to be here. The more you can do – the better off you are.” — Mike Shanahan (kiddingly commenting on Javon Walker’s morning reps working the down markers) 8/9/07

All kidding aside, this is very good news for all of Bronco Nation. All Bronco fans have been watching Javon closely to see how he is handling the tragic events of 1/1/07. Javon has been silent on the issue of Darrent’s death all off-season (and who can blame him). He has also been withdrawn and reserved during Denver’s other OTA days. And he has rarely flashed his trademark grin as training camp started.

But today it was Javon “old school” Walker… and we can only hope this marks another step in his emotional healing process.

 

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ATTENDANCE:

Nate Jackson and John Lynch were both out of town today for the funeral of Bill Walsh. Jackson credits Walsh with guiding him from Menlo college to the NFL, and Lynch played under Walsh at Stanford.

Wide Recievers Brandon Stokley (left thigh), Brandon Marshall (quadriceps), Glenn Martinez (right thigh), Marquay McDaniel (left hamstring), Rod Smith (left hip) were all held out today.

OT rookie Ryan Harris was sidelined today due to ‘tweaking his back.’ It’s theoretically not serious. Unfortunately that makes our O-linemen group thin, as Lepsis (groin) and Ben Hamilton (concussion) are stil both out. We are told that both of our veteran injuries are mild and their being held out is a precautionary action.

Backup safety Hamza Abdullah (right Hamstring) and Quentin Harris (right knee) both sat out. LB’s Louis Green (knee) and Warrick Holdman (spinal cord concussion) also did not practice. OT Jacob Rogers (left knee) also was sidelined, but DE Jarvis Moss (knee) actually participated in some position drills today.

Tony Scheffler was back on the field again today — and looking good!

On the Other hand, WR David Kircus and FB Kyle Johnson had on-field treatments during the practice. They both were limited to less reps for the rest of practice.

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OFFENSIVE LINE UPS: THURSDAY

den-logo.jpg Quarterbacks:
Behind Jay Cutler and Patrick Ramsey, Darrell Hackney and Preston Parsons have been in a heated battle for a final PS spot.

den-logo.jpg Wide Outs:
No real changes here… The WR’s we have get reps. )

den-logo.jpg Tight Ends:
No real change from the last few days.

den-logo.jpg Running Backs:
No change: Travis Henry, Cecil Sapp running second. Mike Bell, Andre Hall and Young following behind.

RUMOR MILL: The Denver Post is reporting that Mike Bell has passed Cecil Sapp on the depth chart and is now running #2.
den-logo.jpg O-line:
1st Team O-line was unchanged from yesterday with LT Adam Meadows (filling in for Lepsis), LG Chris Myers (filling in for Ben Hamilton), C Tom Nalen, RG Montrae Holland and RT Erik Pears.

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DEFENSIVE LINE UPS: THURSDAY

den-logo.jpg D-line:
* 1st Team D-line stayed the same as the last couple of days: DE’s Ebenezer Ekuban and John Engelberger, DT’s Gerard Warren and Sam Adams (Jimmy Kennedy filled in for Adams this morning).
den-logo.jpg Linebackers:
* 1st Team LB’s were: continuing the SAM rotation, Nate Webster took his turn with the starters today, D.J. Williams at MIKE and Ian Gold at WILL.

den-logo.jpg Secondary:
No changes here, but Domonique Foxworth filled in for Lynch (out at Bill Walsh’s funeral).


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SPECIAL TEAMS LINE UPS: THURSDAY

den-logo.jpg Kick-Off Return Team:
Scott O’Brien had another very productive Special Teams practice in the afternoon. Check out Andrew Mason’s blog entry covering this: HERE

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DOGFISH: Camp Preview WR’s & TE’s

July 10, 2007

With the first day of the Bronco’s mini-camp in the books, we got an answer regarding “The Brandon’s,” Mike Shanahan had this to say about Stokley appearing for the first time in a Broncos jersey.

“He’s ahead of schedule. When we start camp, he should be 100 percent (to) go.”

— Mike Shanahan 7/9/07

Stokley didn’t partake in 7-on-7’s but he was in uniform and ran drills. In addition to Stokley, Brandon Marshall was on the field and participated in drills — which is a great sign as he had sat out the last part of team camp.

…and speaking of wide receivers… we have today’s Training Camp Preview on wide outs and tight ends by our friend and fellow obsessed fan, Dogfish.

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GUEST AUTHOR: DOGFISH

WIDE RECEIVERS

OVERVIEW:

Receiver is one of the most crowded spots on the roster right now, so camp will be crucial to start seperating the men from the boys. Javon Walker is the only one who’s pretty much guaranteed his spot on the depth chart, and the coaching staff isn’t likely to overwork the vet after the way he proved himself last year–look for walker to be excused from some of the back ends of two-a-days, as the younger guys need the reps more anyways.
The health of Rod Smith and Brandon Stokley will definitely be one of TC’s burning questions. Lee Rasizer recently reported that Stokley is running freely, and that Smith is progressing nicely, so that’s good news. Both players have a big edge in the battle for spots 2-4 due to their track record and experience, but they’ll still have to show it on the field with lots of young legs behind them waiting for a shot. All they have to prove is that they’re healthy, though– if they are, both should easily win their spots.
TC will be as important for Brandon Marshall as anyone on the team. According to early reports, he will enter camp as the favorite for the second starting spot–a good showing could go a long way to cementing that position for him. This will be a great chance for Marshall to refine his route-running skills working against our starting corners. On the opposite end of the spectrum, this camp may be David Terrell’s last chance to make it in the NFL.
I believe that we’ll probably carry six receivers again this year–with the last two spots reserved for guys who can contribute on special teams. There will be major competition for those two spots between Quincy Morgan, Brian Clarke, David Kircus, Domenik Hixon and Marquay McDaniel. The wildcard here is Hixon, who’ll finally get a chance to justify the 4th round pick we spent on him in 2006 after spending last season on IR. Hixon’s size, speed and experience on the defensive side of the ball make him an ideal candidate to play gunner on the punt coverage units, so if he can show something as a return specialist he’s likely to earn a spot.

