Broncos using ’35’ as motivator during offseason

Richard Sherman Peyton ManningThe Denver Broncos enjoyed a tremendous season in 2013 that ended with an ugly exclamation point. A trip to the Super Bowl is always a great accomplishment, but losing by 35 points would leave a foul taste in any athlete’s mouth. That’s why the Broncos have been using the number 35 as motivation throughout the offseason.

“Whenever someone gets tired, you just say 35, and they just start picking it up again,” defensive end Malik Jackson told the Broncos’ official website on Monday. “We know we have to come back strong this year. We had a disappointing loss. But that’s last season. We’re ready to move on.”

Peyton Manning and company lost to the Seattle Seahawks 43-8 after entering the Super Bowl as the favorite. The game had disaster written all over it when the opening offensive snap went over Manning’s head and into the end zone. That’s something Jackson said the team thinks about every day.

“We use it every day,” he said. “These workouts, we come in and we say – we lost by 35, so that’s our motivation.”

Safety TJ Ward echoed Jackson’s comments.

“Right now, it is still a hunger,” Ward said. “You can tell it was a bad taste in the team’s mouth from last year. Everybody is looking to improve and get better. The goal is to win that Super Bowl, so we’re working really hard right now.”

It’s hard to win the AFC Championship two years in a row, so Denver will need all the motivation it can get. Being embarrassed on the biggest stage in American sports should help the Broncos going forward.

H/T Around the League

DeMarcus Ware signs with Broncos

DeMarcus WareThe Denver Broncos continued their offseason spending spree on Wednesday by signing former Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware to a three-year, $30 million contract. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the deal includes $20 million in guaranteed money.

Ware was released by the Cowboys on Tuesday to clear cap space. The 31-year-old is the Cowboys’ all-time leader in sacks and was one of the best pass rushers in the NFL before injuries forced him to miss three games last year and play sparingly in several others. Prior to 2013, Ware appeared in all 16 games in each of the first eight seasons of his career, averaging more than 13 sacks per season.

The Broncos made arguably the biggest move of the offseason on Tuesday when they signed Aqib Talib to a six-year, $57 million deal that includes $26 million guaranteed. They also signed safety TJ Ward to a four-year deal worth $23 million with $14 million guaranteed. Between Talib, Ware and Ward, Denver has now committed $60 million in guaranteed money to revamping their defense. That is an astronomical amount for three defensive players.

Denver’s offense was one of the best in league history last year, and they have obviously decided to commit to bolstering their defense for what could be one final run with Peyton Manning. It seems like money is no object this year for John Elway and company.

Jared Allen could end up with Broncos?

jared-allenJared Allen has reached the point in his career where winning a championship is at or near the top of his priority list. The 31-year-old defensive end has been to five Pro Bowls and recorded 128.5 sacks in his career. He’s likely a future Hall of Famer who will go down as one of the top-five pass rushers of all time. All that’s missing for Allen is a ring.

Hunger to win a championship is the main reason it makes sense that a team like the Denver Broncos is a strong possibility to sign Allen this offseason.

During an interview on Sirius XM Radio last week, Allen made it clear that he is looking to play for a team that has “stability” at quarterback.

“If you can play for one of the top five quarterbacks, that makes life easier, especially for rushing the passer,” he said, via the Pioneer Press. “You get tons of opportunities when you’re leading games by 14 or more.”

With Peyton Manning having passed his neck exam and been cleared to keep playing, the Broncos certainly have a top-five quarterback. They are also in need of pass rushers with Von Miller recovering from a torn ACL. Allen will still want to be paid what he deserves after averaging more than 14 sacks per season over the last seven years, but don’t be surprised if he takes slightly less to play for a championship contender like Denver.

