February 22, 2010

Aussie Update - Poll results

Hey guys thought I would stop in and drop a quick update. And check out the results from the poll that I have been running for a month leading up to the start of the combine.

Well the public have spoken and the results from the poll are as follows. For what direction we want the Broncos to go in for Free Agency and the Draft is as you can see below:

Defensive Lineman
Quarter Back
Offensive Line

So those are the areas and the order in which the Fans want the Broncos to look at improving the team in the off-season.

Now speaking of the off-season I have been working on a thing called Aussie's Big Board. It is a list with details and information of players that I think, and from the help of other bloggers, that the Broncos should be looking at in the draft. I will finish it up over the combine with the attention information from that and will post it up after the combine and before the start of Free Agency, so keep your eye out for that. Well that is it from me ~ Aussie Out.

February 13, 2010

Craig Aukerman - Defensive Assistant

On some other news that was reported on DB.com is that Craig Aukerman was hired as Defensive Assistant. Also I thought it was interesting that in 2004, Aukerman coached the inside linebackers at Western Kentucky University under then defensive coordinator and current Broncos defensive coordinator Don Martindale. The news doesn't say what position he will be as an assistant, but I am assuming that since he coached the linebackers at previous places he will fill the position vacated by Don Martindale when he was promoted.

February 9, 2010

Superbowl Week Review

Well it has been an interesting week indeed. First we saw the Saints beat the Colts with a 31 - 17 victory. It was a really good game and it wasn't really decided to the finial quarter. And it ended with a Manning pick six by CB Porter and the Saints would hold on for the victory. So with the end of the Superbowl it closes out the 2009-2010 season and we as fans are now gearing up for the next few months without football. But there is still hope, in the coming months there are a few things happening for Broncos fans. First on the list, I think the 26th-28th of Feb, the scouting combine takes place and we can all analyze the rookies and pick the ones we want. A week later after that it is the beginning of Free Agency on March the 5th, we know this year will be slim pickings but you never know (Vince Wilfork, fingers crossed). After that we then have this years draft which will be held in April.

But that ain't the only interesting things happening at the moment. The Broncos also signed a running back named Bruce Hall who was a free agent. He had previously been on the Bills practice squad. And if you remember the Bills RB coach is now on our coaching staff, so was he bringing one of his hidden gems? Who knows but it is the first FA signing this year.

One of the Biggest stories for the Broncos this week was the induction of Floyd little into the Hall of Fame. Nicknamed the Franchise, Floyd Little played out his years as a Broncos RB and was the face of the organization before Elway took over. Floyd had always had impressive season but was on a poor Broncos team that could not do much, which made his stats meaning less in the eyes of the Hall of Fame voters. But he helped set this team up for the future and stay in Denver. Though many years after the fact a wrong was righted when Floyd was inducted and Floyd's emotion showed that this was very meaningful for him. But now Shannon Sharpe needs to be payed his dues and inducted into the hall also. For now though we are happy for little, congrats.

Also there is a lot of talk or buzz around that the Broncos are looking at Donovan McNabb of the Eagles. There are rumors floating around that we are one of a few teams in talks with the Eagles about a trade for him. At the moment this is all speculation I believe, as Andy Reid already said that McNabb is his QB. But in this league you never know. The question is would he be useful in Denver? Firstly he is a upgrade over what we got, but he has been banged up and is old, 33. And he may be worth a high draft pick which we don't want to give up. If we could get him dirt cheap like a 5th rounder then by all means do it but I highly doubt that.

~ Aussie Out!

February 5, 2010

Colts vs. Saints in Super Bowl XLIV

Alright, so I figured since I'm bored silly and Super Bowl XLIV is right around the corner I would put a little somethin together.

So story has that the Colts and Saints are meeting up in South Florida this coming Sunday in the mother of all fights... (drum roll please) the Super Bowl. These two teams going face to face in the biggest game of the year, pretty intense stuff we got going on here.

So first off we have the infamous Indianapolis Colts. Peyton Manning at QB and they're pretty much all set. The only reason I don't like these guys is they have given my beloved Broncos YEARS and YEARS of bad memories for all the times the two AFC teams have met up. Other than that, I kinda... sorta... maybe like the Colts.

The Colts had a pretty darn good season. Almost went 16-0 till their coach, Jim Caldwell, decided it would be best to bench the starters in the last 2 games of the regular season since they already knew they were going to the playoffs. But who in the world would complain if you ended the season at 14-2, won your division, had homefield advantage in the playoffs (but didn't blow it like the Chargers do every year, LOL), and then went on to go play in the Super Bowl?? I know Bronco fans would be sitting on cloud 9 if that were us. One can only imagine.