I personally feel that Morgan is next in line–he came on a bit as a returner at the end of the season, and is the only player among the bunch who has any proven history as a receiver. With a full off-season and TC under his belt, he may get a chance to carve out a role as an occasional deep threat on offense. Some people still love Kircus’ potential, but he’s played for quite some time now without proving anything–and he surely didn’t win any points with Mike Shanahan by getting into some off-season legal trouble. Clarke is younger and has a relatively similar skill set, and may have a bit more developmental potential left at this point.

McDaniel, the undrafted rookie from Hampton, has been getting some attention lately. A strong showing in camp could possibly move him into position to mount a legitimate challenge for the last spot—otherwise, I see him as a likely candidate for the practice squad. Ultimately, at least one of the last two spots will be reserved for a return specialist–if one of these guys can separate himself in that area, he’ll almost certainly guarantee himself a job.

PLAYER TO WATCH:

Brandon Marshall– This guy is just oozing potential, and has reportedly been busting his butt over the off-season (including speed training in Chris Carter’s highly-touted program). The Air Marshall was one of the stars of last year’s camp before a preseason knee injury took him out of the lineup for several weeks and slowed his development. He looked tentative for a while after his return, and another good camp could go a long ways towards establishing the confidence that he needs. How quickly he develops could be one of the key factors in determining just how dangerous our passing game can be this year. Also, his size and strength give him a chance to be a great run blocker, one of the underrated aspects of his potential IMO. Hopefully the coaching staff will keep after him to work hard in this area–as downfield blocking from our receivers has been one of the keys to our running game over the years.

BEST POSITION BATTLE:

Hixon vs. the Field for the RS job. For a position that’ll be as hotly contested as any in camp, it’s hard to pick just one battle–but I’ll go with this one as I think it may be one of the most wide open competitions this summer. Also, we all know how badly our return game sucked last year–it could be really big for us if a legit threat emerges from the pack. If Hixon plays to his timed 4.34 speed, he can be dangerous.
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART:

1. Javon Walker
2. Brandon Marshall
3. Rod Smith
4. Brandon Stokley
5. Quincy Morgan
6. Domenik Hixon

TIGHT ENDS

OVERVIEW:

With the return of Dan Graham to Colorado, someone is likely to get caught in the numbers crunch here– TC could go a long way towards determining who it is. Graham will need some reps to get comfortable with Cutler, and with the O-line, but with his injury history the coaching staff will have to balance his need to learn against the risk of him getting dinged up and having it linger into the season. For that reason, I suspect that the Chef will get plenty of chances to work with the starters (not just in two-TE sets). No question TC will be big for Tony Scheffler, who like Marshall needs to build some confidence and consistency going into the season. Chef also needs some serious work on his blocking, and that should be a major area of focus for him. Stephen Alexander, Teyo Johnson, Nate Jackson, Chad Mustard and Mike Leach round out a pretty deep group of TEs (though we all know Leach is really just a badass long snapper who probably wouldn’t play offense except for emergency duty). With two capable receiving TEs at the top of the depth chart, I think converted wide receivers Jackson and Johnson are really facing long odds to make the team this year, unless one of them absolutely lights it up in camp.
PLAYER TO WATCH:

Gotta go with the Chef here, as camp will give him a golden opportunity to refine some of the impressive skills he flashed down the stretch last year. the more he improves that blocking, the more involved in the offense he’s going to be. Now that he’s had a year to make the leap from a small school and adjust to the speed of the NFL, we should see that athleticism start to show itself more and more. He can be a weapon that we move all over the field, and I’m expecting him to make some big plays for us this season.

BEST POSITION BATTLE:

Chad Mustard vs. Stephen Alexander– I think this will be the battle for the last roster spot at TE. I think we may only carry four TEs this year, and IMO Graham, Chef and Leach have their spots all but locked up. With the balanced Graham likely to start, I can see us keeping one pure receiving TE (Scheffker) and one pure blocking TE (Mustard)– if we want to go with a more balanced TE in that last spot, it will be Alexander, and if we keep five this year I think he has the best chance at the fifth spot.
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART:

1. Daniel Graham
2. Tony Scheffler
3. Chad Mustard
4. Mike Leach

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Thanks, again, to Dogfish for his excellent position reviews leading into Training Camp this month. I’ll attempt get his O-line Camp Preview up later today.

For more pictures and info about the first day of Mini-Camp check out Andrew Mason’s Blog: HERE

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Kick Off Coverage Needed… Badly.

June 15, 2007

THIS POST HAS BEEN MOVED TO BRONCOTALK.NET:  REDIRECT

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