Monday, January 26, 2009

Nolan in Denver is a done deal

It's not official until it's official. And it's official. The dotted line has been signed, and Mike Nolan is indeed going to return to Denver with plans to rebuild the defense. After spending multiple years with multiple Bronco teams, he's back. He is also fully expected to make the transition to the 3-4 defense, which has been the talk of the offseason thus far for the Broncos.

So now, it's not just McDaniels that has $40 million to spend on the defense, it's McDaniels and Nolan. Get used to that duo because you're going to be hearing a lot of it in the Denver metro area over the next couple of years.

Nolan was a previous defensive coordinator for the New York Giants, the New York Jets, the Baltimore Ravens, and the Washington Redskins. His most recent NFL job was as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Where he was more known for sporting his suit and tie on the sideline, than his actual success(or lack-thereof).

Broncos to be major players in the free agency pool?

With free agency just a little over a month away, one has to think that the Denver Broncos have been speculating about who they plan on bringing in this offseason, right? Wrong. However, there is speculation looming around Denver. But it's not about the players that will be coming to Denver, it's the players that will be leaving Denver.

Apparently the Broncos are looking to let go a number of individuals on the defense side of the ball, in hopes to rebuild what was a horrific unit last season. Just some of the names seen floating around the city are Marlon McCree, Vernon Fox, Marquand Manuel, Niko Koutouvides, Boss Bailey, and Dewayne Robertson, who were all brought in last offseason to try to help upgrade what was an already atrocious unit. And it got no better, instead it got much, much worse. So they could very well be sho
wn the way to the door within the coming weeks. Others include Bronco veterans Ebenezer Ekuban, Nate Webster, Kenny Peterson, Karl Paymah, and John Engleberger.

If all of the following are out of Denver by March, the traditionally cap-strapped Broncos would free up approximately $50 million in cap space.


When you look at the fact that all the Broncos drafted rookies might only take up one fifth of that, you are looking at around $40 million to spend(this year alone) on a very deep, and talented free agency pool.

If you're Josh McDaniels right now, what else could you ask for? You have a franchise quarterback, and a great offense that needs little to no tweaking what-so-ever. And then you have the 29th ranked defense, that needs a total revamping, and $40 million to spend on it.

So if you think about it, the Broncos could sign 5 free agents that are worth $7 million a year, and they'd still have $5 million left over.

I'm going to throw 5 possible suitors out there right now. Julius Peppers, Bart Scott, Terrell Suggs, Brian Dawkins, and dare I mention, LaDainian Tomlinson.

Just sayin'.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

2009 Senior Bowl analysis

What's up everyone, this is my first blog entry, and I must say, what a way to start it off. It's the offseason for 30 of the 32 NFL teams, and that means the majority of fans are now looking forward to the next couple of months, seeing which players land where, or which players could land where.

Well to move on, the annual Senior Bowl took place last night, and we got to see which star senior football players in the nation shined, and well, which didn't.

To start things off, I'll go with who impressed, in my eyes. I really have no where else to start besides the runningback position. Here's a position, that, coming into this draft, everyone devalued. Everyone overlooked this position, and no one feels as if there's any true elite backs in this draft. Which I can agree with
to a certain extent, but I feel as if this draft class could easily produce multiple starters for a lot of clubs at the next level.

Andre Brown, Rashad Jennings, Cedric Peerman, Kory Sheets, and James Davis all showed a little something unique to their game. I saw something different, but something special in each of them. Whether it was explosiveness, sheer effort, a low-center gravity, or bowling over two USC linebackers in one play. Each runner made me say "wow", at least once last night.

One man I'd have to point out, out of this group, however, would be Jeremiah Johnson of Oregon. On the final drive of the first half, the North was down 21-3, and Johnson put the club on his back and carried them down the field. It started by him catching a 22 yard pass, then proceeded to him scampering 16 yards to put the ball inside then 10, and finished with him catching a touchdown pass from QB Nathan Brown and cutting the South's lead to 11. This was the most impressive drive of the night in my opinion. And the fact that he was the key to this drive made me HAVE to point out him specifically.

On the defensive side of the ball, I absolutely LOVED the play of ILB Rey Maualuga. He was swarming last night, after every snap, he was around
the ball carrier. Outside of his missed tackle on Virginia RB, Cedric Peerman, I'd say that he was in and disrupted almost every play. Plus the forced fumble was a great thing to watch also. I'm telling you, whoever drafts this man is going to have THE best ILB in the entire NFL in 2 years.

As a group, I was really impressed with Brian Robiskie, and Derrick Williams, the two WRs representing the Big 10. As a Michigan fan, I've seen plenty of these guys, and I really like what each brings. Robiskie is an excellent route runner and seems like he's always open, reminds me a lot of Anthony Gonzalez who came out of Ohio State 2 years ago. If he can do this consistently at the next level, I think he could be a great slot receiver for years to come. Then there's Derrick Williams, who is just a great talented receiver. If he can put it together consistently, hold onto the ball, and just listen to what he coaches have to say, I could see him being a playmaker at the next level. Think of this year's Eddie Royal, because that's who I compare him to.

Looking elsewhere, you obviously have to recognize the play of the South as a whole. Just an amazing effort. The offense moved consistently throughout the whole night, and the defense played very well also.

Now onto the disappointments, mainly, the quarterbacks.

No one excelled, no one showed poise, no one showed patience, and no one seemed to pull away as a top notch QB. I really think this is one of the worst years to look for a franchise quarterback, especially since I'm not sold on Sanchez(Although, I am a fan and I feel like he could be good). It reminds me of the 2005 draft class with Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith. Outside of those two, there weren't really any that had anything special to their game. All I can say is I'm glad the Broncos have Cutler, haha.

Another disappointment was safety William Moore. I was really looking forward to seeing him, but a first quarter injury took him out of the game for good and my analysis couldn't be completed. From what I've been hearing, is that he really has dropped off, and NFL clubs are asking him to throw on some weight, and go into the NFL as a weakside LB.
Really unfortunate. Hopefully he can raise his stock with a good workout at the combine because I'm a big fan of this kid, and I'd like to see him excell at the next level.

One HUGE disappointment in my eyes was defensive tackle B.J. Raji. After a great week of practice, I didn't see him stand out at all in the actual game. And being a Bronco fan, I know all about players that would be great in practice, but didn't show up on Sunday(Darius Watts anyone?). But as far as his game, he had nothing last night. He was constantly getting pushed around by the opposing offensive line(props to them), and I didn't see him make many plays. I'm going to go back and look through the game over the next week or so, but from what I saw last night, it was a disappointment.

That's pretty much it as far as my analysis. I liked what I saw from a lot of the players and I really think there's a lot of depth from rounds 2-7 this year. I think it could potentially be a very great draft class, but there is a lot of raw players, and not a lot of elite players. However, with the combine and pro days coming up, we could very well see many players move into that elite status with great workouts. The next couple of weeks are going to be interesting, and personally I can not wait.

Until next time, I'll see you guys around.