Three surprising preseason standouts on Denver Broncos

Which Broncos shined in the pre-season?

By: Steven Johnson

This preseason, the Denver Broncos had plenty of young standout players shine in their limited action. This article will look at three of the players that may have secured a roster spot based on their breakout performance this preseason.

1. WR-Trinity Benson

Getting the obvious out of the way early, Trinity Benson was a superstar. Playing in all three games as a receiver and a returner for the team, Benson locked himself into a roster spot. He finished the preseason with 80 yards and 2 touchdowns on eight catches. While this stat line isn’t eye-popping, in the preseason with limited reps, it shows Benson as a reliable target. Only a rookie this season, Benson showed a connection with every quarterback at some point and also handled return duties. Special teams coach Tom McMahon spoke highly of Benson as well, suggesting if nothing else he could be kept on for special team duties. In a deep wide receiver room this season, Benson was able to make his name stand out beside the likes of Jerry Jeudy and K.J Hamler. Benson will be a good rotational piece for the Broncos as Hamler, Jeudy and Courtland Sutton need breaks and the season wears on player’s bodies. With how many receivers the Broncos have kept in the past, and Benson being a standout behind the top four or so receivers in front of him, it would be hard to imagine him not having playtime throughout the regular season.

2. OLB- Jonathon Cooper

Cooper was a wrecking ball this preseason in place of starters. Cooper enjoyed snaps While Von Miller was eased into action and Bradley Chubb and Malik Reed took limited reps. Cooper finished his preseason action with five solo tackles, one forced fumble, and one sack in three games. Coach Vic Fangio has spoken out about Cooper himself after Denver’s second preseason game. Fangio told the media “You know, we’re expecting him to be a rotational guy for us behind Bradley and Von, and hopefully, he did some good in the special team because we’re going to need him there.”

While praise for Cooper and seemingly a nod to a roster spot, this was only after the team’s second preseason game. Cooper went out the next week and continued to impress, only building on the hype the coaches have seemingly put around him. With his rookie season underway, it seems as if Cooper will enjoy plenty of rotational play behind Miller and Chubb for this fearsome Broncos defense this season. With both rushers previously missing time due to injury, it would be smart for the Broncos to invest in a young, explosive pass rusher like Cooper to have to wait in the wings. With how the Denver defensive line tends to rotate as well, one can expect Cooper to have an impact at some point in most games this season.

3. TE- Eric Saubert

While the tight end room is considered relatively solid with the return of a healthy Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam, Eric Saubert may have carved himself a role with the Broncos after a solid preseason outing. Unlike the others, Saubert has been in the league and has spent time on NFL rosters before. Playing for the Falcons, Bears, and Jaguars, Saubert knows what it takes to make it as a tight end in the NFL. While not having much production with teams before, Saubert had himself an impressive preseason with the Broncos. Providing utility on special teams and blocking on the line, Saubert is emerging as a utility tight end. His stats of five catches for 74 yards throughout the preseason shows a big, safe target who isn’t afraid to get in the trenches and block as well. I believe that his usefulness in the special teams game and his emergence as a target for the Denver quarterbacks may see him sneak onto the final roster this season. One last thing that may push the balance in Saubert’s favor is the injury history of the other Bronco tight ends coming into this season. If something were to happen, Saubert could step in immediately to try and fill the hole left.

This preseason, the Bronco players showcased the talent and spirit to compete across all three of their games. While many stood out, not all will find a space on the roster come final cutdown day. While unfortunate, it is good to see so many young and experienced players alike making the most of the opportunities to try and find themselves a spot on an NFL-caliber team. The likes of rookies such as Benson and Cooper took their chance and ran with it, while those vets such as Saubert came in with a willingness to compete and find a role that fits the team they are playing for. The competition of preseason football may not be as exciting for fans as the regular season but the intensity and the opportunity to find gems is equal to if not greater than any other time in football.

A look into the Denver Broncos 2021 season: games 6 through 8

A unique look at the Denver Broncos schedule in 2021

By: Steven Johnson

The last article in this series looked into the first five games of the Denver Broncos season for the coming year. After looking over these games, Denver took wins against the Giants, Jaguars, Jets, and Steelers. The Broncos did lose to the Baltimore Ravens, giving them a 4-1 start to the upcoming season. This article will look into the next three games, coming against their first divisional foe, a resurgent Browns team, and a Washington team struggling with many facets, including a name.

Week 6: Home against Las Vegas Raiders

Since leaving Oakland in 2017 to migrate the team to Las Vegas, The Raiders have been in the same mediocrity the Broncos have been fighting regarding winning games. The Raiders have seen several veteran players retire this offseason. Because of this, they look to lean on young talent that they have been building the team around. Last year after finishing with an 8-8 record, the Las Vegas defense took much of the blame for the losses. The raiders sat at 10th in the NFL for points scored, but a league bottom 30th in points allowed. While the offense was holding its own, the defense told a different story.

