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  1. #1
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    Graham Quickly Assumes Role Of Team Leader

    Ex-Buff has already earned respect of Bronco teammates
    By Ryan Thorburn (Contact)
    Monday, July 30, 2007

    ENGLEWOOD Is it really possible for Daniel Graham to command as much respect in the Broncos locker room as Rod Smith?

    Absolutely.

    The former University of Colorado tight end proved to his new teammates during the offseason that his work ethic is as impressive as his God-given physical talents.

    Graham can also match Smith ring for ring after winning two Super Bowls in his first five NFL seasons as a member of the New England Patriots.

    Add a Big 12 championship ring from the 2001 college season to the football resume and the Broncos were obviously sold on Graham, signing him to a five-year contract that is worth up to $30 million, with $15 million in guaranteed money.

    "What we're all about here in Denver is winning Super Bowls," Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist said on Sunday morning after watching the franchise's new investments go through the first official training camp practice. "And guys who have been around successful programs and understand the standard that coach (Mike) Shanahan has set here, they're more likely to come in and assimilate."

    Three years ago John Lynch arrived in Denver after winning a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Even though Al Wilson and Trevor Pryce were the unquestioned leaders of the defense at the time, Lynch felt comfortable enough in his championship skin to call out his teammates during the 2004 training camp after a lackluster practice.

    Now it's impossible to walk into the locker room and not feel the respect No. 47 commands from his peers."Knowing that's what guys play for in this league, it sure does lend some credibility," Lynch said on the subject of Super Bowl rings. "But ultimately you forget about that. The neat thing about coming to a new team, at least if you have any competitiveness in you at all, is you feel like you have to prove yourself to everyone all over. The other players might not think that, but your mentality is, 'I have to show these people what I'm all about.' "

    Since the Patriots selected Graham in the first round (21st) of the 2001 draft, his game has been mostly about run-blocking. The Mackey Award winner caught 51 passes for 753 yards and six touchdowns for the Buffs en route to the Fiesta Bowl as a senior, but had a total of 37 receptions for New England over the past two seasons.

    The Broncos didn't bring Graham, whose father Tom played linebacker for the Broncos (1972-74), home to be the next Stephen Alexander.

    More like the next Shannon Sharpe, minus the headline-grabbing quotes.

    "We didn't go back and look at CU film, but I certainly remember my report when I watched him and read those comments and read the other scouts that looked at him there," Sundquist said. "And he was a much more productive guy in the receiving game in college than he got to show in New England."

    That doesn't mean Graham was in Bill Belichick's doghouse. The Patriots head coach respected him enough to make him a team captain and tried to keep the unrestricted free agent in New England with a late contract offer.

    Graham who was also wined, dined and offered a lucrative contract by the Seattle Seahawks signed with Denver in March.

    "I just feel comfortable here, like I've been here for years. I'm real comfortable with everyone on the team," Graham said. "Regardless of the rings, I feel like I'm a leader. I just want to come in and show a lot of the younger guys the hard work that it takes to get there."

    In Shanahan's first nine seasons as head coach, the Broncos had a tight end catch at least 50 passes seven times. And Dwayne Carswell had 49 catches in 2000.

    But in the last three seasons, a Denver tight end has not caught more than 37 passes. Alexander and Tony Scheffler led the group with 18 catches each in 2006.

    "For that kind of money we're talking about (Graham) being a cornerstone of the franchise," Sundquist said. "When you look at it, really, he has become one of our pillars. Now he has to go out and do it on the field.

    "But when you've got that background and you've played in college and at the pro level at a championship level and been around championship players, you can't help but assimilate better and immediately serve as a good example to some of the other guys we're bringing in."

    Graham hauled in a number of passes from Jay Cutler during the first day of training camp and opened up some holes for running back Travis Henry. Add Javon Walker, Brandon Marshall, Scheffler and perhaps Smith into the mix this fall and it could be a productive season for the Broncos on offense.

    "As a guy who has competed against him, I have a lot of respect for his game," Lynch said of Graham. "I think he's a player who prides himself on being good at everything good receiver, good blocker, just a pro's pro. When you're around the real good players you're even more impressed on a day-in, day-out basis to see what they're all about, what makes them tick, the way they work.

