Jan 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball (28) is pursued by New England Patriots defensive lineman Rob Ninkovich (50) during the 2013 AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mile High Mailbag: Flowers, Barrow, Carter, Woodson And Ball, Oh my


Welcome to this week’s installment of the Mile High Mailbag. In this column, we answer your questions via social media on pressing matters that concern the Denver Broncos. You can read last week’s article here.

Let’s dive in.

I’ll kill two birds with one stone with these questions. If you didn’t already know, the Kansas City Chiefs released Pro Bowl cornerback, Brandon Flowers, earlier this week. The transaction came after the Chiefs had reportedly been shopping Flowers but couldn’t find the trade partner they desired. This was strictly a dollars and cents move. You can argue that Flowers didn’t fit the Bob Sutton scheme, but I think that’s merely a sentiment that Chiefs Kingdom is disseminating, in order to justify the move and mitigate the sting.

But regardless of the reason, Flowers is an unrestricted free agent. It’s been reported that at least 10 teams have shown interest in him, but at this stage, it’s unclear if that includes the Broncos. With Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, Jr, rookie 1st rounder Bradley Roby, Kayvon Webster and Tony Carter, at least on paper, the Broncos seem to be set at CB. But you’ll hear many NFL defensive coordinators intimate the platitude that “you can never have enough CBs”. And it’s true.

However, Flowers and the Chiefs split because of money. Flowers was set to make more than $5M in 2014, so it’s pretty safe to assume that he’s looking for at least that amount in the open market. The Broncos currently have $4.3M in available cap space, but they need to save a good chunk of that in case the injury bug strikes and they need to sign a street free agent to fill in. They could also earmark a chunk of that money, should they choose to bring in a veteran running back to add some experience to the backfield.

Are the Broncos interested in Flowers? I’m sure they are. He’s a Pro Bowl-caliber player. But I seriously doubt it’s in the cards financially. And yet nothing about how John Elway closes deals surprises me. He’s pulled off free agency miracles before. The team could choose to rip off the band-aid and cut Joel Dreessen, which would free up an additional $3.5M in cap space. But I wouldn’t expect to see Brandon Flowers in Orange and Blue this year.

Oh, yes, my friend. Reports out of Dove Valley, so far through OTAs, are absolutely glowing as it pertains to Quinton “the Predator” Carter. Following micro-fracture surgery, which caused him to miss the last 2 seasons, the 4th year safety out of Oklahoma is finally 100% healthy and he’s been running with the first team. I have no doubt that he’ll make the final 53 and he could see a significant amount of snaps on defense, especially if the Broncos choose to move T.J. Ward down into the box as a cover linebacker in their nickel sub-packages, and bring Carter in at strong safety. I think that would be the best way to deploy and take advantage of the talents of Ward, Carter and Rahim Moore.

At first glance, my initial impulse is to say no to this question. But like Quinton Carter, reports on Lamin Barrow so far have been phenomenal. Although he is a rookie, he was the leader of the LSU Tiger’s defense for the last 2 years and has plenty of experience making the defensive calls on the field. He’s also displayed a keen nose for the ball and excellent coverage abilities so far.

But we have to remember that the Broncos drafted Nate Irving to be their “mike” linebacker of the future. And the future is now. A myriad of factors have led to Irving not winning the job thus far in his career, but the Broncos are committed to giving Irving every opportunity to win it in 2014. Will Barrow have a legitimate chance of winning the job? Absolutely. He has the skill and experience, but at the very least, he’ll provide the competition for Irving to keep his nose to the grindstone. May the best man win.

I might be wearing Orange colored glasses when I say this, but I absolutely believe that Montee Ball will be a superstar in the NFL. He has all of the natural ability in the world. Even John Elway compared him to the great Terrell Davis. Although he doesn’t have elite breakaway speed, he does have short area quickness, lateral quickness, and he can get the tough yards. He also has a nose for the endzone, and has one of the best jump-cuts in the league.

