Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tradition Tuesday: Camp Bailey

The rough focus of this blog is the rivalry between the Kansas City Chiefs (heralded by Bankmeister) and the Denver Broncos (championed by Cecil and Old No. 7). It may seem unfair that it's two versus one, but once KC gets that second Super Bowl win we'll even out the delegation.

Seven years ago we started The Tradition, in which Bronco fans travel out to the Truman Sports Complex with their team, and Chief-lovers return to the Rocky Mountains with theirs. We tailgate, we talk massive amounts of shit, our wives are occasionally assaulted by rival fans, and we almost always watch the visiting team lose. It's grand old time.

Here at the HoG, we're going to keep The Tradition going with Tradition Tuesday--a weekly state-of-the-rivalry address.

Back in olden times, Denver Broncos training camp meant one thing: road trip. To Greeley. To inhale the ass fumes of a hundred thousand cows, and check out the sweet new rides in the players' parking lot, and to down a burger and a beer at the Smiling Moose. You'd buy a program from a pint-sized huckster on the sidewalk and size up the squad under the blistering August sun.

The Broncos don't train in Greeley anymore. They don't really go anywhere, they just practice in the same damn place they do the rest of the year. So it's not really "camp" now, is it? It's just practice. What we talking about, practice? Practice?

But just because we've dispensed with the corny college campus atmosphere and the Smiling Moose is closed, that doesn't mean we can't get down in our three point stances and dissect the things we like and the things we don't concerning the Denver Broncos right now. For Chiefs coverage today, I would go to lemonparty.org.


The Tight End Position

Everybody laughs at me when I say that Dan Graham is going to the Pro Bowl in a conference with Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates. When I offered an over/under on his touchdowns at 7 1/2 at the pub the other night, I had so much money thrust toward me you'd think I had silicone jugs. But I think Dan Graham is going to have a memorable season in Denver. If Tony Scheffler can return and give the Broncos anything--anything--then this offense will be prepared to kick some tail. The flexibility they'll have in two-tight-end sets, with Graham's blocking prowess and Scheffler's speed, will create some matchup nightmares. It also moves the aging offensive line from the "Things That Scare The Shit Out Of Me" category to the "Things That Merely Cause Me Facial Acne For The First Time Since High School."

Travis Henry

Every time your team acquires a new player, be it through the draft, trade or free agency, you wonder how he's going to look in your uniform. Jarvis Moss, for instance, looks like he needs to put on several hundred pounds to play NFL defensive end. Seriously, dude, fucking eat something.

Henry, on the other hand, looks like a one-man army of man-crushing destruction. Where he's normally appeared dumpy and made out of dough, he clearly spent this offseason eating fluorescent light bulbs and washing them down with turpentine. Mean, lean, and ready for a monster season. I apologize, but I couldn't find the photo that made me think all these things. I did discover a bunch of shots that made Henry look dumpy and made out of dough.

Man To Man Coverage

Obviously Champ Bailey is the NFL's only true stopper at corner, and more obviously the death of Darrent Williams puts the Broncos in a horrible personnel position. But Dre Bly still has a year or two of top-level coverage ability in him. The double threat of Champ and Bly will make game-planning team with multiple deep threats (cough, Colts, cough) a little easier.

The Young D-Line

I don't know if Moss, the NFL's only anorexic player, will provide the pass rush the Broncos have missed since the days of leather helmets. I don't know if the other rookies (Tim Crowder and Marcus Thomas) or holdover Elvis Dumervil will flourish or flounder. But I like these kids, so long as Thomas doesn't go all Ricky Williams on us. Hopefully they'll provide the energy needed to spell large gasbags like Sam Adams, Jimmy Kennedy, and Gerard Warren.

The potential on the O-Line

Don't get me wrong, I'm scared shitless by this offensive line. It's thin, short on talent and too reliant on the comeback of Matt Lepsis. But I love Ryan Harris, the rookie out of Notre Dame. I'm intrigued by Montrae Holland , the ex-Saint. Most of all, George Foster is nowhere near Dove Valley, which in my opinion makes the line six times as good as last year.

Coach Bates

Word is that new defensive coordinator (I know his title is different, relax) Jim Bates is a hootin' and a hollerin' all day long in camp. Although I hate the fact that Larry Coyer was scapegoated for last season's collapse, I think Bates might be the shit. The players seem to buy into his scheme, we'll just have to see what that scheme is.

JC, The Messiah

Either he's ready, or he's not. But Screamin' Jay Cutler is the key to the season. And since the tingling in my loins indicates that the Broncos are going to being fucking awesome this season, I guess Young No. 6 is going to be fantastic.