The defensive side of Las Vegas will look different this season as the Raiders drafted three safeties, a corner, and an Edge rusher in this latest draft alone. Coming into week 6, the Raiders will have established their game plan for their new defense to be successful. By this time, the young Denver offense will be settling into their identity as well. This game represents a chance for the Denver defense to show off against a competent Las Vegas offense. Touting high draft pick WR Henry Ruggs III and free-agent acquisitions John Brown and Willie Snead, they look to make up for the lost production of their departed leading receiver Nelson Agholor.

Ultimately, I believe this contest will boil down to Denver and its young offensive playmakers putting together consistent drives against an untested defense for Las Vegas. Look for deep bombs to receivers to open up the game and test the new secondary Las Vegas has put together. If the defensive side for the Broncos is as fearsome as told, then it will be up to the offense to support them and make the most of the opportunities they receive. In the end, I believe the Broncos come into their first divisional game ready and fired up against an age-old rival, putting the rest of the AFC West on notice with a dominant victory somewhere in the range of 37-20.

Week 7: @Cleveland Browns

The Browns had a resurgence in talent this past season as Baker Mayfield found his rhythm and led Cleveland to a competent offense. Behind a strong running game in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, the team flourished. Pushing to their first playoff appearance since 2002 and their first WIN since 1994, the Browns seemed to have broken their mediocrity streak of the past twenty years. The Browns were able to shock the Pittsburgh Steelers in back-to-back weeks at the very end of the season. After finishing the regular season with a win and eliminating them in the Wildcard round of the playoffs, the Browns showed the NFL they were ready to compete again.

Going into last NFL season the Browns’ offense seemed to have a deadly receiving core, including Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. before Beckham went down early on with an ACL tear that ended his season. Besides the Ravens, which are also a part of the AFC North, Cleveland’s offense presents the best opportunity at this point in the season to push the defensive side of the ball for Denver. While injury concerns may hover, a healthy Nick Chubb and Beckham Jr. throughout the season instantly turn this offense into an even more impressive lineup that should see the Browns have equal or better success in games this season.

On the opposite side of the ball, the Broncos line will be staring down a Von Miller type player on the defense in Miles Garret and will reunite with former Bronco Malik Jackson as well. The Browns secondary is formidable with the likes of Greedy Williams, Grant Delpit, and Denzel Ward as well. The Broncos’ offense might have a hard time moving the ball and will need a sound game plan for both the offense and defense. Both sides of the ball must play great if they wish to have success against a Browns team back on track. Ultimately, I believe the Broncos lose this game, not for lack of talent but simply because the Browns are moving into the higher ranks of teams in the NFL after years of struggling. The Browns seem to be a team putting all the pieces together, and the Broncos cannot pull enough together to salvage a win, losing 38-17.

Week 8: Home VS Washington Football Team

The Washington Football Team is coming off a playoff berth season from last year after winning out of a decimated NFC East division. Taking advantage of the floundering Dallas Cowboys without quarterback Dak Prescott and the Giants without star running back Saquon Barkley, Washington was able to slip into playoffs without a real quarterback at the end of last season. Cycling through Dwayne Haskins, Alex Smith, and new fan-favorite Taylor Heinicke, Washington was eliminated in the first round by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Coming into the 2021 season, Washington has recruited journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and hopes to use him to get the most out of their receiving core with speedster Terry McLaurin and former Titan Adam Humphries. This Washington offense is severely untested, and while there very well might be some Fitzpatrick magic to go around, one may have questions about their ability to perform.

The one bright spot on the Washington Football Team is its defense, especially along the line. Star Chase Young has settled into a force in the NFL, and Montez Sweat helped Young along the line to combine for sixteen-and-a-half sacks this past season. The secondary boasts former Giants’ star Landon Collins and a solid corner in Kendall Fuller. Washington had its defense ranked number two overall last year, giving high hopes for the franchise on one side of the ball. If the offense can settle into a safe complementary role, the defense could do more than enough to keep them competitive.

For this game, the Broncos will have to keep the quarterback clean and avoid negative plays if they want to take advantage of this Washington team. This means that passes will be quick to avoid giving Young and company time to get in the backfield, and runs will be designed away from the brunt of the line. One would expect the Broncos to take advantage of their speedy receivers in K.J Hamler and Jerry Jeudy. Also, look for mismatches with tight end Noah Fant to spread the field and make room in the box for running backs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams. The Denver defense should take advantage of a young offense that has yet to find its quarterback, and it will be up to the offense to put up enough points to let the defense close it out. I believe this game might be closer than some would think, maybe due to doses of Fitzmagic, but ultimately the Broncos and their defensive prowess win the day, 26-20.