    "And Dan has come in here and really stepped up and been a leader for this team already. He's got multiple rings. He's got the juice to come in here and do that."

    http://dailycamera.com/news/2007/jul...ly-assumes-of/

  2. #2
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    great read thanks for the info...

  3. #3
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    I get the feeling the Broncos are leading him on, letting him think he's going to get alot of catches. He is a dominant run blocker. That's what they wanted. That's what they needed. Tony Scheffler is much more of a receiving Tight End and if healthy, I think he will get many many more catches.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BroncoFan_In_AZ View Post
    I get the feeling the Broncos are leading him on, letting him think he's going to get alot of catches. He is a dominant run blocker. That's what they wanted. That's what they needed. Tony Scheffler is much more of a receiving Tight End and if healthy, I think he will get many many more catches.

    It's not like they're taking a guy who was never a big threat in college, and would only get a handful of catches in the pros, and telling that person "hey, you'll get 50 receptions!" This is a guy who was a stud in college, and has been a factor in the Patriots offense; but that offense spreads the ball around so much, it's not surprising that he didn't reach the same heights he did in college.

    And why would the team spend as much as they did on a guy was only going to block? If they didn't plan on throwing to him, there are FAR cheaper blocking options...
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BroncoFan_In_AZ View Post
    I get the feeling the Broncos are leading him on, letting him think he's going to get alot of catches. He is a dominant run blocker. That's what they wanted. That's what they needed. Tony Scheffler is much more of a receiving Tight End and if healthy, I think he will get many many more catches.
    He is going to play a role as did S. Sharpe. Do not think that the Broncos do not know his talent. But believe me when I say he will get a lot of reps and he will block. Mark these words!!!!!
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BroncoFan_In_AZ View Post
    I get the feeling the Broncos are leading him on, letting him think he's going to get alot of catches. He is a dominant run blocker. That's what they wanted. That's what they needed. Tony Scheffler is much more of a receiving Tight End and if healthy, I think he will get many many more catches.
    Nah. I don't think so. The best receiver will get the most catches. Graham won't be held to blocking just because another TE can catch but not block as well.
    "Josh has handcuffed and buried this team for the next five years if not a decade. He has no game plan."-thinkin101

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  7. #7
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    I still don't get why people say Scheffler is a better pass catching option than graham. They both had near identical college numbers. Graham was a Macklin award winner which is awarded to the best college TE in the country. Scheffler wasn't. I love Scheffler but he hasn't done anything to prove he's a better pass catching TE than Graham in the NFL so I don't know why people say that.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shsonline View Post
    I still don't get why people say Scheffler is a better pass catching option than graham. They both had near identical college numbers. Graham was a Macklin award winner which is awarded to the best college TE in the country. Scheffler wasn't. I love Scheffler but he hasn't done anything to prove he's a better pass catching TE than Graham in the NFL so I don't know why people say that.
    Well,to be fair, Scheff has only been here one season, and hasnt started all games. He got off to a slow start (as the whole offense did last season), but picked up at the end of the year, and made some great catches. What game was that in where Cutler zinged it between 2 defenders and Scheff caught it for a TD?
    That was awesome!

    And something else to keep in mind. With an arm like Cutlers, our offense is likely to go more vertical this year. And with Cutler being in his second year, having 2 good TE in Graham and Scheff to dump off to will really advance our game.

    And nothing says that there only has to be one good TE per team. We've had that in the past with Carswell and Sharpe. It'll be nice to see that again

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  9. #9
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    Good read! I myself think that Graham will get his far share of passes. He will help in the run game(blocking), open up the run game(reciving), and open it up for other WR's if his receving or production is good. I am not on the bandwagon that with Danny Scheff will be pushed to the side. IMO I think Tony could become a Dallas Clark type player. Play in the slot, on the line etc..

