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Broncos were reportedly prepared to draft Brandon Weeden

When the Denver Broncos chose to go with Peyton Manning as their quarterback of the near future over Tim Tebow, very few questioned their decision. While Tebow had just led Denver on an improbable run to the divisional round of the playoffs, Manning is a future Hall of Famer who has already won a Super Bowl. Opportunities like that don’t come around all that often for a franchise, so the Broncos had to strike.

But would they have stuck with Tebow even if they missed out on Manning? According to Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post, the Broncos were prepared to draft Brandon Weeden if Manning chose not to sign with Denver. From the Post:

The Broncos liked Weeden’s NFL-ready game. They like his maturity; he was, after a stint in minor league baseball before he arrived at Oklahoma State, 28 years old before the draft. And they liked his ability to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage.

Elway particularly liked the fact Weeden already understood what it took to be a professional athlete and thought that would serve Weeden well in the inevitable struggles that come on the job.

The Broncos traded Tebow two days after signing Manning, so many will argue that Tebow was simply a victim of circumstance. However, you don’t draft a 28-year-old rookie with the intention of letting him hold a clipboard for a few years and develop into an NFL starter. Like the Cleveland Browns, it’s safe to say Denver intended to use Weeden right away if they drafted him. In hindsight, it sounds as though John Elway and the Broncos may have felt the same way about Tebow as the Jets do now.

Anonymous Broncos rip Tim Tebow: ‘He’s not an NFL quarterback’

Apparently this is what Tim Tebow gets for minding his own business. The New York Jets backup quarterback has done and said all the right things this season, but that hasn’t shielded him from heavy criticism. Several anonymous Jets players ripped Tebow a few weeks ago and it turned into the biggest media circus of the 2012 season. Now, it would appear that the Denver Broncos want in on the act.

According to Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com, a few anonymous Broncos players felt the need to do the exact same thing the cowardly Jets did by bashing their former teammate.

“When Tim was here we saw the issues up close,” an unidentified Denver player reportedly said. “The Jets didn’t, and now they are seeing the problems, too. I feel really, really bad for Tim. He’s a good person, just not an NFL quarterback.”

Defenders of Tebow point to the fact that he led the Broncos on an improbable playoff run last season and a dramatic postseason win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Did Tebow make that improbable run possible, or was it improbable because Tebow was the quarterback?

“Of course we’re comparing this year to last year,” another anonymous player said. “This year we won the division with four games left. That’s all Peyton Manning. If Tebow was here, we’d still be squeaking out wins, or losing games we shouldn’t be losing. The division would be coming down to the last game.

“I’ve been following Tim in New York and I feel horrible for him. Everyone here, I think, wants the best for him. He’s a good guy. But you can’t turn Tim into something he’s not, and he’s not really an NFL quarterback. He’s more of a gimmick player.”

There’s a lot of truth in what player A and player B said, but again the issue I have with it is the anonymity. Manning is proving that the Broncos are an elite team with consistent quarterback play, but Rex Ryan was right about anonymously bashing a current or former teammate. If you don’t feel comfortable attaching your name to it, you probably shouldn’t be saying it.

H/T Around the League
Photo credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

Denver appliance store offering free appliances if Broncos shut out Raiders

The Broncos have not been very good defensively to start out the season. They haven’t really played well in general, but their offense has scored over 25 points per game through the first three weeks. However, their defense has allowed more than three touchdowns per game, which has resulted in a 1-2 record.

Appliance Factory Outlet in Denver has decided to roll the dice on the Broncos’ shaky start, as the store recently announced it will be giving away free appliances worth up to $3,000 per person if Denver shuts out the Raiders this weekend. Fans can purchase appliances from now until Saturday, Sept. 29 and bring in their receipt for a full reimbursement if the Broncos hold Oakland to a goose egg.

While the Broncos will have the luxury of playing at home in front of their electrifying crowd (all pigeon poop aside), shutting out the Raiders will be no easy task. The Raiders are also off to a 1-2 start, but they rank 7th in the NFL in passing and Darren McFadden may have had his coming out party against the Steelers with 113 yards rushing and a score. If I had to guess, I’d say Appliance Factory Outlet won’t be giving away any free stuff. But if you’re in the market for a new washing machine, what do you have to lose?

