|09-24-2007, 04:44 PM||#1|
Memphian in Boston
Join Date: Jul 2006
Because Its Never Too Early... Looking Ahead
Yeah, the loss Sunday sucked. Some seem to think that the season is over and this teem will flounder forever. Some take the rebuilding approach. Some think it was a fluke game with some untimely turnovers and dropped balls that easily could have been won. Whichever camp you reside in, we can all agree on one thing. The Broncos will win the superbowl next year, whether it is their second in a row or their first playoff appearance in 3 years. Either way, here's a look at the kind of moves we need to make this offseason to make sure that happens:
Defensive End -
Simeon Rice - signed a 1 year deal before the season started.
John Engleberger - signed through the 2008 season.
Elvis Dumervil - signed through 2009
Jarvis Moss - signed through 2011
Tim Crowder - signed through 2010
Ebenezer Ekuban - free agent after the season
Rice is most likely done in Denver after this season, and could retire. Engleberger has another year left and is a dependable starter. Elvis, Moss, and Crowder are all young guys with a bright future. Elvis and Moss have looked great so far, and though Crowder has yet to see the field, he has a lot of potential. Ekuban's future is completely in doubt, but coming off an achilles injury and with Tim Crowder touted as being a very similar player, I don't see last year's D-line MVP back in orange and blue next year. This is one of the strengths of the Broncos this year, and with a lot of young talent, I think we are set at DE for the foreseeable future. Depending on the moves with the free agents, we could see a late round pick at DE for a potential ST/practice squad role. But I don't expect any high profile moves at the DE position.
Sam Adams - signed a one year deal this offseason.
Marcus Thomas - signed through 2010.
Amon Gordon - signed to a "future contract" this offseason. Not sure what that means as far as contract length
Antwon Burton - signed through 2008, will be RFA in 2009.
Alvin McKinley - signed through 2010
Steven Harris - practice squad
Sam Adams will be a solid contributor, but is most likely done after this season. Marcus Thomas shows a lot of promise and athletic ability, and he could certainly be the future of the Broncos at DT. Gordon is currently starting alongside Adams, but he and Burton both are ideally backups. McKinley was given a 4 year/8 mil contract this offseason, but hasn't seen much of the field. Steven Harris will probably not make it past the practice squad. The Broncos could really use some help here, especially in new defensive boss Jim Bates's scheme. The entire scheme starts with the big hosses up front, and he needs to find that kind of player with some talent. With the stopgap of Adams gone, the Broncos need to invest in a real starting caliber DT, be it through the draft or free agency. Depending on the development of Thomas, we could look into signing a solid vet for competition and for the rotation. I personally would love to see a first or second round pick used here. Then the D-Line, so recently our biggest weakness, could be set for a long time to come.
DJ Williams - signed a 6 year deal in 2004, so it appears he's locked up through the 2009 season.
Nate Webster - signed an extension through the 2008 season.
Ian Gold - signed a 5 year deal in 2005. So he's here through 2009.
Louis Green - signed through 2009
D.D. Lewis - signed a one year deal this offseason
Jamie Winborn - signed late. I can't find details
So far DJ Williams has played about as expected for his first season at Mike. I don't see how any move involving the Mike position makes sense this offseason. I know there is a strong opinion on these boards that Ian Gold needs to go. I doubt he would have much trade value, and cutting him doesn't make much sense unless we draft a linebacker early/make a free agent move, I expect to see number 52 in the starting line-up again next season. Nate Webster has been an unexpected bright spot this season. Brought in to be a backup, he has played exceptionally well so far. He has that nasty streak about him that you love to see in a linebacker. He appears to be a solid starter at SAM, and generally that is all a team is looking for. Louis Green has shown a knack for staying on the roster and as a solid special teams player, but he may never be more than that. D.D. Lewis was brought in to compete at the Sam position, but he is little more than depth. It's hard to judge Winborn as he just arrived. Still, with both Gold and Webster at 29 years old and Webster's contract running out after the 2008 season, the Broncos could look to strengthen their LB corps this offseason. Possibly with a mid-round "potential" pick to develop. But if the staff agrees with the board's opinion of Gold, we could see a move made at the Will position. And after the Jacksonville game, I think it would be the right move.