Every Wide Receiver Not Named Javon Walker

Mark my words, the search for that elusive third WR is over. In its place is a new search, for a simple starter opposite Mr. Walker. The obituaries are already starting to materialize for Rod Smith, who is, at least for the time being, on the PUP list. Brandon Marshall, Smith's anointed successor, is busted up as well and watching practice from the sidelines. Brandon Stokely is coming off an Achilles' tendon injury and, well, white. And today the Broncos lost Dominik Hixon to a separated shoulder. Guh.


No matter how well D.J. Williams does moving inside, the loss of Al Wilson will be felt. The unquestioned strength of the team, the loaded linebacker corps, is now a question mark. I guess Warrick Holdman looks good thus far in taking over Williams' strongside spot, but Bates' pattern of placing mammoth DTs in the way of these 'backers needs to work, or there will be a revolving door to...


There have actually been knowledgeable insiders that have discussed the Denver Broncos trading for Greg Wesley. Greg Wesley is horrible. The faint cheering you hear to the east is the City of Kansas reacting to that trade rumor. But that's the state of affairs in the middle of Denver's defensive backfield. John Lynch is ancient, and Nick Ferguson is another vet returning from an injury-plagued '06, and Sam Brandon got axed. There's some filler on the roster, but the fact that the Broncos did not make a play for Donovan Darius will turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes of what was otherwise a productive offseason.

Special Teams

As usual. I have no idea who'll return the kicks, or who'll kick off, or if Sauerbrun is on or off the magic juice, or what Elam has left in that leg, or what the supply of backup linebackers (the bread and butter of any good ST unit) is. So I'm calling this a negative until further notice.

The Arrogance Of Coach Shanahan

There, I said it. Every time Shanny has been faced with doubters, over his playcalling or personnel decisions or what not, he's reinvented himself and succeeded. If you don't think he' still one of the five best coaches in the game you need to lay off that crack. But sometimes, when a borderline g-word like Shanahan gets toys like Walker, Bailey and (maybe) Cutler, he gets a little crazy. I hope that' not the case this season.


Morbidity, And Team Chemistry

Look, the Williams/Nash mourning angle is going to be beaten to (sorry) death. Every game, every media outlet and every city the team visits are going to be focused around the loss of these two young men. My feeling is that this club is going to gel and lock out distractions better than any team in the NFL because of it. You want tragedy, lack of discipline and excuses? Go visit the New York Giants. This team has its eye on the prize, son. But no predictions from me yet, those will come later. This is merely a taste of my impression of training camp, and now it's done.

Editor's Note: The photo at the top of this page is of Domenik Hixon attempting a one-handed catch in front of HoG favorite Kevin House. We'll go ahead and attribute it to Omar Vega, who was a character in Pulp Fiction and also works for the Denver Post. Minutes later, Hixon got knocked the fuck out. Lesson: Nobody messes with the House!


Cecil said...

Motherfucker! Hixon got hurt today?

Jesus. I finally have to actually work at my job and look what I miss. Sonuvvabitch.

Hixon was the hidden element. I had high hopes. He had the imprimatur of none other than Bailey himself...guess I better read how bad his injury is before I hang myself from the shower head.

Thing is, for once in my life as a Broncos fan, aka the whole thing, I'm standing against our own hype. I think the O-line needs to prove some shit this year, and if Chris Kuper is as good as they say that'll be a start, but still. Erik Pears is tall and went to a magnificent institution of higher learning, but can he be a starter at right tackle? What about Adam Meadows? Can Harris start off at the right, like he did at Notre Dame? Questions all over.

I'm actually not too worried about the linebackers. Al, bless him, was fading and fading badly last year--and let's be honest with ourselves, the year before. D.J. is a star. You watch. Every middle linebacker in Bates' system has gone on to be a beast. See: Thomas, Zach and Barnett, Nick.

Wideout is freaky. Marshall has to come on this year like he did at the end of last...but he has to get on the fucking field. I think Kircus could end up playing a larger roler, which alternately makes me think of Steve Watson and soil my pants with warm tan terror.

Unknown said...

Main Entry: de·lu·sion
Pronunciation: \di-ˈlü-zhən, dē-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin delusion-, delusio, from deludere
Date: 15th century
1: the act of deluding : the state of being deluded
2 a: something that is falsely or delusively believed or propagated b: a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary; also : the abnormal state marked by such beliefs.

Sorry about all of the bandwith used pasting merriam-webster on your blog, but I felt it was completely neccesary to diagnose your orange and blue induced dream state.
I like the "abnormal state" and "indisputable evidence to the contrary" parts the best..

Unknown said...

I know Bank, the same ones always get me!