Archive for the ‘Dre Bly’ 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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TRAINING CAMP: DAY 6

August 3, 2007

NOTES AND NEWS FROM DAY SIX OF TRAINING CAMP:


Well the news today was all about the VERY thin depth we have at WR. In fact, with Brandon Stokley held out with a minor right thigh injury and Javon Walker pulled up short with some muscle cramping, we were left with only five functioning receivers (Quincy Morgan, Domenik Hixon, David Terrell, Brian Clark and David Kircus).

That was so few that at times Shanahan had to use TE’s to fill in the receiver slots so all the plays could be run. Nate Jackson worked well in this capacity as the tightend was a receiver only two seasons ago.

“(Nate’s) been very consistent and he’s gotten better in the blocking game and obviously he’s made some big-time catches — He’s looked very good.” — Mike Shanahan 8/3/07

Jackson wasn’t the only receiver to do well today. There were great catches by all of our remaining wideouts. Here’s a look at a few of them…

Cutler’s 50 yard pass to Walker (before he left with cramping)!

Cutler moves in the pocket to allow enough time for a pass to Nate Jackson.

Quincy Morgan grabs this ball pass Bly.

And now some other notes…

 

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TRAINING CAMP: DAY 5

August 2, 2007

NOTES AND NEWS FROM DAY FIVE OF TRAINING CAMP:

Warrick HoldmanDay Five is in the books, and it came with quite a scare. Warrick Holdman collided with teammate Mike Bell near the sideline early in the morning session. He suffered what is being called a ‘spinal cord concussion’ from the collision.

“He went numb for about 30 or 40 seconds out there and he got his feeling back — which is a good sign. I don’t know for sure, but normally when somebody gets that feeling back, it’s usually positive.”

— Mike Shanahan 8/2/07

While it’s a good sign, the team took no chances and Holdman was strapped to a back board, loaded into an ambulance and taken to Sky Ridge Medical Center. He will remain there over night for observation.

The eerie part of this report is how familiar it is to the one that followed the Seattle game when Al Wilson was injured. As both LB’s Al Wilson and John Mobley had their careers end due to this type of injury, it makes everyone involved concerned about Holdman tonight.

On a lighter side, Travis Henry may be the leading contender for the #1 RB spot, but that doesn’t mean he’s above the law. Today he was punished with running laps for jumping offsides during practice. And that’s not the first time our RB star has done laps after a camp session. The first time was because he wasn’t standing in the right place.

“They see it as you’ve got to pay attention to the little things. I respect that.” — Travis Henry 8/2/07

…well, you’ve been warned — No getting out of line boys and girls, or you’ll answer to Coach Shanahan! 🙂

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ATTENDANCE:

In addition to Holdman leaving the field on a stretcher, here are the other camp injuries…

WR Marquay McDaniel was held out again due to his hamstring injury. Chad Mustard was out with a right hamstring injury. Glenn Martinez was also out again with a right thigh injury. Marcus Thomas joined the group on the sideline today due to a left calf injury. Brandon Marshall, Tony Scheffler, Rod Smith, Lamont Reid and Doug Niehuis were all still out. Sam Adams did not practice today because of a right knee injury but Shanahan said it was a part of the plan for Adams to sit out.

“He’s all right. It’s a game plan that we have—we’re going to make sure he’s in shape. We know he can play the game. When he played the first couple practices, he’s been very impressive but we don’t want to overdo it as well.”

— Mike Shanahan 8/2/07

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OFFENSIVE LINE UPS: THURSDAY

den-logo.jpg Wide Outs:
Walker and Brandon Stokley ran with the 1st Team.
den-logo.jpg Tight Ends:
No real change from the last few days.
den-logo.jpg Running Backs:
Again, no change. Travis Henry with Cecil Sapp running second. Mike Bell, Andre Hall and Young following behind.
den-logo.jpg O-line:
1st Team O-line was unchanged: LT Matt Lepsis, LG Ben Hamilton, C Tom Nalen, RG Chris Kuper 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 with Jimmy Kennedy work in Sam Adams spot: DE’s Ebenezer Ekuban and John Engelberger, DT’s Gerard Warren and Jimmy Kennedy.

