On draft day, I was given a hard time by some of the younger “experts” in the draft who gave me a bad time about scooping up old players. They took great joy in making me feel older than my knees will testify to. That’s never been anything too unusual. I like the familiar. I’d rather take a chance on a proven commodity than risk a boom-bust type – at least early on in the proceedings.
You be amazed how players who were viewed as over the hill and one hit away from a wheelchair have come back to bite the youngsters who took a chance on a the next flavor of the month. When I took Peyton Manning on the second round of the shop draft and followed it up later by reuniting him with Reggie Wayne and scooping Antonio Gates as my second tight end when a Hall of Famer is shown no respect. On Sunday, celebratory beverages of an adult nature were consumed and I got to the shop as early Monday morning as I ever have.
But, the one thing I noticed as customers started rolling in to celebrate Matt Ryan’s garbage time point or Tony Gonzo’s curb-feelers was just how many people have a piece of the Broncos. At this point you have to ask yourself why not?
Granted, it’s only four games into the season, but one of my many talents has been to jump on a guy on draft day when he has the year of a lifetime. I’ve always had good fortune in the draft day draw – I almost never end up out of the top three out of 10. I chalk that up to clean livin’ and being raised a mama who was a bigger saint than Dorothy Mantooth. I have always seemed to make the pick on the guy who has the epic year.
I was on young Randy Moss out of the gate – I love my veterans, but screaming talent can’t be passed up. I had Kurt Warner in 1999. When they had their record-setting touchdown years, I happened to have in my stable thoroughbreds Priest Holmes, Shaun Alexander and LaDainian Tomlinson. I had Peyton Manning the first time he went nuts with touchdowns and started throwing from the 1-yard line instead of giving the pill to Edge. I had Drew Brees when the Manning records fell. I have a knack. I have Peyton this year and some of the old backup singers from the same era and I’m getting on just fine.
But, the chatter at the shop has been how many people are sharing in the wealth and winning games thanks to having Broncos on their rosters. There have been some very exciting offenses in the recent era. Minnesota in 1998. St. Louis in 1999. Indianapolis in 2004. New England in 2007. New Orleans in 2011. Each and all were epic and helped rewrite the NFL record books. But, what the Broncos are doing this year is without precedent. It just keeps getting crazier, just like it did for those other teams. Once the wave started, you rode it out.
One of the Shop regulars, Fat G, is a numbers guy. His work with numbers isn’t always strictly legal, but the boy can balance your books with accurate numbers and not use paper, pencil or electronics. He started running off at the mouth about just how insane the 2013 Broncos now.
At this pace, which only seems to be getting worse for Denver opponents, they’re going to set some unbelievable records. We didn’t call him on it, but it got me to stop a couple of cuts when he hit on a subject of interest to me…and there were plenty.
Peyton is on pace to throw for almost 6,000 yards and 64 touchdowns.
Damryius Thomas is on a pace to catch 116 passes for 1,572 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Wes Welker in on pace to catch 104 passes for 1,064 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Eric Decker is on pace to catch 96 passes for 1,360 yards.
Julius Thomas is on pace to catch 72 passes for 948 yards and 16 touchdowns.
The running game doesn’t have a 1,000-yard runner, but they’re on pace to run for 16 touchdowns.
Kicker Matt Prater is on pace to score 164 points. Of those, 92 will be on extra points and 72 from field goals.
Trindon Holliday is on schedule to score eight return touchdowns.
The numbers numb the mind. They have outscored their opponents by 88 points (179-91). The average score of a Broncos game has been 45-23. They’ve won their first four games by margins of 22, 18, 16 and 32. In the first three quarters of their games, the Broncos have outscored their opponents 131-60.
New Orleans can make a case, but their case is pretty much restricted to Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham and roll the dice. You can make an argument that you should play both of Thomas Brothers, Welker, Decker, Prater, their defense and maybe even Moreno on a weekly basis because, unlike the supporting cast for the Saints, they all get numbers from one week to the next. Fortunately, I’ve got the Ringmaster. These are good days at The Shop.
- It doesn’t look good for BenJarvus Green-Ellis. It seems like every week Giovani Bernard’s opportunities go up and BGE’s go away.
- There used to be a time when throwing for 4,000 yards in a season was an achievement. While injuries will likely start taking care of that, 20 quarterbacks are currently on pace to throw for 4,000 or more yards.
