Archive for the ‘Nick Ferguson’ 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 2

July 30, 2007

NOTES AND NEWS FROM DAY TWO OF TRAINING CAMP:

“That long arm’s going to be home for you baby, home! That’s the leverage we’ve got to have, gentlemen!”

— Jim Bates, in reference to a great play by Elvis Dumervil

So, Day #2 is in the books.

The Broncos had another great day of practice. The morning practice was with shoulder pads and shorts, and the afternoon practice was a shortened Special Teams session. Highlights included Brandon Stokley’s impressive work as he competes for the #2 WR spot. Jarvis Moss showing some great improvement today and Elvis Dumervil proving to his new coach that a short man with long arms can still bust up a play (see above quote)!

On to the notes…

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OFFENSIVE LINE UPS: MONDAY

den-logo.jpg Wide Outs:
Brandon Stokley and Hixon both had time with the first team, but Stokley seemed to impress the most.

den-logo.jpg Tight Ends:
No real change, although Nate Jackson had a good practice. Daniel Graham remained the primary TE with Stephen Alexander and Nate Jackson both getting some reps on the 1st Team. Teyo Johnson worked exclusively with the 2nd and 3rd Teams.

den-logo.jpg Running Backs:
Travis Henry began to pull away seriously from the pack as the rest of the roster followed. Cecil Sapp was running second with Mike Bell, Andre Hall and Young following behind.

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

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DEFENSIVE LINE UPS: MONDAY

den-logo.jpg D-line:
* 1st Team D-line stayed the same as Sunday: DE’s Ebenezer Ekuban and John Engelberger, DT’s Gerard Warren and Sam Adams.

NICKLE PACKAGE NOTE: Amon Gordon replaced Adams in this package.

den-logo.jpg Linebackers:
* 1st Team LB’s saw D.D. Lewis rotate in for his turn with the unit: SAM D.D. Lewis, WILL Ian Gold, MIKE D.J. Williams

den-logo.jpg Secondary:
No surprises 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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Training Camp Starts Tomorrow!

July 28, 2007

Jump starting the training camp coverage, Andrew Mason has posted the full video of Mike Shanahan’s pre-camp press conference over on denverbroncos.com. He also has a break down of the conference on his blog over at Mason’s Morsels. Here’s a quick look at a few points of interest…

 

den-logo.jpg PUP (physically unable to preform) list includes Rod Smith, Tony Scheffler and… you guessed it, Brandon Marshall. Marshall is still recovering from his quad injury at mini-camp. And while ‘Baby TO’ has unbelievable talent and skills, he HAS to get on the field to get that #2 spot.

“It never helps you when you’re not practicing” — Mike Shanahan 7/29/07

The positive thing about this list is that Brandon Stokley is not on it. After he participated in drills at mini-camp, he has not had any set backs and is expected to take part in all of camp (although he will be among the veterans that are waved from two-a-days).

Mike mentioned that we have 11 guys at the WR position. And with 8-9 guys getting reps per session, he and the other coaches should get a good idea of who is progressing toward one of the final roster spots.

den-logo.jpg Leadership was mentioned in the wake of losing Plummer and Wilson (and with Rod still sidelined). Mike’s response was typical Shanahan:

“There is only one was to be a leader in the Nation Football League — and that’s you have to play well.”

— Mike Shanahan 7/29/07

Not that the team doesn’t have a slew of veteran leaders. Shanahan’s list started with John Lynch, which shouldn’t surprise anyone that watched Tampa Bay during the years leading up to the Super Bowl, when Lynch was the captain of the defense. Nick Ferguson and Champ Bailey were also noted as leaders by example. On the offensive side several O-linemen were mentioned (Matt Lepsis, Tom Nalen and Ben Hamlton).

And what of our new QB’s leadership?

“Jay Cutler will become a leader when he plays well… We’re all judged on Game Day — and he will be judged as well.”

— Mike Shanahan 7/29/07

 

den-logo.jpg Mike also had a few words for his former Super Bowl MVP, Terrell Davis, the day after it was announced he will be inducted into the Ring of Fame.

“A lot of people talk about ‘The System’ all the time. People don’t realize how great a back Terrell Davis was for this organization, and what type of person he was as well. To see him get into the Ring of Fame is really special.”

— Mike Shanahan 7/27/07

 

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Have a good night sleep tonight… we’ll have photos, video and news to go over from the first day of Denver Bronco’s training camp 2007 tomorrow!

 

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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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Mini-Camp Notes & Info

July 10, 2007

Javon Walker’s MohawkMini-Camp is officially wrapped up and we’ll have a couple of weeks without any news again before Training Camp starts. But for two days we got a good look at some new broncos (as well as some old ones).

