We’ve been getting more and more comments after we post training camp blogs, and we’ve tried to answer all of them quickly and thoroughly. Then we figured it might be a good idea to take some of the most pertinent questions and post them as sort of a mailbag, answering several at once and posting it up for everyone to read.
Before we get into the questions, just wanted to give a quick introduction to the people you’ll be reading this season.
First, we have Jake Grilley. Jake is a recent graduate of the University of Montana and grew up watching the Broncos. He was a print journalism major in college who covered the Griz and is looking forward to getting the word out to all of you this season. Jake enjoys tap water, long walks on the beach and the sight of the sun blossoming over the Rocky Mountains early in the morning. He is 23. And single. Ladies?
Next, Adam Zinser. Adam just graduated from Vanderbilt University as a communications major and worked for the Tennessee Titans last season. Adam was the first of us to write on the blog, so some of you started calling him “The Blog Master.” I think I speak for all of us when I say, please keep that going.
Now let me introduce you to the strikingly handsome Gray Caldwell. I graduated from the University of North Carolina in May with a major in journalism, and covered the Tar Heel basketball team last season. For the record, stop hating on Tyler Hansbrough. You know he’s good. Anyway, looking forward to more interaction with all of you throughout the season.
Finally, I’ll introduce you to our bosses. Manager of Team Media Kyle Sonneman is pretty much a jack-of-all-trades. He’ll post on the blog one minute, write a story on the main page the next and do almost everything else behind the scenes in between. This is Kyle’s third year with the Broncos, and 10th in the NFL after spending his first years with the Tennessee Titans. Kyle was a Western Kentucky Hilltopper, and even he doesn’t know what in the world that red blob of a mascot is supposed to be.
Multimedia Producer Kasey Byers is in his second year with the team, and like Jake, is a graduate of the University of Montana. You may recognize his name from Broncos TV — Kasey films the action, puts it together, writes the scripts and voices over all the Broncos highlights and interviews you could ever need on our site. Kasey’s roots are in local television, where he worked for four years throughout college. Kasey is an avid bowler, and after recently bowling a 37 (with the bumpers) vows to take down any and all challengers.
These are the people that will bring you the latest and answer your questions on the DenverBroncos.com Blog all year long. P.S. we’re going to be adding to this blog all the time, occasionally without linking to it on the front of DenverBroncos.com. So go ahead and add the RSS feed to stay up to date on all the Broncos coverage you need.
So, without further adieu, here is the first edition of The Mailbag. Let’s get it rolling.
A few posters wanted to know how Jay Cutler is looking.
This rejuvinated “zip” on his ball that keeps getting talked about. Is it real or is it all hype? Well, Head Coach Mike Shanahan made a comment to his receivers about trying to catch Cutler’s 90-mph fastball. Selvin Young told reporters, “I don’t get to see it (the football) as much as his receivers, but at five yards away I can definitely tell a little bit more of a difference.” Even Cutler said he feels confident that all his “stuff” is back from before he was diagnosed with Diabetes. As far as his rapport with the new receivers on the team, the timing seems to be getting better and better — Keary Colbert and Cutler hooked up several times in Tuesday’s morning practice — and everyone seems to like each other. Cutler has repeatedly called it “the best receiving corps we’ve had since I’ve been here.” In terms of a leadership role, that’s something Cutler said he and teammate D.J. Williams have both attempted to step into. He’s trying to be a little more vocal on the field and in the locker room, and is certainly ready to step up and be a leader for the team, but his play will still do much of the talking. It’s hard to tell this early on, but Cutler’s demeaner along with the camaraderie of the entire offense seems to point to a successful season for the third-year quarterback.
Broncfalls asked a question about Jack Williams.
Williams’ reps have been increasing as camp progresses, as the coaches seem to think he’s catching on to his assigments quickly. At times, including Tuesday, Williams was running with the second unit alongside Domonique Foxworth at the cornerback position. He’s made a couple of nice plays so far in camp, including the breakup of the Cutler-to-Stokley connection on Monday. As far as sewing his name onto your No. 26 jersey — I say why not. He’s the only 26 on the Broncos, clearly, and it doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch to say you’ll be seeing plenty of him in the secondary and on special teams this season.
Kaylore asked about the punting situation.
Kasey Byers is actually putting together a piece on the punting situation for BroncosTV that should head to the Web site by the end of the day today. Right now the battle is between the incumbent starter — Sam Paulescu, who punted in the 2007 season finale against the Vikings — and rookie Brett Kern. So far both have had solid camps, neither is truly standing out from the other. Kern was booming punts a few days ago, but Paulescu let loose a few huge ones today as well. The way it’s working at the moment is that one will take the punting duties in the morning practice and one in the afternoon, then switch it up the following day. In other words, we don’t know who is going to be the starter simply by looking at who is holding for Matt Prater. We’ll keep you up to date on how the competition is going, and check out Broncos TV’s video later this evening.
imready wondered who will be the big surprise out of training camp.
There are several candidates for that title this preseason, not the least of which is Anthony Alridge. The undrafted rookie out of Houston is a small (5’9″, 185 pounds), speedy running back who has broken a number of plays during practice. The coaches also have him partcipating in the return game during drills. We’ll be putting together a blog on who the underdogs to watch at camp are a little later this week, so be on the lookout for that one.
hrdnokd, among others, wanted to know a little more about Michael Pittman.
Pittman has been getting a lot of looks at training camp. The past two days, Pittman has taken handoffs out of the backfield as a running back, caught some swing passes and lined up as a fullback on a couple of occasions. His versatility is what has made him so reliable in the league for now 11 seasons. After all, his 8,707 career yards from scrimmage rank ninth among all active NFL running backs. For people questioning whether he’ll be cut, it’s hard to speculate from my position and I’d prefer not to, but I do find it hard to believe that he wouldn’t make the final squad. Then again, stranger things have happened, and I’m not sitting in on those coaching meetings. Regardless, he has been a steady set of hands out of the backfield his whole career, and his size could prove valuable in the red zone this season. He’s had a solid training camp so far, and he’s one of the players to keep an eye on heading into the preseason games.
gdingel asked about Dewayne Robertson’s run-stopping ability.
Robertson has lined up with the first unit defense in every practice in camp so far, occasionally rotating out with Alvin McKinley. Robertson is a big guy (6’1″, 308 pounds) and has looked so far like he has the ability to plug up holes quickly. Last year he posted a career-high 74 tackles and a career-high four sacks for the Jets — evidence that he can not only play the run but he can get to the passer as well. Robertson looks to be one of several good additions to the team through free agency, and fans should look for big things from the player who could help out the Broncos’ rushing defense immensely.
All right, that’s it for this mailbag. Hope you found the answers informative and extremely entertaining. We appreciate your readership and we hope to keep it throughout the preseason and into the 2008 campaign.
As always, keep on commenting and we’ll keep on answering.
-Gray Caldwell, DenverBroncos.com