2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Broncos have nice problem on their hands

By ARNIE STAPLETON - AP Pro Football Writer
    2013-05-22 17:19

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) - Prima donna wide receivers are all the rage in today's air-it-out NFL, demanding passes and attention, preening for crowds and cameras.

Not in Denver.

Led by the shy Demaryius Thomas, the soft-spoken Wes Welker and the selfless Eric Decker, the Broncos represent the antithesis of those high-maintenance superstars who are always going back to the huddle telling the quarterback they were open on that previous play.

The addition of Welker this offseason gives the Broncos a trio that combined for 297 receptions and 29 TD catches last season.

The Three Amigos back in John Elway's playing days were Vance Johnson, Mark Jackson, and Ricky Nattiel.

This current trio has only one thing it wants to get its hands on: a third Lombardi Trophy for Elway, now the team's executive vice president.

Rather than demanding to be featured, they all say they won't mind catching fewer footballs in 2013.

Peyton Manning might just have the best threesome of ball catchers in the NFL. One thing's for sure: He definitely has the quietest group of targets.

``Being the wide receiver coach here for two years, I was with Eric and Demaryius as rookies and I've never been around in my short career two guys that were so unselfish,'' new offensive coordinator Adam Gase said Wednesday. ``And adding Wes to that group, it even amps it up.

``Nobody talks about how many balls am I going to get? How many touchdowns? You don't have to worry about it. It's, `OK, here's the best matchup for this game and that's what we're going to expose.'''

The Broncos' biggest issue on offense this season will be spreading around the ball. In addition to their featured wide receivers and big tight ends, there's a deep group of pass-catchers vying for roster spots and whatever scraps remain.

That group includes fifth-round draft pick Tavarres King, up-and-comers Greg Orton and Gerell Robinson, speedsters Trindon Holliday and Quincy McDuffie, and holdover burner Andre Caldwell.

``Arguably, we have the best receiver corps in the NFL right now,'' running back Ronnie Hillman said. ``It's going to be a nightmare for a lot of people come September.''

It'll certainly keep defensive coordinators up late.

Welker, who averaged 112 catches during his six seasons in New England, joins one of the league's top tandems in Decker and Thomas, who combined for 179 receptions and 23 touchdowns last season

Welker knows he won't be the ``featured'' guy like he was in New England in recent seasons as the Patriots turned their focus to the slot/tight end targets for Tom Brady rather than outside receivers.

``We've got a lot of talent. We've got a lot of good players,'' Welker said. ``With Decker and D.T. and the tight ends, across the board we have good players.''

Welker said he doesn't expect to catch 118 passes this season like he did last year. Thomas (94 catches) and Decker (85) figure their touches will diminish, too.

And they're all OK with that.

``These guys are all about winning,'' Gase said. ``We keep talking about the same thing: Our goal is to get to the last game and win it. And that's what these guys are focused on. The amount of catches they get during a season? Those guys don't talk about stuff like that. They just want to win.''

Gase said they never even complained when the Broncos turned to the read-option under Tim Tebow two years ago, and Thomas confirmed none of the receivers ever talk about the number of catches they get.

``Whenever I get the ball in my hands, I'm going to make the best of it,'' Thomas said.

Decker said the up-tempo offense that Gase is installing should mean they ``get more plays in'' to offset any drop-off individually. But he's not really concerned with any of that, either.

``Ultimately, there may be some passes or targets that are taken away, but in the grand scheme of things it's about winning football games. I want to get to the world championship. I want to have a ring on my finger,'' Decker said. ``If that's the case - if I lose some catches, if I lose some yards - it really isn't a big deal to me personally because of what our ultimate goal is here.''

The wide receivers are one reason the Broncos are considered Super Bowl favorites by so many. Another reason is that they're stacked at cornerback with Champ Bailey, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Chris Harris, Tony Carter, Omar Bolden and Kayvon Webster - and these two groups facing each other every day in practice only augments that strength.

``They've got a lot of corners over there that can make us better every day,'' Thomas said.

Manning was glad for the start this week of organized team activities - 10 shorts-and-helmets practices over the next three weeks - so that he and Welker can start working on their chemistry in earnest.

``I can just speak for what he's done in New England. He's just been an extremely difficult guy to cover one on one, and then you can tell by watching him on film he's an extremely smart player. He has an excellent feel for zone coverage,'' Manning said.

``This is just the beginning stages of him getting comfortable in this offense and he and I getting on the same page. We put a lot of time in together as individuals, but just versus air. We spent a lot of time talking, as well. Now that we're going against the defense, we'll continue to learn and there will be some things we have to work through, but that's what OTAs and training camp is for.''

Bailey said he's already seen improvements in Decker and Thomas from their breakout 2012 season.

``These two guys, I've seen them grow so much in this game,'' Bailey said. ``And you think they can't get better, they've even gotten better this year. It just seems like the chemistry with Peyton is a lot better, as well.''

With Manning spreading the ball around, Broncos receivers can't set individual goals as far as receptions and yards.