At this point in the season, Denver would be looking at a strong 6-2 record sitting at the halfway point of the season. a strong record bodes miles better for the team than their previous starts, no longer having to make up ground after starting at a sub .500 record. This could be crucial for the second half of the season, where games will get closer and teams more established as playoff implications become bigger and teams adapt to the typical season injuries and rotations.

Vic Fangio is the future for the Denver Broncos

Trust Broncos head coach Vic Fangio

By: Jordan Anders

Vic Fangio will be going into his third year as the Denver Broncos head coach this upcoming season with a record of 12-20. After being a defensive coordinator for the 35 seasons he’s been in the NFL, he just became a first-time head coach in 2019.

After building up a hefty resume, the Denver Broncos brought him in hopes of rebuilding the winning culture. The Broncos have been in a five-year playoff drought and are looking to make the playoffs this season with a healthy roster and a quarterback who is more experienced and that is third-year QB, Drew Lock. The Broncos are more than able to make the playoffs this year with Fangio’s “top defense and ascending offense” but if they don’t, rest assure that Fangio still would have a job here.

Over the last decade, the Broncos have been known for their defense and Fangio has only made that side of the ball better. The Broncos secondary this season has already been top-ranked against the other teams in the league. Lots of time and energy has been put into making his Broncos defense one of the best, some might say it would be silly to let Fangio disown his specialty. However, there is another side of the ball he is responsible for, the offense. If Fangio is the future he has to put the same time and energy into the offense side of the ball because that is where he’s been lacking.

This season is truly going to be very telling on whether or not Fangio will continue being the head coach of the Broncos next season or not. Another season under his belt would build a stronger case on whether his position should be questioned, however, he will be the one in the hot seat this season. He is a very respected coach around the league and no doubt will have a job as a defensive coordinator or another coaching position if the Broncos choose to move on after three years.

Nonetheless, I personally don’t think this would be the logical thing to do, Fangio has worked extremely well to built up our defense, he was given a young and rebuilding offense to work with when he arrived here and it’s looking up. The defense will key in stopping Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes for a decade-plus to come. Broncos management clearly feels strongly about his ability to hold down the defense and help the team push for a Lombardi if they get him a veteran, talented QB with the likes of Aaron Rodgers.

If the Broncos get an improved performance from Drew Lock to allow themselves to compete in most pivotal games, while the defense is elite, the Broncos should keep Vangio and upgrade the QB position for him in 2022. They shouldn’t let Lock’s faith be directly correlated with Fangio’s outlook. If Aaron Rodgers comes to town, Fangio should have a lot less to worry about. But, if the Broncos acquire Rodgers and proceed to struggle, then the Broncos HC should get the Mike McCarthy treatment.

According to rankings from NBC Sports, Vic Fangio came in last for returning AFC coaches and 24th overall out of the 25 returning head coaches in the league. This means one thing: the Broncos will a lot to prove this season. The coaching position is so quick to blame especially when a team like the Broncos who are known to be a winning team has not made a playoff run since their Super Bowl win in 2016. It’s too early to immediately point fingers at the coach when a team is going through a rebuild with a struggling quarterback who has only played 18 games. Needless to say, this season is going to be big not only for Vic Fangio but for the team to fall short or prove the haters and doubters wrong.

3 underrated moves by Denver Broncos this offseason

By: Chandler Hyler

Heading into the 2021 NFL Season, the Denver Broncos were in search of their next general manager. In efforts to be removed from the day to day activity, John Elway went out searching for his new eventual replacement.

While Elway actually was actually promoted in a way, he hired a General Manager. Still the President of Football Operations, Elway is still understood to have the ability to step in on a call. That being said, he ultimately has instilled a strong trust in the Broncos’ rookie general manager.

First-year general manager George Paton has been a warranted man across front offices in the NFL. Beginning his profound jersey, Paton took on a scouting role with the Chicago Bears. As a scout of the Bears, Paton excelled and resulted in a quick promotion to assistant director of pro personnel in the year 2000.

During his brief tenure with the Chicago Bears, Paton then met an individual who would play a major factor in his development, Rick Spielman. Once Spielman departed from the Windy City, Paton would follow. After a stint in Miami, the duo then headed to become members of the Skol community.

Where Paton developed and learned how to operate an NFL franchise, to an extent, Minnesota has been the backbone of his career. In a strong 14 seasons with the Vikings, Paton played a predominant role in a draft and development process.