Ball has a lot of mileage on his tires, but he has shown a remarkable penchant for avoiding the injury bug. He’s durable. I know that he can hold up for an entire NFL season. Ball will be an important cog in the NFL’s best offense and will have every opportunity to put his talents on display, especially when you factor in that not one running back behind him on the depth chart has ever started a NFL game.

Provided he can hold onto the ball, which I believe he can, and he can continue to improve in pass protection and receiving out of the backfield, the sky is the limit for the young RB out of Wisconsin.

I think the answer to this question is yes, although I can’t say for sure. A lot depends on Woodson’s ability to communicate his knowledge and experience for the NFL game. It’s one thing to be able to do something very well, like play football. It’s another thing altogether, trying to teach and convey that to another human being, in a way that they can comprehend, absorb, and then apply it to their game. All coaches are natural teachers. But not all players are natural coaches.

Only time will tell if the 8 time All-Pro can parlay his playing experience into effective coaching. But if he does have the natural traits required to effectively tutor and mold young players, than there’s no reason why the Denver Broncos wouldn’t consider adding him to their full-time coaching staff.

 

 

 

 

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Brandon Flowers Denver Broncos Lamin Barrow Montee Ball NFL Quinton Carter Rod Woodson

  • armando cuesta

    EXCELLENT article!
    As it regards Flowers. I wholly agree, the only real detriment for any team showing interest (including DEN), is his asking price. If Flowers is asking for elite CB pay and/or a long term contract….I would not pursue. While he’s a solid, capable CB, he is NOT Revis, Peterson, nor Talib. And because of his relatively diminutive size, he is prone to struggle against the bigger more physical receivers. However, if the price is ‘reasonable’, Elway would be well served to pursue an option whose pro-bowl caliber of play would be a further upgrade to our secondary. Particularly in light of DEN beat writer, Cecil Lammey’s, most recent reports from minicamp regarding K. Webster, “He received plenty of experience last year, but (Webster’s) struggles have carried over to this year in minicamp. Webster has struggled in coverage, and he’s been targeted regularly by Peyton Manning in practice.”

    • Chad Jensen

      Thank you! That smacks of last year for Kayvon, unfortunately. Vet QBs singled him out and mercilessly went to town.

      • armando cuesta

        Lets hope things are ironed out in the training camp and pre-season to come. We’ll see what the likes of Lammey, Mike Klis, and Andrew Mason report then………

    • Erick Trickel

      Andrew Mason has made a few reports about Webster. All of them positive. Also, can’t remember who, but someone reported Talib has taken him under his wing and it reflects with how he has played on the practice field.

  • malachi

    good stuff

  • Nathan Bates

    Flowers is not going to denver. They really dont need him and they really cant afford him even if they cut Dreessen. Unless he takes a discount and accepts 4 million pass on him

    • Chad Jensen

      Agreed. Money makes the decision

  • Erick Trickel

    Great article Chad! I pretty much agree with everyone. I don’t think Denver should be interested in Flowers mainly because it will stunt the growth of Roby and Webster. Flowers would come in most likely as one of the top 3 CBs and take away snaps from those two. That is something I am not a fan of. Of course with how poorly the secondary performed last year I wouldn’t exactly be too upset if they were to get him for a cheap price.

    Also I made the mistake a while back of writing Carter off due to missing two years and being unsure how he would come back, boy was I wrong and never been more glad to be. Rookie year I like Carter more than Moore, so I am glad to hear he is being amazing.

  • SayreBedinger

    Great article, Chad. I’m really intrigued most among these topics by Quinton Carter and Rod Woodson. I feel like Carter has a chance to be a starting safety in this league and that opinion pre-dates his being drafted by the Broncos. If he is back in form, that is a really nice addition for the Broncos.

    Woodson seems like the type of coach that could squeeze out the best of a position group. We’ve all gotten a chance to listen to him extensively on NFL Network and such and working with rookies on NFLN’s version of the Gruden camps. I really feel like that was another shrewd move by Elway and could end up being fruitful.

    • Chad Jensen

      Thanks! I hope so too, with Woodson.