Breaking down the Denver Broncos 2016 90-man roster, one player, one post, one day at a time. Today we keep the football rolling looking at running back/fullback, Juwan Thompson. It's that time of the year again. Mile High Report begins our annual 90 players in 90 days roster breakdown. Last year went fairly well, but starting today and through August 27th, we'll break down every player on the Denver Broncos roster.
Name: Juwan ThompsonPosition: Running backHeight: 5'11" Weight: 225Age: 24 Experience: 3rdCollege: Duke
Juwan Thompson made a name for himself in 2014 after having a breakout performance against the Seattle Seahawks during the preseason. That performance and a strong Training Camp helped earn Thompson a roster spot that season.
He was used sparingly on offense during his rookie season but was a solid contributor on special teams. Thompson totaled 54 rushing attempts that season for 272 yards(5.0 YPC) and 3 touchdowns.
After flashing during his rookie year, many believed Thompson could have a bigger role for himself in 2015, but that never happened. He finished the 2015 season with only 18 carries for 48 yards and 0 touchdowns. It was a disappointing season for Thompson, and some(myself included) thought he could push for the starting job last season.
Now Thompson enters the 2016 season competing with C.J Anderson, 2015 leading rusher Ronnie Hillman, rookie Devontae Booker, and veteran Cyrus Gray for a roster spot.
(Photo via AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Thompson will also be competing with rookie fullback Andy Janovich for fullback snaps this season. According to Denver Broncos Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison, Thompson has been splitting snaps between running back and fullback this offseason and has been looking good.
#Broncos Dennison said Juwan Thompson getting a lot of reps at FB.. Doing well. Still getting chances at RB
— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) June 1, 2016
It will be interesting to see if Thompson continues to split reps at both positions once Training Camp opens next week.
I still think Juwan Thompson is a great fit for Gary Kubiak's offense. He is a downhill one-cut runner who has good vision to find the hole. He flashed those skills his rookie year with the Broncos.
Despite a disappointing 2015 season, I still think he has a shot to be a contributor for the Broncos going forward. The skill and potential are there.
If Thompson can show he can play fullback, running back, and special teams his odds of making the Broncos 53 man roster are pretty damn good. The more you can do, the more valuable you are.
What also helps his odds are that rookie Devontae Booker and Ronnie Hillman are likely not playing Special Teams all that much so that helps Thompson out a bit.
He's a powerful runner and I can see him being a solid blocker and receiver out of the backfield for the Broncos. This guy is still on the Juwan Thompson bandwagon.
Thompson will be facing some stiff competition this summer. The Broncos brought back C.J. Anderson who figures to be the starter, re-signed 2015 leading rusher Ronnie Hillman, drafted running back Devontae Booker(apparently had him as the second rated back in the draft) and also drafted fullback Andy Janovich. So it's not a lock Thompson makes the team.
Anderson and Booker are locks to make the team at running back and I'd assume that Janovich will make it as well. So Thompson will need to show he can make it at running back and also be valuable enough so the Broncos to keep two fullbacks.
I think it's doable, but after a 2015 season where he didn't even rush for over 50 yards all season, I can see why he could get cut.
He's definitely on the bubble.
I think he can have a bounce-back season this year, but the competition will be stiff. If he can show he can contribute at running back, fullback, and on special teams he'll find a spot.
He'll need to stay healthy too. Any injuries that make him miss any extended period of time could end his time with the Broncos.
Do you think Juwan Thompson can make the Broncos?
0 votes | Results [...]
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I’ll admit it. I had my doubts that Jon Gray possessed the right stuff.
I’m not talking about his 95 mph fastball or his diabolic slider. Anybody who has watched Gray pitch on a regular basis can see his raw talent. But I wondered whether he had the stuff to make it pitching for the Rockies at Coors Field. Did he have the guts, self-confidence and resiliency necessary to win at Coors?
In his last start of the 2015 season, a 9-3 loss to the Pirates on Sept. 21 at Coors, Gray was rocked for five runs and recorded just 14 outs. Ugly numbers to be sure, but that wasn’t the worst of it.
“I’ve pitched fine on the road,” a dispirited Gray said that day. “I just can’t find that — whatever it is — to make an adjustment to pitch in this place.”