Now, for this Super Bowl we have an almost complete "Cinderella Story" with the New Orleans Saints making it to their very first SB, ever! How did they make it, you ask? Well, it all started when they made it to a 13-0 start and like the Colts they almost made it to a perfect season but then failed to win their last three games. However, they still won their division, earned homefield advantage for the playoffs (haha, stupid Chargers, still makes me laugh!), and made it to the Super Bowl. So now they have made it this far, all the way to what is known as the "Promise Land" in the NFL.

The question now is, who's gonna win it? Who will take it all? Who will go home victorious and be the reigning SB champs for the next year? I have my opinion on who it should be but all I can say is this will be a very entertaining, on-the-edge-of-your-seat, don't-you-dare-look-away, exciting game. These are two very good teams but only one can win.

Not that I have to remind anyone and don't fall out of your chair in shock when I tell you the Colts are favored to win. GASP!! Yeah, what a shocker.

Have to hand it to the Colts though, they are a high-caliber team who may at times be WAY overrated but when you have a QB like Manning, well that's expected. Reminds me of when our Broncos had the great and almighty powerful Elway who to a lot of people was overrated but with good reason. But I vividly remember, no one ever expected the Broncos to win a Super Bowl even with Johnny boy. We were the underdogs, everytime, so I have to go with the Saints.

I like both teams ( sometimes) and if I had to pick a winner I'd say the Saints. I'd like to see them win just because they've never been to a Super Bowl before so I'd like to see them go home winners instead of making it this far and then fall short.

Now when it comes to the actual facts and figures and stats of both teams, it's obvious to me the Saints should be favored but there's more to it than just the facts & figures. When you add in the value of the players for each team, coaching and the system, the Saints aren't too far off the radar as everyone seems to think. They just don't have Peyton Manning at the helm so they are automatically put in the backseat.

Colts vs. Saints: the stats (2009 season)

On average, the Colts put up 30 points (7th) per game vs. the Saints with 31.9 (1st).

Total yards per game: Colts - 363.1 (9th) vs. the Saints - 403.8 (1st).

Pass yards per game: Colts - 282.2 (2nd) vs. the Saints - 272.2 (4th).

Rush yards per game: Colts - 80.9 (32nd) vs. the Saints - 131.6 (6th)

Not too shabby for team overall stats however, the Colts had the worst rush yard stats in the league during the 2009 season. The Saints own that over the Colts but again, when you have a QB like Manning who has a cannon for an arm, you're not going to rush the ball very often. That's a given.

Extra stats for both teams during the 2009 season:

Total First Downs: Colts - 339 vs. Saints - 348

First Downs (rushing-passing-by penalty: Colts (69-241-29) vs. Saints (115-215-18)

Third Down Conversions: Colts - 95/193 vs. Saints - 88/197

Fourth Down Conversions: Colts - 5/11 vs. Saints - 6/15

Offense (plays-average yards): Colts (980-5.9) vs. Saints (1,032-6.3)

Total Rushing Yards: Colts - 1,294 vs. Saints - 2,106

Rushing (plays-average yards): Colts (366-3.5) vs. Saints (468-4.5)

Total Passing Yards: Colts - 4,515 vs. Saints - 4,355

Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Avg): Colts (402-601-19-7.7) vs. Saints (378-544-12-8.3)

Touchdowns: Colts - 53 vs. Saints - 64

Time of Possession: Colts - 27:40 vs. Saints - 31:36

With all that in mind, either team can win the big game. It's all just a matter of who will execute better come Sunday night.

Now if we consider the players each team has, the ones who are more well known, the starters, this will play a huge factor into how each team plays and ultimately who wins.

We'll start with the Colts just to get it out of the way.

We all know who Peyton Manning is (if you don't, you need to watch football more often). As usual, he had a very good season. He was 393/571 for 4500 yards (a 68.8% completion rate). Add in 33 touchdowns, 16 INTs and a not too bad 99.9% rating and you have yourself, believe it or not, one of the best QBs in the NFL today.

Next up is Joseph Addai, the Colts' starting RB. 219 rushes for 828 yards (avg. 3.8) and 10 touchdowns. This is what happens when you throw 90% of the time - low rush stats and the worst rush yards per game rate in the league but still this isn't and shouldn't be their main concern. They are a passing team mainly because Manning has an arm that just keeps on giving.

