DMac’s comments on Monday’s practice…
There are Broncos players who you KNOW are football players. Even if you don’t know their names, when you pass them in the mall, you know they’re somebody. You know what that’s like when you are walking past Gymboree next to Pac Sun and there is a dude who is so overwhelmingly huge, you can’t stop yourself from turning around and thinking, “Geez, who is that?” I work with Alfred Williams every day who is 6’6″ and a biscuit shy of 300. He gets looks! Shoot, I’ve worked with him for 7 years and I still give him looks like, “how in the world did you get so big?” It’s unlikely you know who Lars Hanson is, but trust me if he passed you near Cinnabon at a monstrous 6’8, 308 pounds, you would think he plays for the Broncos. For the record, Lars is a third string rookie left tackle from Sacramento State. He wears number 78, so you can just call him NOT Ryan Clady. You would know that Derek Wolfe and DeMarcus Ware are either football players, or Hollywood stuntmen, and/or Body doubles for The Rock. Paxton Lynch isn’t getting overlooked anytime soon. Demaryius Thomas and Von Miller are likely to get your attention even if they were wearing Halloween masks as they loitered near Wetzel’s Pretzels. Even the kickers these days- Brandon McManus, Britton Colquitt and Riley Dixon are pretty large dudes worthy of a head turn outside the Vans store. However, there are guys on the Broncos every now and then, who would NEVER be recognized in the mall. In fact, it’s likely they have a hard time convincing a lovely lady at the bar that they are even ON the Broncos. They can stand at the T-Mobile kiosk as long as they want and NOBODY will every approach them unless they look like they need a new service plan. In fact, it’s more likely that fans will think the guy working AT the kiosk in the mall is more likely a Broncos player (Tatum Bell) than a couple of these guys. They are living their lives in complete anonymity and one of these guys is actually a Super Bowl hero. But, don’t get it twisted, the competition is fierce and games this year could ride or die on the shoulders of these secret ninjas
Jordan Norwood goes 5’11 and weighs 180 pounds. He’s so skinny, he could hide from his own shadow. When he deked the Panthers and almost took a punt return to the house in the Super Bowl, he created one of the greatest moments in Broncos Super Bowl history. The fact he got chased down by a guy wearing 95 is a bit bothersome, but it wasn’t just the Panthers that fell asleep on that play. Norwood is competing in camp to be a wide receiver/punt returner with another anonymous amigo, Kalif Raymond. I think the Holy Cross speedster would get ID’d….at the movies!!! He is by far, the youngest looking Broncos player you’ve ever seen. Quiet and humble, but containing ferocious speed, this rookie is making a HUGE splash at camp. The Broncos are going to have to make a choice between these two guys and it’s not gonna be easy.
The Broncos talented receiving corps is as deep as it gets. Slam dunks to make the team include DT, Emmanuel Sanders and Bennie Fowler. Most likely, Cody Latimer makes the squad too based on his outstanding special teams and high draft selection. If Jordan “Sunshine” Taylor doesn’t make the squad this year, then the Broncos are making a huge mistake. His 6’5″ upside and HUGE catching radius make him special. Trust me, he’s gonna turn heads outside of the Apple store right across the Mall from the Lego Store. That’s five guys – book it! Trust me, cutting Devier Posey, Braylon Addison, Mose Frazier, Marlon Brown and Duron Neal, ain’t gonna be easy. Most of those guys are more than good enough to be on NFL rosters and I have no doubt that indeed will be the case. However, none of those guys have the dynamite return skills of Norwood and Raymond. So, the coaches are gonna have to make a choice because I have ZERO doubts the Broncos will, similar to last year, keep six wide receivers.
Kalif, who checks in at 5’9″ 160, is so young looking that he was given shaving cream at Christmas as a gag gift. He comes from the Patriot League juggernaut of Holy Cross. If anybody remembers Gordie Lockbaum, you’ve passed your Holy Cross history quiz. Quick, where the @#$^ is Holy Cross? Trust me, I grew up in Massachusetts and us Massholes don’t even know where Holy Cross is. This college didn’t even have it’s own pro day, the scouts wouldn’t be able to find the campus. To get noticed, Kalif actually went to the HARVARD pro day. The fact Harvard HAS a pro day proves Harvard wants to have everything. Kalif ran a stunning 4.34 and all of a sudden people were buzzing. Nobody took a flyer on Kalif, but the Broncos were quick to sign him up and boy are they glad they did so. Kalif has been compared to Trindon Holliday, but that’s not fair to munchkins. Trindon was a speed freak, but not a football player. He wasn’t quite fast enough to be an Olympian. And to add insult to injury he was two inches too tall to work at “It’s a Small World” at Disney. Trindon was great doing his thing in the NFL a lot longer than he should’ve. Kalif IS a football player. He is also a track star. What makes him unusual is that he’s also a very accomplished wrestler. Talk to football guys and they will tell you how much they love football players that once wrestled. Wrestling is THE toughest sport in terms of conditioning and desire in the world. Those that have the heart to wrestle just aren’t gonna be quitters at anything in life. To find out that Kalif not only has played football his whole life, but that he takes pride in his wrestling background gives him a gargantuan mental edge. The jump from Holy Cross to the NFL may seem impossible, but it’s just another brick in his wall. Wrestlers, my friends, are made from brick.
Norwood isn’t going quietly into the night. His experience and craftiness have kept a slender man in the NFL for a long time. He’s overcome plenty of odds to be in this position. But, the crazy thing may be that his veteran salary may actually push him out.
As the first week of camp wraps up, there is no more compelling battle than the one between two guys that may be standing right next to you right now at Orange Julius. Turn around and ask them.
“Hey, are you on the Broncos?”
TOP PHOTO CREDIT – Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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