Growing within the organization, Paton worked himself all the way up to eventually becoming the Assistant General Manager and vice president of personnel. Paton had been a hot commodity dating back to 2012 when his interviews had begun.

Passing up interviews, turning down offers, and even removing his name from potential General Manager opportunities, Paton was waiting for a prime opportunity. What stands out about George Paton is the fact he had enough confidence in himself and the expected desire for his abilities, that he passed that many chances up.

Not all potential hires have the moxie to roll the dice in such a consistent manner. Some potential hirees take the first opportunity they get, but Paton believed in himself so strongly that he waited 8 years before accepting his preferred destination.

With the Minnesota Vikings, Paton was a part of a team that selected 17 pro bowlers in their respective drafts or undrafted free agency periods. From building some elite defenses, drafting Dalvin Cook, acquiring Brett Favre and Kirk Cousins, Paton was involved in some impressive transactions.

It certainly isn’t a guarantee that Paton’s upward trajectory continues to rise as he begins his next chapter with the Denver Broncos. As promising as Paton may look, the future remains unknown. All of that said, I have faith not only in George Paton, but the entire Denver Broncos also.

Bringing George Paton in to become the next General Manager of the Denver Broncos has been the overwhelming favorite as the best transaction in 2021, in my opinion.

This was the best decision for one very simple, cut and dry reason, Paton will be making all of the day-to-day decisions. As stated previously, John Elway can block a potentially egregious error, I don’t forsee that being an issue. Not only does this bring relief to Elway, but it also puts the Denver Broncos in a position to succeed in the future.

George Paton has come into the 2021 season with a strategy and he stuck to it. His motto for the entity of the 2021 offseason, Paton reiterated that the Denver Broncos would be aggressive, just not reckless.

Right out the gate, one particular former Detroit Lion became available, Matthew Stafford. Paton immediately showed us what he meant by this. Talking offers with the Lions, the price of the former number one overall pick eventually exceeded what Paton was willing to pay.

After Matthew Stafford started packing his bags for Los Angeles, the DeShaun Waston saga had begun. What potentially began as Watson wanting to be traded due to conflictual reasons with the Houston Texans brass and Jack Easterby.

Before Paton and the Denver Broncos could even breach the doors of a possible Watson trade, the storm just started raining. Shortly after being accused of just one case of sexual assault, a massive amount of baggage therapists came out with similar accusations.

While the jury is still out on the Aaron Rodgers situation, the Denver Broncos did add one quarterback during this offseason. Former Minnestoa Viking himself, Teddy Bridgewater became a member of the Denver Broncos just prior to the 2021 NFL Draft.

In a move that cost the Broncos minimal damage, salary, and draft capital-wise, adding Bridgewater was an efficient move. If Aaron Rodgers becomes available, Broncos Country Tonight’s insider, Benjamin Albright, went as far as to say that if Rodgers were to be traded, it would be to the Denver Broncos.

Trading for Aaron Rodgers could make Paton a very popular man in the Mile High City. Wondering what they may have to give up, sending a package that included two first-round picks, a second-round pick, Teddy Bridgewater, and Bradley Chubb would certainly be enticing.

Maybe the Green Bay Packers would ask for more, but it would be interesting to see how much of his poker chips Paton would be willing to push in on a disgruntled quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. An elite talent and professional, Rodgers would be all the Denver Broncos need to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender

With the overall construction of this roster, the Broncos should be in attack mode. Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler, Tim Patrick, Noah Fant, and Albert Okuegbunam, would light the NFL on fire with Aaron Rodgers slinging the pigskin to them.

If Paton could add Rodgers for the aforementioned package, I would be a firm believer in the Denver Broncos winning the Lombardi at least once over the next few seasons.

When most people look at how an organization “does’ in the offseason, it always seems to be matriculated around player additions. It is often you hear people say, “I love what the Denver Broncos did the offseason, hiring George Paton gives them an A for the offseason, in my book.” Everything seems to orbit around the way the roster improved, not the front office.

Hiring George Paton has already brought the Denver Broncos Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby, as well as retaining key contributors in previous seasons. Von Miller and Kareem Jackson will be staying in Denver for at least one more season. Justin Simmons and Shelby Harris’ contracts were also extended to ensure some long-term retention for this defense.

Built around promise young playmakers on offense, second-round draft pick Javonte Williams, will also have his moments to shine. George Paton’s first-ever draft selection, Patrick Surtain II, looks imposing. It seems taking the misused word “safe” pick in the first round will give this Broncos defense depth and upside in a division that has Patrick Mahomes and Justin Hebert in it.