When it comes to receivers for the Colts, the list is practically endless. Manning is gifted with him arm but he is also a happy QB because he has so many weapons to throw to and ones he can rely on. First up is Reggie Wayne - 100 receptions for 1,264 yards (avg. 12.6) and 10 touchdowns. Then they have Dallas Clark - 100 receptions for 1,1o6 yards (avg. 11.1) and 10 touchdowns. And we all wonder why Manning throws passes so much. Gee, I have no idea.

The list continues with Austin Collie - 60 receptions for 676 yards (avg. 11.3) and 7 touchdowns. I'll even throw in Joseph Addai added all this to his rushing stats - 51 receptions for 336 yards (avg. 6.6) and 3 touchdowns.

On the Colts defense the craziness continues. OLB Clint Session (only in his 3rd season) led his team with 103 tackles (84 solo and 19 assists), 0.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 2 INTs. Next is Robert Mathis with 37 tackles (24 solo, 13 assists), 9.5 sacks and 5 forced fumbles.

The guy in question about whether or not he'll play on Sunday is Dwight Freeney. If this guy plays, he'll make a big impact on the Colts game if not they are still a top-notch team but the Saints should do whatever they can to take advantage of his absence. Even if Freeney doesn't play here are his 2009 regular season stats: 24 tackles (19 solo, 5 assists), 13.5 sacks and 1 FF.

And one more Colts defensive player I'll mention is Antoine Bethea who had 95 tackles (70 solo, 25 assists), 2 forced fumbles and 4 INTs.

Now onto the New Orleans players.

In his 9th NFL season (his 4th with the Saints) QB Drew Brees had one impressive year.

His stats start off with 363 completions out of 514 attempts for for 4,388 yards (70.6% completion rate) and 34 touchdowns. He also had 11 INTs and a 109.6 rating but the one thing that stuck out most to me was the 20 sacks he incurred during the season. Piece of advice to his O-line: protect your QB better!!

The most popular and probably familiar name you'll find as an RB on the Saints roster is Reggie Bush. The USC product rushed for 70 carries for 390 yards (avg. 5.6) and 5 touchdowns. He was third on the Saints' rushing list behind former Bronco Mike Bell who had 172 carries for 654 yards (avg. 3.8) and 5 touchdowns & Pierre Thomas who rushed 147 times for 793 yards (avg. 5.4) and 6 touchdowns.

On the receiving end, the list starts off with Marques Colston who had 70 receptions for 1,074 yards (avg. 15.3) and 9 touchdowns. Next is Devery Henderson with 51 receptions for 804 yards (avg. 15.8) and 2 touchdowns. Jeremy Shockey came in third with 48 receptions for 569 yards (avg. 11.9) and 3 touchdowns. Reggie Bush also added some receiving yards to his stats with 47 receptions for 335 yards (avg. 7.1) and 3 touchdowns. To close out the top 5 receivers for the Saints is Robert Meachem who had 45 receptions for 722 yards (avg. 16.0) and 9 touchdowns.

To name a few defensive guys for New Orleans, I start off with the team's leader in sacks, DE Will Smith who had 49 tackles (36 solo, 13 assists), 13 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 1 INT. Next is MLB Jonathan Vilma who lead the team in tackles (110; 87 solo, 23 assists). He also had 2 sacks and 3 INTs. 4-year SS Roman Harper also had a good season with 102 tackles (84 solo, 18 assists), 1.5 sacks and 2 FFs.

13-year veteran FS Darren Sharper led his team in INTs (9) for 376 yards (avg. 41.8) and 3 touchdowns. CB Tracy Porter came in second with 4 INTs for 72 yards (avg. 18) and 1 touchdown. He also has 2 forced fumbles on the season.

Lots of info and stuff to take in but these are 2 teams that have had a lot to show. And they each have one more game to show who's boss. Only time will tell who really is the boss.

So there you have it. The stats, the players, the facts and figures of both Super Bowl XLIV contenders. Manning & Co. in one corner, Brees and Co. in the other.

They are ready to battle it out Sunday night; ready to put everything they have on the line of scrimmage and become Champions. Ready to come out of that stadium as the best team of the 2009 season.

Are you ready?

February 2, 2010

The 2009 - 2010 Season - Part 3

After the 6-0 start and the 2-4 record over the next six games the Broncos were sitting in a pretty good position with a softish schedule left for the last four games. With an 8-4 record and the Chiefs and Raiders on the schedule to come the fans were pretty happy. We all thought that a 10-6 record was a lock and were imagining a 12-4 season or a 11-5 season. But like all good dreams they are just that, dreams. The next four games would shock and test the Broncos faithful as they would fail and fall badly. And the Broncos would join a short list of teams that had started a season at 6-0 and would not make it to the playoffs. The Broncos would finish the season with a record of 8-8, another average year for the Broncos even after so much change, now to look at the horrible last four games that left us sick and annoyed.

