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  • Inside Slant - USA Today

    Inside Slant

    With Brandon Marshall emerging as one of the best young receivers in the NFL for the Denver Broncos, Javon Walker apparently wants to go elsewhere.
    Walker stopped short of demanding a trade or his release, but he made his feelings pretty clear after the Broncos' season finished.

    "I just don't think it's the best fit for me," Walker said of Denver's offense. "It's not for me. I can easily say that now. I wouldn't say it until the end of the season, but it's not for me."

    While he said Marshall's 102-catch season had nothing to do with his displeasure, his words seemed to indicate otherwise. He never revealed a specific problem he had with how he was used in the offense. Walker had 1,000 receiving yards in 2006 and had 220 yards in Denver's first two games this season before a knee injury flared up.

    But he said he thought he would be elsewhere next season.

    "I just don't see it happening with Javon here," Walker said. "I'm happy to be here. I just don't see it happening with me here."

    The Broncos owe Walker $4.4 million in bonuses this offseason and another $1 million bonus during the 2008 season. Walker is coming off a season in which he was a non-factor after the second game because of the knee injury. He had surgery in October and didn't have a catch longer than 11 yards when he returned.

    He had admitted he wasn't healthy, but he was defensive after the season.

    "My playmaking ability didn't diminish," Walker said. "It's still here, it will always be here, it's just unfortunate that I got injured."

    Walker said he could return to Denver and be happy if he were brought back, but the Broncos might have a difficult time bringing him back after his postseason statements. He also will be tough to trade because of his knee problems.

    But Walker didn't think he would be with the Broncos much longer.

    "I'll still be living here, but you all will see me somewhere along down the road in another situation," Walker said.

    NOTES, QUOTES

    —WR Javon Walker sounded off after the season that he might fit better somewhere else, but fellow receiver Brandon Stokley thought Walker could return strong in 2008. Walker's numbers were miserable aside from two good games to start the season because of a knee injury.

    "I think Javon kind of took a bad rap for this year for what happened to him that he had no control over with his knee," Stokley said. "It's not fun trying to get healthy during the season when you have a banged-up knee."

    If Walker isn't back, Stokley could be the starter opposite Brandon Marshall. Stokley's knee, which kept him out the final three games, should get healthy with a couple weeks of rest.

    —The Broncos made an effort to get Brandon Marshall over the 100-catch plateau. He needed eight in the season finale to reach that milestone, and he got there in the third quarter Sunday.

    "I knew what he needed going into it, and I told him I was going to try, but if it didn't happen, it didn't happen," QB Jay Cutler said. "He got four or five before halftime, and I told him at halftime I'd probably be able to get him eight."

    Marshall became the third second-year receiver in NFL history to record 100 catches.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "It has been a tough year. You like to end it on a positive note." — Broncos coach Mike Shanahan on the season-ending win against Minnesota.

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

    The Broncos will have to address their offensive line in the offseason, especially after LT Matt Lepsis decided to retire after 11 seasons. C Tom Nalen (biceps) and G Ben Hamilton (concussion) should be able to return in 2008, but there are no guarantees.

    Ryan Harris, a third-round pick in 2007, is the early favorite to enter the starting lineup at tackle to replace Lepsis. Erik Pears, who spent more than half of 2006 at left tackle, moved to right tackle in 2007, but he could go back on the left side next season.

    COACHING CAROUSEL: Broncos coach Mike Shanahan is among the safest coaches in the NFL, despite a 7-9 season. Owner Pat Bowlen has said repeatedly that Shanahan will be his coach as long as Shanahan wants.

    However, the assistants might not be on as solid ground. The players anticipated some changes would be made. Whether that includes assistant head coach/defense Jim Bates, whose defense didn't perform well during his first season in Denver, remains to be seen.

    FREE AGENT UPDATE: K Jason Elam is probably the team's top priority in free agency. Denver's list of unrestricted free agents is pretty light. FB Cecil Sapp is the only starter. S Nick Ferguson, a starter for much of his five-year stint with the team, was benched earlier this year. He is also an unrestricted free agent.

    Four young contributors — C Chris Myers, S Hamza Abdullah and CBs Domonique Foxworth and Karl Paymah — are restricted free agents. All of them are expected back.

    FEELING A DRAFT: The Broncos have the 12th pick of the draft, and the top priority should be defense. Start up front and move back. If a lineman who can make an immediate impact falls, that could be Denver's pick. Linebacker will also interest the team. If there's not good value for their front seven, safety would also be a position of interest. The Broncos have been active in the past few years in either moving up or down in the first round, so a trade is possible.

    TEAM NEEDS

    Defensive tackle: The team needs some interior help for its run defense after patching things together in 2007.

    Linebacker: If Denver can find a solid middle linebacker, perhaps it would move D.J. Williams back to his natural outside linebacker position.

    Safety: John Lynch could retire and Nick Ferguson is a free agent, so the Broncos might finally be forced to find some replacements this offseason.