Peyton Manning: John Elway ripped Broncos after preseason loss to Seahawks

John ElwayThe Denver Broncos got demolished the last time they faced the Seattle Seahawks. Fortunately, the 40-10 loss came in preseason play. The team that lost to Seattle in August is far different from the one that will take the field in the Super Bowl on Sunday. The preseason game may have been meaningless, but Peyton Manning says John Elway took it very seriously.

“John pretty much laid it on us after that game — that was a butt kicking,” Manning told reporters this week, via Pro Football Talk. “He talked about what he thought our potential could be and didn’t want to see that wasted. I think guys got the message.”

Manning was in midseason form during the loss, completing 11 of 16 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. But the Broncos were pretty awful on defense and special teams. They allowed a 107-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and watched a fumble get taken 106 yards the other way for a score.

“He might have been giving a message to coaches as well as the players and everybody in the room got the message,” Manning added. “It was the first time he had addressed the team and when he had something to say it was important.”

Elway probably has not been angry with his team many times since. What he can provide this week is Super Bowl insight from someone who appeared in five Super Bowls and lost three of them. The Broncos would be wise to listen as carefully as they did more than five months ago.

Broncos only selling playoff tickets to people in Rocky Mountain area

Peyton Manning BroncosRemember how we told you that the Seattle Seahawks are limiting their NFC Championship ticket sales to certain regions of the country to protect their home field advantage? Apparently that is a thing now, as the Denver Broncos are doing the same.

According to CBS Denver, Broncos tickets — which go on sale Monday — will only be available to buyers with a valid billing address in the Rocky Mountain region. That means if you don’t live in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota or Western Kansas, you might as well hop on StubHub.com and start shopping now.

Ticket prices for the AFC Championship Game at Sports Authority Field start at $90 through the Broncos’ ticket office. The cheapest ticket on StubHub.com is currently listed for $387.

Denver’s decision to only sell tickets to certain areas will likely have an even greater effect than the Seahawks doing the same. San Francisco is much closer to Seattle than the New England area is to Denver. Pricey tickets on the secondary market and cross-country travel will likely discourage most Patriots fans from making the trip.

H/T Eye on Football

Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars exchange barbs on Twitter

Peyton-Manning-BroncosThe Denver Broncos are starting to remind people of the 2007 New England Patriots. After hanging 51 points on the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Peyton Manning and company are now averaging an incredible 46 points per game. The Patriots were “only” averaging 36 points per game after five games in ’07.

Things get much easier for the Broncos in Week 6. Their next opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars, is still seeking its first win of the season. On Monday morning, the Broncos’ official Twitter account took a moment to remind followers of how different things have gone for the two teams this season.

The person in charge of the Jags’ Twitter account did not appreciate the stat:

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Tony Romo tries to work refs before game against Denver Broncos

Tony-Romo-Troy-AikmanThe Dallas Cowboys will have their hands full at home on Sunday against the Denver Broncos. Peyton Manning and company have looked unstoppable through the first four games of the season, averaging an NFL-best 363.8 passing yards and 44.8 points per game. They do, however, rank 30th in the league in opponent passing yards with 316.3. Despite that, Tony Romo believes the officials have allowed Denver’s defenders to get away with too much.

When speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Romo did his best to try to prime the referees in advance of the big game.

“They grab, they hold, they’ve almost put a lot of pressure on the refs – whether or not they’re going to call the game close or not,” he said, according to USA Today Sports. “If they get called once or twice, that’s a good thing. But they’re all over guys as far as using the little tricks, I guess you could say, that good linebackers and good secondaries use when they’re playing man coverage.”

Denver’s secondary has been flagged for 10 penalties — seven of which came in a win over the New York Giants. Romo apparently believes they should have been penalized more, as he noted that the Broncos have not been “exposed with a lot of penalties.”

Simply put, Romo knows his team is going to have to score early and often. With the way the Broncos offense has been clicking, no defense in the league can stop them. They’re a seven-point favorite on the road for a reason. Any advantage Romo thinks he can given the Cowboys leading up to the game is probably worth his while.

H/T Shutdown Corner