DIME PACKAGE NOTE: Unchanged from yesterday: Ekuban and Warren were the tackles with ends Jarvis Moss and Elvis Dumervil.

den-logo.jpg Linebackers:
* 1st Team LB’s were: D.D. Lewis took his turn at SAM today, D.J. Williams still impressing at MIKE and Ian Gold at WILL.

den-logo.jpg Secondary:
No changes here as CB’s Champ Bailey and Dre’ Bly and Safeties Nick Ferguson and John Lynch played on the 1st Team. Foxworth was their Nickel back and Cox joined the 1st Team during work on the Dime Package.

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SPECIAL TEAMS LINE UPS: THURSDAY

den-logo.jpg Kick-Off Return Team:
Returners consisted of WR’s Quincy Morgan, David Kircus and Domenik Hixon each fielded some kicks during the afternoon session. Both Brandon Pace and Todd Sauerbrun got reps kicked off.

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TRAINING CAMP: DAY 4

August 1, 2007

NOTES AND NEWS FROM DAY FOUR OF TRAINING CAMP:

Day four and away we go!

If the biggest news yesterday was Domenik Hixon’s shoulder injury, the top story today should have been his return to the practice field.

However, Javon Walker broke his silence today and spoke to a throng of eager reporters after the morning practice. Much to their chagrin, he didn’t discuss the Jan. 1st death of Darrent Williams. But that didn’t stop every sports media outlet from leading with the story “Walker still silent on slain teammate” — way to respect the man’s emotional recovery dill weeds!

In ACTUAL football news, Ian Gold made it back into the line up and Domenik Hixon muscled through his shoulder pain to complete the morning practice. Brandon Marshall, however, sat out again. Shanahan noted that and made some pointed comments about the importance of beating the injury bug and getting out on the field.

“When guys get hurt, it really hurts their chances of making the team. For a guy like Domenik to come in after a first-degree shoulder separation is pretty impressive. He worked through it, and that is what you are hoping a guy is going to do.”

“A guy that keeps getting hurt, we can’t waste repetition on a guy that’s not out there. We have to have guys who can stay healthy.”

— Mike Shanahan 8/1/07

And if Shanahan wasn’t blunt enough, Ted Sundquist also commented on Brandon Marshall today.

“We’re counting on Brandon. We put a lot of time and effort into coaching him, getting him ready, but ultimately on a Mike Shanahan team you’ve got to go out on the field and perform”

— Ted Sundquist 8/1/07

Brandon Marshall needs to get his butt in gear, deal with a little pain and get out on that darn practice field — SOON.

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ATTENDANCE:

WR Marquay McDaniel was held out with a hamstring injury. Kenard Lang and Chad Mustard did not participate and Glenn Martinez was sidelined during the morning practice with a strained leg muscle.

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OFFENSIVE LINE UPS: WEDNESDAY

den-logo.jpg Wide Outs:
Walker and Brandon Stokley ran with the 1st Team.

den-logo.jpg Tight Ends:
No real change from the last few days.
den-logo.jpg Running Backs:
Again, no change. Travis Henry with Cecil Sapp running second. Mike Bell, Andre Hall and Young following behind.

den-logo.jpg O-line:
* 1st Team O-line was unchanged: LT Matt Lepsis, LG Ben Hamilton, C Tom Nalen, RG Chris Kuper and RT Erik Pears.

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DEFENSIVE LINE UPS: WEDNESDAY

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, but Jimmy Kennedy replaced Adams for some reps this morning.

DIME PACKAGE NOTE: Unchanged from yesterday: Ekuban and Warren were the tackles with ends Jarvis Moss and Elvis Dumervil.

den-logo.jpg Linebackers:
* 1st Team LB’s were: Nate Webster took his turn at SAM today, D.J. Williams still impressing at MIKE and Ian Gold back at WILL.

den-logo.jpg Secondary:
No changes here as CB’s Champ Bailey and Dre’ Bly and Safeties Nick Ferguson and John Lynch played on the 1st Team. Foxworth was their Nickel back and Cox joined the 1st Team during work on the Dime Package.

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SPECIAL TEAMS LINE UPS: WEDNESDAY

den-logo.jpg Kick-Off Return Team:
Returners consisted of WR’s Quincy Morgan, David Kircus and Domenik Hixon each fielded some kicks during the afternoon session. Both Brandon Pace and Todd Sauerbrun got reps kicked off.