    MEDICAL WATCH: WR Rod Smith needs more surgery on his hip. His brilliant career with Denver is likely done.

    WR Brandon Stokley missed Denver's last three games with a knee injury, but he won't need surgery and should be fine with some rest.

    C Tom Nalen is recovering from a biceps injury, and he should be able to return in 2008 if he wants to.

    DE Jarvis Moss broke his fibula in midseason. He will return next year, and the Broncos hope the injury won't affect his offseason.



    ----------------------------------------------
    I work at Vanderbilt University

    Where Jay Graduated!


    I tell you I love Elway! He was my hero growing up. I loved the way he threw the ball with velocity! I love that in a QB. This is why I am a Cutlerfan!!

  • #2
    I think it's interesting that the players feel a change is coming with some of the coordinators, and that's a sure-fire sign that change is indeed coming.

    I'm fairly convinced that it will take a miracle for Bates to return after this season. The only reason why I think he's not stepping down is because of the money - he'd rather be fired and collect than outright quit, and maybe hope because of his contract, Denver will be willing to give him a 2nd chance.

    I wonder what changes (if any) will be made with the offensive coaching staff. They underperformed this season, too, IMO.
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    • #3
      great read cutlerfan. thanks again

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      • #4
        cp for you great post!!
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        BCMB Div I - AB's Etsy Shop | BCMB FF Smackdown - Cold Feet

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mojo0730 View Post
          I think it's interesting that the players feel a change is coming with some of the coordinators, and that's a sure-fire sign that change is indeed coming.

          I'm fairly convinced that it will take a miracle for Bates to return after this season. The only reason why I think he's not stepping down is because of the money - he'd rather be fired and collect than outright quit, and maybe hope because of his contract, Denver will be willing to give him a 2nd chance.

          I wonder what changes (if any) will be made with the offensive coaching staff. They underperformed this season, too, IMO.
          Here we go...

          "The players anticipated some changes would be made."

          Doesn't say anything about any coordinators being shown the door. As always, you're taking conjecture as fact.
          In Manning I trust.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by TheRealMoose View Post
            Here we go...

            "The players anticipated some changes would be made."

            Doesn't say anything about any coordinators being shown the door. As always, you're taking conjecture as fact.
            Who's taking anything as fact?

            I gave my OPINION based on what the players believe.

            What is your deal?
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            • #7
              Your words: "I think it's interesting that the players feel a change is coming with some of the coordinators"

              In fact, they didn't say that. Unless you're in the mind of the players, I'd say that's incorrect.
              In Manning I trust.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by TheRealMoose View Post
                Your words: "I think it's interesting that the players feel a change is coming with some of the coordinators"

                In fact, they didn't say that. Unless you're in the mind of the players, I'd say that's incorrect.
                The players anticipated some changes would be made.
                That is the EXACT quote from the article. It then goes on to specifically mention Bates.

                But you're right. Anticpate and 'feel' aren't the same thing. Anticipate means the players EXPECT changes to come, whereas 'feel' means just that - they feel something may happen with the coaches. I'd say anticipate is a much stronger indication that something will happen than my original interpretation. Therefore, we should ANTICIPATE coaching changes, as well.

                Do you want to keep going, moose - or do you just want to admit you're trying to pick a fight with me?
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                • #9
                  Want to show me where they said they "anticipated" a coordinator being fired, not just coaching changes?

                  You're on a witch hunt, man. Every thread you post on seems to turn into a "Bates is gone, but I have no idea who will replace him because I haven't thought that far ahead" slugfest. You say that you don't think firing Bates will automatically get us anywhere, but that is the one major theme of almost every post you make on the site.

                  Fighting? No. I prefer to think of it as debating. I thought that's why we were all here.
                  In Manning I trust.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TheRealMoose View Post
                    Want to show me where they said they "anticipated" a coordinator being fired, not just coaching changes?

                    You're on a witch hunt, man. Every thread you post on seems to turn into a "Bates is gone, but I have no idea who will replace him because I haven't thought that far ahead" slugfest. You say that you don't think firing Bates will automatically get us anywhere, but that is the one major theme of almost every post you make on the site.

                    Fighting? No. I prefer to think of it as debating. I thought that's why we were all here.
                    There were plenty of statements made by players where they openly stated they believed changes would be made in the coaching staff - as well as with the players - after the Vikings win. This article confirms that. I suggest if you want the evidence you're requesting, you find it yourself. They're all over the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post. I don't have to prove anything to you.

                    As far as this 'witch hunt'...I was merely stating my opinion based on what was stated in an article I didn't even post, and also commented on the offensive coaching staff and their shortcomings. It seems you're on this witch hunt with me - which is fine. But in the process, you're twisting my statements and inferring things in my posts that aren't true.

                    Whether Bates is fired or not will remain to be seen. But I'm within my right to have given the OPINION I gave based on what the article (which is USA Today, BTW) stated.
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                    • #11
                      There have been statements from other players as well, saying that they hope the system and Bates are not ousted, but those go completely ignored. But whatever.

