ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – This week we talk
Thanks for this week's contributions. As always, you can tweet your questions directly to me on Twitter using the hashtag #GrayMatter. The mailbags are posted every Friday.
Let's get to the questions.
A little bit of both. There's always a learning curve for rookies entering the NFL, but as
At the same time, Manning acknowledged that he doesn't expect Head Coach John Fox to bring Montee Ball along slowly -- the running back was taken in the second round, which usually means production is expected early. "We are going to put him in there and make him a contributor this year," Manning said. Ball has taken that to heart, and said he's been asking Manning questions as often as he can so that he's ready when his number is called. It seems to be working, because the rookie said his jitters are already gone.
Which brings us to our next question.
@graycaldwell In your opinion, which Broncos rookies have the best chance to be the starter come week 1, and why?— Metal Mushin(@metalheadmushin) May 1, 2013
The first name that comes to mind is Ball. There's obviously competition there in a deep running back stable, including last year's third-round pick,
In a team without many holes, it's probably a good thing that not many rookies step in and start right away. While many of the rookies will see the field in 2013, don't expect the group to rack up a ton of starts.
As with every player, Webster's role is up to him. Clearly the team thinks highly of him, taking him in the third round of the draft. But he's part of perhaps the most loaded position on the Broncos' roster -- the defensive secondary.
Lori Mahaffey asked on Facebook: How are Wes Welker and Peyton working together?
Welker's currently learning, as Coach Fox put it, a new language. He's learning a new system and the nuances of playing in the Broncos' offense alongside Manning. The quarterback said he's been very vocal in meetings every time Welker has a question, wanting to "get it all out in the open" in terms of what he's looking for on every play and what he wants the receiver to look for. The two started working on their timing as soon as early April, when Manning, Welker,
Donnie Miller III asked on Facebook: Is there ever going to be a game played in Pittsburgh? I'm from Pennsylvania and would love nothing more than driving to Heinz Field and seeing the Broncos pound the Steelers.
Well, it's hard to look too far in the future with regards to the scheduling formula. But I'll give it a shot.
The formula for each team's 16-game schedule includes: home and away games against its three division opponents (6 games), the four teams from another division within its conference on a rotating three-year cycle (4 games), the four teams from a division in the other conference on a rotating four-year cycle (4 games) and two games against conference opponents based on the prior year's standings (2 games).
Looking at the current schedule rotation, the Broncos will play in Pittsburgh the next time the AFC West and AFC North square off -- tentatively the 2015 campaign. The two divisions matched up last year, so Denver plays the AFC South this season, the AFC East in 2014 and, if the formula holds true, back to the AFC North in 2015. Since Pittsburgh came to Denver last year, the Broncos would head to Heinz Field in 2015.
Whether they play before that depends on how the two teams fare in their respective divisions. If the Broncos and Steelers both finish in the same spot in their respective divisions this year, they'll play next year. That's a big reason why the Broncos and New England Patriots have played so often recently -- they've both been winning their divisions.