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DOGFISH: Camp Preview Secondary

July 13, 2007

Everyone is getting ready for camp, and NFL.com has even done a nice video feature on what the Broncos have done this off-season and what we can expect later this month at Training Camp (TC).

And speaking of previewing TC, our guest author Dogfish has the final installment of his Camp Preview series. This time the focus is Denver’s defensive secondary.

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LINEBACKERS

OVERVIEW:

I’m pretty satisfied with this group overall, but I do think there’s more uncertainty at the position entering this year than we’ve seen in quite some time. I feel that we lost the best player of the unit in Al Wilson, but we should have enough solid LBs to get the job done with some improved D-line play.

D.J.’s transition to the middle will be one of the main areas of focus for this group in TC, especially teaching him how to line up the defense and make the correct calls. We’ll also be breaking in at least one new starter on the strong side, although it’s likely to be a vet who does have some starting experience elsewhere.

I’m also interested to see if anyone can mount a challenge to Gold–I certainly hope so. At worst the competition will keep him on his toes, and at best someone like Holdman just MIGHT prove good enough to replace him. I like Gold, but he didn’t impress last year. While I don’t see anyone unseating him in camp, I can see someone potentially challenging him for playing time down the stretch if he doesn’t play better than he was at the end of last year. And if someone gives him a run for his spot in camp, it’ll make that all the more likely.

The addition of Eddie Moore is a bit of a wild card. Moore was a second round pick of the Dolphins a few years back, but he never really panned out. It’s debatable whether Bates likes him enough to give him a second chance here, or if he was really just brought in to help the other LBs learn the system. As Bates didn’t get much out of him in Miami, I’m inclined to suspect that it’s the latter, but you never know.

Cameron Vaughn supposedly has nice potential, T.J. Hollowell has been invited back for another camp, and Louis Green has a few years experience with the club. Those guys will be competing for the backup linebacker spot (or spots, depending on how many we keep this year—right now, with the way the rest of the roster looks to be breaking down, I’m leaning towards five), but special teams play is likely to be an important determining factor. I have FA acquisition D.D. Lewis penciled in as a slight favorite to earn one of those last spots based on reportedly solid ST play in Seattle, as well as some experience playing on the defensive side of the ball.
PLAYER TO WATCH:

D.J. Williams! This is his chance to at last prove that he’s the star most people on this board think, rather than the solid-but-unspectacular player that we’ve seen the past two years. Although I won’t read too much into TC reports for a guy who’s playing his third position in four years, it’ll nonetheless be our first indication of how well D.J. will handle the transition. I think his ability to adapt, including making the line calls, will be one of the biggest factors in just how good our Defense can be this year. And it may influence our draft next year as well, so it’s definitely worth paying close attention to. I’ve said before, I think this is a make-or-break year for D.J. in denver, so he needs to come into camp prepared for the mental challenge.

BEST POSITION BATTLE:

Nate Webster vs. Warrick Holdman for the starting SAM linebacker spot.  Other than the battle for the backup spots, I expect this to be the ONLY real battle battle among the LB corps in camp, and it may well drag on right up to the start of the season or even beyond.  Moore was reportedly running with the first team in OTAs, but I suspect that may have been a result of his experience in Bates’ system more than anything else. Of course he could challenge for a starting spot, but I think the other guys will pass him up once they learn the scheme. Webster may be the more physically talented player, but Holdman is probably more reliable and consistent–he’s also been more durable, and I give him a slight edge.

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART:

1. D.J. Williams
2. Ian Gold
3. T.J. Holdman
4. Nate Webster
5. D.D. Lewis

CORNERBACKS

OVERVIEW:

This looks like possibly the strongest position on the team entering camp. Not only did we add a two-time pro-bowler to play across from the legend, but Dominique Foxworth and Karl Paymah make us very strong all the way down to our dime back. Shanahan isn’t likely to overwork Champ in TC or the preseason, so the younger guys will get plenty of chances to play with the starters. That will give Bates a chance to gauge just how good they are, and that could potentially affect any contract talks if we decide to extend either of them before they hit restricted free agency.

