I figured it would be prudent to get discussion regarding this topic steered toward a separate thread just in case. The usual rules of this being an inherently political thread and participating at your own risk apply in here.
Nick has already gone over a couple of times about the Broncos’ offseason needs and I wanted to update where I believe the Broncos’ priorities need to be when it comes to free agency, given that’s the first stop on the offseason path.
My purpose is to give people a general idea about who is available at what position and how much the Broncos should expect to commit to each position. People do need to bear in mind that certain positions will take a higher priority than others and that cap dollars need to be committed to those positions first, before you explore positions that are a lower priority.
I’ll start with where the Broncos are going to be with their cap space, assuming certain moves are made, though in one case, I will account for an alternative scenario. From there, we’ll talk about each position, in order of priority (again, with one exception based on a key decision the Broncos must make).
Continue reading Offseason Primers: Broncos Priorities And Suggested Salary Limits
The subject of how many people visit this site came up yesterday, so I thought it would be fun to share with you the Google Analytics findings on this subject for the calendar year of 2016. Continue reading Thin Air’s Visitors, 2016
Rick Dennison has always been a brainy guy, making Second Team Academic All America @ Colorado State as a linebacker/tight end, where he also earned a master’s degree in civil engineering. His senior year, he received the Merrill-Gheen Award as the university’s outstanding male scholar-athlete. I’ve heard Kubiak and Elway both say he’s one of the smartest people they’ve ever met. That’s the type of player he was, too. Dennison was quick to diagnose plays from his LILB spot, but @ 6’3″, 220 pounds in an era when inside backers typically carried more ballast, Dennison was weak at the point of attack. He was still so heady he earned a starting job.
Unfortunately, he was blocking Bowlen’s Folly, clubhouse lawyer Ricky Hunley on the depth chart. In a major mismatch, Bowlen prevailed over Joe Collier in a battle of wills and Dennison was benched so Ricky Hunley could misread keys and overrun plays and bite on the Hog’s counter trey 22 times one afternoon in San Diego. While it’s true Hunley never played another game for the Broncos after helping make Timmy Smith the answer to bar trivia, he was actually dumped because he ran afoul of Dan Reeves during the bitter lockout that took NFL players off the field for four games of the 1987 season. So did Meck and some other guys, but Dan needed them to win ballgames.
While Hunley was washing out of the league in AZ and with the Raiders, Dennison moved back into the starting lineup, this time @ RILB and he started for two more years. Give Dennison better physical tools and he probably would have started here for a decade. In total, Rick Dennison spent 26 years as a Bronco. Nine seasons as a player and 17 as a coach. He was with the team for all three world championships and six of eight AFC championships.
When I wrote my offseason road map for the Broncos this year, I did so under the presumption that Gary Kubiak was not going anywhere. That, of course, was incorrect, and the Broncos have already got a head start on achieving goal #1, a cleanout of the offensive coaching staff.
Now that we know that John Elway has hired Vance Joseph as head coach and Mike McCoy as offensive coordinator, I think it would be prudent to revisit some points on my roadmap–specifically the goals that refer to the quarterback and offensive line positions. Continue reading How Should The New Coaching Staff Alter The Broncos’ 2017 Offseason Road Map?
UPDATE: 12:50 P.M. MST: John Elway makes it official.
Excited to announce Vance Joseph as head coach of the Denver Broncos! pic.twitter.com/m87uUn9KXs
— John Elway (@johnelway) January 11, 2017
And Mike Klis has more details.
Broncos have reached agreement in principle on 4-year contract with Vance Joseph as new head coach. #9sports
— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) January 11, 2017
Vance Joseph served as the defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins this past season. Previously, he was the defensive backs coach for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014 and 2015. He had interviewed for the HC position in 2014 when Elway opted to hire Gary Kubiak. After the Broncos requested an interview with Joseph to be the defensive coordinator, the Bengals denied permission for an interview.
Joseph will be the Broncos’ first black head coach holding the position on a full-time basis. Eric Studesville was an interim head coach for four games in 2010.
Joseph played for the University of Colorado as a quarterback and running back, finishing his career with 454 yards passing and four touchdowns and rushing for 237 yards. He signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in 1995 and switched to defensive back, playing two seasons for the Jets and Indianapolis Colts.
His first coaching job was as the secondary coach for the University of Wyoming in 2002. He also coached the secondary at the University of Colorado and Bowling Green University. He joined the San Francisco 49ers as a secondary assistant in 2005, then was promoted to defensive backs coach, a position he shared with Johnnie Lynn until 2010. He then joined the Houston Texans as defensive backs coach from 2011 to 2013.
Andrew Mason shared this statement from Miami Dolphins head coach, and former Broncos offensive coordinator, Adam Gase about Joseph.
Miami head coach Adam Gase, on Vance Joseph: pic.twitter.com/60xOco0s4q
— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) January 11, 2017
UPDATE: 12:57 P.M. MST: Joseph has two candidates in mind for offensive coordinator.
— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) January 11, 2017
And it sounds like Broncos defensive backs coach Joe Woods will move up to defensive coordinator.
— Cecil Lammey (@CecilLammey) January 11, 2017
It seems to happen at least once every year: a team who is superior in whatever metric you want to measure–win-loss record, head to head, DVOA, etc.–is sitting on their couches in January while an inferior team is on to the postseason. Perhaps the largest aggravating factor is the requirement that a division champion must not only make the playoffs, but also host a playoff game. Such a champion gets this privilege even if the division was a complete dumpster fire, as the AFC South has been for the past few seasons.
At the very least, I’ve advocated that division champions should not be entitled to a home playoff game, and seeding should first be determined by win-loss record. I’ve also toyed with the idea that teams with a losing record should not make the playoffs at all. (Yes, I’m aware that such teams are 2-0 so far–my responses are “any given Sunday” and “small sample size”.)
Pushback against these ideas takes a few forms. Among the most simplistic are, “Shoulda won your division if you wanna get in”, or “Winning your division is something you should be proud of”. My response to that is, “Shouldn’t playing in a more difficult division give you more credit?” and “Let’s ask teams like the 1999 Jaguars or 2010 Bears how meaningful their pretty division banners really are”. Some will also say that there would be no point in having divisions at all, but I see no reason why you can’t still schedule division rivals twice a year, and also hold claim to division titles, even if every now and then that title doesn’t come with a playoff berth and/or home game.
The more sophisticated argument is that giving division champions playoff privileges helps to create more meaningful games in the playoff race–and in turn, better TV ratings for the infamous Week 17. Surely, the 6-9 2010 Seahawks or the 6-8-1 Panthers would have nothing to play for if it wasn’t for hopes of a playoff ticket via winning their division, right? The NFL has doubled down on this notion by making Week 17 games exclusively division matchups since 2010.
This article will scrutinize this final idea. It will take a look at the playoff picture entering Week 17 since 2002, the year the NFL went to eight divisions and thus creating more of these automatic playoff tickets, and see if there would have been more or fewer games in which teams would have something to play for if divisions were completely ignored for seeding purposes. Continue reading Would Week 17 Be More Or Less Interesting By Seeding Without Regard To Divisions?
Now that the Raiders are thankfully where they belong in January–watching football instead of playing it–I think it’s only appropriate to point out that they, along with the Chargers, could have new addresses in 2017. Since major news on this could come as soon as this week, I’d like to spend a little time thinking about where two of the Broncos’ road trips could be in the future. Continue reading Pondering The 2017 Geography Of The AFC West