I wondered whether Gray, the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, was going to get eaten alive by the challenge of pitching at 5,280 feet.
Based on his showing this season, that won’t happen. If he stays healthy, Gray has a chance to become the most dominant starter in Rockies history. And he deserves to be in the discussion for National League rookie of the year.
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“I have come to realize, that if it can be done here, it’s all that much better,” Gray told me last week. “If you can come here and be successful, that’s huge. It’s the biggest challenge in baseball, pitching at Coors Field and being able to conquer it.”
Friday night, the right-hander pitched seven brilliant innings in Colorado’s 4-3 victory against the Braves at Coors. He limited the Braves to one run on six hits, with one walk and eight strikeouts. He improved to 6-4 and lowered his ERA to 4.12.
“He’s been setting the tone every start lately,” third baseman Nolan Arenado said. “His intensity on the mound is unmatched. I haven’t really seen that here before. He’s really pitching like an ace. The future is bright with him on the mound, no doubt.”
The contrast between Gray’s mental outlook from last August to now is striking.
“He expects to win. He expects to get guys out,” Arenado said. “You can see him talk to himself sometimes when he throws balls or whatever. But he bears down. It’s really impressive.”
Gray’s “aha” moment arrived April 22 in his 2016 season debut. His line was unsightly: five runs allowed on seven hits in just five innings in a 7-5 loss to the Dodgers at Coors Field. He gave up home runs in the first inning to Corey Seager and Adrian Gonzalez. Yet Gray took a giant leap forward that day.
“I was able to settle down and punch out 10 that day,” Gray recalled. “It was eye-opening. I realized, you can still miss a lot of bats pitching here. My mind-set changed.”
Not that it’s easy. Gray said he essentially has to master two approaches — one for home, one for the road.
“Your sights, or target, has to be different,” Gray explained. “On the road, I can start my curveball almost at the batter’s head and it will drop in over the plate. At Coors, I have to start the curve on the plate, because it’s simply not going to break as much. It takes some getting used to.”
Gray admits that he didn’t expect the learning curve to be as steep has it has been. But now he’s learning to embrace pitching at Coors Field.
“It’s kind of like a badge of honor,” he said. “The challenge of pitching here is really what pushed me in the offseason.”
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The Rockies believe in Scott Oberg’s pitching ability. Now he gets another chance to back up their faith in him.
The right-handed reliever was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque Saturday afternoon to take the place of ailing veteran right-hander Chad Qualls, who was placed on the 15-day disabled with colitis. The move with Qualls is retroactive to July 16.
Oberg, 26, is making his third stint on the Rockies’ roster and will be available for Saturday night’s game vs. the Braves at Coors Field. Manager Walt Weiss said that, at least for now, Oberg could figure into late-game situations.
Oberg has thrived at Albuquerque. In 27 games with the Isotopes, he is 1-0 with a 2.43 ERA. He’s notched nine saves as a closer.
“I think it’s mostly been about being more consistent with everything, getting ahead in counts,” Oberg said of his success at Triple-A. “When I execute all of my pitches, things have gone well.”
Oberg pitched in nine games for the Rockies earlier this season, going 0-0 with a 4.05 ERA and giving up two home runs.
“Scotty is throwing the ball really well,” Weiss said. “He has plus stuff across the board. It’s just a matter of commanding it. That’s what he’s been doing. His fastball is very lively again. We think a lot of the kid, and he’s throwing the ball very well.”
Qualls, 37, signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Rockies in the offseason, but he’s been a disappointment. The veteran is 2-0 with a 5.61 ERA over 36 games. There is no set timetable for his return. [...]
Kiz: We like our quarterbacks larger than life in Broncos Country. John Elway will forever be legendary around here. Peyton Manning rewrote the record book in orange ink.Tim Tebow couldn’t hold the job, but he moved the needle nationwide. But this year, on the eve of training camp, the fair question is: Can Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch be the man for the toughest job in Denver?
Wolfe: The simple answer is one of them will have to be that man. Five months ago, if you said these would be the three options to lead the Super Bowl champions, I probably would’ve booked you a doctor’s appointment. But heading into training camp, here we are with a former Eagles backup quarterback, a former seventh-round draft pick with one kneel-down snap and a raw but talented rookie battling it out. Sanchez is my pick to be the starter, but whoever wins the job will have his hands full.