Jeff Shoate is still hanging around, and I would guess that this is his last chance to make an impact. We brought in three corners (Bill Alford, Kevin House and Lamont Reid) from NFLE, so we may be looking for another developmental project. I don’t know about PS eligibility for those guys, but if we keep any of them that would seem like the most probable destination. Curome Cox’s ability to play some corner has allowed us to roll with just four true CBs in the past, and I think we will most likely go that route again this year. Whether Cox plays some corner in TC could give us an early indication if that’s what we’ll do.
PLAYER TO WATCH:

Karl Paymah. If this were a regular season preview, Dre Bly would get this spot for sure, but I don’t know that we’ll really learn what we need to know about him from camp reports. He’s a natural fit for this system, and I expect him to play well in shorts and T-shirts, but Paymah is definitely a player to keep an eye on this year. He reportedly had the most upside of the three corners we drafted in ’04, and I thought he finally started to show some of that at the end of last year, with very solid games against Arizona, Cincy and San Francisco. I’ve felt for a while now that confidence was Paymah’s biggest hurdle–if the light has come on, we may see some good things from him.
Paymah was also lost trying to play Coyer’s stupid fifteen-yard cushion. He’s a physical corner who will be MUCH more comfortable in Bates man-to-man coverage, especially when he’s allowed to play bump-and-run. Even if he doesn’t win one of the top spots, I think he could end up playing a fairly significant role for us this season.
BEST POSITION BATTLE:

Dominique Foxworth vs. Karl Paymah for the nickel back spot. Don’t just assume that Foxworth has this locked up because he’s been ahead of Paymah the past two years. As just mentioned, Bates is bringing a new system that may play to Paymah’s strengths more than Foxworth’s. I do expect Fox to withstand the challenge, but I’m not writing Paymah off just yet. Ultimately I really like both players. I’m happy to finally have some QUALITY youth at the position after quite a few years getting by with odds and ends, and I hope that we move aggressively to lock at least one of them up long-term. Whoever loses this battle will still get plenty of opportunities to contribute, as we traditionally have scored early and put teams in comeback mode.

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART:

1. Champ Bailey
2. Dre Bly
3. Domonique Foxworth
4. Karl Paymah

SAFETIES

OVERVIEW:

Really, there’s not a whole lot to talk about here. Unless something unexpected happens, the depth chart looks to be rather set here–at least towards the top. We didn’t bring in any new blood at the position except for UDFA Roderick Rogers, and I can’t see him as more than a PS player at this point. Steve Cargile and Quentin Harris were desperation hires last year–I doubt either makes the squad. Maybe Brandon or Abdullah can at least challenge Ferguson for a starting spot (I’m sure Lynch will put in a good word to Shenanigans for Hamza 🙂 ). . .

Really, the health of Ferguson and Brandon will be the biggest question that TC can answer. And even if they do prove to be fully healthy, I think their reps will probably be limited until at least the preseason (probably Lynch’s as well– he hardly has anything left to prove, or learn).

PLAYER TO WATCH:

Sam Brandon. Given the TEs we have to face in our division, Brandon’s importance can’t be overstated IMO. He may not start, but he plays a valuable role! Gates had his biggest game against us last year with Brandon out of the lineup. Coming off a knee injury can be tricky for a DB, and Brandon also backs up the CB spot. His return to full health is important to us, and if he’s ever going to challenge for a full-time starting position, this should be the year.

BEST POSITION BATTLE:

I’ll say Ferguson vs. the Field for the starting SS spot, but I’m really not sure how much of a battle it’ll turn out to be.

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART:

1. John Lynch
2. Nick Ferguson
3. Sam Brandon
4. Curome Cox
5. Hamza Abdullah

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Well, that wraps up the special camp preview series by our guest author Dogfish. I strongly encourage you to check out the forums over at broncomania, where Dogfish and many other insightful fans chat about everything under the sun!

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DOGFISH: Camp Preview – QB’s & RB’s

July 9, 2007

With mini-camp starting today, I thought it would be nice to begin considering what’s in store for us during Training Camp later this month.  Conveniently for me, one of my favorite forum members has recently written a great camp preview for each position.  Dogfish has impressed me with his insightful articles on everything from the draft to special teams.  And with permission to re-post these great articles here, we will begin with Dogfish’s look at Quarterbacks and Running Backs.

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GUEST AUTHOR: DOGFISH 

Here is an advance preview to take a look at some of the most interesting position battles, and hopefully spark some discussion. . .

