AFC West: Jamie Winborn

AFC West mailbag

March, 18, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Mid-week mail call:

Chris from Brooklyn: Bill, have you seen my Broncos' list of opponents for next season? Outside of our division opponents we will be facing teams including the Giants, Patriots, Colts, Steelers, Ravens, Eagles, and Cowboys. With this fiasco that is the McDaniels/Cutler feud and our schedule next season, what are your predictions for our record next season? At this point, assuming Cutler gets traded, I'm HOPING for 6-10. It's never too early, right?

BW: You're right, Chris. This is not an easy schedule. If the Broncos don't have Cutler and they have a stop-gap or a green quarterback and the defense doesn't improve greatly, it could be a long year in the Rocky Mountains.

Andrew from Kansas City: If you were on the KC Chiefs P.R. staff, what would you tell Chiefs fans so that they would want to support the team in 2009 and buy tickets?

BW: I'd tell them it's a new era with a new coaching staff and new leadership. Plus, Matt Cassel is an exciting new quarterback. There is plenty to be excited about in Kansas City. Are the Chiefs a contender? No, probably not, but they are trying to get better.

Mike from West Des Moines: Hi Bill! I love the blog! I am curious what is going on with Dre Bly and Jamie Winborn in free agency. I thought with the way Winborn played last year he would have signed with someone by now. Do you have any updates? Thanks!

BW: Winborn has visited Tennessee and I haven't heard anything about Bly. One of the reasons why Denver cut these two players is neither are high-caliber players any longer they are role players.

Chris from San Diego: Hey Bill, if the Chargers draft a running back in the first round, do you think it would cause some tension between LT and upper management? Some mock drafts are still suggesting that is possible.

BW: It could, sure. But Tomlinson is here on a year-by-year basis at this point. If he continues to get hurt at key times and his production dips, he will likely not be in town in 2010 whether San Diego drafts a running back in the first round or not.

Denver via KC: Hey Bill, love your stuff! Do you think there is any chance that my beloved "re-building" Chiefs will go and try to get Roy Williams since he was freshly cut from the Boys'? We all know that Bowe and Gonzo could use some serious help... and for that matter so could Cassell. The Chiefs have plenty of cap space and haven't really made that much of a splash in FA. I know there have been rumors of Bobby Engram, Tory Holt, and Marvin Harrison - but they are all pretty well used up - What are the chances that they try to give LJ and a pick or two to Arizona for Boldin? We have all seen how much Pioli likes dealing with his old team, maybe Haley will do the same... Thanks a lot, Collin

BW: Thank you, maybe on Williams. He is still out there and the team could use a safety. But it isn't one of the Chiefs' greatest needs. As for Boldin, we'll see. It could make sense but Engram has been signed and veteran Marty Booker could also be on the way to complement No. 1 receiver Dwayne Bowe.

AFC West news and notes

March, 11, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

There were some things going on in the AFC West that didn't involve the Jay Cutler and LaDainian Tomlinson bombshells.

Let's get caught up:

Denver signed defensive tackle J'Vonne Parker. He is a fifth-season player who was with Carolina, Atlanta and Baltimore last season. He will fight for a roster spot in training camp.

The Kansas City Star reasons that now that St. Louis has cut tackle Orlando Pace they could add a tackle with the No. 2 spot, which could help Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry to slip to Kansas City at the No. 3 pick. Still, Detroit is a candidate to take Curry with the No. 1 pick.

Former Denver backup quarterback Patrick Ramsey was visiting with Tennessee. Denver is not going to bring him back. Linebacker Jamie Winborn, who was cut by Denver last month, is also visiting with the Titans.

Denver free-agent cornerback Karl Paymah will visit with San Francisco. He could soon choose where he will play in 2009. Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Minnesota have all expressed interest in Paymah. Denver has not shown interest in bringing him back.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

The fact that Denver has cut five defensive starters in the past couple of days may appear more drastic than it really is.

  Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
  Less than a year after acquiring Dewayne Robertson from the Jets, the Broncos discarded the former first-round draft pick.

Yes, replacing at least five starters is no easy task. But the truth is the new Denver regime can't wait to do it. The team needs a huge facelift on defense.

It began this week when the team waved goodbye to starters Dre' Bly (cornerback), Dewayne Robertson (defensive tackle), Jamie Winborn (linebacker), Marquand Manuel (safety) and John Engelberger (defensive end). Only Bly and Robertson could have conceivably been part of the makeover, but both were high-priced and neither made much of an impact last season.

So they're out.

There is more change to come. Outside linebacker Boss Bailey, who is injured, could be a candidate to be cut. Starters Ebenezer Ekuban (defensive end), Nate Webster (linebacker) and Marlon McCree (safety) are free agents and are not expected to return.

But again, many of these players were starters in 2008 because the team had no other choice.

