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  1. #1
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    John Clayton: Big Bodies Make Broncos D-Line More Imposing

    Here's an insider article I'll paste in here. It has some good information about more than our defensive line though. Thought some of ya'll would enjoy.

    Heck, I miss two/three days on Broncomania and Moss has an injury scare and so much more. . . darn! Glad to be back.

    ENGLEWOOD, Colo -- Five observations from Denver Broncos training camp, gleaned from the team's practices:

    1. Big additions


    The additions of Jimmy Kennedy and Sam Adams to the defensive line are huge. Why? Because both players are huge. Kennedy looks to be in great shape. The former Rams first-round pick never seemed to feel comfortable in St. Louis. For years, he played behind first-rounders Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis. When they left, his play dropped off.

    Kennedy reported to Broncos camp in the 335-pound range and showed some quickness at practice. Adams will be asked to use his big body around 20 to 25 plays a game. He's a good run stopper but still has a quick first step to disrupt the interior blocking schemes. Rookie Marcus Thomas is a talent at defensive tackle, but he might initially be fourth in this mix. Thomas, who was kicked out of Florida for off-the-field issues, will have time to pick up the system and develop slowly. What will be interesting to see is how the influx of tackles will affect Gerard Warren. A couple years ago, Warren played at a Pro Bowl level, but the line play as a whole slipped last year. Warren is still the starter, but he has competition for his playing time. The Broncos also added Alvin McKinley to play on the inside as a backup three-technique option.

    2. Strength in numbers

    The deepest position for the Broncos is defensive end. Ebenezer Ekuban and John Engelberger are the starters, but a name to watch is Elvis Dumervil. He had eight sacks as a rookie in limited playing time. Shanahan thinks Dumervil's intense playing style could net a dozen sacks this year.

    The Broncos had a scare Monday when first-round choice Jarvis Moss was carted off the field with a knee injury that turned out to be a sprain. He's day-to-day. Tim Crowder looks promising. He has the body of a pass-rushing end. Both he and Moss are right-side pass-rushers, although they may be on opposite sides in pass-rushing situations. Kenny Peterson, who faces a four-game suspension in September for violating the league's steroid policy, also shows some skills at end, but he may have a hard time making the team.

    Where does all of this leave veteran Kenard Lang? Lang is the type of accomplished veteran Shanahan loves to have on his team. But the Broncos are seven deep at defensive end and clearly are developing Crowder and Moss as the starters of the future. Lang could be expendable unless he has an unbelievable preseason. Expect him to be cut or traded.

    3. Big plans for Graham


    The best place to observe tight end Daniel Graham is the end zone. There, you get the full effect of what he could mean to Denver's offense. Graham sets up in a three-point stance that eats up a lot of space. His legs are spread wide and ready for action. Graham was signed to be a force as a blocker as well as a receiver. The Broncos outbid the Seahawks for Graham, whom Shanahan considers a difference maker. The Broncos want to become a more effective running team, particularly in the second halves of games. Graham has the size and power to wear down a defender. Plus, he's a big target.

    The signing of Graham was a bit of a surprise because the Broncos were already pretty solid at the position. Stephen Alexander is an established starter. Tony Scheffler is skilled at catching passes and is just about ready to come off the physically unable to perform list following offseason surgery. Nate Jackson, the unknown of the group, is catching everything.

    4. Potentially great

    On paper, the Broncos should be great at wide receiver, but there's cause for concern if Brandon Marshall doesn't develop into a starter -- and a good one -- in this camp. Marshall is like so many Shanahan wide receiver draft choices. He looked promising as a rookie. But the Broncos ask more of their receivers than most teams because they have to block and play hurt. Guess what? Marshall is missing practice time with an injury. Rod Smith has advised many young receivers during Shanahan's era that they have to learn to play hurt. Broncos receivers have to play their best when they feel their worst.

