AFC West: Jeremy Jarmon

Broncos' playoff notes

January, 2, 2012
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The Denver Broncos are bringing back a familiar name for the playoffs.

Denver has signed tackle Ryan Harris after putting guard Chris Kuper on the injured reserve with a broken leg. Denver believes Kuper will definitely be ready for training camp.

Harris signed with Philadelphia as a free agent and he was later cut by the Eagles. Harris will provide depth Sunday against Pittsburgh in a wild-card game.

In other Denver playoff notes:
  • Injured Denver safety Brian Dawkins spoke to the team on Monday to let them know the importance of being in the playoffs. Dawkins’ availability Sunday is in question because of a nagging neck injury.
  • Denver fullback Spencer Larsen suffered a sprained MCL in his knee and he is likely out for Sunday’s game.
  • Denver signed defensive tackle Jeremy Jarmon to a future contract for the 2012 season. He was acquired in a trade with Washington for receiver Jabar Gaffney. He was later cut.
  • Denver coach John Fox implored Denver fans not to sell their tickets to Pittsburgh fans on Sunday. This is what Fox said Monday: “We’ve got unique fans here. I would encourage all of them to keep their seats, so to speak, and not sell them to Pittsburgh fans, so our stadium remains as active and loud as it’s been -- more blue and orange as opposed to yellow and gold.” When the Steelers beat Denver in the AFC title game in the 2005 season, the stadium was teeming with Terrible Towels. It did not sit well inside the Denver organization.

Denver Broncos cutdown analysis

September, 3, 2011
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Check here for a complete list of the Denver Broncos' roster moves.

Surprise move: The cuts of defensive lineman Jeremy Jarmon and safety Kyle McCarthy were unexpected. Jarmon was brought in through a trade from Washington for Jabar Gaffney. He was expected to be part of Denver’s defensive-line rotation. McCarthy was working with the first-team defense for parts of camp. But in the end, 2010 draft picks David Bruton and Darcel McBath were kept over McCarthy.

No-brainers: There was talk that Derrick Harvey could be cut. But the team needs to keep him, especially with Jarmon out. The former No. 8 overall pick from Jacksonville is needed on Denver’s tenuous line. While he probably will never live up to his lofty draft position, Harvey is solid against the run and could help Denver. Also, I’m not shocked that Denver kept only rookie tight ends Julius Thomas and Virgil Green behind starter Daniel Fells. They cut Dante Rosario and Dan Gronkowski. The Broncos really like their three tight ends.

What's next: The Broncos have the No. 2 waiver priority. Expect them to use it often. Denver probably will look at defensive linemen, cornerbacks, offensive linemen and running backs on the waiver wire. The Colts cut defensive tackle Tommie Harris. DT is Denver’s greatest need, but the Broncos might be reluctant to pursue a player who has been cut by the Bears and Colts this year. Recently cut defensive linemen Jacob Ford (Tennessee) and Marcus Harrison (Chicago) could be appealing to Denver.

Camp Confidential: Denver Broncos

August, 17, 2011
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- For a franchise that was accused of turning stale a few years ago, the Denver Broncos have become pros at taking fresh approaches.

For the second time in three training camps, Denver has a new head coach. John Fox takes over after the disastrous 23-month Josh McDaniels regime. From 1995 to 2008, the Broncos were the picture of coaching constancy. It was the Mike Shanahan show. Everyone knew it.

But the Broncos have been in flux and have gone from one of the better-run organizations in the NFL to a team that is grasping for an identity. Denver hasn’t been to the playoffs since the 2005 season. It hasn’t had a winning record since 2006.

In comes Fox, who is experiencing a rebirth himself after spending the past nine seasons in Carolina. Fox’s biggest task in Denver is to restore normalcy after the rocky McDaniels era and rebuild a winner.

“There has been instability here, good, bad or indifferent, that’s just the way it has been,” said Fox, whose team will be on its sixth defensive coordinator (former New Orleans secondary coach Dennis Allen) in six seasons.

“We have to build our program here. But I think it can be done. There are good pieces here.”

Many Denver players have raved about Fox. They appreciate his professionalism, his structure and his attention to detail. They believe there is a plan in place, and they trust Fox’s experience. The players also seem to appreciate the fact that Fox is simply in Denver to coach. The front office is run by legendary Denver quarterback John Elway and general manager Brian Xanders. Both Shanahan and McDaniels made personnel decisions.

“I get a great feel for Coach Fox,” star cornerback Champ Bailey said. “He’s one of the better coaches I’ve been around ... I like it that he is focused on coaching us on the field. That’s where he wants to be.”

