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

DeAndre HopkinsNov 23 09:33p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins posted five receptions for 39 yards in Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals. He is now over 100 receptions for the first time in his career.

Jorvorskie LaneNov 23 09:33p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers FB Jorvorskie Lane (ankle) was carted off in the second quarter of the Week 12 game against the Chicago Bears due to what head coach Lovie [ More ]

Mike EvansNov 23 09:33p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans had three receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the Chicago Bears. He has now scored at [ More ]

Ryan MallettNov 23 09:33p

Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett (pectoral) suffered a pectoral injury in the Week 12 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and he will go for an MRI. He might miss [ More ]

A.J. GreenNov 23 09:22p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green posted a career-high 12 receptions for 121 yards in Week 12 against the Houston Texans. 'It's just one of those days when you just [ More ]

Andre SmithNov 23 09:22p

Cincinnati Bengals OT Andre Smith (triceps) suffered a partially torn triceps muscle in the Week 12 against the Houston Texans. He will go for an MRI Monday, Nov. 24.

T Y HiltonNov 23 08:02p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton was up early Sunday, Nov. 23, for the birth of his daughter, and he promised a touchdown. After his wife delivered their child, he [ More ]

Eddie LacyNov 23 08:02p

Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy (illness) ran 25 times for 125 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the Minnesota Vikings, and he added two [ More ]

Andrew LuckNov 23 08:02p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck completed 21 of his 32 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown in Week 12 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also ran eight times [ More ]

Charles JohnsonNov 23 08:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson had three receptions for a team-high 52 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the Green Bay Packers.

Greg JenningsNov 23 08:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Greg Jennings (rib) had four receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the Green Bay Packers, his former team. It [ More ]

C. PattersonNov 23 08:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (ankle, knee) left the Week 12 game against the Green Bay Packers due to ankle and knee injuries.

LeGarrette BlountNov 23 06:52p

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount carried 12 times for a team-high 78 yards and two touchdowns in the Week 12 game against the Detroit Lions after re-signing with the team this week.

Golden TateNov 23 06:52p

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate had four receptions for 97 yards in Week 12 against the New England Patriots. He went over 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career.

Jonas GrayNov 23 06:52p

New England Patriots RB Jonas Gray did not play in the Week 12 game against the Detroit Lions after he did not report to the team's facility Friday, Nov. [ More ]

Timothy WrightNov 23 06:52p

New England Patriots TE Tim Wright played a season-high 60 snaps in Week 12 against the Detroit Lions, which shattered his previous best of 21 snaps, which he hit [ More ]

Kendall WrightNov 23 06:23p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright was limited to just one catch for 28 yards in Week 12 against the Philadelphia Eagles. That catch did not come until 10 minutes remaining in the game.

Isaiah CrowellNov 23 06:12p

The Cleveland Browns have 14 rushing touchdowns this season, which is the most by the franchise since it had 14 in the 1989 season. The team had just four [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerNov 23 06:12p

Tennessee Titans QB Zach Mettenberger completed 20 of his 39 pass attempts for a career-high 345 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the Week 12 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Brian HoyerNov 23 05:02p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer completed 23 of his 40 pass attempts for 322 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions in the Week 12 win against the Atlanta Falcons.

Josh GordonNov 23 05:02p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon posted eight receptions for 120 yards in his regular season debut in Week 12 against the Atlanta Falcons. He was targeted a game-high 16 times in the win.

Isaiah CrowellNov 23 05:02p

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell carried 12 times for game-high 88 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Week 12 game against the Atlanta Falcons.

LeSean McCoyNov 23 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy carried 21 times for 130 yards and a rushing touchdown in Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, and he added one reception for just one yard.

Mark SanchezNov 23 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez completed 30 of his 43 pass attempts for 307 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the Week 12 win against the Tennessee Titans.

Darren SprolesNov 23 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Darren Sproles carried six times for 25 yards and a touchdown in Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, and he added three receptions for 14 yards.

Dwayne AllenNov 23 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) is inactive Sunday, Nov. 23, for Week 12.

Trent WilliamsNov 23 12:32p

Washington Redskins OT Trent Williams (ankle, knee) is not expected to play in Week 12 because of his injuries.

Danny LansanahNov 23 12:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Danny Lansanah is moving from strongside linebacker to weakside linebacker in place of LB Lavonte David (hamstring). LB Orie Lemon will start at strongside linebacker.

Greg JenningsNov 23 11:52a

Minnesota Vikings WR Greg Jennings (rib) is active for the team's Week 12 game.

Blidi Wreh-WilsonNov 23 11:52a

The Tennessee Titans have declared CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, QB Charlie Whitehurst, WR Kris Durham, CB Marqueston Huff, TE Richard Gordon, DL Ropati Pitoitua, OT Will Svitek inactive for Week 12.

Arian FosterNov 23 11:42a

The Houston Texans have declared RB Arian Foster, WR DeVier Posey, OT Jeff Adams, S Josh Aubrey, CB Kareem Jackson, LB Max Bullough, QB Tom Savage inactive for Week 12.

Andre BranchNov 23 11:42a

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, LB Jeremiah George, WR Mike Brown, OT Sam Young, RB Storm Johnson, CB Teddy Williams, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 12.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group