The Broncos soon will embark on the on-the-field phase of the off-season, with all the NFL teams conducting their camps.
For the Broncos, the annual quarterback camp is in the final two weeks of May, team camp the first couple of weeks of June, and then the annual mini-camp will be in July, a couple of weeks before training camp begins.
Right now it is real quiet, but it will get real busy for four weeks, then real quiet for a month or so, and then the season will essentially be underway.
And the off season will be a distant memory.
But what has happened in the winter and spring is that the Broncos have signed and drafted new players, most of them anonymous to our legions of fans.
But if you fail to prepare, you have prepared to fail, and this team has not been preparing to fail, but to bounce back to winning.
What I want to point out to everyone, even those of us on the supposed inside, is that these players are only unknown until they are famous.
That might seem contradictory, but just think about it.
Almost no one comes into the game as a star, with greatness expected. The John Elways are few and far between.
Everybody who follows the Orange and Blue knows who Karl Mecklenburg is, but did you, did we, before he started making big play after big play?
But I can still vividly remember the day when I brought the 1983 draftees in to meet the press, and not a single member of the press even asked Meck a question. I do not say this as any criticism of the press at all, but merely as an indicator of how completely unknown Mecklenburg was at that time.
Eventually, I asked somebody to pretend to ask him a few questions, just so he would not feel excluded from the process.
But very soon, he became KARL MECKLENBURG!!!
Now, none of us can predict with certainty that the recently drafted players and free agent signees will go on to be big time players; but we can’t predict that they won’t, either.
Because somewhere in the NFL, somebody will. And with the system, coaching staff and support system here in Denver, it is just as likely to happen to a young Bronco as to anyone else.
Not only does each one of these new players have record of playing ability, but each also has a character pedigree that makes the whole team better just by locker room presence.
The NFL is a great meritocracy.
The best guys play, especially for Mike Shanahan. He once cut Anthony Miller and Mike Pritchard, both number one draft choices, and went with Ed McCaffrey and Rod Smith instead.
I can tell you, the press thought he must have been crazy.
What does everyone think now? Does anyone in Denver think McCaffrey was a good player? How about Rod Smith?
That’s the whole point.
Nobody is famous until he makes himself famous, and we are going to give every player in this 2008 group every opportunity to accomplish that while contributing to the only goal which the Denver Broncos ever have, which is to win now.
So don’t worry about whether or not we know somebody by his name; let’s see what kind of name he makes for himself as time goes by.