With OTA’s and minicamp in the books, we are entering the most boring time of the calendar year for the Broncos. Quite frankly, the only time any breaking news emerges from late June to early-mid July, it’s always for the wrong reason. So let’s all knock on wood and hope that none of the Broncos do anything to grab our attention until training camp starts.
In the meantime, now is as good a time as any to take a crack at what the Broncos’ final 53-man roster will look like. Let’s get to it.
The Super Bowl is the hardest championship to win in professional sports. “Bunk!” you might say. “You have to play 162 games just to make the playoffs in baseball, or have to topple the superteam Warriors or the Lebron-led Cavs in order to win the NBA Finals.” If you said that, I would agree that you made some good points, but I’d stand by my opinion.
Sure, the NFL season is only 16 games long and at most you only have to claim four victories to get that Super Bowl ring, equivalent to a series win in other sports. Those games are hard to pull out though, people, and it only takes one bad day for everything to come crashing down. Stink out the joint in an NFL playoff game and your season is over. No game two. No series to tie or opportunities for redemption. It was this level of failure during the most crucial times that cost John Fox his job here in Denver, and why despite all of their domination over the rest of the league, the Patriots have lifted the Lombardi trophy just one time over the past 11 years.
Resigning Von Miller may have seemed like an arduous task, mostly thanks to all of the silly and media manufactured drama, but it’s a day at the beach compared to what it will take for the Broncos to be back-to-back champions.
Contract negotiations in sports are like relationships. You have to compromise, talk things out and come to an arrangement that makes both sides happy. Oftentimes, feelings are hurt and that will cause someone to lash out or send a not so subtle message about how disgruntled they are. Look no further than Von Miller’s somewhat comical cropping of a White House picture that left John Elway on the outside looking in.
Maybe these negotiations are more like high school relationships?
Nevertheless, from Elway “lowballing” Miller to Von supposedly threatening to sit out the season if he doesn’t get the deal he is looking for, the prevailing theory is that tensions are high between the Broncos and their franchise player, making the likelihood that a new contract will be reached dismal at best. It’s kind of pathetic how much drama the media tries to fabricate surrounding these situations every year. What’s really alarming is how many people seem to take the bait, hook, line and sinker.
My prediction? You will hear a lot more about how contentious these talks have been, only to watch as Miller signs a long-term deal by the July 15 deadline that will either make him very rich or super rich. A lot of journalists will feign surprise even though absolutely no one should be surprised. Here’s why.
Today is the last day of the NFL Combine and you know what that means; we’ve just been subjected to endless amounts of drills, 40-yard dash times and everyone going bonkers over Michael Sam, most of which none of us will care about when next season starts. Sam is a big deal right now, and I applaud his bravery and the way he’s handled himself in the media, but once he’s drafted he’ll just be another player. That’s what he would prefer anyway I’m sure and that’s how teams are going to treat him. We do live in the year 2014, after all. Back on subject, this is also the time of the year when teams start devising their plans for the off-season and commence putting it into action. Here at Pegboard, we love trying to predict the future and figure out just what our beloved Broncos might do to kick their Super Bowl hangover. I’m not going to talk at-length about that game because I have absolutely no desire to relive it. The Seahawks were dominant, the Broncos were dreadful and I’ll just leave it at that.
The defending AFC Champions will be good enough to contend once more next season, but here are five steps they can take this off-season to ensure that the conclusion will be more satisfying.
There was a time when having a great middle linebacker was absolutely essential in order to build a dominant defense. In their primes, Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher captained units that more than compensated for below-average quarterback play on the other side of the ball, ensuring that the Ravens and Bears were nearly annual contenders, even reaching the Super Bowl with guys like Trent Dilfer and Rex Grossman under center. Then there was Al Wilson, who was one of the toughest players I’ve ever seen and one of my all-time favorite Broncos. He was the heart and soul of the Denver defense for about five years, and when Wilson was forced to retire that defense lost its backbone, needing another five years to recover. But the game has changed. If you can’t find a better quarterback than Grossman or Dilfer, you will most likely find yourself with a top five pick in the draft the following year. Pro offenses are tailor-made these days to capitalize on all of the great qb’s and receivers, and as a result teams have also been forced to adapt on the defensive side of the ball. The middle linebacker isn’t nearly as important as it used to be because they are simply not on the field as much any more.
Robert Ayers was drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL at number 18 by the Denver Broncos. Not only does he have the pressure of being a first round pick, he also has the pressure of being one of the first round picks we received for Jay Cutler.