All of these are decisions that have been made by George Paton. While the Aaron Rodgers thing is just hypothetical at this point, that move would be monstrous. Even if Paton doesn’t secure Rodgers, this offseason still seems like it will be a successful one.

Out of every decision Paton has signed off for to this point, Id say retaining All-Pro safety Justin Simmons has been slightly overlooked. While the members of Broncos Country certainly value Justin Simmons, he may have not been retained if the hard-ball negations tactics of John Elway were pressed.

Looking back towards the end of 2020, there was substantial doubt that Simmons may not be returning to the Mile High. This would not have resonated well with not only the locker room but fans and locals.

Justin Simmons is not just an outstanding athlete, but he is also an outstanding human being. Representing the Denver Broncos last year, in honor of Walter Payton, Simmons continues to show his dedication to his community.

Keeping Simmons in Denver also showed a potential culture shift for this organization and how their home grown talent will be treated. After seeing the negotiating debacles with Elway, having a general manager who wants player to feel truly appreciated is a breath of fresh air.

Justin Simmons was a third round draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Since then he has done nothing less than establish himself as a tremendous athlete, teammate, and person. Rewarding this sort of growth and development shines to the up and comers like Courtland Sutton and Bradley Chubb, who are due for contracts soon.

There once was a toxic feeling in the Denver Broncos locker room, that no matter how well you played, locking up a long term deal would be difficult. Even looking at a superstar like Von Miller, the negotiations got a bit frustrated with John Elway being in charge of these ordeals. It went as far as Miller cropping Elway out of photos as he would post them.

Additionally, Shelby Harris was also rewarded with a contract extension. Although Harris was not a Denver Broncos draft selection, he was not who he is now when he arrived to Dove Valley. He certainly has grown since becoming a Denver Bronco, and after two back to back contract seasons, Harris was rewarded.

Harris is known for many things including an infectious laughter and personality, but his ability to swat passes at the line of scrimmage has been noticed league wide. As Harris has reiterated, he has the best hands in the league.

Dishing out these two extensions early in his tenure will do wonders for Paton. Setting the tone that he will take care of his guys will make players want to play for this organization. This team has needed a culture shift since the retirement of new Ring of Famer Peyton Manning, and ironically enough, I think Paton can right that ship.

Outside of retaining key contributors, the other underrated but important move Paton has done was not be reckless. While the Broncos could certainly use a superstar quarterback, his ability to stick to his word on not being reckless has put the Denver Broncos in a fantastic position.

You may be wondering how not trading for Matthew Stafford, or selecting a quarterback in the draft may work out in a positive direction for Paton. Well, put it this way, Aaron Rodgers is holding out of mandatory mini camp. Paton’s willingness of sticking to his guns has put the Broncos in prime position to land the future Hall of Famer.

While Paton did trade for Teddy Bridgewater, giving up merely nothing to acquire him, he could be a potential piece in a package to acquire Rodgers. If Green Bay does eventually agree to trade Rodgers, they will be in need of a veteran quarterback, ala Teddy “Two Gloves,” to help Jordan Love in his sophomore season.

Using Bridgewater in a package for Rodgers would make Paton look even more intelligent.

This Denver Broncos roster is ready to compete now, adding another young quarterback who needs time to develop could be helpful, but it isn’t what helps the Broncos win this year. That is Aaron Rodgers.

In prime position to secure Rodgers, the feeling is actually quite mutual. It is understood by many around the league that Rodgers would not only welcome a trade to the Denver Broncos, but he may even prefer it. For many who don’t follow this team may look at the previous year’s record and ask, “why would Aaron Rodgers want to play for the Denver Broncos?”

As far as the record goes, this team’s talent is not an adequate representation of that. From top to bottom, offense to defense, this team is stacked. This roster has one issue right now, could you guess what that is?

Addressing the glaring hole at quarterback could solve with Aaron Rodgers would solve every issue this team has. By simply not reaching for a quarterback that would not guarantee a shift in the success of this franchise has set Paton up to do just that.

Paton still has all of his future draft picks available, has a quarterback who would be a piece in the trade package, and a few defenders that the Broncos could survive without. It would hurt giving up a Bradley Chubb or Dre’Mont Jones, but adding Rodgers and a potential Lombardi trophy would mend that sore.

Imagine Aaron Rodgers brining the Lombardi trophy home to the Denver Broncos, instead of the franchise the profound trophy was named after. This would put the Broncos winning the Lombardi in three out of the previous four decades, the 1990’s, 2010’s, and 2020’s.

That would be quite a feat considering there are several franchises that to this day, have not to hoist the trophy a single time. Being in this position would not have happened if Paton had become eager and reached for a middling quarterback. Instead, he stuck to his guns, and although an Aaron Rodgers isn’t guaranteed, he has put the Broncos in the a great position to make it happen.