Here is the much awaited closer look at Javon’s new hairdo (courtesy of Andrew Mason). We don’t know yet if this is a tribute to Darrent Williams or just a fashion statement… We’ll keep you posted!

and here are some football-related highlights from mini-camp…

 

den-logo.jpg First, and foremost, is the excellent coverage of all things orange & blue by our hero of the Denver blog-o-sphere Andrew Mason. He continues his work with daily news and pictures from mini-camp. Check out the pictures here: DAY 1, Day 2

den-logo.jpg Brandon Stokley was out on the field and running around. He even participate in 7-on-7 drills on Tuesday! He is expected to be 100% by the time Camp starts on the 27th. FULL STORY on Rocky Mountain News, FULL STORY in the Post

den-logo.jpg Brandon Marshall was also on the field running again…. until he pulled his quadriceps. He says it’s no big deal and that he plans to be 100% for Camp. FULL STORY on his recovery from the Groin Injury on DenverBroncos.com

den-logo.jpg Cecil Sapp played RB for the Second Team.

den-logo.jpg The First Team O-line on Monday consisted of: LT Matt Lepsis, LG Ben Hamilton, C Tom Nalen, RG Chris Kuper and RT Erik Pears. On Tuesday, Ben Hamilton was absent and Chris Myers filled in.

den-logo.jpg The First Team D-line rotated heavily both days.

den-logo.jpg As for the secondary, Eddie Moore lined up with the First Team on Monday but was absent on Tuesday. Mike Shanahan said it was excused, but won’t go into details. Warrick Holdman filled in for the LB.

den-logo.jpg Ian Gold, Curome Cox, John Lynch and newly acquired NFLE CB Kevin House each intercepted passes on Monday.

den-logo.jpg Nick Ferguson’s wife gave birth at 4am this morning to a baby boy… and, yes, that excused him from practice as well! Nick says now that he has another mouth to feed he’s going play even more aggressively–is that possible?!

den-logo.jpg Still, hungry for more Broncos New… Check out the great coverage over at THE BEAT and the Guru’s list of Quotables over on Mile High Report.

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NFL Europa is done

June 29, 2007

I think most fans will care very little about the NFL closing down it’s NFL Europa (formally Europe) league.  However, I’m actually sad to see it go.  I think there are many young players that gain valuable in-game experience from their time overseas.  This game experience doesn’t happen in the states as teams provide very limited reps for reserves or rookies.  For the Broncos, we have been lucky to get both Greg Eslinger (like Ben Hamilton before him) game-speed practice time while in NFLE this year.  And one of our elder statesmen, Nick Ferguson, played for two years in NLFE where he made the All-NFL Europe League squad as a member of the Fire in 1999.  That’s only to name a few…

I understand that the league has to make a decision based on the bottom line.  And, in this case, the bottom line is well into the red (NFLE lost a reported $32 Million this year).  I also understand that the league has been working on regular season games for overseas countries including a proposal for increasing the season to 17 games.

I just think that it’s sad to loose this 15 year traditional training ground for young NFL athletes…  Call me sentimental.

NFL Official Announcement: HERE

Article on Nick Ferguson’s time in NFLE: HERE

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OTA UPDATES — TEAM CAMP NEWS

June 6, 2007

NEWS FROM TEAM CAMP:

den-logo.jpg Always the first with pictures and team info – Mason’s Morsels: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6. Day 7

den-logo.jpg Some good news on Brandon Stokley. He was seen jogged around the playing fields while the rest of the Broncos stretched and watched from the sidelines when the team ran plays.

“He is looking pretty good. I was thinking about practicing him this week and decided not to. We’re having him do some football related drills. He should be able to go full speed for the next mini camp on July 9 and 10.”

— Mike Shanahan 6/6/07

den-logo.jpg DT Sam Adams was at his first Mile High OTA on Tuesday. He impressed the coaches with his quickness and said his knee was 100%.

“I feel good. This is a great system to be a part of as a defensive lineman. It’s an attacking front. It allows us to put pressure on the football, whether it be run or pass.”

— Sam Adams 6/5/07

den-logo.jpg Shanahan mentioned in his press conference on Tuesday that Sam Brandon probably could have participated fully this week. But since he’s recovering from two torn knee ligaments, Shanahan has opted to keep him from full participation until Minicamp (where he should be “full speed”).

den-logo.jpg Brandon Marshall has been sidelined recently with a slight groin injury. No one seems too concerned — it’s likely a precautionary move.

den-logo.jpg Eddie Moore has been running off-and-on with the first team defense for a couple days now: FULL STORY

“D.J. gives me lot of tips — like ‘run fast'” — Eddie Moore 6/1/07

den-logo.jpg Here are articles about two of our new players: Backup QB Patrick Ramsey and FB Paul Smith.

“It’s my first time in this system, and I’m still adjusting. But I feel like I’m picking it up quicker than I have with other systems.”

— Patrick Ramsey 6/1/07

den-logo.jpg Interesting news that Cecil Sapp (12lbs lighter) is working at both FB and tail back positions: FULL STORY

den-logo.jpg It’s good to see some of our injured players back on the field: Sam Brandon, Nick Ferguson, Cecil Sapp, and Matt Lepsis (STORY ON MATT)

den-logo.jpg The Denver Post talks to Daniel Graham about his homecoming: FULL STORY

“I’m doing real good picking up on this offense. Everything is coming pretty smoothly. It’s been a good first week. I feel comfortable, but I know I have a lot more to learn.

— Daniel Graham 5/25/07

den-logo.jpg Rocky Mountain News takes a look at Bronco rookie kicker and form Virginia Tech student Brandon Pace: FULL STORY

 

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Here is a great look at our team during Quarterback Camp provided by Andrew Mason through this blog Mason’s Morsels — thanks Andrew! 🙂

Quarterback Camp Photos from Mason’s Morsels:

Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, Day Six, Day Seven

My thoughts on what we learned during Quarterback Camp