Champ Bailey - signed through 2010
Dre Bly - signed through 2011
Domonique Foxworth - RFA after this season
Karl Paymah - RFA after this season
Jeff Shoate - signed a future contract this offseason
Obviously we are set at the top for a while. Champ and Dre are the best starting CB duo in the league. However, our depth for the future is in doubt. Foxworth believes he is a starter, and it's hard to disagree with him about that. He will probably want out this offseason, and I doubt Denver tenders both Foxworth and Paymah this offseason. It would be tough to lose Foxworth, a solid young player and a fan favorite, but the Dre Bly deal pretty much seals his fate. I expect him to be playing elsewhere in 2008. Shoate, however, has looked good in expanded playing time this season. He could be a serviceable dimeback if Foxworth departs. Paymah could fill in adequately at nickel back. Denver may therefore look to a late round draft pick for depth.
John Lynch - signed through 2008
Nick Ferguson - UFA in 2008
Hamza Abdullah - RFA in 2008
Curome Cox - RFA in 2008
Steve Cargile - on the practice aquad
Roderick Rogers - on the practice squad
The timeless John Lynch is up to his usual tricks this season. But how much longer can he play at this level? He might last the length of his contract, but I would not be surprised to see him retire after 2007. Nick Ferguson will most likely not be re-signed as a FA, as his mediocre play can only be expected to drop off at 33. Abdullah has impressed in preseason, but hasn't really stood out so far this season while battling injuries. Curome Cox has seen the field the last few seasons as a cover safety/extra defensive back, but doesn't really project as a starter at S or CB. Steve Cargile looked good in camp and pre-season, but he is likely going to be no more than a backup next year if he remains with the team. Roderick Rogers was a UDFA this year, and he doesn't project as anything more than a practice squad player. With our starters aging quickly and their young backups RFAs this offseason, the Broncos could really stand to overhaul their safeties. With the draft class looking rather thin this year, the Broncos could make a move in free agency. But whatever route they choose, some moves definitely need to be made.
|09-24-2007, 04:46 PM||#2|
Memphian in Boston
Join Date: Jul 2006
Jay Cutler - signed through 2011
Patrick Ramsey - signed through 2008
Darrell Hackney - practice squad
We appear to be set at QB for a long time to come. We have the perfect set up with a young gun for the future and a veteran backup in the same mold who can step in without missing a beat. Mike Shannahan has for the last few years gone with only 2 QBs on the roster. I think this is the one position that is guaranteed to see no action this offseason.
Travis Henry - signed through 2011
Selvin Young - undisclosed contract
Cecil Sapp - UFA in 2008
Mike Bell - signed through 2008
Andre Hall - signed future contract in 2007
Paul Smith - signed through 2009
Travis Henry is the clear workhorse. And he will continue to be as long as he is here. Young is explosive and the staff seems to really like him. Beyond those two, we have a UDFA scatback in Andre Hall, two runningbacks playing FB in Mike Bell and Cecil Sapp, and a special teams ace in Paul Smith. This appears to be a classic Shannahan backfield of UDFA's and tweeners, except for the huge offseason acquisition of Travis Henry. We may see Shannahan do his usual job of picking up a college free agent for camp competition, but as we alreay have four of them on the roster, I don't think it will make much of a difference. Outside of some meaningless camp fodder, I don't expect thr Broncos to make any moves in the backfield, except perhaps the addition of a true fullback if Sapp/Bell don't work out this year.
Wide Receiver -
Javon Walker - signed through 2010
Brandon Marshall - signed through 2009
Brandon Stokley - UFA in 2008
Domenik Hixon - aigned through 2009
Brian Clark - can't find
Rod Smith - currently on PUP list
David Kircus - we don't know what he's capable of. But apparently it is not making an NFL roster.
Though this appears to be a strong unit this season, there could be some change in the offseason. While the top two starters are set, Stokley could depart in free agency. Rod Smith may never play again. Hixon and Clark were both brought in primarily as return men. The offseason plans could depend in large part on the development of Hixon and Clark. If either one of them shows potential as a legit number 3 receiver, then the Broncos may just look to add young depth. If neither of them do, the Broncos may be forced to re-sign Stokley or draft/sign his replacement. This position is the biggest question mark right now when looking ahead to the offseason.