THREE HOT ISSUES

[+] EnlargeVon Miller
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireRookie Von Miller will need to play well right away if Denver's defense is going to improve this season.
1. Fix the defense. While the Tim Tebow-Kyle Orton competition has garnered much attention, the real key issue in Denver’s camp has been the defense. This unit was ranked No. 32 in the NFL last season and was generally awful in every major statistical category. Fox and his defensive staff have taken a hands-on approach to improve this group, which is a mix of veterans and youngsters.

If the reconstructed defensive front plays well and rookie linebacker Von Miller makes an instant impact, this group has a chance to improve quickly. It seems to be working early. Denver’s defense has been capable in camp and it looked solid against Dallas in the preseason opener Thursday. Injuries to defensive tackles Ty Warren (who signed to a two-year, $8 million deal) and Marcus Thomas create more uncertainty at a key spot for Denver. It needs to get help there by Kevin Vickerson, Brodrick Bunkley, Jeremy Jarmon and Derrick Harvey in the rest of the preseason. Warren could be out for a long period and Thomas will miss the rest of the preseason.

2. Clarity at quarterback: The Broncos’ camp has been about getting the first-team ready to go with Orton. There is no question Orton is the starter now. If the team struggles, Tebow could enter the picture, but players love playing with Orton and the team thinks he currently gives them the best chance to win now.

Of course, the lack of clarity was team-induced. It spent the immediate days after the lockout trying to trade Orton to Miami. After that fell through, Orton took control of the offense quickly and has given Denver no choice but to make him the starter, TebowMania be dammed.

3. Establish a ground game: Although Fox is a defensive-minded coach, he has a strict philosophy on offense. He believes in stuffing the ball down an opponent’s throat and killing the clock. Denver struggled to run the ball under McDaniels, and Fox said adding a veteran tailback was paramount.

The Broncos jumped on Willis McGahee when he was cut by the Ravens. Expect McGahee and third-year player Knowshon Moreno to combine for plenty of carries. They have worked well in camp, and they combined for 40 yards on six carries in the preseason opener at Dallas. This camp has been spent getting these two involved in the offense as much as possible.

ELVIS IS BACK IN THE BUILDING

The Broncos are raving about the play of Elvis Dumervil. After leading the NFL with 17 sacks in 2009 and getting a contract worthy of that performance, Dumervil tore a pectoral muscle in early August last year and missed the entire 2010 season.

There was concern that his rust and a move back to the 4-3 under Fox could hamper the smallish Dumervil. He flourished in McDaniels’ 3-4 system after being a solid player in Shanahan’s 4-3 defense. Dumervil beefed up to more than 260 pounds, and he‘s been impressive under Fox.

The Broncos expect Dumervil and Miller to become one of the better pass-rush tandems in the league.

RELYING ON THE ROOKIES

[+] EnlargeRahim Moore
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesThe Broncos will also be looking to rookie Rahim Moore to shore up Denver's secondary.
One of the most exciting aspects of this camp for Denver has been the play of its rookies. The Broncos thought they drafted well in April, and after three weeks, they are thrilled with what they see.

“I think we had an excellent draft,” Fox said.

Added Dumervil: “This is the best group of rookies I’ve seen here in awhile.”

Leading the way is Miller, who was the No. 2 overall draft pick. The Texas A&M product has been as advertised. Teammates rave about his speed, explosiveness and his ability to make plays. They expect instant success.

Second-round pick Rahim Moore is vying for a starting spot with Kyle McCarthy at safety and has shown he is ready for NFL play. Right tackle Orlando Franklin, middle linebacker Nate Irving, tight end Julius Thomas and safety Quentin Carter are all expected to be major contributors. This is exactly what this 4-12 team needed -- a solid group of youngsters to build around after a couple of shaky years of drafting by McDaniels.