QUARTERBACKS

OVERVIEW:

What really needs said here? The purpose of Training Camp (TC) is clear at this position–get Jay Cutler ready! This TC will be big for Cutler, as it’s his first as the unquestioned starter.  And he will need all of those first-team reps to help develop chemistry with all the new targets he’s going to have this year.   He showed a great rappoire with Marshall and Scheffler when inserted into the starting lineup last season, so it will be of particular importance for him to get his timing down with his most dangerous weapon, Javon Walker.   He also needs to get in more reps with Tom Nalen–and clear up the issues they had with the exchange.  And I suspect we’ll be installing more shotgun formations, as well.   In addition to working on his mechanics, reads and pocket presence, Cutler will continue to delve into the playbook–and facing Champ Bailey and Dre Bly every day in practice should also be a good learning experience for him. 

TC will also be an opportunity for newly-acquired backup QB Patrick Ramsey to start learning the denver system, and will give the coaches their first real chance to see what he can do first-hand.   And for Preston Parsons and Darrell Hackney, it will be a chance to prove that they belong on the team.

PLAYER TO WATCH:

Obviously, this is Jay Cutler– no individual player’s performance is likely to be more pivotal to the success of the team.   So, hopefully, he can get off to a good start in TC and begin to establish himself as a leader on offense.

BEST POSITION BATTLE:

Preston Parsons vs. Darrell Hackney for the #3 QB spot– IF we even keep a third QB on the 53-man roster, which I suspect we won’t.  I’m not sure if Parsons has practice squad eligibility left or not.  If he doesn’t, Hackney may win this battle by default unless parsons impresses so much in camp that they just can’t cut him.

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART:

1. Jay Cutler
2. Patrick Ramsey

RUNNING BACKS & FULL BACKS

OVERVIEW:

This feels like the first time in a while that we’re going into TC without the top tailback spot being up for grabs.   Although he’s the newcomer, I feel that camp will be more important for some of the younger backs than for Henry.  Of course he needs to learn our playbook and get comfortable in the Zone Blocking Scheme (ZBS), but RB is the easiest plug-and-play position in the game.   Henry is an instinctive runner who fits perfectly into our system, and he has little to prove in camp–the coaching staff will want to get a more precise read on his abilities than what they can get watching film, but hopefully keeping him healthy and fresh will be the top priority. 

Mike Bell, however, will have to show that he’s improved on a few weak spots if he wants to hold off Cecil Sapp, Andre Hall and Selvin Young for the #2 spot on the depth chart. 

The picture at fullback is a little muddier, and there should be plenty of tough competition.  It’ll be interesting to see if Sapp plays exclusivley at tailback, or if he’s in the mix at FB as well– if he’s not, veteran Kyle Johnson would seem to have the first chance at the starting role.   TC should help determine whether Paul Smith will be used on offense, or merely on special teams.  Troy Fleming, who has blocked for Henry before, should get a chance to unseat KJ, and Thump Belton will be facing an uphill battle to free himself.  🙂   

I see us most likely keeping two FBs (an offensive starter, and Smith as a special teamer), plus Sapp in a swing role, so all of these guys will have to be at their best.

PLAYER TO WATCH:

Cecil Sapp– This will be a big camp for ‘Cecil the Deisel,’ as he finally gets a legit chance to make his presence felt at tailback (the spot where he starred at CSU).   His versatility and unselfishness will likely earn him a roster spot either way, but you can bet he’ll be highly motivated.  He’s reportedly lost weight to maximize his quickness, and I look for the more powerful Sapp to give Mike Bell all he can handle in the battle for the top backup spot.

BEST POSITION BATTLE:

Selvin Young vs. Andre Hall for what’s likely to be the last RB spot on the roster.   I’ll have my eye on this battle as closely as any in camp.   These are both guys I wanted to see here coming out of college, and I think they have pretty comparable skill sets–both are undersized but quick and shifty, scatback types who are solid receivers out of the backfield.   I think Young may have a bit more footspeed, but he has some fairly serious durability concerns. . . Hall has the advantage of a year in our system.   Whoever wins, I think the loser is very likely to land on the practice squad–if he clears waivers.  It may be a bit of a longshot, but i also wouldn’t put it past one of these two to really shine in camp and get a chance to fight for the #2 spot.

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART:

1. Travis Henry
2. Mike Bell
3. Cecil Sapp
4. SelvinYoung

1. Kyle Johnson
2. Paul Smith

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Tomorrow Dogfish takes on WR’s & TE’s. 

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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.

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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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