Under new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan -- the former San Francisco head coach and longtime assistant -- the Broncos are moving toward becoming a 3-4 defense. Few of the above-mentioned players fit in the new scheme.

The Broncos have two cornerstones on defense: cornerback Champ Bailey and linebacker D.J. Williams. Other than that, it's an open audition.

Pass-rush specialist Elvis Dumervil should have a place on the defense and could be moved to linebacker from defensive end. Young defensive linemen Marcus Thomas and Jarvis Moss (the team's first-round pick in 2007) will likely get a chance to play in the new scheme.

Thomas has been fairly productive the past two years and has a chance to be a good player. Moss has been a major disappointment, but he has natural pass-rush skills so there's hope he could flourish in the new system.

Young linebackers Wesley Woodyard and Spencer Larsen may get a chance to fit in the 3-4 attack. Woodyard, an undrafted free agent signed last season, is a natural playmaker and was a tackling machine last year. Larsen, a sixth-round pick last season, is a hard-nosed, versatile player. Still, there will be new competition for both.

Other than Bailey, the Broncos will likely be looking for help in the secondary.

Expect Denver to try to get at least two defensive linemen, at least one linebacker and three new defensive backs through free agency, trades and the draft. While big names such as defensive end Julius Peppers and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth will be tempting, the Broncos may opt to target several more reasonably priced free agents than one big-ticket item because of their numerous needs on defense.

Whatever happens, the change is going to be drastic. The release of five starters this week only begins the sea change on Denver's defense.

Broncos' moves open up cap space

February, 16, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

The purge has begun in Denver.

The word around the organization was that the bloodletting would be severe in Denver and it began with a bang Monday. The team cut six players and saved more than $25 million in salary cap space in the process. The Broncos, who cut several lower level, low pay players last week, now have more than $28 million in cap space with the number fluctuating nearly on a daily basis.

These moves mean Denver will have plenty of room to pick up some key free agents once free agency begins Feb. 27. Denver will need to add several defensive players. Four of the players cut were starters at least part of the season in 2008.

The cut players were defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson, defensive end John Engelberger, linebacker Jamie Winborn, safety Marquand Manuel, linebacker Niko Koutouvides and tight end Nate Jackson.

The cuts illustrate the rough free agency period Denver had in 2008. The team drafted very well last season but made several mistakes in free agency. Koutouvides and Manuel were brought in through free agency and Engelberger and Jackson were both re-signed by Denver last year. Robertson was brought in through a draft day eve trade with the Jets. Denver won't owe New York any compensation for Robertson. His release alone gives Denver more than $16 million in cap relief.

Several of these players played significant time but they were not effective and it was clear Denver was going to have to replace them. The Broncos will likely need five or six new starters and these cuts were the beginning of the change in Denver on the defensive side of the ball.

The team may also soon cut cornerback Dre' Bly. His release would clear several million alone.

Expect Denver, which has cash issues like many teams around the league during this economic downturn, to try to get at least a couple of defensive starters (there are needs on all three phases of the unit). The Broncos could be intrigued by a big name free agent, but Monday's purge shows the Broncos needs for quantity as much as quality this offseason.

Broncos' bad week continues

October, 24, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

The cost of Denver's lopsided loss at New England continued to rise Friday.

Four days after Denver's humiliating 41-7 defeat in which linebacker Boss Bailey and backup quarterback Patrick Ramsey were injured and lost for the season and superstar cornerback Champ Bailey was lost for at least a month with a groin injury, three Denver players were fined for on-field infractions.

Right tackle Ryan Harris was fined $5,000 for unnecessary roughness. He shoved a New England player after an Andre Hall lost fumble.

Running back Michael Pittman was fined for $5,000 for a chop block and linebacker Jamie Winborn was fined $5,000 for a major facemask. Winborn's play was critical to the team. Had he not committed the penalty the Patriots would have been forced to punt while the outcome of the game was still in question.

AFC West mail call

September, 24, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Mid-week mail call:

Billy from Corona, Ca: With denver coming out and putting up a lot of points and fast you would think it would make the oppositions offence more one dimensional trying to play catch up and much easier for our defence to make some big plays and force turnovers. Why is this not happening? Is it players or learning the new system or what?

BW: In a way, it is happening. Teams have to throw to catch up with Denver and they are throwing at ease. San Diego and New Orleans combined for 798 yards passing. The Broncos have to learn to stop the pass and perhaps their big leads will be safe.

St. Paul: Will Brandon Marshall be suspended again this season, with his latest assault charge last week?

BW: The league is looking at the situation and if he is convicted, he could be disciplined further. However, the case was part of Marshall's original suspension so there is a chance he will not get any more disciplinary action sanctioned against him.

Rob from St. Paul: In regards to Sean Payton complaining to the league office about the no call on the off-sides on the critical 3rd down play...Isn't there 2 or 3 plays that every coach in the league could complain about each week? It seems like sour grapes to me.