    Marshall has to play well for the team to have success. Smith is coming off hip surgery. Although Shanahan will wait for him to heal, there is no guarantee he will be completely healthy by the start of the season. The plan is for Smith to be the third receiver this year. Brandon Stokley is perhaps the game's best slot receiver. But injuries ended his days in Indianapolis. Stokley's body takes a pounding going across the middle. Jay Cutler is going to need a full arsenal of receivers to succeed.

    5. Impact player


    Travis Henry should be a major force for the Broncos. If healthy, he should be able to rush for 1,400 to 1,500 yards. Henry runs low to the ground and has powerful legs. His style is very similar to that of former Broncos great Terrell Davis. Like Davis, Henry gets stronger as defenses wear down.

    Shanahan is the best in the league at putting together a running game. Since Davis, he's turned journeymen and converted fullbacks into 1,000-yard runners. Although that's great, Shanahan needs a 1,500-yarder to get his offense peaking. The key is keeping Henry healthy all year. Shanahan will limit him a little during the preseason to keep him fresh for the regular season. Mike Bell, an undrafted gem from a year ago, remains a no-nonsense backup option. Cecil Sapp also runs hard and will be available when Henry needs a rest.

    John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
    Discuss. . .

  2. #2
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    I like the artical! Thanks. I have been tryong to tell a lot of people about our DT. How if they will play well it will open it up for the ends and LB's thus giving the Broncos the ability to presure the QB. Lang is interesting, I thought he did well last year with our weak d-line but looks like he will be the odd man out.

    I am looking forward to seeing what comes out of pre season on the WR front. Can Hixon be more then a returner, him and Clark are the dark horses there if they can put together some good games.

    Overall I think it is what we all have been talking about and waiting for. It just comes down to the cutting the roster down and getting and getting ready for some football.
    http://img271.imageshack.us/img271/2...nmelo01fc3.jpg Thanks WhiteDragon!

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  3. #3
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    Typical Clayton. No fluff, no nonsense, just a well thought out, insightful analysis.
    He is one of the few in the media of whom I can say I am a fan.

    There might be some on this board who won't like that Clayton mentioned Henry
    "in the same breath as" TD. But then, that's a different story.

    Clayton seemed to talk up Kennedy and McKinley a bit, although I have not
    gotten the impression from camp reports that they have been doing anything
    special. Most of the damage, as I understand, has been done by Adams and
    Warren, and Thomas sporadically (which is to be expected of a rookie).

    I'm impressed that Clayton mentioned Nate Jackson (Dream: ). Most
    neutral observers have not noticed, or bothered to discuss, those behind the
    front lines.

    I especially liked Clayton's discussion of the receivers, the underlying
    implication questioning Marshall's toughness. He seemed to imply that Stokley
    had better be tough because that is the role into which he's being forced.

    Thanks for the report, Dream, one that certainly is CP worthy.

    -----

  4. #4
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    Nice article. Thanks for posting. I really like what Clayton has to say. I guess this means that we can catch what he has to say about our Broncos on SportsCenter tonight!

  5. #5
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    i honestly dont know why John Engelberger is the starter

    can somebody tell me why he is

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BroncoAV06 View Post
    I like the artical! Thanks. I have been tryong to tell a lot of people about our DT. How if they will play well it will open it up for the ends and LB's thus giving the Broncos the ability to presure the QB. Lang is interesting, I thought he did well last year with our weak d-line but looks like he will be the odd man out.

    I am looking forward to seeing what comes out of pre season on the WR front. Can Hixon be more then a returner, him and Clark are the dark horses there if they can put together some good games.

    Overall I think it is what we all have been talking about and waiting for. It just comes down to the cutting the roster down and getting and getting ready for some football.
    Oh, I think we're all ready for some football!
    There is another thread on here that talks about who the #2 WR will be. Sounds like Smith is not in that plan. I would like to see him play one more year and then retire, hopefully with one more piece of hardware.