F 28 - 16 at Indianapolis - Loss
In the first game of the Broncos downfall they would face the Colts who had not lost a game so far this season. Coming off two victories, one of which was a big victory over the Chiefs, we as fans thought anything was possible. But the Broncos came out slow and the Colts dominated them to being with scoring 3 TDs. They ran up the score to 21-0 before the Broncos would kick in gear, in large part to the play of Brandon Marshall. The Broncos would score 16 straight points to bring the score close at 21-16. But the Colts would rally to score another TD in the fourth and the game ended with the score being 28-16. The big stories from this game was that the Broncos picked off Manning three times, two of which went to Brian Dawkins. Also Brandon Marshall recorded 21 catches to break an NFL record, he finished the game with 21 catches, 200 yards and 2 TDs.

F 20 - 19 vs Oakland - Loss
The Broncos next game was against the Raiders and we, myself included believed this game was a lock as we headed towards a 11-5 season. But the Broncos turned in a dismal performance against the Raiders and were beaten at home by them. The Raiders could not do much through the air all game, but they ran all over the Broncos defense with over 200 rushing yards. The Broncos did rally in the second half to take the lead but the terrible JaMarcus Russell would come in and save the day...JaMarcus 'I am overrated and can't play' Russell beat us on a late scoring drive??? Now that was the lowest of low that a team could get. This is a game I really want to forget. Brandon Marshall had a solid game as did Matt Prater who did not miss anything and finished with 13 of Denver's 19 points.

F 27 - 30 at Philadelphia - Loss
After the terrible performance of the previous week the Broncos would have to face the red hot Eagles. This was really a must win game for the Broncos as other teams were catching up fast for the AFC wildcard spot. But the Broncos didn't come out and play like that, they were completely dominated by the Eagles in the first half and the score was 20-7 at half time. In most part the Broncos were beaten black and blue by the Eagles TE Brent Celek who had over 100 receiving yards. But then something happened at half time, whatever it was it worked. The Defense played 10 times better and so did the Offense. The Broncos managed to get the score back to 27-24 at the end of the third quarter and were closing in on a late victory against the Eagles. Dumervil got 2 more sacks in this game and caused a fumble on one of them. Champ also had a pick in this game and Orton would throw 3 TDs, two of which went to Gaffney. The Broncos would go on to tie up the game in the fourth with a Prater FG and were hoping for overtime. But an amazing catch by the Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin put the Eagles within FG range and K David Akers kicked the winning FG with 4 seconds left. It just wasn't the Broncos day, but they put in a hard effort in the second half only if they did that in the first half. Also it is worth noting in this game Brandon Stokley was ejected for giving a ref a hi-five. And McKinley and Buckhalter were injured on kickoff duties.

F 24 - 44 vs Kansas City - Loss
The final game of the 2009-2010 season for the Broncos would be against the Chiefs who we completely destroyed in the previous meeting. And since the Broncos had lost their last three games they were sitting on an 8-7 record. The Broncos would then need a number of teams to lose just to make the playoffs, but they had to win first. But they didn't. The game was close at 10 all at half time but the Chiefs came out and beat the Broncos into the ground in the second half scoring 34 points. Orton was picked off three times in this game and two of them were by Derrick Johnson who took one to the house. The other Orton intercept was also returned for a TD. WR Gaffney would have his best game of the season catching 14 balls and making 213 receiving yards. But the Broncos again were dominated on the ground with the Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles running 25 times for 259 yards and 2 tds, career bests for him. The Broncos run defense was once again shown to be terrible like previous years. This game was better remembered for the benching of Brandon Marshall because he was 'faking' injuries during training, so he did not dress for the game. And then the benching of Tony Scheffler during the game for not trying.

So the Broncos would finish the year at 8-8 for the 2009-2010 season which started with so much promise and ended in disaster once again. Making it the fourth year in a round since the Broncos had made the playoffs. There were some highlights from the year though:

There was the 5 players of the Broncos making the Pro Bowl
Elvis Dumervil getting 17 sacks and setting a Franchise record.
The strong play of vets, like Champ Bailey and Dawkins.
The play of Brandon Marshall getting over 100 catches for a third straight year.
The improving defense from almost dead last to 7th, though the run D has a way to go.
The play of Prater, he was like an all pro kicker this year, greatly improved over last.
The talent for the future.