Tight End -
Daniel Graham - signed through 2011
Tony Scheffler - signed through 2009
Nate Jackson - UFA in 2008
Stephen Alexander - god knows
Mike Leach - signed through 2009
This unit looks solid. Graham is one hell of a blocker, receiving lots of praise from the staff, and he looks to be the long term solution at TE. Nate Jackson has been his usual self, playing on special teams and certain offensive packages. Tony Scheffler, a guy who came into his own late last season and showed excellent chemistry with Jay Cutler has struggled with a foot injury and has yet to see the field this year. Maybe he can follow Brandon Marshall's miraculous trainer's table to hilight reel transition. His play could be a huge boost to the Broncos offense given his ability to stretch the field. We'll have to wait and see. Stephen Alexander is playing musical chairs with Chad Mustard for a roster spot, so he doesn't figure to be in the Broncos long-term plans. Mike Leach is a long snapper. And thats it. Assuming Scheffler recovers and returns to form, the Broncos should stand pat at TE, maybe making a depth addition.
Offensive Line -
Matt Lepsis - signed through 2009
Ben Hamilton - signed through 2009
Tom Nalen - signed through 2008
Montrae Holland - signed through 2009
Erik Pears - can't find
Chris Myers - can't find
Chris Kuper - can't find
Ryan Harris - signed through 2010
Greg Eslinger - practice squad
Mark Fenton - practice squad
Cliff Washburn - practice squad
With the club's two best starters, Matt lepsis and Tom Nalen, at 33 and 36, respectively, the Broncos may have to make some moves this offseason along the O-line. Ben Hamilton's training camp concussion has still not allowed him to return to the field. Chris Myers, a third-year guy backing him up, has looked young, and is currently the weak link along the line. Hamilton was originally slated as Nalen's successor at center, but his long absense sheds some doubt on his football future. Montrae Holland is an improvement at RG, and he is the type of servicable player that will probably hold onto his job. Erik Pears is still very young, but he has played well in filling in for Lepsis last year and so far at RT this year, and he may be the future at RT. Chris Kuper was starting at RG in training camp, but was replaced after one bad practice and hasn't been heard from since. He was highly touted by Kaylore and SoCal, but has yet to show anything on the field. Ryan Harris was a 3rd round draft pick, but after having serious back problems at Notre Dame and again in training camp this year, he may never develop into the kind of player we thought he could be. Greg Eslinger was highly touted coming out of Minnesota but has just appeared to be too small and weak to hold up at this level. Fenton and Washburn project to be no more than backups at the pro level, if they ever make it that far. All in all, for a team that is trying to build around a young QB, the Broncos really need to focus on protecting him. If Hamilton gets healthy, this year's line could be good enough to take the Broncos where they need to go, but the future is a big question mark. Two old vets who may hang it up sooner rather than later, two vets who are adequate but not spectacular (one of whom hasn't practiced in weeks), and a bunch of young guys who are raw and may or may not develop into solid starters. This line could use some serious help this offseason. Depending on the retirement of Lepsis and Nalen, the Broncos should either pursue a veteran tackle to take over for Lepsis or should invest a high draft pick in a tackle. The interior of the line has a lot of question marks, and could use the infusion of some new talent. I just don't know it the late round / udfa types will be sufficient to protect Cutler. It might be time to bring in some legitimate talent. The O Line is definitely my biggest area of concern this offseason.
|09-24-2007, 05:11 PM||#4|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Orlando, Florida
Jack Del rio
So what does this all mean? Are you banking that the D will "get" Bates system, flip the light switch and learn to tackle by next season, Or is Jake.....errrrrr Jay going to learn to stop zoning in on 1 WR every game and learn to use his vision to get past the 1st progression?
|09-24-2007, 05:15 PM||#5|
Memphian in Boston
Join Date: Jul 2006
But as to what I think our biggest needs are next year,
1. Defensive Tackle
Now making the kinds of improvements we need in these areas will be difficult given we'll have the 32nd pick in every round. But I trust in the front office to make it happen.
|09-24-2007, 05:35 PM||#6|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Orlando, Florida
Jack Del rio
[QUOTE=chickennob2;1726032]If the first progression can put up 133 yards every week, then I'm fine with that. But honestly, I think its asinine to compare Jay to Jake and insult him after he put up what was almost a perfect game.
I hate to rain on your parade, But that perfect game you are talking about was Donavan McNabb and the Eagles, Not the Bronco game. Get your games straight bro