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.