With the end of the Season for the Broncos marks the start of the off season for them. And it started with a bang due to all the coaching moves. Long time assistants Bobby Turner and Rick Dennison left for promotions at other clubs. Mike Nolan left because he wasn't a perfect fit for McD and is now with the Dolphins. Then there is the reshuffling of the offensive staff, the hiring of Eric Studesville, the promotion of Don 'Wink' Martindale and you get a taste of what is ahead.

Well first up is the Free Agency period which will be limited this year. Because there is no CBA agreement in place so a lot of the Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA) become Restricted Free Agents (RFA). So of the 400 or so FA now another 212 potential UFA are now RFA under the current agreement. And from what Roger Goodell has been saying a new deal isn't right around the corner. Which means that UFA will be slim and there will not be much top end talent. Also means many players like the Broncos Brandon Marshall and Elvis Dumervil become RFA and they can be tendered for draft picks.

But out of the UFA there are a few good ones to look at for the Broncos, though these players are very likely to be resigned or get a Franchise Tag from their respective teams. One such player is NT Vince Wilfork of the New England Patriots who would be a massive pickup for the Broncos. He is a force in the middle of the Defense and would be a big upgrade of what we have on the roster at the moment. The problem is with all the Franchise Tags and Transition Tags it is unlikely that Wilfork could leave the Pats. I think the Broncos may pick up some lesser known talent in FA to fill backup spots. But then again there could be a number of trades take place in the offseason, maybe more for players than for draft picks. There is the possibility for trades of Champ, Doom, Marshall, DJ, Hillis and Scheffler. It is my opinion that the Broncos should stock pile draft picks mostly between the 20th-80th picks as there is a lot of talent there to be drafted.

So having said that I would pick up some lesser known talent in FA and trade Hillis and Scheffler for whatever draft picks you can get. Because if you ain't going to use them then why keep them. Plus I would resign Doom and Marshall. I think people saying trading Marshall and pick Dez is a bit of a waste, you may get some more picks for Marshall but Dez is a big downgrade. If you are going to trade Marshall you need to at least get a few picks in that 20-80 bracket. So like two 2nd rounders, but I think the best option for the TEAM is to keep Marshall. UPDATE: Too be honest I keep changing my opinion on this. If there is an awesome deal for him deal him otherwise keep him. It really depends on what is the best option for the team to improve for the future.

Well with that out of the way moving on to the draft. Now the first thing we should do in the draft is to move back into the 20s and pick up another 2nd rounder. That I believe is the best option. McClain at 11th is a possiblitiy but I think he may even go higher than that depending on his pro day and combine. Now instead of saying who we should draft, like a mock draft I will list some guys that I think the Broncos should be looking at and there are a few guys that I now like because my opinion has been swayed by other bloggers.

So my list:
NT Dan Williams, is a strong player and has been out doing Cody.
NT Mt. Cody, I like him because he is huge, but he needs to drop his weight. If he is 340 at the combine I drafted him.
RB Dexter McCluster, tiny dude but really fast. Had a poor game in the Senior bowl, got hammered a few times and fumbled twice, but he is interesting.
QB Tim Tebow, I know this is bad to have him here, but hey if he is there late like the 5th round then pick him. Reason I like him, when you listen to him talk and what he wants to do, he is a leader and a professional, reminds me of Dawkins a little. But can he be a QB in the NFL?
QB Dan Lefevour, had a real strong Senior Bowl and looks like a solid player could be a nice pick up.
MLB Rolando McClain, he seems like a good football player, but watching highlights of him he seems slow to me. But like I said above he may go top 10.
MLB Brandon Spikes, could fall into the second round which is a perfect place to pick him. May not be the fastest but he can fill in for Andra Davis or take his spot completely depending on how well he does.
G Mike Iupati, big guy, good guard. But will be a high pick, I think we could pick up a guard just as good lower in the draft.
C Maurkice Pouncey, my personal favorite and a guy I think we need to draft. Can play C or G and if Casey Wiegmann plays another year he would be the prefect mentor for this young kid.

Other than that the main thing that the Broncos front office needs to focus on this offseason is the trenches. No overlooking positions like NT like they did last year. Get good players that can help the team because the rest of the players will benefit. It all starts in the trenches and ours ain't that great at the moment. It will be an interesting to see what happens in the coming months and the changes that are made. Well that is it from me, sorry about the long post but enjoy the offseason ~Aussie Out