Thanks to Peter Burns for the tip

Broncos would have used Brock Osweiler over Peyton Manning for Hail Mary

After the Broncos lost to the Falcons on Monday Night, backup quarterback Brock Osweiler said he was prepared to go in for the Hail Mary in place of Peyton Manning if the team needed him to. Naturally, a number of people have viewed this as an indication that Manning is struggling with his arm strength, but in reality the former Arizona State quarterback has a cannon for an arm. Even in his prime, Manning’s arm probably wasn’t as strong as Osweiler’s.

If Denver needs a 70-yard prayer at the end of a game, it makes sense to bring in the guy who can throw it further. However, the comment raised questions because it came after an uninspiring three-interception performance from Manning. Now, many are wondering if Peyton is healthy.

Healthy? Seems like it. Back to full strength? I don’t think so. Manning is 36 years old and missed an entire season last year. His skills would likely be declining at this stage in his career regardless, so having missed a year with a serious injury certainly didn’t help. The alarming thing for Broncos fans on Monday was that Manning’s interceptions weren’t necessarily the result of poor decision-making. On at least two of the picks and possibly all three, it simply looked like Manning couldn’t make the throw.

A tremendous stat line for Peyton in Denver’s opener was encouraging, but let’s not forget Demaryius Thomas took a simple wide receiver screen 71 yards for a score. On Monday night in Atlanta, Manning made some wobbly throws that almost appeared like they were tipped at the line of scrimmage — but they weren’t.

The point is the Broncos’ dramatic victory over Pittsburgh may have temporarily masked the fact that Manning is going to be a work in progress. Anyone who watched their loss to the Falcons can tell you that. Considering he’s working with a new offense and a surgically-repaired neck, it would be unreasonable to expect to see Peyton Manning, NFL MVP right out of the gate.

Helmet knock to Around the League
Photo credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Broncos veterans throw rookies clothes in the lobby for hazing (Picture)

If the veterans on a team are going to harass the rookies simply because they are rookies, they might as well try to do something creative. The Broncos seemed to accomplish that late Wednesday night. As you can see from the photo above that Broncos rookie quarterback Brock Osweiler shared on Twitter, some of the Denver veterans got together and decided to toss a bunch of the rookies’ clothes in their hotel lobby.

Obviously, the most annoying part of this prank for the rookies was having to figure out which articles of clothing belong to them. Aside from that, I can safely say I would much rather have to walk around picking up my clothes than get an incredibly embarrassing haircut or be taped to a goal post. Heck, even Tim Tebow got it much worse when he was a rookie with the Broncos.

Willis McGahee: Defense deserved the credit for Broncos’ success last season

The Broncos’ success last season had many fans pleased, but it was also a touchy subject for many of the team’s players. A lot of people quietly felt that the team’s defense is what carried them to victories even though Tim Tebow received most of the attention, headlines, and credit. Willis McGahee certainly agrees.

“As a player just sitting back and watching you have to expect that to happen. The quarterback is going to get all the praise if we win and he’s going to get the blame if we lose,” the Broncos running back said on WQAM in Miami on Thursday. “You really can’t argue about that but we know as a team what we did on the football field and me personally, I think the defense deserved basically all the credit because they were playing lights out football.”

Champ Bailey expressed a similar sentiment in January, but he said he didn’t mind the defense being overshadowed as long as the team was winning. We think it probably was a touchy subject the entire time, but the players just kept quiet about it for the most part.

It’s easy to see how having Tim Tebow on your team can create an uncomfortable environment for the rest of the players because he’s such a central figure. But I will remind both McGahee and Bailey that stats showed that Tebow’s play actually led to an improved defense.

Photo credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Broncos reportedly began shopping Tim Tebow in February

The Broncos reportedly were looking to move Tim Tebow before they even knew they were going to get Peyton Manning.

In an article about Jacksonville’s failed attempt to acquire Tebow from the Broncos via trade, Tania Ganguli of The Florida Times-Union says Denver began quietly shopping the religious quarterback at the scouting combine in February.

The combine ran from February 22-28. Peyton Manning was not officially released until March 7th. Maybe the Broncos knew they were going to be players in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes so they were trying to gauge the Tim Tebow trade market. Or, maybe, despite telling everyone Tebow was going to be the Broncos’ guy “for a long, long time,” John Elway was looking to replace him.

At the same time Elway was seemingly making a long-term commitment to Tebow, he was also shopping the quarterback. How’s that for being disingenuous?

Ganguli’s report also indicates Tebow was equally amenable to Jacksonville and the Jets when the trade talks became serious, but that he later said he preferred the Jets because he felt the coaches wanted him more and that he’d have a better chance of starting there. Both details are ones we’ve shared over the past week, but it’s worth repeating.

Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE