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Another off-season week behind us and another week closer to training camp and the start of another Broncos season.
It was still quite an eventful seven days for the Orange and Blue, and here’s a quick review of the news – with some accompanying views – from the week that was in Broncos Country:
Headline: Torn ACL in minicamp ends season for rookie tight end Jeff Heuerman
Bottom line: More tough health luck for the third-round pick – a freak injury that will further delay his transition to the NFL – and contrary to what many believe, this misfortune will set back the Broncos on the field this coming season. The tight ends are heavily involved in a Gary Kubiak offense, and the team was counting on a pass-catching contribution from the Daniels had best stay healthy.
Headline: The New England Patriots’ DeflateGate debacle inflates the Broncos’ odds of winning Super Bowl 50
Bottom line: The home-field edge is nothing short of huge in the Broncos-Patriots series, and potentially not having Tom Brady for the first month of the regular season obviously sets the Pats back, but Bill Belichick’s boys stumbled out to a 2-2 start last season and look where they wound up. With a new coach and a new outlook, the Broncos need to focus on their own tasks at hand and not what’s going on in Foxboro. The Orange and Blue didn’t heed that advice last season and look where that got them.
Bottom line: “Mr. B” has meant so much to the franchise and the league itself that he’s long been at the center of the Ring of Fame in spirit, even if the official announcement didn’t come until earlier this week. Next stop is another place where he’s overdue to be honored: Canton.
Headline: The San Francisco 49ers will join the Broncos for two days of joint practices leading up to their Aug. 29 preseason game in Denver
Bottom line: NFL teams can get more out of a few days of joint workouts with another team than two or three preseason games – and the fans aren’t being gouged for regular-season prices. That’s the simple explanation why there should be more of these collaborative sessions, and it’s also the clear reason why there won’t be.
Headline: Anthony “Champ” Kelly, the Broncos’ assistant director of pro personnel, leaves to become the Chicago Bears’ director of pro scouting/pro personnel
Bottom line: Kelly is regarded in many circles as a rising front-office star, and he continues the exodus of former Broncos to the Windy City joining John Fox’s crew. But, hey, the man’s getting a promotion and a title he wasn’t likely to receive here any time soon with Matt Russell and Tom Heckert solidly entrenched. Best wishes to Kelly and his young family.
Headline: John Lynch tells ESPN’s Jeff Legwold that Gary Kubiak’s post-2005 departure as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator was a big loss for the franchise
Bottom line: As was just discussed with Kelly, Kubiak fulfilled a dream when he was hired as the head coach of the Houston Texans in 2006, and he wasn’t about to pass up that opportunity. But Lynch also is right: That also was the beginning of the end of the Shanahan era as the Broncos followed up their 13-3 season and AFC Championship Game appearance in ’05 with a cumulative 24-24 mark over the ensuing three seasons with no postseason berths. The two-season Josh McDaniels disaster then followed, and the Broncos really didn’t get back on the right track until Elway, Fox and Peyton Manning arrived on the scene. And, now, we’ve come full circle back to Kubiak.