    If this offense gets clicking, Henry runs well, get production out of Brandon/Smith, I think it will take a lot of pressure of Cutler and give everyone the confidence that this young but yet talented offense can make some noise next year.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BroncoFan_In_AZ View Post
    I get the feeling the Broncos are leading him on, letting him think he's going to get alot of catches. He is a dominant run blocker. That's what they wanted. That's what they needed. Tony Scheffler is much more of a receiving Tight End and if healthy, I think he will get many many more catches.
    I don't know. If Carswell and Clark can get 50 catches when in this system, then there is no reason to believe that Graham can't. Those guys were getting 50 catches when we had both Rod and McCaffrey. We don't know much about our #2 WR right now. Because of that, we may run more 2 WR sets.

    Graham is a MUCH more polished NFL TE at this point, than Sheffler. He'll be on the field MORE than Sheffler will be. Graham will be in the game on redzone situations and goalline situations. I like Sheffler. I think he adds a dimension to the passing game we haven't had in a while...... MAYBE. Until he actually proves it, he's just high-hopes and potential.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shsonline View Post
    I still don't get why people say Scheffler is a better pass catching option than graham. They both had near identical college numbers. Graham was a Macklin award winner which is awarded to the best college TE in the country. Scheffler wasn't. I love Scheffler but he hasn't done anything to prove he's a better pass catching TE than Graham in the NFL so I don't know why people say that.
    That doesn't mean anything either. Although you have a good point, Scheffler may not have been in the same system as Graham was in college, thus one may have thrown to the TE more than the other. Maybe Shefflers QB had eyes for the WRs, maybe they had better WRs than Graham's team did, thus not needing the TE as much.

    Also, just because Graham won it (he was good) doesn't necessarily means he would have won it when competing against the TEs that were in Schefflers class. Maybe if Graham played at Western Michigan, he wouldn't have won that award. Maybe, if Scheffler played for the CU the same years that Graham did, he might have better stats. We don't know. Comparing those two things just don't really hold up because there are far too many factors. We haven't even discussed the competition against Graham and against Scheffler. Not only teams, but personel. Individual players, as well as defensive coordinators you had to face. THen there is the surrounding talent factor for both. On and On..

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravage!!! View Post
    That doesn't mean anything either. Although you have a good point, Scheffler may not have been in the same system as Graham was in college, thus one may have thrown to the TE more than the other. Maybe Shefflers QB had eyes for the WRs, maybe they had better WRs than Graham's team did, thus not needing the TE as much.

    Also, just because Graham won it (he was good) doesn't necessarily means he would have won it when competing against the TEs that were in Schefflers class. Maybe if Graham played at Western Michigan, he wouldn't have won that award. Maybe, if Scheffler played for the CU the same years that Graham did, he might have better stats. We don't know. Comparing those two things just don't really hold up because there are far too many factors. We haven't even discussed the competition against Graham and against Scheffler. Not only teams, but personel. Individual players, as well as defensive coordinators you had to face. THen there is the surrounding talent factor for both. On and On..
    Ya, Scheff was competing against the monster himself... Vernon Davis.


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravage!!! View Post
    That doesn't mean anything either. Although you have a good point, Scheffler may not have been in the same system as Graham was in college, thus one may have thrown to the TE more than the other. Maybe Shefflers QB had eyes for the WRs, maybe they had better WRs than Graham's team did, thus not needing the TE as much.

    Also, just because Graham won it (he was good) doesn't necessarily means he would have won it when competing against the TEs that were in Schefflers class. Maybe if Graham played at Western Michigan, he wouldn't have won that award. Maybe, if Scheffler played for the CU the same years that Graham did, he might have better stats. We don't know. Comparing those two things just don't really hold up because there are far too many factors. We haven't even discussed the competition against Graham and against Scheffler. Not only teams, but personel. Individual players, as well as defensive coordinators you had to face. THen there is the surrounding talent factor for both. On and On..
    You're absolutely correct. All I was trying to point out is that graham has never been in the denver system and schefs opportunity to show his true skills have been limited. So it would be premature and likely to be inaccurate to assume one is a better pass catching TE until they both play a full season in our offense. I'm sure after camp shanahan will be able to assess who is the better catching te and it will show in our gameplans throughout the season.
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