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Gray Matter Mailbag: Containing the Eagles

Posted Sep 27, 2013

This week's mailbag answers fan questions on slowing down Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles and center J.D. Walton's recovery.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Plenty to discuss in this week's Gray Matter mailbag, from containing Michael Vick and the Eagles to J.D. Walton's recovery to my lack of Breaking Bad knowledge.

As always, you can tweet me your questions every week at @GrayCaldwell using the hashtag #GrayMatter.

Let's get to it.

First of all, thanks for the questions every week, Metal. Always appreciated. Well, Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio said on Thursday that Terrelle Pryor and Michael Vick are "really completely different," but acknowledged that the mobility of both quarterbacks is one similarity. The biggest difference between the two offenses is that the Eagles use a faster tempo and like to spread the field, while the Raiders often slow things down and use two backs -- Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece -- in the backfield. The fact that the Broncos held the Raiders' rushing attack in check (McFadden had 9 yards) and kept Pryor from using his legs for the most part (barring one 23-yard scamper) should give the defense confidence going into this week. The key, as Del Rio says it always is, is sound tackling. It's just that much more difficult when Vick has such a weapon at receiver in DeSean Jackson and the league's leading rusher behind him in LeSean McCoy.

"We’ve got to make sure that we corral these guys and gang tackling, that’s going to be the key thing this week," defensive captain Wesley Woodyard said.

The players to keep an eye on this week were Duke Ihenacho (questionable), Tony Carter (probable), Champ Bailey (questionable), Joel Dreessen (questionable) and Paris Lenon (doubtful). Carter had the most interesting progression this week -- he didn't participate on Wednesday, was limited on Thursday and had full participation on Friday, leading to his "probable" designation. You can check out the full injury report, which lists 14 Broncos, here.

This question came after we saw J.D. Walton on the field during practice this week, working off to the side with Strength and Conditioning Coach Luke Richesson. Walton isn't eligible to practice until after the first six weeks of the season are completed. Starting Oct. 15 and up to Nov. 19, Walton can start practicing. From there, the team has a 21-day window to determine whether Walton will return to the active roster -- he can be called up at any point over those 21 days of practice.

It's a good question, as Offensive Coordiantor Adam Gase noted Thursday that Ramirez is getting more and more comfortable every game. Ultimately I think the answer is yes, he will have a chance to win his job back through competition, as is the case at every single position on the roster. Walton started 36 consecutive games to start his career, so obviously the Broncos like what the former third-round pick brings to the table. But they also like Ramirez, as was evidenced by his two-year contract extension. It's a good problem to have, and Ramirez also has starts under his belt at guard. The more depth on the offensive line, the better. The first step is getting Walton healthy again.

OK I get it, I need to watch Breaking Bad. I believe a Netflix subscription is in order this offseason. In the meantime, Homeland is back on Sunday. I hope it will wash the bad taste out of my mouth from that Dexter finale.

All free travel, free hotel and free ticket-related questions should be directed to Chris Hall at @BroncosTV.

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