|07-30-2007, 04:54 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2006
Receivers seeking royalty
By Woody Paige
Denver Post Staff Columnist
You have to throw to a lot of frogs to find a prince.
In the Broncos' previous 47 training camps, the competition at wide receiver was riveting and, sometimes, ribbeting.
Quarterbacks Frank Tripucka, Steve Tensi, Craig Morton, John Elway and Jake Plummer have kissed more than 300 toads and other assorted Neobatrachia.
Occasionally, one turns into Prince Charming instead of Sir Mawn Wilson (1997).
The princes have included Rod Smith, Steve Watson, Lionel Taylor, Mark Jackson and Rick Upchurch.
The biggest frog of all was Marcus Nash, the Broncos' No. 1 draft pick in 1998. (Since 1960, the Broncos have played 94 wide receivers.)
On a pleasant Sunday morning down in Dove Valley at the official start of Camp 48, old head coach Mike Shanahan and new starting quarterback Jay Cutler began separating the princes from the frogs.
Of the 11 candidates, five or six will end up on the launching pad, others on the lily pad.
As usual, intrigue, interest and intellectual discussion will surround the Broncos' wide receivers. Is Javon "Go To" Walker bound for a Pro Bowl? Can Brandon Marshall become a reasonable facsimile of a starter? Will Rod Smith be able to return for a 13th season? Can Brandon Stokley recover sufficiently from his Achilles surgery? Where have you gone, David Terrell? Where are you going, David Kircus? Will Brian Clark become a contributor? Is Domenik Hixon the X-factor? Will a free agent emerge as Watson did out of nowhere (actually, Temple) in 1979?
Who are Nos. 2, 3 and 4? Will there be an updated version of the Three Amigos (Jackson, Vance Johnson and Ricky Nattiel) or a fresh Dynamic Duo (Smith and Ed McCaffrey, who combined for 201 catches in 2000) or Javon & Co.?
The Broncos did not draft, or trade for, a wide receiver. Stokley was their only name free-agent signing, after Indianapolis released him. The Broncos could use one more burner and one fewer possession receiver.
Watson was named associate head coach in the offseason after coaching the wide receivers for four years. I loved him the first day in 1979 and said he would make the team. He still appears to be the best free-agent receiver in camp. I loved Ray Alexander in 1984. Who? He was a one-year wonder.
Shanahan gravitated toward the QBs and receivers Sunday, and my philosophy is: "Follow the coach." Here's one man's opinion (it's not Shanahan's) about the races at wide receiver:
* Javon Walker - Very large year. Cutler has a howitzer arm and throws a catchable ball that is perfect for Walker's soft hands and his precise routes. He was in midseason form Sunday. Walker will have a third 1,000-yard season and be Denver's eighth Pro Bowl receiver. (Upchurch appeared in four, but isn't deemed worthy of the Ring of Fame.)
* Brandon Marshall - Has to stay healthy. Hasn't. The pup is on PUP (physically unable to perform). He will be a major ?
* Rod Smith - Also on PUP. Everybody, especially Shanahan, is pulling for him to make it back for a Super Bowl run, but the team won't have room for him and Stokley. We won't know until the regular season.
* Brandon Stokley - Caught everything within reach in the opening workout. It's easy to see why Peyton Manning relied on him. Stokley is weeks ahead of schedule and ran full-out Sunday. If the heel holds up, he will be a dependable third receiver.
* Brian Clark - The defensive backs adore him. Will make the team as a kick returner/fourth wideout. Has a real upside. Will remind you of young Haven Moses. Has the same size and weight (6-feet-2, 205 pounds), is left-handed and owns sticky fingertips.
* David Kircus - Led the Broncos in receiving in the exhibitions last season. His future with the Broncos will depend on the judicial system, his ability to get open and special-teams work. Bubble man.
* Domenik Hixon - A talent who didn't play last year because of injury. Raw. Can't afford to drop balls in practice, as he did Sunday.
* David Terrell - Had two good years with the Bears, but hasn't played in two years. The fire in the belly has been extinguished.
* Quincy Morgan - Looks like a wide receiver, but looks can be deceiving.
* Marquay McDaniel - Signed as a college free agent on May 2. Too short, too out of shape.
* Glenn Martinez - Been around a little, and you'll like him a little. Knows how to catch correctly, but there are many people ahead of him.
Kermit The Wide Receiver is not in camp. He was too green.
|07-30-2007, 09:25 AM||#2|
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: SO CAL
Why does everybody say that can't keep both Smith and Stokely? It must be because they don't play special teams and they wouldn't have enough perosnnel to do it otherwise. That is the only logical explanation. I mean They will keep 5 or 6 WRs and it's not like the bottom of the roster is full of promising young guys that they couldn't afford to let go in order to give a Rod another year. Are we going to lose sleep if they cut Brian Clark, Kircus, Terrell, Morgan, Martinez, or Mcdaniel? Who gives a rat's a$$. Kircus is the only one in this group that has made any kind of real contribution.
|07-30-2007, 10:14 AM||#3|
Fan of the home team
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Durango, Colorado
Rod Smith was high on Brian Clark.
I never hear much about him even from our own BETTER THAN THE NATIONAL MEDIA local guys done good Kaylore, SoCal and Mediator.
Anybody seen this guy play?
|07-30-2007, 10:35 AM||#4|
helmet to helmet hitter
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Arlington, TX
The special teams argument doesn't make sense. If you're pencilling in both Hixon and Morgan as return guys, leaving (presumably) 4 spots open. Walker and Marshall, who has also been mentioned as a returner...are locks so that leaves two left...if they go to Rod and Stokley you have to look elsewhere for backup return guys. So what? Andre Hall might make this team and he can probably return kicks. Keep the best WR's and if he's got a shot at coming back I don't want to see Rod get dumped for some 2nd team punt return guy. You can get those dudes off waivers if you have to.
|07-30-2007, 10:57 AM||#5|
Join Date: Sep 2003
Biggest problem is they are not Stellar FL possession guys and Mike HATES one dimensional Lelie type players. If either can show Crossing, Dig, and Drag route proficiency then I like them to make this team as ST's and depth WR's.
Just wish I had been there to see camp as i would have commented on his progress.