I just finished up moderating a fan forum with Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway and Director of Player Personnel Matt Russell.
Season-ticket holders were able to ask them questions during the hour-long conference call, and it was a pretty fun experience for everyone involved. We’ve held a few fan forums in the past and we’ll hold more going forward this season.
Some of the more interesting notes to come out of the call were Elway’s thoughts on the addition of new Director of Pro Personnel Tom Heckert, Russell’s comments on Ryan Clady and Elway comparing Montee Ball to Terrell Davis.
Below are some quick hits from the fan forum. We’ll have more from the call over the next few days.
Elway on Heckert:
“Well, we’re thrilled to have Tom. He’s a guy that, as you said, he has 20 years of experience in the NFL. He’s got general manager experience, and he really started on the pro (personnel) side. So for him to come in and be our director of pro personnel, he’s going to add a great deal of knowledge on the pro side, as well as player evaluation. So we’re thrilled to have Tom. We think he’s a great addition, and we’re glad he’s with us.”
Russell on the atmosphere in the team’s draft war room:
“We’re prepared. We’ve done our work. We don’t really stress out about our picks; we just go with our board, and like I said, the work’s been done with our area scouts, and we have a great scouting staff, so we go with our board, we look up at the board, and it’s pretty laid-back prior to our pick, and then maybe three or four picks before us, we start to get intense, maybe that’s making trade calls or getting calls from other teams, but we lay back and we try to compose ourselves. We kind of know who we’re going to take when the time comes to pick.”
Elway on Ball:
“We’re excited. When we were watching Montee, the one thing that stood out about his running style is that it’s a lot like Terrell Davis, and so that got us very excited, and we hope that Montee has an even longer career than Terrell had. But he’s a guy that is durable, he carried the ball 600 times the last two years, he had 55 touchdowns the last two years. He’s got great short-area quickness, he has a knack to find the holes, he can run inside between the tackles and he can also run outside, and plus with those numbers I just gave you, he’s extremely productive and has also proven to be durable and has not missed any games the last couple of years. We think we found a gem in Montee and I have high expectations for him to come in and really help us with the running game.”
Russell on CB Kayvon Webster:
“Well, we saw a guy with great speed. He’s a 4.3 40 guy, great cover skills. The thing that stood out to us about Kayvon was his physicality against the run game. Very tough. We feel like we’ve got a safety playing corner that can also cover. We’re really excited about getting him. We really thought he was one of the better corners in the draft. Just the combination of cover skills and physicality made us very attracted to him. We’re excited to have him.”
Elway: “And I would also add, not only that, but the size. I think if you look at the receivers and the tight ends in the game these days, it’s that size is imperative at the corner position. It’s very difficult to find size as well as speed in the same guy, and we were able to find that in Kayvon.”
Elway on replacing Elvis Dumervil:
“Well, No. 1, we signed Shaun Phillips, so I think adds some third-down pass-rushing ability for us. No. 2, we’ve put some pressure on Robert Ayers to step up and have a good year and be the player that we think he can be. No. 3, we drafted Quanterus Smith in the fifth round, that’s coming off an ACL. He should be ready to go middle of June to July. He had 12.5 sacks in college, and three of those came against two great tackles at Alabama, one got drafted in the first round and one will get drafted in the first round next year. Pass rushers are always tough to find, and I think we more than replaced Elvis as far as being able to put pressure on the quarterback. I think one great thing about us is that if you look where we were in sacks last year, we were No. 1 in the league in sacks, so we have a lot of different people that can put pressure on the quarterback, not only as individuals, but also what Jack Del Rio does scheme-wise. So we’re going to have the ability to pressure people, whether Elvis is here or not.”
Elway on this weekend’s rookie minicamp:
“We always like seeing them on the hoof and getting them out there on the practice field, seeing them move around and how they look athletically. It’s always a fun point for us, too, after the draft and the hard work of the scouts and everybody that we go through, it’s nice to see the draft picks and the CFAs and the guys that we’ve signed come in and work. It’s always an exciting time. It’s kind of the beginning of the new season. That really kind of gets the ball going as far as the organized workouts that we’ll start to go through.”
Russell on the offensive line:
“We feel good about J.D. (Walton). J.D. is rehabbing, doing a great job, working his tail off to get his ankle ready. So we feel comfortable about that. In terms of Ryan (Clady), we’re working on that. We want Ryan here. He’s a great player for us. He’s a Bronco and we feel confident that we can get that done. That may take a little bit, but we’re confident about it. But in terms of the injuries that we’ve got on the offensive line, we feel like those guys will get back and be ready to go for the season.”
Tags: Director of Player Personnel Matt Russell, Director of Pro Personnel Tom Heckert, Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway, J.D. Walton, Kayvon Webster, Montee Ball, NFL Draft, Quanterus Smith, Rookie Minicamp, Ryan Clady, Shaun Phillips, Terrell Davis