``It's tough,'' Thomas said. ``Because you never know who's going to be the guy. So, it's hard to set goals. You basically just go out, work hard every day and hopefully whenever you get your chances you make plays and it just works out.''

Notes: C Tom Nalen, who played 14 seasons in Denver, including the Broncos' back-to-back Super Bowl wins, was elected to the team's Ring of Fame. He'll be honored at halftime of the Broncos' Sept. 29 game against Philadelphia. Nalen was a three-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler before bad knees ended his career in 2007. ... Hillman said he's gained 15 pounds and hopes to play at 195 this season. He was down to 180 for the playoffs, when the Broncos sorely needed a bigger back to get first downs and run out the clock against Baltimore.

---

Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Paul RichardsonMar 26 12:43a

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson (knee) might not be ready for the start of the season, head coach Pete Carroll indicated Wednesday, March 25. Carroll did say Richardson's rehab [ More ]

Blake BortlesMar 25 08:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles received an endorsement from head coach Gus Bradley Tuesday, March 24. Speaking at the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Annual Meetings Tuesday, Bradley [ More ]

Travis KelceMar 25 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce played at roughly 250 pounds in 2014, but head coach Andy Reid wants Kelce to report bigger in 2015, and Reid thinks Kelce [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 25 05:03p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota isn't an option for the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, according to head coach Sean Payton. Payton said [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 04:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is wanted back in Minnesota, but the question is if Peterson wants to come back. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he doesn't believe Peterson [ More ]

Ifeanyi MomahMar 25 03:13p

Free-agent TE Ifeanyi Momah (Lions) signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, March 25. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Terence NewmanMar 25 01:53p

Free-agent CB Terence Newman (Bengals) agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, March 25, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jordy NelsonMar 25 12:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Victor CruzMar 25 11:53a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) could miss the start of the 2015 season with a torn patellar tendon in his knee, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. [ More ]

Josh HillMar 25 11:03a

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is expected to have a bigger role in the offense in 2015. Head coach Sean Payton has mentioned him quite a bit since [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 10:53a

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is disgruntled and reportedly wants out of Minnesota, but head coach Mike Zimmer said the team has no plans to trade him.

Cody LatimerMar 24 09:33p

The Denver Broncos plan to use WR Cody Latimer as the third receiver behind WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in 2015. 'I think it's time for him to [ More ]

Casey MatthewsMar 24 06:32p

Free-agent LB Casey Matthews (Eagles) agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday, March 24. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

R. Griffin IIIMar 24 04:42p

Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said that the team will go with the best player available in the 2015 NFL Draft with the No. 5 overall pick, which [ More ]

Michael CrabtreeMar 24 03:02p

Free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) is having a hard time being signed this offseason, reportedly due to concerns regarding lower-leg injuries and a negative perception about his attitude.

Ray McDonaldMar 24 02:02p

Free-agent DE Ray McDonald (49ers) is signing an undisclosed deal with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24.

Stephen BowenMar 24 01:32p

Free-agent DE Stephen Bowen (Redskins) is signing an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Tuesday, March 24.

Geno SmithMar 24 01:22p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will be the starting quarterback ahead of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick entering training camp this summer, according to new head coach Todd Bowles. 'You [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerMar 24 01:12p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is a realistic option for the Tennessee Titans with the second overall selection in this year's NFL Draft, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt is impressed [ More ]

Jarvis JenkinsMar 24 10:42a

Free-agent DE Jarvis Jenkins (Redskins) agreed with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24, on a one-year deal.

Johnny ManzielMar 24 08:52a

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel is expected back with the team for offseason workouts April 20 after completing more than two months of treatment.

Adrian PetersonMar 23 07:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, said Monday, March 23, that he doesn't think 'it's in Adrian's best interest to play in Minnesota' in 2015 and beyond. [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 06:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is expected to be part of the Vikings next season, according to general manager Rick Spielman. 'Adrian's a member of our football team,' Spielman [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 23 01:22p

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees will not be traded, according to general manager Mickey Loomis. Recent speculation said that Brees may be on the trade block after his [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 12:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's preference is to play elsewhere than with the Vikings in 2015, according to a league source. He is under contract through the 2017 season [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 22 08:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's future remains unclear, but head coach Mike Zimmer recently said that the Vikings are 'excited' to have him back. Zimmer had previously said that [ More ]

James HarrisonMar 22 12:42p

Free-agent LB James Harrison (Steelers) signed a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, March 22. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Branden OliverMar 21 03:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Branden Oliver is penciled in as the starting running back at this point.

EJ ManuelMar 21 12:52a

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel is not locked in as the starting quarterback. Head coach Rex Ryan said Friday, March 20, that the quarterback competition will be open. 'It's [ More ]

Kevin VickersonMar 20 05:52p

Free-agent DT Kevin Vickerson (Chiefs) agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Friday, March 20.

Matt MooreMar 20 04:32p

Free-agent QB Matt Moore (Dolphins) re-signed with the Miami Dolphins Friday, March 20. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonMar 20 02:42p

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is clearly wanted back by the organization, and general manager Rick Spielman once again stressed that they will make every [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group