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

Deone BucannonJul 24 11:32a

Arizona Cardinals S Deone Bucannon was not dropped into the starting lineup during offseason workouts, as the team has faith in FS Tony Jefferson and FS Rashad Johnson. He [ More ]

Ray RiceJul 24 11:31a

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two games of the season, according to sources. The announcement is expected Thursday, July 24.

Blake BortlesJul 24 11:22a

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles' lower-body mechanics likely will be revised. Bortles' flaw has been over-reliance on his right arm when throwing; he doesn't use his legs enough. A [ More ]

Mikel LeshoureJul 24 11:14a

Detroit Lions RB Mikel Leshoure is currently believed to be the fourth tailback on the club behind RBs Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and Theo Riddick heading into training camp [ More ]

Justin BlackmonJul 24 10:53a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was arrested for possession of marijuana Wednesday, July 23, in Oklahoma.

Jordan PalmerJul 24 10:52a

Chicago Bears QB Jordan Palmer still has the first shot at winning the backup quarterback job, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

R. Griffin IIIJul 24 10:22a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's designed running plays might be 'few and far between,' according to head coach Jay Gruden. He still has the green light to scramble [ More ]

Daniel FellsJul 24 09:42a

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells has received the first snap in 11-on-11 drills during the team's two days in training camp. Kellen Davis and Adrien Robinson have [ More ]

Ahmad BradshawJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) has been cleared to practice. Bradshaw is an RB4, but he could be worth more if Trent Richardson fails to produce again.

Roddy WhiteJul 24 08:33a

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White signed a four-year extension with the team that will keep him under team control for the next five years, according to sources.

Donald ThomasJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (hip) and OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps, biceps) have been cleared to practice.

Josh GordonJul 24 08:23a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will have his appeal hearing for his one-year suspension Aug. 1.

Greg OlsenJul 24 01:43a

Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen said he is tired of hearing criticism about Carolina's new receiving corps, which is largely made up of journeymen and unproven commodities. Olsen added [ More ]

Aldon SmithJul 24 01:13a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith is expected to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the near future, which likely would lead to a decision on any discipline for Smith.

Anthony BarrJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Anthony Barr was with the team for just a few days during offseason workouts due to NFL rules. Head coach Mike Zimmer is eager to see [ More ]

Sharrif FloydJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings DT Sharrif Floyd had a good offseason, but head coach Mike Zimmer thinks the defensive tackle is trying to be too fine. 'Sharrif has a lot of [ More ]

C. PattersonJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson will remain on kickoff returns despite an expanded role in the offense this season. 'We want our best players to get their hands on [ More ]

Montell OwensJul 23 11:23p

Detroit Lions FB Montell Owens has company, as the team will employ a more traditional fullback in the offense. They signed FB Jed Collins for the role. Owens is [ More ]

Harrison SmithJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings safeties Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo will be battling during training camp and the preseason for the starting job opposite FS Harrison Smith. 'That will be interesting, [ More ]

Matt CasselJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings QBs Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Cassel saw a majority of the snaps during spring workouts, but QB Christian Ponder has a chance to start, and head coach [ More ]

Chad GreenwayJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Chad Greenway could be used as the starting middle linebacker, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. 'It's a possibility. We keep working him in there. We're [ More ]

Troy NiklasJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (hand) has been cleared to participate in training camp, and was working Wednesday, July 23.

Dan WilliamsJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals NT Dan Williams will open training camp as the team's starting nose tackle with NT Alameda Ta'amu (knee) on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list.

Johnny ManzielJul 23 10:23p

Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine thinks QB Johnny Manziel needs to increase dedication to earn the starting job. 'I think he knows that in order to compete well, [ More ]

Theo RiddickJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick has the chance to break into the rotation at tailback, and he has drawn considerable praise from his teammates and coaches for his development [ More ]

Joique BellJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (nee) missed most of the offseason due to a knee injury, although he has said his condition is minor and he expects to be [ More ]

Jed CollinsJul 23 10:23p

The Detroit Lions are re-incorporating the traditional fullback into their new offensive scheme this season, and that's why they went out and signed FB Jed Collins.

Cheta OzougwuJul 23 07:23p

New Orleans Saints DE Cheta Ozougwu (undisclosed) cleared waivers and was transferred to the Saints' Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, July 23.

Billy WinnJul 23 06:53p

The Cleveland Browns placed OL Chris Faulk (undisclosed), DE Billy Winn (undisclosed) and LB Tank Carder (undisclosed) on the non-football injury list Wednesday, July 23.

Kyle OrtonJul 23 06:33p

Free-agent QB Kyle Orton (Cowboys) does not want to retire and wants to play in 2014, according to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Conner VernonJul 23 06:23p

The Cleveland Browns placed CB Royce Adams, LB Brandon Magee and WR Conner Vernon on the no-recall waivers list Wednesday, July 23.

Terrance WestJul 23 06:23p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West (undisclosed) said on his Twitter page that he passed his conditioning test and people need to 'stop making up your [ More ]

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