Denver Post Broncos writer Parker Gabriel posts his Broncos Mailbag weekly during the season. Submit questions to Parker here.
I’m a fan who dislikes the league allowing the amount of contact (grabbing, pulling, etc.) by defensive backs that occurs on every pass play. It takes away from the skill set of the receivers and makes me laugh when announcers praise the skill of defensive backs who hold onto receivers running down the field. You agree?
— Mary Heckert, Albuquerque, N.M.
Hey Mary, thanks for writing in and for the interesting question.
Most defensive players and coaches would tell you it’s tough enough these days to play defense without going any further on the pushing and grabbing down the field. If a defensive player can’t put his hands on a receiver, then a receiver shouldn’t be able to put his hands on a defensive player. That would make for a total mess.
I actually like when officiating crews let players play. Obviously, it can get out of hand and pass interference is necessary to police instances where defenders clearly restrain receivers from catching the ball. There was one holding call Sunday where a Dallas player simply dragged down 49ers tight end George Kittle to prevent him from continuing his route into the end zone. Easy enough. But overall I appreciate physical play and think pass interference still gets called based on anticipation rather than actual restrictive contact too often.
An observation, not a question. Josh Allen isn’t the only University of Wyoming player John Elway whiffed on. We could have had Logan Wilson instead of KJ Hamler.
— Mike, Colorado City
Mike, you’re not wrong, though it’s always easy to find instances where any team could have had this guy rather than that guy.
Broncos-wise, did you know Seattle’s burgeoning young star corner Tariq Woolen was drafted in the fifth round, one pick after Denver took safety Delarrin Turner-Yell?
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As it pertains to 2018, that was well before my time here, but one of the interesting subplots of the Josh Allen situation was that Denver had an up close and personal look at him during Senior Bowl week, where the coaching staff coached Allen’s North team. Baker Mayfield, too, for that matter, though he went No. 1 overall.
The 2020 draft definitely looks light for the Broncos so far. Jerry Jeudy may salvage it the way he blossomed over the second half of 2022. But Hamler’s struggled to stay healthy, Denver cut one third-rounder (Michael Ojemudia) late this season and the other (center Lloyd Cushenberry) missed the final nine games with a groin injury. Albert Okwuegbunam and Justin Strnad are still with the franchise, while the other four picks — McTelvin Agim, Netane Muti, Tyrie Cleveland and Derrek Tuszka — are not. Big offseason/2023 upcoming for Hamler, Cushenberry and Okwuegbunam, in particular.
Oh, and Cincinnati’s first three picks in 2020: Joe Burrow, receiver Tee Higgins and Wilson. That’ll work.
Help me out here Parker. Why aren’t we talking about Jerry Rosburg as a candidate? He “turned the ship around” in a week with his experience and no-nonsense approach. He is confident, transparent and appears to have established an effective rapport with the players and the coaches. And, with Jerry as the HC we wouldn’t have to worry about him wanting to be the OC or the DC. If Ejiro Eviro doesn’t get a HC job we could keep him as our DC. Can you say “associate head coach”? His defense was one of the best and the players love him. The OC job may be up for grabs but you gotta say that when Justin Outten took over the play calling Russ looked like Russ. So, why not Jerry? Keep the draft pick.
— J. Mark Hill, Denver
JMH, thanks for the note.
Rosburg doesn’t get talked about as a candidate because he didn’t formally interview for the job. ESPN reported over the weekend — and The Post confirmed similar — that Rosburg expressed in a postseason debrief with Broncos brass that he’d be interested in the top job.
He laid out his thoughts on how it should look and indicated he thought he’d be a good fit for a short stint. It’s not a big surprise, even though Rosburg said nothing about anything other than the present during his two weeks in charge. After all, who wouldn’t be interested in being the head guy? To date, it hasn’t progressed from there. The safe bet is that the ownership group was happy with the work he did in a tough situation and will be thankful for it, but that’s that.
Maybe the next head coach will want him as a special teams coordinator — if that’s something he’s interested in, though at 67 years old, Rosburg certainly doesn’t have to be back with a team in the fall. Maybe things get squirrely this week with other finalist interviews and they come back around to him. Surprises do happen. But ultimately as of this writing, the ownership group has plenty of reason to feel good about the seven candidates still in the running.
Another week has gone by and we’re further into the coaching search. Who do you think has the inside edge right now to be Denver’s next coach? It seems like it’s a three-way race right now between Sean Payton, Dan Quinn and DeMeco Ryans. Any dark horses in your mind?
— Mike, Denver
Mike, difficult question to answer with as fluid as these situations can be. Quinn and Payton have been in the picture the whole way since Nathaniel Hackett was fired on Dec. 26, and Ryans and Evero make for compelling, popular candidates in this cycle even as potential first-timers. Don’t forget about David Shaw, the former Stanford head coach. The ownership group/search committee has deep Stanford ties and, as I pointed out in a debate with Kiz earlier this week, Payton has sung his praises as a potential NFL coach in the past. It’s enough to get your attention, at least.
The thing about this group that is perhaps most interesting is that you could make a case for any of them. Tough to say that Jim Caldwell, for example, isn’t qualified to be a head coach when he’s done it twice previously and had a winning record both times, or that Raheem Morris isn’t deserving of another chance.
Any word on new uniforms for next season? Don’t get me wrong, these have been classics for a while, but it’s been 25 years since we rebranded with our current logo and look. I’d love to see some version of the classic “D” and the horse back.
— Mark, Arvada
No word yet, Mark. President Damani Leech made a reference to the process of making formal uniform changes in London back in October — “if you don’t know, is a multi-year process to actually change from a league standpoint,” he said then — and since has said or hinted a few times that it’s something the franchise is looking into.
Just based on Leech’s comments so far, a full overhaul for 2023 seems a little aggressive timeline-wise, but it does appear to be something the franchise is working on in the relatively short-term future.
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