He’s also taken a talented roster to an even higher floor with the additions in free agency, like cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller. In doing so, he put this team in position to draft the best player available in the draft, which he filled this roster with ten potential impact players.

Without luring Paton in as the next Denver Broncos general manager, I am not sure this team is in the position it’s in right now. That is no doubt, the best thing this team could have done after John Elway moved into a higher position. It has been one of the most underrated moves this offseason.

After the hiring of Paton, he immediately stayed true to the backbone of this team and retained the current pillars of this franchise. Also, not reaching for Mitchell Trubisky or any of the other available quarterbacks, has been wildly underrated and its put the Broncos in the driver seat for Aaron Rodgers.

If Paton lures Rodgers in, he may also find himself in the Broncos Ring of Fame someday.

3 reasons Why Teddy Bridgewater could win the QB competition

Why should Teddy Bridgewater get the start in mile high city?

By: Jeremy Trottier

The Denver Broncos have put themselves in a rather precarious situation at the quarterback position.  After drafting Drew Lock in the 2019 NFL draft, they have given him two years to develop and have yet to see a huge leap.  Now, they have brought in last year’s starter for the Carolina Panthers in Teddy Bridgewater to compete for the starting role.  

In this article, I will be going over three reasons as to why Teddy should get the start over Drew, as well as why these factors influence my decision.

Veteran Leadership & Experience

One of the main capabilities and benefits Bridgewater has over Lock is his previous experience in the NFL.  The main point being his stint in New Orleans where he learned from one of the best quarterbacks ever in Drew Brees, as well as head coach Sean Payton.  This experience is invaluable, as it taught Bridgewater how to be smart with the ball as a passer and throw into tight windows.  

This experience also landed Teddy the starting role in Carolina, as former Saints coach Joe Brady had signed with the Panthers as a offensive coordinator.  His knowledge that Teddy was molded into what the Saints were looking for at the time led him to likely push for the Panthers to sign him, as his knowledge of the Saints scheme would work well to the Panthers advantage.  This same knowledge, even in Denver, is huge for any player to have and will definitely help with the mental aspect of his game at the least.

Drew Lock Needs More Time

As much as some may not want to admit it right now, Drew Lock needs a little more time to develop it seems.  At 24 years old and being a 2nd round pick, he may not be ready to be the full time starter yet.  We saw him start 13 games last year and do decently, but was intercepted one less time compared to his touchdown numbers.

Having a mentor in Teddy Bridgewater to curb those turnovers, as well as allow him to learn a bit more and get an idea of what the team needs at the position will be good for him if it happens.  Most quarterbacks are somewhat set by three to four years into their career, so by the time next season rolls around they will be able to see if he developed at all mentally or if he just is not the answer.

Dual-Threat Capability of Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater is no longer the rusher he once was, but he can still get it done with his legs.  In 2020 he rushed 53 times for 279 yards and 5 touchdowns, averaging 5.3 yards per carry.  This capability to move outside the pocket when he needs to helps a ton, as it prevents forced throws that turn into turnovers.

Lock has not developed this too much yet, he can move, but not at the level Bridgewater can.  Teddy is also willing to give himself up on rushing plays to get the first down, as we saw a few times this season.  This willingness to put his body on the line for the greater good of the team gives a mental leg up to whoever he plays for, as it makes other players want to play harder to help him.

RB Javonte Williams is the ultimate dark horse to win offensive rookie of the year

Broncos RB Javonte Williams can be the lead back in Denver

By: Jordan Anders

After playing college football at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for three years, running back Javonte Williams entered this year’s NFL Draft. The Denver Broncos needed to fill in a running back spot after letting Phillip Lindsay walk this off-season and Melvin Gordon becoming an unrestricted free agent next year. It came as a surprise when the Broncos picked Javonte Williams early in the second round, but in many eyes, it was a steal in the draft. Pass protection is also something the Broncos need in a running back, and they got it with Williams as well as the overall talent.

Last season at North Carolina, Williams averaged 7.3 yards per carry and rushed for 1140 yards on 157 carries. On top of that, he had 19 touchdowns and 3 receiving touchdowns. After an outstanding year, Williams received the “highest rushing grade ever” given out to a college running back by Pro Football Focus. Built like a linebacker, as he used to be one… Williams is able to run through people to get the ball down the field. Williams was rated one of the most difficult running back to tackle last season. That’s not all, Williams gained over 700 yards after contact last season and forced 75 missed tackles, more than any player in the nation.

