2022 Broncos Insider Notes for Subscribers Only (7/31/22)
The following series of notes include a few notes you’re not likely to see in the mainstream.
Remember, the mainstream’s job (they are paid to do) is to push a State (team/league) sponsored, clean/sanitized, puppy dogs and unicorns’ message (and many of the beat reporters are religious zealots for ‘their team’ anyway, so they never see anything wrong as it is). They are paid to collect positive words from camp and highlight them -- everyone in camp is in their best shape ever and prime for a breakout year, and every new hire head coach is changing the culture and/or is a breath of fresh air compared to the old coach (that THEY all loved and defended just a few years ago), and every rookie is ‘turning heads’ (those same exact words used by 90% of the reporters).
Every player report is how the team/coaches ‘love’ ____ player. Then I get emails from readers saying, “I’m hearing how the team loves ____ player.” Everybody loves everybody and they are in their best shape ever and they love their new coaches -- it’s said about everyone…how do you know what’s real and what’s bullshit/puff?
In the same way our government just decides to redefine word meanings to help them look good/try and con the public on things -- football reporting is just as bad a mindset…constant puffery, spin, excuses in the preseason (the hope time of year, when everything is wonderful).
There are a few exceptions that are target of their wrath…a few sacrificial lambs to pick on, but by and large anywhere there is ‘change’ (rookies, new coaches/coordinators, QB, free agents) there is ‘hope springing eternal’.
So, with that I try to bring to you alternative information from unique sources -- reporters who can’t speak such things in public view/writing, or from low-level players on the inside (who talk to friends/family and those people relay things to me), and subscribers/friends of FFM who are first hand on the ground at practices. And we take their info through their lens and try to make sense of it.
*Note: If you have observations firsthand from camps…email me and let me know things of interest you’re seeing. I appreciate it! firstname.lastname@example.org
OK, some interesting tidbits from the first few days of Broncos camp from a source I have some trust to believe in. You choose to believe what you want. I’m just reporting what I think matters and is helpful for our FF/betting endeavors…
1) The biggest shock info that I have…
Melvin Gordon, early on, seems to be being treated like a guy fighting for the #2 RB job -- not a co-#1 with Javonte Williams.
There can be plausible ‘reasons’ for this (injury, or extra training, or whatever you/me could try and think of) -- but to my source, he was noticing how Javonte is being treated in practices, with the always-lead on the first-team and Gordon not getting that same co-respect. Gordon is being treated like a #2, not a co-#1, to my source’s eyes.
If I knew for 100% fact that Gordon was just going to be ‘insurance’ and a 20% toucher not a 40-50% toucher of the ball -- Javonte is a top 5 Fantasy RB lock for 2022.
Even I am having a hard time believing this because I don’t think Nathaniel Hackett has the gumption to put a veteran, vocal player in the backseat -- but the Broncos did only bring back Gordon reluctantly after weeks of free agency went by and no one wanted Gordon (it seemed). However, Gordon settled for a little better than D’Onta Foreman to Carolina money.
It’s possible my first/early/May interpretation is the real one -- Gordon is there for support and emergency, not to share a backfield with Javonte in any meaningful way.
Gordon is trying to make something of ‘me and Russ were in college together’, and I had forgotten all about that -- but Wilson was traded for in March and Gordon didn’t join the Broncos until late-April, right before the NFL Draft. Denver didn’t rush out to bring in Gordon for Russ…I don’t think Wilson even cares, that was so long ago.
I’ll be watching/listening out for more information on this…but the scale is tipping back towards Javonte as the strong lead. Like 70/30? 80/20? Not 50-50. Not Gordon ceremonially starting.
2) Wide Receiver report…
This is the other ‘shocking’/’you won’t see this being discussed in public’ piece of info to relay.
Jerry Jeudy is struggling in camp…and it has the staff concerned. This is not my wishful thinking. I’m anti-Jeudy. However, I assume he’ll get a million-and-one chances and be fine for FF, while I whine about it. So, I’m not trying to sink Jeudy here to prove anything -- I am looking for the truth…not fragments of tidbits to support my presupposition, in all things.