BW: Payton has a point. Jamie Winborn was offside on the play in question. Still, it had no impact on the outcome of the play, which Payton admitted. He is a coach frustrated with a loss and his reaction is understandable. Plus, the league needs to be made aware of officials' mistakes. But let's not compare this situation to the blown call the week before that went against San Diego. The impact was not even close.

Will from SD: Through three games, Rivers is top five in passing yards and leads the NFL with 9 touchdown passes, and only two interceptions and no fumbles. It seems clear that Rivers has progressed significantly, and while the Chargers have gotten off to a slow start, Rivers hasn't. Does Rivers have a shot at the MVP if he keeps these numbers up and leads the Chargers into the playoffs?

BW: Philip Rivers is a flat-out stallion. Yes, he will be in the MVP conversation if he keeps this up. His play has been effortless. Rivers will always be successful because he is so bright and he is such a leader. His teammates will play hard for him. But if he continues to make the strides in his overall game, the sky is the limit. He is really fun to watch.

Chris from Atlanta: Was it just me or did having McNiel (M&M) back at left tackle make a huge difference tonight? He appeared to lock down the left side which had not been the case the 1st 2 games.

BW: You are right. Marcus McNeill's presence really helped at left tackle. He is a Pro Bowl player who was missed. Once the Chargers get center Nick Hardwick back in a few weeks, this offensive line should be running at a high level.

Las Vegas: What do you think about trading for Chad Henne or for Colt Brennan to be a quarterback of the future for the Chiefs?

BW: The Chiefs' fishing expedition about Brady Quinn with Cleveland last week shows that this team believes it may have to look outside the organization for quarterback help. So any current, young backup could be a possibility for Kansas City.

Josh from KC: Do you believe you have the greatest job ever? I mean, you just travel around and go to NFL games and write them. It seems pretty awesome.

BW: Yes, Josh, it is pretty awesome. My fortune has not been lost on me. I am thankful to be able to do this job every day.

Michael Sitts from Syracuse, NY: Hi, Bill! Thanks for all the blog content. This is actually a serious question and not the plaintive quivering of a bewildered fan... Is there any mechanism by which the NFL can interfere with the management of a team (obviously, I'm referring to the Raiders here...)? From the jaw-dropping contracts in the off-season of bidding against oneself, to the yearly re-enactments of the most painful and embarrassing coaching searches in memory, the Oakland franchise is like a drunk staggering through a minefield. There is some precedent in professional sports, most notably the NBA stepping in to help sort out the Cleveland Cavaliers' mess under Ted Septien in the 80's. I very much doubt there is, but the disarray in Oakland is taking on historic implications. thanks! Michael

BW: It's a legitimate question, Michael. However, it will never happen. But remember, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell got involved in the Brett Favre mess this summer. Why couldn't he go into Oakland and step in there? It's sort of the same thing, isn't it?

Lawrence from San Jose: Hey Bill, should I be encouraged or discouraged by the Raiders effort on Sunday? for the first 3 1/2 quarters the defense and Janikowski were solid and the offense wasn't making mistakes. Yet, the offense wasn't able to punch it into the endzone in three redzone trips, and the defense gave up 17 fourth quarter points. Both Kiffin and Ryan appeared to be playing to not lose the game rather than win it. Your thoughts?

BW: Any time a big lead is blown in the fourth quarter, it is certainly a discouraging week. However, the Raiders played hard on the road for the second straight week despite all of the turmoil. That is encouraging. The Raiders aren't folding and that is impressive.

Thanks and keep them coming.

Chargers will limp into Denver

September, 12, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

The Chargers released their final injury update of the week and they will be without two important offensive linemen. San Diego has several injury issues in what is now a critical game Sunday in Denver on Sunday.

Center Nick Hardwick (foot) and left tackle Marcus McNeill (neck) are out for the second straight week. Jeremy Newberry will play at center and L.J. Shelton will work at left tackle against Denver's young defensive front.

Also looming is the injury status of star running back LaDainian Tomlinson. He is listed as questionable with a turf toe. However, Tomlinson did practice fully Friday after sitting out the first two days of practice. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie was limited Friday after not practicing Wednesday and Thursday. He is listed as questionable as well. First-round pick Antoine Cason will spell Cromartie if he can't play. Cromartie suffered a hip injury in Sunday's loss to Carolina.

Tomlinson said this week he will play. San Diego would use Darren Sproles and rookie Jacob Hester if Tomlinson can't play. Denver's run defense, ranked 30th in the NFL last season, played well against Oakland. Tomlinson would be a major test for Denver.

Meanwhile, Denver's strongside linebacker Boss Bailey, who has an ankle injury, is expected to play sparingly. His replacement, Jamie Winborn, should also play some. At center, Casey Wiegmann continues to spell Tom Nalen who is coming back from tow knee surgeries. Nalen may be a couple of weeks from playing.



Saturday, 12/20
Sunday, 12/21
Monday, 12/22