Javonte Williams getting overlooked during recruiting was fine with the Broncos office because he was the guy they wanted. This season there’s no doubt he can produce under this young and explosive offense. He was overlooked during the draft process and is again being overlooked for offensive rookie of the year. The top five contenders so far are the five quarterbacks taken in the first round. However, odds have Williams in the top 20 for the award.

Although Javonte Williams will most likely be splitting reps with Melvin Gordon this season, he still has a good chance of winning offensive rookie of the year. Why you ask? With all those amazing numbers he put up last season, he split the workload with his teammate Michael Carter, who had just one less carry than Williams. With his ability to carry the ball down the field, forcing missed tackles, and straight-up running through people, Williams will be unstoppable this next season. After Javonte arrived in Denver he told reporters, “If I see someone in front of me, I want to go through them or make them miss in some sort of way,” Williams said after being drafted.

Becky Hammon is on a mission

By: Adam Chalifoux

Becky Hammon is used to being told “No.” 

The 5-foot-6 guard was a star in South Dakota’s high school scene but did not receive any offers from major college programs. So, Hammon took her catlike reflexes and ankle-breaking crossover to Colorado State. Despite being a three-time All-American and the all-time leading scorer for the Western Athletic Conference for both men and women, Colorado State’s undisputed superstar went undrafted in the 1999 WNBA Draft.

Undaunted, Hammon turned a training camp invite from the New York Liberty into a legendary WNBA career featuring seven All-Star team selections across 16 seasons. One of the most dangerous guards on planet earth, Hammon now sits at sixth all-time in assists and 12th in points in the WNBA record books. From being named one of the 20 Greatest Players in league history in 2016, Hammon’s determination paired with sky-high basketball IQ and ability made her a titan of women’s basketball. 

In the summer of 2013, now with the San Antonio Stars, a 36-year-old Hammon tore her ACL following a stellar season in which she was second in the WNBA in assists and 3-pointers. The difference between good and great is often in a person or player’s adaptability. While this injury ultimately represented the beginning of the end of her playing days, a new beginning came by way of a historical opportunity. 

Having proven her basketball IQ and vision throughout her legendary playing career, Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs invited Hammon to spend time with the team and coaching staff while she missed the season. By 2014, Hammon was asked by Popovich to become the NBA’s first full-time female assistant coach in league history. Popovich has not only proven himself as one of the greatest basketball minds of all time but has also groomed head coaches such as Brett Brown, Mike Budenholzer, Mike Brown, James Borrego, and many more. 

Hammon became the first-ever woman to lead an NBA team as head coach late in the game in December of 2020 when Gregg Popovich was ejected. Popovich turned to Hammon and said, “You got ’em.”

Although the Spurs lost the game 121-107, Popovich’s message to the basketball world was clear. Of his entire coaching staff, he trusted her with the keys to the car while other potential head coaching candidates such as NBA legend and basketball genius, Tim Duncan stayed in the assistant role for the remainder of the game.

Hammon was more concerned over trying to steal a win over LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers than she was about the historical significance of the game saying, “What dawned on me was I wanna beat the Lakers, Hammon said on the Today Show where she was celebrated as a trailblazing woman in sports. 

Now with NBA head coaching experience under her belt and multiple endorsements from Popovich who some consider the best coach in the modern NBA, if not ever, the writing on the wall is that it will only be a matter of time before Hammon is the first female head coach hired by an NBA franchise.

While the NBA has enjoyed one of its most competitive and fun seasons in recent history there are sure to be head coaching vacancies for underperforming teams around the league. Whether one of those franchises will be the team to break the gender is hard to predict but if a team is to make the move the candidate is clear. Becky Hammon is ready to lead an NBA team.

Rumor is that Gregg Popovich discovered the Holy Grail, Indiana Jones style. This would explain his beautiful flowing silver hair. This means he may never step down as head coach of the Spurs. If he does, however, Hammon seems to be the obvious replacement. All jokes aside, Popovich, 72 is on a year-to-year contract.

If not the Spurs, the Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings, or even the Portland Trail Blazers jobs could potentially become open this summer. Whether or not one of these teams is ready or willing to give Hammon a shot will become clear in the coming months; regardless, she is one of the hottest names in NBA coaching searches as she waits for the “Yes” that will change basketball forever. 

Why Denver is the best landing spot for Aaron Rodgers

Denver is the best landing spot for Aaron Rodgers

By: Jordan Anders

Reports have come out over the last couple of days on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his strained relationship with the Packers organization. It was reported he does not wish to come back under general manager Brian Gutekunst. On the flip side, Gutekunst told ESPN they are committed to Rodgers in 2021. Although the Packers organization says they won’t be trading him, they don’t have a solid case and that started with drafting quarterback Jordan Love in the first round last year. With trade rumors on full blast, the Denver Broncos are top of the list for new destinations for Aaron Rodgers.

