So I guess that since Denver Broncos training camp has ended, there really isn’t much to write about. I mean it’s all about roster spots, depth charts, who’s impressing this preseason and who is playing their way out of Dove Valley. Yawn! Yeah, right and the city of Detroit is fiscally sound. Needless to say, this has been a trying past week or so for the Broncos. First there was the football adaptation of the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan movie, Defenseless in Seattle. It appears that Denver left the defense in the overhead compartment on the plane in a 40-10 loss against the Seattle Seahawks.
To add injury to insult, they lost four important pieces due to various ailments and one during practice last week (I am told that this is a collision sport, additional proof not required):
ILB Stewart Bradley (wrist): In a report on NBC’s Pro Football Talk, Bradley has had surgery and will miss several weeks.
RB C.J. Anderson (knee): After exploding against the San Francisco 49ers in the first preseason game and garnering a lot of attention, Anderson tweaked his knee during practice last week and is going to be shelved for about 6 weeks.
OG Louis Vasquez (left knee): Fortunately Vasquez is already back at practice after injuring his knee. However to reinforce the depth on the interior of the offensive line, Denver made a trade with Seattle to acquire G John Moffitt.
WR Wes Welker (right ankle): This is described as a slight sprain. That’s easy for us to say, it’s not our right ankles that are sprained. Either way, Welker is tough (After all, he did have to deal with Giselle after Super Bowl XLVI) and is expected to be ready for the September 5th opener.
CB Champ Bailey (left foot): Champ’s injury is being classified as a “serious foot sprain”. The good news is that the x-rays came back negative. The bad news is that Bailey is 35-years old and as many of us know, we just don’t heal as quickly as we get on in years. Denver has done a good job fortifying the defensive secondary so Champ should be afforded as much time as needed to get as close to 100% as possible.
DE Derek Wolfe (Neck): The most frightening injury of the lot, Wolfe was transported off of Century Link Field in an ambulance. I know upon hearing the news, I feared the worst. Fortunately if not miraculously, Derek is listed as day-to-day. Wolfe is also expected to be in the starting lineup for the season opener.
While these injuries are part of the game, tampering with a urine sample that you are required to submit to the league for testing because you have tested positive for recreational drug use in the past is not. The word came down Tuesday from the NFL that this indiscretion has cost all-pro LB, Von Miller the first six games of the season. Couple this with Bradley’s injury and the linebacking corps is thin for the first month and a half of the season. This prompted the Broncos to sign 12-year veteran LB, Paris Lenon. Lenon has bounced around since his career started in 2001. Most notably he has played 5 seasons for the Green Bay Packers (2001-2005), 3 for the Arizona Cardinals (2010-2012), and he even played a year with Memphis Maniax of Vince McMahon’s XFL (2001). And no, he did not have a nickname like “He Hate Me”.
(This is the editorial portion of the article)
I will make the same argument here that I made with former New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphin RB, Ricky Williams. If you want to get high, retire and go get high. Either way you are becoming less dependable. If not, you owe it to your teammates, your employer, and the fans who pay your salary to stay clean and do what you are paid to do; sack QB’s. Those who buy tickets expect to see their favorite players on the field. For the first six games of the 2013 season, Miller is depriving his fans of seeing him perform. Sure, Peyton Manning is the marquee draw in Denver but Miller’s athleticism, coupled with the fear he puts into opposing QB’s is also something the fans pay to see. As the most dominant player on the defensive side of the ball, he is also depriving his teammates of a menacing presence, improving their chances of winning. Now the Broncos will have to use unproven guys and defensive creativity by defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio to try and make up for Miller’s lost production. I realize that this suspension is for a tampered sample but the original dirty test in 2011 put Miller in this spot to begin with. And how many of us honestly believe that the submitted sample would not have been dirty if left alone? I believe that is why he tampered with it.
I know that I have written before that I don’t put a lot of stock in what happens in the preseason, at least from the standpoint of wins and losses. However, this defies my rule of thumb. Thank goodness the Broncos have a prolific offense that will force other teams to have to match the production of Manning and Co. If Denver can go into week 7 at Indianapolis with a 4-2 record, and not suffer any other major injuries or have any other players suspended, they should be firmly in the driver’s seat to capture that #1 seed in the AFC playoffs again.