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News & Blogs


Mason's Twitter Mailbag: Proper Motivation

Posted Aug 6, 2014

The Broncos are using last year's Super Bowl loss as motivation. But is that enough to fuel them? Andrew Mason shares his thoughts on that and other topics.

It's a day off from practice, so it's time to dive back into the mailbag. To get into the next edition, tweet @MaseDenver, with the hashtag #AskMase, or ask a question via the Facebook comment sections below.

And as will always be the case, unusual questions are welcome.

But for now, let's start with a query about motivation:

Based on comments from players like Kevin Vickerson and Terrance Knighton, it's clear that some of the players are. That loss can help in pushing through during the dog days of camp, when it might be a bit easier to take it easy for a few plays knowing that it's just practice.

But in the regular season, those that use the loss for motivational fuel need to tread carefully. So much has to go right between now and the Super Bowl just to make it to the game that you can get too caught up in focusing on "winning it all" in the summer. There's plenty of reasons why the cliche' "one game at a time" exists, and the Broncos' schedule is a minefield. A couple of injuries, a fumble, a bad bounce or a bad call, and you're talking about two, three -- even four more losses than most pundits anticipate. These things happen.

So, yes, last year's Super Bowl loss is motivation. But there has to be motivation from week to week. Given the rigorous slate in front of the Broncos, that shouldn't be a problem.

On the whole, well. Jacob Tamme had the touchdown one-handed catch in the Summer Scrimmage, and he's a good insurance policy in case Thomas is injured. He doesn't have Thomas' size or speed, but is effective in heavy traffic and runs good routes. It's a luxury having a backup so effective. Virgil Green, who is listed as a second-teamer behind Thomas, could be the most versatile of the bunch; he's an above-average blocker who's still getting better, is more effective making catches and, as seen in the postseason last year, can line up in the backfield.

It will be interesting to see the final composition of the position group. With the release of Joel Dreessen, the Broncos have three tight ends returning from last year's 53-man roster. Last year, they had four. It's possible the fourth tight end is on the practice squad; Jameson Konz and Gerell Robinson have practice-squad eligibility, but Cameron Morrah does not. Konz and Robinson are converts from another position -- defensive end and wide receiver, respectively -- and each showed some flashes of brilliance in the Summer Scrimmage.

During the first few days of training camp, it seemed like every time he made it into the notebook, it was for the wrong reason: getting beat in coverage. And while one-on-one drills are tilted heavily in favor of the offense, this was also true in the team periods.

In the last week, Roby has been one of the Broncos' most improved players. Some of his best work has come against the run; if he can apply this aggression to his work in coverage, he'll have a better chance at success.

But above all, Roby's NFL prognosis depends on two things: how well his confidence holds up after being beaten, and how effectively he can use his size to be physical and disruptive within five yards of the line of scrimmage. This will show over time, not just in training camp.

I've seen some great cornerbacks have shaky rookie training camps -- Tampa Bay legend Ronde Barber, in 1997, immediately comes to mind. Thus, Roby's ups and downs don't surprise me; the test is in his response to them. At this, he's improving.

Pilsner, always. IPA gives me a sour stomach and I can't eat for a day. Which wouldn't altogether be a bad thing, I reckon.

The ones who jump out so far are defensive end Kenny Anunike -- about whom I wrote Sunday -- wide receiver/punt returner Isaiah Burse, and running back Juwan Thompson, who saw some work with the No. 2 offense in Saturday's scrimmage. But running back is wide open, and of the newcomers beyond Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson, preseason play will be a determining factor in the Broncos' choice, and whether they keep a fourth running back on the 53-man roster or the practice squad.

These aren't the only undrafted rookies to shine -- as I noted Saturday, wide receiver Bennie Fowler has improved, with some help from Emmanuel Sanders' tutelage, and cornerback Jordan Sullen is playing with more confidence on the ball and making plays.

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