The 2020 NFL Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers had an outstanding offensive season. Rodgers had 48 touchdowns and 5 interceptions with 4,299 passing yards last season. Rodgers took the Packers to the NFC Championship last season but fell short to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In other words, Aaron Rodgers is a very talented and experienced quarterback, something the Denver Broncos need if they plan on making a Super Bowl appearance soon. Denver’s starting quarterback Drew Lock, which they drafted in 2018, is still new and learning the game. What would be so bad to bring in a skilled veteran into the Broncos explosive offense?

If Aaron Rodgers wants more weapons, the Broncos got a stacked roaster. Starting with pro bowl wide receiver Courtland Sutton, looking to make a huge comeback this season after missing all last season to an injury. Then there’s Tim Patrick who was targeted 79 times last season with zero drops. But we can’t forget about Jerry Jeudy, a sophomore this season with one of the best route running in the league. For running backs, there’s Melvin Gordon who rushed for nearly 1000 yards and 9 touchdowns.

Broncos also picked up a running back in the draft, Javonte Williams. Tight end Noah Fant is also looking to make a huge jump this next season, with that, Rodgers has the weapons he’s been asking for. After the NFL draft has come to a conclusion, the Broncos have one of the most underrated offenses.

Not only will Aaron Rodgers get the weapons he needs to score the points, but he’ll also need a pretty good defensive team to ensure the wins. Broncos will no doubt have one of the highest-ranked defenses coming into this next season. Pro bowlers Von Miller, Justin Simmons, and Bradley Chubb are just some of the names on this defensive. Many are comparing this secondary to the 2015 No Fly Zone, which was the best secondary in NFL History. If Aaron Rodgers can take care of business on offense then Von Miller will take care of things on defense.

The Denver Broncos would be best fit for Aaron Rodgers if he were to get traded. The Denver Broncos are a complete team that is very able to make it back to the Super Bowl. However, with the quarterback position still with a question mark, the team is not 100%. Aaron Rodgers could feel that role and take the team all the way, while Drew Lock gets experience under a veteran and takes over when and if Rodgers decides to retire. It’s truly a win-win situation.

3 Broncos who can make their first Pro Bowl

TE Noah Fant will have a career year in 2021

By: Jordan Anders

Last season, Broncos safety Justin Simmons and linebacker Bradley Chubb were named to their first Pro Bowl. Unfortunately due to Covid-19 protocols the events and game were called off this year. There are plans for the 2022 Pro Bowl to be played next year at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, date and time yet to be announced. With the season being extended to 17 games, there’s a good chance we can see some new Broncos players named to their first Pro Bowl.

1.Garett Bolles

All Broncos fans would agree that Garett Bolles was robbed this year being named to his first Pro Bowl. Bolles took a huge leap last season especially with the amount of holding calls he got compared to his first few years.

This big leap got Bolles a 4-year, $68,000,000 contract extension with the Broncos, which includes a $20,000,000 signing bonus and $38,000,000 guaranteed. During the 2020 season, Bolles played 1015 offensive snaps, had zero sacks allowed, and only had 7 penalties.

Comparing that to his 2019 season, he played 1013 offensive snaps, with 4 sacks allowed, and 17 penalties. His overall player grade in 2019 was 76.1 and jumped to 90.6 in 2020. There’s no doubt in my mind Garett Bolles has the ability to be named to his first Pro Bowl this next season with the progress he has made the last four years.

2. Shelby Harris

The Broncos defense will be deadly this next season and there’s no denying that. With Von Miller coming back, the best safety duo in the league Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson back, and star cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan, the Broncos will have a shiny defense to combat Patrick Mahomes.

A key piece to this Broncos defense however has been Shelby Harris. Harris last season had 19 tackles, 5 assists, 3 sacks, and 1 forced fumble with an overall grade of 88.3. This year, Harris also signed a contract extension with the Broncos for 3 years $27,000,000 with a $9,000,000 signing bonus. With this stability, Shelby Harris has the potential to make a jump further than his stats in 2019 and make his first Pro Bowl.

3. Noah Fant

In his two seasons with the Broncos since being drafted in 2019, Noah Fant has made big jumps between his “freshman and sophomore seasons”. Last season Fant had 673 receiving yards on 62 receptions and 3 touchdowns.

If Broncos (most likely) starting quarterback Drew Lock and Noah Fant can work more on connecting this off-season, I see Noah Fant taking a big jump with his ability just like he has done the last two seasons. Fant becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2023 so this year is the perfect year for him to capture his draft worth and make a Pro Bowl as a Bronco.

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