Notebook: From Player to Coach
Two years after wrapping up his Broncos career, Ed McCaffrey is passing along his tricks of the trade to aspiring NFL wideout and standout skiier Jeremy Bloom. PHOTO: RICH CLARKSON AND ASSOCIATES
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As the Broncos filed out of the South Suburban Sports Dome following their practice Wednesday afternoon, an old friend who hadn't been a part of these everyday proceedings filed in -- ex-wide receiver Ed McCaffrey.
But McCaffrey's presence was just coincidental. His path would not have crossed that of the Broncos had frigid temperatures not forced the team to abandon its outside practice and conduct work inside the dome's climate-controlled confines. He'd been scheduled to be at the Sports Dome all along, as part of his ongoing work with former University of Colorado wide receiver and World Cup moguls skiier Jeremy Bloom.
"We ran into each other randomly on an airplane one time and got to talking," McCaffrey said. "(Bloom) expressed interest in having me come out and work with him a little bit. In addition, Loren Landow that works at Velocity (Sports Performance) has trained me over the years and also trains Jeremy.
"It seemed like it would make sense to combine the workouts that he's doing to train for the Olympics with some football-related work."
As CU fans may recall, Bloom was a slight but dynamic wide reciever and kick returner for the Buffaloes. He stands 5-foot-9, but proved capable of the big play, with five touchdowns of 75 or more yards at CU via receptions and returns.
So how can an angular, 6-foot-5 receiver like McCaffrey help someone like Bloom, who stands eight inches shorter and uses his prodigious speed to get open? In plenty of ways, as it turns out.
"There's some tricks to the trade that you learn over the years, and the one strength that he has is his speed. He'll be one of the faster guys coming out of this year's draft class. So he needs to use that (to his) advantage," McCaffrey said. "As far as route-running, reading defenses and getting off the line, there's little things in there that I can share with him that can help him."
Added Bloom: "Right now we're going to be working on releases off the ball. I'll pick his brain with defenses and how to get open in the zone, man coverage (and) how to beat it."
Skills that can help any aspiring NFL receiver, regardless of size.
"These are things that apply to everybody," McCaffrey said. "You have to understand what type of receiver you are. You have to know your strengths, you have to know what works and you have to know your opponent."
Bloom made the skiing/football double work until an NCAA ruling forced him to choose between keeping his skiing endorsement money and playing for the Buffs. He reluctantly chose to forego football and concentrate on the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy.
But his heart lies on the gridiron, and he said Wednesday that's where he hopes his future rests. That's what brought him to the Sports Dome and to McCaffrey's guidance. He's attempting to train for both the Olympics and the NFL's annual Scouting Combine, which will take place just days after the Olympic Flame is extinguished.
"Once the Olympics are over, the Combine will be coming quickly, so I just want to make sure I'll be ready," Bloom said.
He can count on McCaffrey to ensure that.
TAKING IT INSIDE: Ordinarily, the Broncos wouldn't scurry inside on a sunny day -- even one that was chilly. But with the high temperature only making it to one degree above zero, Head Coach Mike Shanahan opted to shepherd his team indoors for the day's work.
"Sometimes when it gets too cold, you lose focus on what you are doing. It's a fine line," Shanahan said. "You want to be productive in practice and concentrate on what you have to do when you focus on your gameplan. Sometimes when you are out there for a couple of hours, sometimes it’s a little tough to concentrate when players have so many clothes on as well as coaches it’s hard to move."
There were no such problems inside the South Suburban Sports Dome, which sits about a mile away from team headquarters.
"It is indoors and just a little bit smaller, but we are going to get all of the reps," quarterback Jake Plummer said. "That is why mentally, we have to be into it."
BROWN SITS OUT: Defensive end Courtney Brown was the only Bronco to miss practice Wednesday and is listed as questionable on the injury report.
"His knee's a little inflamed," Shanahan said. "He'll practice (Thursday). There should be no setback and he should be able to go."
Two other Broncos were logged as questionable -- offensive tackle Cornell Green and linebacker Keith Burns. Neither played at Kansas City last Sunday but both practiced Wednesday.
"We'll wait and see," Shanahan said of both Burns and Green.
BRONCOS BYTES: Sam Brandon was the only other player on the injury report; he is probable with a thigh injury ... Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis was officially ruled out for Sunday's game ... Eight other Ravens missed at least part of their practice Wednesday in Owings Mills, Md., including cornerbacks Chris McAlister and Dale Carter and offensive tackle Orlando Brown.