By Marc Mandell
@mandell_w on twitter.
A few updates as we eclipse the middle of the off-season. First though, quick digression. I know this is football, but, Lebron James is in his 6th consecutive NBA Finals, Golden State is repeating a visit with hopes of repeating their title. The Sharks are appearing in the first Championship Series of their history against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final. Greatness is happening all around us and it is important to the game. Underdogs everywhere and possibility of new greatness is plentiful. These are the days. The are the days to watch greatness bloom.
Lets get back to it though huh.
Half way home aren’t we! It’s closer now to the beginning of the 2016 league year, than the end of the 2015 season. Now that the OTA’s are in full swing, we get our first real look at how the new team is shaping up. The running game is looking far better than last season. Between the upgraded offensive line, a renewed CJ Anderson and healthy competition from newcomer Davonte Booker, the run game has been provided a real boost. Davonte Booker was putting the running game on notice last week with a very bold forecast. He said he is here to take someones job. Its not a bad thing to me, in fact I expect these kind of comments from a young, capable and talented player. Confidence is important, and Booker has no shortage. Other than that, is this really a big deal? Average player makes it 3 years in the NFL. RB’s have it even harder still. It sounds like Booker knows the stats, and is believing in himself. Not the toughest competition but Ronnie Hillman does have experience, if that counts for anything. I don’t see Booker bettering C.J. Anderson at this point. So until he is cleared to play, our visual inspection will have to wait and see if talk, and walk, are the same. Of course we can’t overlook the addition of Andy Janovich. The fullback from Nebraska will be the unsung hero of the season. It is Master Janovich that will provide the real support to allow whomever is in the back field, a really good shot at making crucial plays at the right time. So don’t overlook him.
The wide receivers are also looking good. There still isn’t a clear cut 3rd option though. I’m sure this will be ironed out by preseason. Bennie Fowler and Jordan Norwood will no doubt get playing time but my gut is telling me that Cody Latimer will step up and get the start in the slot position. I’m sure a number of you saw the news regarding Cody Latimer. He was arrested on a warrant for failing to pay a parking ticket. He was caught because he called 911 for a domestic dispute. Apparently his lady had put her hands on him. A little role reversal huh. So there shouldn’t be a suspension coming. Meanwhile back on the field, Cody has speed and hands. The 2nd round selection in 2014, it’s time to show what he can do. He has the talent no doubt. Now I know there is a lot of questioning about DT. Personally I’m not questioning anything from him. 105 catches for 1300 yards isn’t a bad year for most, but DT isn’t most. Whether it was an issue of distraction, lack of discipline or something of a poor drive, this is the year he needs to bounce back and I have little doubt he won’t. His size and talent are so unique that there is no reason the wide out can’t or won’t get back into the top five conversation. Besides, the team will need him more this year than last. Big time. And of course Mand-sand is looking great as always so not much to report there.
Time for the elephant in the room. All three QB’s have been getting reps with the 1’s. Trevor Siemian seems to be kind of the front runner. He is the only one of the three QB’s to be in Gary Kubiack’s offensive scheme for a second season, allowing him some freedom from the coaching staff. Sanchez is rotating in and out, still recovering from performing some serious lifting of a 25lb plate in the gym and tearing up his none throwing thumb. Yeah, super dumb right? Not helping his image at all. Paxton Lynch is still growing as expected. If you were thinking he is good enough to start week one you might be fooling yourself a bit. He will need polish, but he will get there. He has the arm and legs to be a good starter, but working under center and reading defenses are where his deficiencies lie. I still maintain that Sanchez will start week one, as he is the vet with the most experience. Before you glare at the words on the page, and scratch your head in borderline anger and confusion, remember that the running game will be so much better. I know we heard that last year, but that was a weird season as I have mentioned in the past. Marky Mark can move offenses, read defenses and maintain a good rhythm.
For those of you that read my last blog on the UDFA’s that the Broncos acquired post draft, you would have read about Henry Krieger-Coble. He was one of the two I had pegged to make the final 53 man roster in late August. Apparently he has shown quite well so far two weeks into the OTA’s. He has been making good catches, running good routes and responding well to the team per Andrew Mason. The Broncos are also trying to get him to bulk up a little bit as he does need to play around 245lbs or so. With the news that Virgil Green is out with a damaged finger, the time is now for Krieger and last years selection of Jeff Heuerman, TE from OSU. These two could see some real reps come late July when camp opens up. After all the best ability is availability.
In other news the Broncos will head to the White House for a meeting with the Commander In Chief on Monday. I’m sure you have heard that Brockster won’t be attending. I think it’s a mistake. I mean that, when will you ever have this opportunity again? You wont be winning much down Uston way. Only him and Evan Mathis won’t be attending. Mathis has a physical that I guess can’t be rescheduled with the Cardinals. Other than that, the defense is still frightening, Derek Wolfe is a monster in monsters clothing and D-Ware is carefully playing his back injury.
As OTA’s continue, and we move more into the offseason be sure to check back for updates on yours and my favorite team.