    On a different note: The Broncos have undergone a lot of changes this year...I hope it all gels, because on paper we look unstoppable. Its on the field where that needs to happen!

    Adopted by: Peanut

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  7. #7
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    Tim Crowder looks promising. He has the body of a pass-rushing end. Both he and Moss are right-side pass-rushers, although they may be on opposite sides in pass-rushing situations.
    Now I haven't attended camp in person but I thought the reports of those who have generally agreed that Crowder has been lining up exclusively on the left. Has anyone seen Crowder lining up on the right at all?


    Anyway, it was a good read. I do agree with the sentiment that receivers could either be a strength or a weakness; it's just to early to tell, especially considering all the injuries.

    Man, I can't wait for next Monday night so I can form some of my own opinions rather than relying on those that get to attend camp. (Yeah, I'm jealous! )
    "You can't take the sky from me..."
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javalon View Post

    Now I haven't attended camp in person but I thought the reports of those who have generally agreed that Crowder has been lining up exclusively on the left. Has anyone seen Crowder lining up on the right at all?


    Anyway, it was a good read. I do agree with the sentiment that receivers could either be a strength or a weakness; it's just to early to tell, especially considering all the injuries.

    Man, I can't wait for next Monday night so I can form some of my own opinions rather than relying on those that get to attend camp. (Yeah, I'm jealous! )
    I was a little surprised to see that too, since Crowder played LDE for the Longhorns throughout his career, however - pending the defensive line-up/match-up he did see some time on the right side, but I think Kaylore or SoCal would have mentioned this in their reports. On the depth chart, he's listed as LDE, so I don't know.

    In regards to Engleberger, like Kaylore and SoCal mentioned - he's really strong on running downs. He holds his area well and can contain. He had one of the best metrics at his position in regards to yards going his way on run plays this past year. Until Crowder is completely ready, he's our guy on first and second downs. I'd expect him and Crowder to rotate series though, allowing Dumervil and Moss to be our pass rushing specialists.

    Hopefully our tight ends are as good as advertised, Jay could use some friends this year.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dream View Post
    I was a little surprised to see that too, since Crowder played LDE for the Longhorns throughout his career, however - pending the defensive line-up/match-up he did see some time on the right side, but I think Kaylore or SoCal would have mentioned this in their reports. On the depth chart, he's listed as LDE, so I don't know.

    In regards to Engleberger, like Kaylore and SoCal mentioned - he's really strong on running downs. He holds his area well and can contain. He had one of the best metrics at his position in regards to yards going his way on run plays this past year. Until Crowder is completely ready, he's our guy on first and second downs. I'd expect him and Crowder to rotate series though, allowing Dumervil and Moss to be our pass rushing specialists.

    Hopefully our tight ends are as good as advertised, Jay could use some friends this year.
    I deleted my post on Engelberger, in lieu of yours.

    You provided a far superior explanation regarding his starting status. Thanks.

    -----

  10. #10
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    Great analysis from Clayton!!!!

    I really believe that unlike some media members Clayton really knows his stuff!!!!

    Man I can't wait until the regular season kicks off

    Cutler + Javon + Marshall + Graham + Scheffler + Henry + Rod + Lepsis back = FIREWORKS!!!!!

    A far better d-line than we have had in a LONG time + the best CB duo in the league + DJ patrolling the middle = bring on the Patriots for the right to play in my backyard come Feb. '08....Super Bowl is in Glendale, AZ. this year

  11. #11
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    Good stuff here.....I'm really really excited now. Oh so close to week one.

    Thank you for everything Darrent. I'll never forget #27.


  12. #12
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    No mention of Hixon

    I think Hixon could be our third reciever regardless of what happens with Brandon Marshall. In the slot we need someone with quickness that can stretch the defense and open up the underneath for Stoke and Javon. I expect to see alot of 2 TE sets and alot less of our FB Kyle Johnson outside of short distance and goalline.

    Anyone have anything to report on what are the primary formations we are using in camp?

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