                      What bothers me most about your witch hunt is your refusal to even give a single idea of who would replace him. If you're so certain about Bates not being the answer, it's curious that you wouldn't name anyone as a possible successor.

                      C'mon man. Who is the answer if a proven DC isn't?
                      In Manning I trust.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TheRealMoose View Post
                        There have been statements from other players as well, saying that they hope the system and Bates are not ousted, but those go completely ignored. But whatever.

                        What bothers me most about your witch hunt is your refusal to even give a single idea of who would replace him. If you're so certain about Bates not being the answer, it's curious that you wouldn't name anyone as a possible successor.

                        C'mon man. Who is the answer if a proven DC isn't?
                        Ok fine - you want a candidate? Here it is.

                        Tom Landry. Best defenisve coach ever.

                        Feel better?
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mojo0730 View Post
                          Ok fine - you want a candidate? Here it is.

                          Tom Landry. Best defenisve coach ever.

                          Feel better?
                          Ha. At least you got a laugh out of that.

                          Whatever man. If that's your best answer, and we do fire Bates, we're in huge trouble.
                          In Manning I trust.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TheRealMoose View Post
                            Ha. At least you got a laugh out of that.

                            Whatever man. If that's your best answer, and we do fire Bates, we're in huge trouble.
                            Look, I don't want to get wildly off topic, here. But I have to ask you this question...

                            Bates' system is predicated on having the right DTs in place in order for it to have any success. Yet, DT has probably been the one glaring weakness of the Broncos for...well, as long as I can think back. They're hard to come by, and even harder to keep.

                            So knowing that, how do you propose we solve the problem in one offseason in order for Bates' scheme to work next year?
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                            • #15
                              It's actually predicated on a couple things. Yes, a run-stuffing, blocker-eating DT is an important component, and you wouldn't be wrong to say it's the most important. However, of similar importance is the ability of a big, fast speed rusher on either side. We have Moss and Crowder. Granted, Moss is still an unknown quantity, but given a whole season I think he's going to be our long term answer at DE. Opposite Elvis, you've got two big pieces of the puzzle.

                              If we can get a big DT in the draft, and not attempt to sign someone like Jaba the Adams off the scrap heap, I think we can do quite well. Obviously, Dorsey from LSU is the guy we want, but he won't fall to us at 12, and I think we have too many needs to mortgage our entire draft to get one player.

                              Enter Frank Okam.

                              Frank Okam Scouting Report
                              Position: DT
                              School & Year/Status: Texas - Senior
                              Height & Weight: 6'5 - 320 lbs.

                              2008 NFL Draft Prospect - Scouting Report
                              Okam flirted with entering the draft after his junior season, but decided to return to school and widely projects as a solid first-round pick.

                              With his massive frame, he seems best suited to be a brick wall against the run, but he has proven to be a solid pass rusher as he has shown in his senior year. Besides posting a career-best 49 tackles thus far, he has doubled his career sack total (with five) and he's also credited with 14 quarterback hurries.

                              Instead of just being a gap filler who waits for the play to come to him, he gets into the backfield with regularity, with his ten tackles for loss this season a career-high.

                              He seems to slot in behind LSU's Glenn Dorsey and USC's Sedrick Ellis as the third DT off the board, though ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr. had Okam rated higher than Ellis before the season started. He could go anywhere from the top 15 (or higher, though that may be a reach) to the second, which would be a steep drop. It's unlikely the latter will happen, because his big body and obvious talent make him likely to be taken quickly. There are questions about his consistency and production as well. But, with the way that he's seemingly worked on being better as a pass rusher and the fact that he's had a career season in 2007, might mean there's nothing to worry about when it comes to getting his best every play. He'll likely end up somewhere in or around the top 20, but that may depend on where Ellis falls.

                              Where he falls depends on how he showcases himself between now and then for the scouts and it's up to him to either help or hurt his status; whether or not he'll be a big-time pro or a bust. But make no bones about it, he does have great talent and even greater potential. If he puts in the work to silence any critics of his work ethic and desire, he'll be an excellent pro, especially if he continues to get better as a pass rusher. He could excel in an a 3-4 defense that allows its defensive tackles to roam, get in the backfield, and be an annoyance both as a pass rusher and a run stopper.

                              Update (12/28/07): Okam finished out his collegiate career with a solid performance in Thursday's Holiday Bowl against Arizona St. Okam picked up three tackles, including one for loss, and was credited with two quarterback hurries in the Longhorns' 52-34 victory.

                              He finished his senior season with 52 total tackles (25 solo, 27 assists, 11 for loss), five sacks, 16 quarterback hurries, and five pass breakups -- along with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

                              Might be a very slight reach for him at 12, but if he's still there (after the combine, which could change the order completely), I think he's the perfect pick.

                              Front line:
                              Crowder - Okam - Thomas - Dumervil/Moss

                              Looks pretty damn good to me.
                              In Manning I trust.

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