What is your read on the Broncos' quarterback situation?**
"You can be happy with the two young guys that you have -- Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch -- and mean that, and yet also still pursue whatever quarterback, like Tony Romo, if he were to become available. But they've been pretty persistent in delivering that message -- and it strikes me as being more than just trying to convince the Cowboys that they're not going to trade for him, and that they might be interested if he were released.
"I think the whole thing with Tony Romo, at age 37, isn't really a question of his skill set. It's just a question of his health and whether he can maintain that -- and whether anybody is really willing to take that chance about building their season with the expectation that Tony Romo is going to be your quarterback for most or all of the season -- particularly so with the couple of teams that we're talking about: the Houston Texans, primarily, and the Broncos. It's more important to have Romo for the final month of the regular season and the playoffs than it would be the first part of the season, and I think that's the way these playoff teams look at it.
"So I wouldn't be surprised if Denver went into the season with the two quarterbacks that they have. I covered a couple of Broncos games last year, and Trevor Siemian played well -- especially when you consider his inexperience, and that he was playing with a significant shoulder injury that required surgery, ultimately. So I wouldn't be surprised if they did stand pat and just go with what they have."
The Broncos did stand pat there, but they also brought in a new head coach. What do you think of the hiring of Vance Joseph?**
"Well, I know Vance made a big impression on them before when they went through the hiring process, and Gary Kubiak had a unique relationship with the franchise and with John Elway, so it made sense. [Kubiak] was a very accomplished coach.
"But Vance Joseph was very highly regarded. I mean, look who he's coached under -- most recently Adam Gase, who obviously has a Bronco influence. He worked for Wade Phillips. So I think this will be a really smooth transition in terms of the systems and getting the players to play for him -- but I think he'll be able to introduce some new concepts to help them in coverages, and maybe create more pass rush. I think there are a lot of teams that would hire Vance Joseph had there been the opportunity."
How is the AFC West shaken up by two teams moving?**
"Well, we've seen that teams don't tend to play very well when they face the prospect of an eventual transition to another city. We saw that with the Chargers last year -- although I guess you could argue it was more injuries with them than anything else -- but I do think that the Raiders probably have a better roster than the Rams, who did this last year, and the Chargers, who failed in the same regard.
"I think Jack Del Rio is really a good coach, and I think that's a really good young team that's going to get the right message from guys like Derek Carr, and I think Jack's experience as a player is going to help him in a situation like this. But I think it's going to be interesting. And Mark Davis touched on it [Monday]: There's a certain intimidation factor for opponents who go play in Oakland, and will that still be as prevalent with the fans knowing that the future of the Raiders is somewhere else? Mark Davis made the appeal [Monday], saying, 'Hey, blame me, not the players and the coaches,' and that's fair, because he's the one who made the decision to pursue the money.
"But it will be interesting to see whether the hostility continues to be directed at the opponent, or whether the Raiders will now encounter some of that themselves, or whether there's just apathy. I was told [Monday] that they had lost very few season-ticket holders in the aftermath of the decision, even though Mark Davis announced that he would refund money to season-ticket holders if they wanted to back out."
And you never know with the Black Hole, right?**
"Exactly! I expect that as long as the Raiders play well, they'll continue to be well-supported, even though they're going to move, and maybe some of the fans will go with them. They are kind of a global team, and I think that's part of the play going to Vegas."
You get back to Colorado?
"Yeah, I covered the Broncos quite a bit when I was a young journalist, working at The (Boulder) Daily Camera, and I actually always wanted to work at one of the major dailies, and I had gotten hired by The Denver Post at one point, but I went to Texas, and it proved to be the right move.
"But we love Colorado. I went to high school there; I met my wife of now 35 years there; I went to Northern Colorado and graduated, so yeah, we have strong ties to Colorado, and eventually, when I'm done doing this, I'd like to retire there."