John Elway, Bobby Wagner, Mike Wallace
The Denver Broncos took a fairly simple approach to the offseason.
When you have Peyton Manning leading a record-setting offense and you give up 43 points in the Super Bowl, your task for improving your team is obvious.
“When we look at what we did offensively, there wasn’t a huge need as much as we thought we had needs on the defensive side,” Broncos general manager John Elway was quoted as saying in the Denver Post.
And after their 35-point loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl, the Broncos will have three (they hope) difference-making pieces on defense that they acquired via free agency when the teams meet in the third week of the 2014 regular season: end DeMarcus Ware, cornerback Aqib Talib, and former Cleveland Browns safety T.J. Ward.
“This is a time of year when people rank how good you are on paper,” Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio told the Denver Post. “And certainly on paper, it looks real good. But I’m not really concerned much with that. I’ve talked to our guys about it. It’s about going to work every day and really building that trust where you know where your buddy’s going to be.
“And you’re doing it for the guy next to you, and you’re doing it at a really high level. There’s just a price you have to pay, a sacrifice you have to make. What I like most about all of our additions is they’ve come in here and they’ve been good teammates.”
… BUT HOW MUCH BETTER HAVE THE SEAHAWKS GOTTEN?
Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner is feeling pretty good about his team’s chances of repeating as Super Bowl champions.
He told ESPN that he has been highly impressed with what he has seen of the Seahawks since their pummeling of the Broncos in February.
“I think we got way better this year,” Wagner said. “Because we’re all so young, so we’re still growing. Even (quarterback) Russell (Wilson) – Russell’s still young, he’s still young in the game. We’re all still growing.”
Wagner also said he thought the Broncos “looked scared” in the Super Bowl.
MIKE WALLACE ‘MIGHT GET BACK ON KICKOFF RETURNS’ FOR DOLPHINS
One of the Miami Dolphins’ primary offseason goals has been to find a way to get more production out of one of the top free-agent signings of 2013, wide receiver Mike Wallace, from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Wallace’s 73 catches for 930 yards and five touchdowns last season fell well short of expectations. He also was vocal about his dissatisfaction with how the Dolphins utilized him in their offense. The team hopes to have addressed that by making Bill Lazor, former quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, their new offensive coordinator.
Still, if you listen to Wallace, it is clear he believes he can contribute more beyond catching passes.
“I might get back there for kickoff returns,” Wallace was quoted as saying on Sky Sports. “I just want to be on the field making an impact for my team. I’ve always wanted to return kicks ever since I’ve been in the NFL. … At this point of my career, I just want to get the ball in my hands and make some plays.”
Whether Dolphins coach Joe Philbin is aboard with the idea of having his highly paid receiver return kicks is unknown at this point.
PLAXICO BURRESS PREDICTS MICHAEL VICK WILL BE THE EAGLES’ OPENING-DAY STARTER
Never mind that Michael Vick has long conceded that Geno Smith will be the New York Jets’ starting quarterback.
Never mind that Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is on record as saying Smith will receiver “70 to 75 percent” of the first-team reps during the team’s training camp that begins next week.
Plaxico Burress, a former wide receiver for the New York Giants and (for one season) the Jets, said during an appearance on ESPN that he predicts Vick will end up the No. 1 quarterback for the Jets on opening day.
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