Jeudy has struggled with ‘drops’, which is not shocking to me -- he has terrible hands/is a plays-scared WR. He can be as agile as they come, but if he’s afraid of contact and drops passes/short arms after throws in traffic -- it doesn’t matter if he can get open a lot. That’s been my issue with him since Alabama.
Jeudy is also struggling with perfecting the playbook and getting on the same page as Russell Wilson (despite the propaganda you might read otherwise). Not that everything Jeudy does is a botch…just he’s making more mistakes than you want to see from a supposed high-level WR. I’m not surprised by this because Jeudy racked up a ‘9’ on his Wonderlic. He’s one of the dumber/slower-thinking players in the league, in my book -- and you can hear it when he speaks and see it in his college and pro play, if you look…and not just guzzle Crimson Tide colored Kool Aid.
Now, Jeudy is not dead -- because the staff is going overboard to try and ‘help’ Jeudy. The coaches are miffed/concerned but know he’s a top pick that they have to buy the Kool Aid on/will get blamed for any failure (at first). However, Jeudy is not a GM George Paton (who is smart) guy/pick, he’s a drafting-out-of-an-ESPN-magazine GM John Elway pick. I would not be surprised if Paton trades Jeudy out of nowhere, no warning…but more likely that’s in-season or 2023.
You will see in the mainstream a lot of puff pieces on Jeudy on him spending more time studying and going to the QB room to study -- it’s all to try and help Jeudy’s confidence, but also team-directed to try to somehow teach someone the game who has a Wonderlic score of ‘9’…but presented like Jeudy is this maniac student of the game. You will also see more clips and hype on any good Jeudy catches in practice to bolster him -- but they typically come in non-contact time. Jeudy is better when contact is not possible.
All that to say -- Courtland Sutton is THE CLEAR #1 WR for Russell Wilson…and for FF 2022 off the Broncos. Not my guess…it’s what my source is reconfirming. Tim Patrick could be the de facto #2…and if Russell Wilson ever pushes for it/George Paton wants to try and cash out on/trade Jeudy before he gets exposed -- then Kendall Hinton will be the #3 WR, not K.J. Hamler…as a guess (on Hinton) from what my source sees.
Now to normal/mainstream news of interest…
3) Jonas Griffith is going to be the starting ILB with Josey Jewell. The Griffith talk all year is real…the staff has been with him all year and it keeps up in camp. Griffith has been one of the stars of the defense so far, further cementing his status.
Justin Strnad is fading away.
4) Rookie CB, that I have really liked since scouting him pre-Draft, ECU’s JaQuan McMillian is standing out in camp -- and important feedback to get on any of these UDFA rookies. They gotta hit the ground running to have a chance to stick on a roster and move forward from there.
5) There’s a lot of love for surprise pick/5th-round rookie WR Montrell Washington (Samford) …he’s already won the KR/PR job, whether they officially state it or not. But he’s also hanging in as a small, weapon/gadget WR.
6) Rookie TE Greg Dulcich is missing valuable camp time with a mild injury, but it’s holding him out…and letting Albert Okwuegbunam run away with all the Russ work/starting Week 1/playing a majority of the snaps at TE right away. There was chatter that the two TEs would be in some kind of rotation, etc., but it’s looking more and more like Albert O. is the guy at TE for Russ -- and Albert is a physical talent who could be surprise 2nd-best weapon (after Sutton).
Any reports you read detailing Russell Wilson’s bad history with pushing FF TEs is a mistake, I think. What Russ was in Seattle does not matter -- we all know it was a Pete Carroll issue with everyone crying about ‘Russ cooking’, or lack thereof. We don’t know what it is like when Russ does fully ‘cook’, but we’re about to find out -- and we suspect it could be pretty great, because Wilson shined within the Carroll system of dread.