|06-21-2007, 08:00 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2006
Broncos Team Report 6/19/07
For Sporting News
The Broncos, in essence, are throwing numbers at their most glaring offseason problem. With the addition of DT Jimmy Kennedy from St. Louis for a sixth-round pick, Denver now has 17 linemen from which to choose when July training camp opens. Yet the most recent additions of Kennedy and Sam Adams were necessary and solid low-cost, potentially high-reward acquisitions. Denver's last minicamps revealed it lacked the space eaters in the middle necessary to succeed in Jim Bates' system, which relies on the tackles occupying double teams and freeing the ends to align wide. With Gerard Warren also in the fold, Denver now has three 320-pound-plus types to rotate on run downs. Kennedy was an enigma with the Rams. He still has the size and athleticism that made him a first-round draft pick but never got comfortable playing with three different coordinators as a pro. The biggest upshot of joining his newest team is he'll have less pressure as part of Denver's rotation rather than a focal point at his former stop.
SCOUTING REPORT: The full-time ascension to starting quarterback by Jay Cutler trickled down somewhat to the team's offseason moves. OG Montrae Holland, signed as a free agent from New Orleans, on the surface doesn't appear to be a typical Broncos offensive lineman, given his body type -- squatty and rotund. But with Cutler behind center, Denver attempted to get bigger in the middle of the offensive line with Cutler more a pocket-oriented passer than his predecessor, Jake Plummer, and teams aligning defensive tackles 25-30 pounds heavier than the Broncos' interior line to clog running lanes. And the Broncos believe Holland nevertheless has the quick feet necessary to succeed in their movement-heavy, zone-blocking system. Holland will compete with second-year player Chris Kuper for the starting job at right guard.
INSIDE DISH: One player who may not ultimately be celebrating all the recent defensive line moves is Demetrin Veal. Veal has proven valuable the last couple seasons as the third defensive tackle in the rotation. He played about half the snaps in 2007 behind then-starters Gerard Warren and Michael Myers. But he's more of a slasher type than a two-gap plugger and is a bit undersized in the scheme Denver will employ. Size is one of the reasons Myers wasn't pursued aggressively once he hit free agency. Veal once was cut in Atlanta when Bill Johnson was the defensive line coach. Johnson serves in a similar capacity in his new job with the Broncos.
MINICAMP MAYHEM: Broncos coaches were extremely pleased with the progress made by Cutler during his first full offseason with the team. The 2006 first-round pick arrived shortly after the season ended to work out and engaged in dialogue with the staff that resulted in catering the playbook to his strengths. Although Denver doesn't figure to completely abandon the bootleg pass, it doesn't figure to be the signature play it was during the Plummer era. Cutler can throw on the move, however, as demonstrated at times in minicamp. But more important is that he showed a calm pocket presence during those workouts. He slid smoothly in the pocket, planted and threw and didn't show "happy feet." The one downside is that many of the players who figure to be his top targets, including WRs Rod Smith, Brandon Marshall and Brandon Stokley and TE Tony Scheffler missed many of those OTA sessions with various injuries and post-surgical recoveries.