- Through four weeks, there are 15 running backs on pace to run for 1,000 yards and 35 players are on pace to have 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
- It was a good week for the old playahs out there. Not only did Peyton Manning have another huge week, but so did 30-somethings Drew Brees, Frank Gore, Tony Gonzalez, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker, Antonio Gates. Rumble, old man, rumble!
- I am loving these tight ends this year. From the old guys to Jimmy Graham (who I would have second to Peyton for MVP right now) and Jordan Camerson and Julius Thomas and my new boy Charles “His Mama Named Him” Clay. They’ve been the hot towel on the shave so far this year and it shows no sign of stopping. As a man who likes big butts (and I can’t deny), I’m gaining an appreciation for tight ends.
THE RAZOR’S EDGE
10. Limp DMC – It’s Oct. 1 and Darren McFadden is hurt. Who could have ever predicted that? Oh, just about anyone who knows his name, especially those who’ve had him on their team. They call him Run DMC. I call him MIR (Mr. Injury Report). Once he starts showing up there, he’s not Run DMC, he’s JAG (Just Another Guy).
9. The Song Remains the Same – The Jacksonville Jaguars are falling off the Razor’s Edge list of misery and teeth-gnashing because we’re getting to the point of expecting it. the Florida vote is in. The No. 1 pick may be determined by a dangling chad somewhere in a remote county in between Jacksonville and Tampa Bay.
8. St. Louis Blues – The Rams came out of the gate with a nice win over Arizona, but, in the three weeks since, they’ve been beaten like an unwanted stepchild – allowing 31, 31 and 35 points and being outscored 68-18 in the last two games. The defense isn’t getting the job done, but Uncle Sam Bradford isn’t doing them any favors and is starting to settle in to the role of being a first overall draft pick bust QB.
7. Just Lose, Baby – In any other division, the Steelers would be dead in the water. But, in the AFC North, 2-2 is the Big Daddy of the division and preseason favorite Cincinnati is technically in third place because they lost to Cleveland. So much for the Browns giving up and growing their hair out. We hate when that happens. Ain’t good for bidness.
6. Just Win Half, Baby – As bad as the teams in the AFC North can look, the NFC East is worse. Chip Kelly is no longer a man-genius. The only time his offense clicked was against another ratty NFC East team (Washington). Mike Shanahan still ain’t won nothing of substance without John Elway – and that’s almost 15 years ago. One of the Cowboys’ two wins came over the Giants – who suck as bad as anyone. Washington has one win, but that was against Oakland, so it shouldn’t count. 8-8 might win this division. The biggest problem is they all play 10 games outside their division.
5. Turn Your Head and Coughlin – Whenever a man is asked to turn his head and cough, he doesn’t much care (in most cases) for where the other dude has his hand. After two weeks in which the Giants have scored seven points, the rest of the league isn’t just handling Tom Coughlin’s seeds, they’re twisting them. For those who had Giants kicker two weeks ago when he scored nothing and kept him, things got better. He scored one on Sunday.
4. Houston, We Have a Problem – The burning of Matt Schaub jerseys is on the increase. The Texans are team built to play from ahead, but when the Schwabb is giving up Pick-Sixes every week, there has to be reason for concerned. Over the last couple of years, a 20-3 lead would have meant automatic win. Warm up the soup bone, T.J. Yates. You may be getting a sniff pretty soon if things don’t change.
3. The Burning of Atlanta – Last year, the Falcons were one of the hot stories of the league until they fell short of the Super Bowl. From the start of the 2012 regular season until they hosted the NFL Championship Game, the Dirty Birds had a record of 14-3. Since then, they’ve gone 1-4. It ain’t time to hit the panic button, but they’re three games behind New Orleans and have already matched their loss total from last year. As Saints fans say in between “Who Dats?” “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”
2. Martin and Loses – A week ago today, the sun came up with Josh Freeman as the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Today, the sun came up with Freeman starting what might be a permanent bye week with the Bucs. He was replaced as the starter and de-activated Sunday despite not be injured (they don’t put ego on the injury report). We may 500 carries for Doug Martin until he collapses, but Greg Schiano has been like hair clippings inside your dress shirt. The longer they’re there, the more it pisses you off. Schiano must go! Knowing the Jaguars are worse is no help.
1. Big Ben Comes Down In London – The Steelers are a mess. For a franchise with such pride, the plane ride home from any road loss sucks. When you have to cross an ocean to get back home, you don’t gain five hours, you lose time off the end of your life. They’re putting the Terrible in Terrible Towel. At least they won’t lose this week.