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

Giovani BernardOct 31 11:12a

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) is unlikely to play in Week 9.

Trent RichardsonOct 31 10:32a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is not on the injury report for Week 9, and should be able to play Monday, Nov. 3.

Rashad JenningsOct 31 10:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) is aiming to return for the Week 10 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Ronnie HillmanOct 31 09:12a

Updating previous reports, Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) is expected to have his normal workload in Week 9, despite his limited practice repetitions.

DeAngelo HallOct 31 08:52a

Washington Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall (Achilles') tore his Achilles' again at home and had surgery to repair it Thursday, Oct. 30.

Ron JohnsonOct 30 08:22p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (back), DE Michael Bennett (toe), C Stephen Schilling (knee), CB Tharold Simon (knee), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), LB Malcolm Smith (groin), DT Jordan Hill [ More ]

Patrick WillisOct 30 07:52p

San Francisco 49res CB Tramaine Brock (toe) and LB Patrick Willis (toe) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Jimmie Ward (quadriceps) and CB Chris Culliver (hamstring) practiced in full.

Chris MatthewsOct 30 07:42p

The Seattle Seahawks re-signed WR Chris Matthews and TE Brett Brackett to their practice squad Thursday, Oct. 30.

Scott WellsOct 30 07:42p

St. Louis Rams OG Rodger Saffold (shoulder), CB Janoris Jenkins (knee), DT Aaron Donald (shoulder) and S Cody Davis (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Rodney McLeod [ More ]

Luke JoeckelOct 30 07:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars OT Luke Joeckel (concussion) has recovered nicely from the concussion he suffered in Week 8, and he could play in Week 9 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Joeckel [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

Arian FosterOct 30 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (knee) was limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Johnathan JosephOct 30 07:12p

Houston Texans LBs Brian Cushing (knee), Brooks Reed (groin) and Jeff Tarpinian (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. RB Alfred Blue (ankle), LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee), CB Johnathan [ More ]

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Justin TuckOct 30 06:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), CB Carlos Rogers (knee) and WR Kenbrell Thompkins (non-injury) did not [ More ]

Anthony CollinsOct 30 06:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Anthony Collins (foot) and LB Brandon Magee (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee), WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring) and DE Michael Johnson (hand) were limited.

Brian RobisonOct 30 06:32p

Minnesota Vikings DT Shariff Floyd (ankle, knee), TE Chase Ford (foot), CB Jabari Price (hamstring), CB Josh Robinson (ankle) and DE Brian Robison (glute) were limited in practice Thursday, [ More ]

Louis VasquezOct 30 06:22p

Denver Broncos S Quinton Carter (hamstring) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Lamin Barrow (concussion), TE Virgil Green (calf), LB Steven Johnson (ankle) and OG Louis Vasquez (illness) [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 30 06:22p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) was limited in practice for the second straight day Thursday, Oct. 30.

Billy WinnOct 30 06:22p

Cleveland Browns WR Rodney Smith (hamstring) and DE Phil Taylor (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DE Desmond Bryant (wrist), S Jim Leonhard (ankle), LB Barkevious Mingo (shoulder), [ More ]

Jordan CameronOct 30 06:12p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Chris JohnsonOct 30 06:12p

New York Jets RB Chris Johnson, who carried the ball just three times for seven yards in Week 8, said he's frustrated with his limited role in the offense. [ More ]

Tom CrabtreeOct 30 06:02p

The New Orleans Saints waived TE Tom Crabtree Thursday, Oct. 30.

Patrick PetersonOct 30 05:42p

Arizona Cardinals S Tony Jefferson (head) and TE Troy Niklas (ankle) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DE Calais Campbell (knee), LB Kenny Demens (knee), S Rashad Johnson [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 30 05:22p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Jamell Fleming (hamstring) and LB Josh Martin (hamstring, knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Eric Berry (ankle) and CB Christopher Owens (knee) were [ More ]

Demario DavisOct 30 05:22p

New York Jets CB Darrin Walls (calf, knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OT Oday Aboushi (shoulder), CB Phillip Adams (groin), LB Antwan Barnes (knee), OG Willie Colon [ More ]

Keenan RobinsonOct 30 05:12p

Washington Redskins S Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) and OT Trent Williams (knee) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Ryan Kerrigan (wrist), LB Trent Murphy (knee), CB Tracy [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 05:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) practiced in full for the second straight day Thursday, Oct. 30.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 05:02p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) will start against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 9, barring any setbacks this week in practice, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Mike PounceyOct 30 05:02p

Miami Dolphins OG Daryn Colledge (illness, back) LB Chris McCain (foot) and TE Dion Sims (toe) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Nate Garner (neck), LB Koa Misi [ More ]

Andre BranchOct 30 04:42p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Will Blackmon (finger), DE Andre Branch (groin), DE Chris Clemons (non-injury), LB Geno Hayes (non-injury) and DT Roy Miller (non-injury) didn't practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB [ 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