OBSERVATION DECK

  • Safety Brian Dawkins may be turning 38 this year, but the Broncos are still getting a lot out of him. He works well with Fox’s staff, and his leadership has been uncanny during camp.
  • Defensive end Robert Ayers has been getting chances to break out in camp, but he has been slow to show progress. He was the No. 18 overall pick in the 2009 draft.
  • Receiver Brandon Lloyd has been slowed by swelling in his knee. Still, the team expects him to contribute. Lloyd had a breakout season in 2010 -- 77 catches for 1,448 yards.
  • The second-round draft class of 2009 has been a bust. Tight end Richard Quinn is hurt and could be the odd man out. Safety Darcel McBath has yet to develop, and cornerback Alphonso Smith (who Denver traded its 20101 first-round pick for) was shipped out to Detroit last year. This was supposed to be the nucleus of future success, and Denver hasn’t seen results.
  • The Broncos’ passing game struggled in red-zone and third-down situations. That has been a point of emphasis during this camp.
  • Veterans Joe Mays and Mario Haggan are competing to hold off Irving at middle linebacker.
  • Franklin has struggled in pass projection. Still, the team is committed to him.
  • Denver is excited about second-year receiver Eric Decker. Expect Decker to get a chance to contribute a lot.
  • The Broncos like what they have in new tight end Daniel Fells. He is solid as a receiver and as a blocker. He should help in both phases of the game.
  • Right cornerback Andre' Goodman has been steady, and the team is confident he can play well in 2011.
  • Second-year center J.D. Walton continues to improve, and he has shown strong leadership for a young player.
Heading into the NFL draft, defensive tackle was the Denver Broncos’ biggest question mark.

Now, four months later, it remains Denver’s biggest area of concern.

The Broncos’ situation at the vital position is again up in the air after top free-agent pickup Ty Warren suffered a partially torn triceps. Denver doesn’t know exactly how long he will be out or if he will need surgery. But he is expected to miss several weeks and could even miss the season. Denver signed the former New England standout to a two-year, $8 million deal this month.

He was supposed to bring stability and veteran leadership to Denver’s weakest area. He was hurt Monday. To make matters worse, Denver’s other starting defensive tackle, Marcus Thomas, suffered a pectoral injury Monday and he will be out for the rest of the preseason.

Newly acquired Brodrick Bunkley and holdover Kevin Vickerson will step in for the Broncos. They also have newcomers Derrick Harvey and Jeremy Jarmon. Expect Denver -- which didn’t address the position in the draft -- to scour the list of remaining free agents and scout the waiver wire in the next month in search of more help at defensive tackle.
The NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi dropped an interesting nugget via Twitter on Saturday.

He reported that the Washington Redskins (and Mike Shanahan) almost traded defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to the Denver Broncos before dealing him to the New England Patriots.

It makes sense because Denver’s greatest need is at defensive tackle. Lombardi didn’t expand upon why the Redskins sent Haynesworth to New England rather than Denver. It could have been money issues for Denver.

I’m sure Haynesworth is pleased with the way it worked out. He will likely give it his all in New England because it is a winning program. He likely would have had difficulty getting motivated going to a rebuilding team, so Denver might have saved itself some headaches.

Haynesworth is the second big fish Denver almost traded for at the position this offseason. The Broncos considered trading up for a falling Nick Fairley during the draft, but it would have basically cost the Broncos their entire remaining draft selections, meaning the Broncos (who think they got five starters in the draft) would have only gotten linebacker Von Miller and Fairley in the draft.

The Broncos are talking to lower-level defensive tackles in free agency and will likely sign a couple. Jeremy Jarmon, acquired from the Redskins for receiver Jabar Gaffney, will also be in the mix.

Orton-Miami update

July, 27, 2011
7/27/11
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It appears Kyle Orton might be taking his talents to South Beach.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Eagles are expected to trade Kevin Kolb to Arizona. The Broncos had been talking to the Cardinals and Dolphins about Orton. So, it seems the Orton-Dolphins trade talk will heat up. The Dolphins and Orton have reportedly begun contract talks.

That would mean the start of the Tim Tebow era in Denver. Tebow could have an interesting new mentor in Denver. Cleveland cut Jake Delhomme. He played for new Denver coach John Fox in Carolina and the two remain close. Delhomme could help Tebow immensely.

Meanwhile, the Broncos traded receiver Jabar Gaffney to Washington for backup defensive end Jeremy Jarmon. Gaffney was effective last season, but he was a favorite of former coach Josh McDaniels. The Broncos were ready to move away from him.

The Broncos are planning to bring in St. Louis right end Daniel Fells on Friday in an attempt to sign him.

I hear San Diego and inside linebacker Kevin Burnett are still discussing a deal and his return is not necessarily a slam dunk. Miami could emerge as a suitor.

In a slam dunk, former Oakland guard Robert Gallery is headed to Seattle. This was as predictable as Oakland taking Stefen Wisniewski in the second round of the draft. Gallery reunites with former Oakland head coach Tom Cable. The two are very close. Gallery announced earlier in the offseason he would not return. He was the No. 2 overall pick of the 2004 draft. He was not good as a tackle, but he developed into a solid guard under Cable.

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