Kiz: Siemian looked the best of the three QB candidates during OTAs. But we’re talking ’bout practice. Not the games. Are you going to tell me coach Gary Kubiak is going to stand in front of his team and tell the Broncos they are going out to play a Super Bowl rematch against Carolina with Siemian getting his first NFL start? That would be crazy, not to mention the recipe for a 28-9 loss.
Wolfe: Siemian has a real chance to win this job, and anyone who says otherwise hasn’t paid enough attention to the Broncos during the offseason. He’s a favorite of Kubiak and has the best arm strength of the QBs. But if anybody knows the importance of experience, it’s Kubiak and John Elway. Sanchez has 72 more starts than the other two combined. His career numbers — 86 touchdown passes, 84 interceptions and a 56.7 percent completion rate — indicate he is what he is, but certainty is valuable.
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Kiz: Sanchez is average, but I give him at least a 70 percent chance to be the starting quarterback the night of Sept. 8. If Sanchez cannot win the job against two players who have yet to throw a pass that counts in an NFL game, then acquiring him was a major mistake. But I do not think Sanchez will hold the job all season. And I hope Lynch can be up to NFL speed and ready to take over no later than Thanksgiving.
Wolfe: The Broncos gave up only a late Day 3 pick to acquire him, so they don’t have to be committed to him as a starter. But, yes, Sanchez should be the guy unless Siemian is awe-inspiring in camp. As for Lynch, I can’t see any circumstance in which the Broncos play him early. He has to learn the offense, how to read NFL defenses and be comfortable enough to hit his third read for a 15-yard completion on third-and-13. He’s the future, and 2017 is when he should make his debut.
All Broncos Country wants to know: Who’s the quarterback?
Well, here’s all you need to know: If it’s all about the quarterback, all is lost for the defending NFL champions.
Mark Sanchez is a worse quarterback than San Diego’s Philip Rivers, Oakland’s Derek Carr and Kansas City’s Alex Smith. If Sanchez starts, Denver is doomed to have the fourth-best QB in the AFC West.
Trevor Siemian might be Gary Kubiak’s pet project, but does the coach really have the guts to tell the Broncos that Siemian gives them the best chance to beat Carolina in the Sept. 8 season opener?
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And rookie Paxton Lynch? Turning coal into a diamond is not only a messy job, it takes time. Lots of time.
So, while all the attention at training camp will be on the quarterback competition, the real work for the Broncos at training camp will be to find ways to minimize the impact of the quarterback. That’s what Denver had to do last season, when Peyton Manning was on his last legs and Brock Osweiler proved that he wasn’t the team’s quarterback of the future, at least in the mind of general manager John Elway.
To determine what the Broncos want to be in 2016, all you have to know is what Elway emphasized in the weeks after Denver upset Carolina to win Super Bowl 50. Elway rebuilt the offensive line. There will be four new starters: Russell Okung at left tackle, Max Garcia at left guard, Ty Sambrailo at right guard and Donald Stephenson at right tackle.
Although long defined by Hall of Fame quarterbacks from Elway to Manning, the Broncos are going to be 100 percent Kubiak’s team this season. And Kubiak loves to run the rock. His toughest chore last season, maybe even bigger than keeping the ego of Manning from unraveling, was patching together an offensive line that was unable to consistently execute the coach’s physical style of football.
In 2015, the Broncos averaged 107.4 yards rushing per game, which ranked 17th in the 32-team league. Compare that with Kubiak’s two most successful seasons as coach in Houston, when the Texans won division titles. In 2012, the Texans were eighth in the league with 132.7 yards per game. And the year prior, the Texans rushed for an even more impressive 153 yards per game, which ranked them No. 2 in the NFL, second only to a Denver team that made the playoffs with Tim Tebow, a quarterback who ran far better than he threw the football.
Here’s the truth: While former coach John Fox was often criticized for playing it too safe in Denver, he handed the keys to Manning and went along for the thrill ride. In truth, Kubiak is a far more conservative coach than Fox. The Broncos ran the football 411 times last year. With Arian Foster in peak form for the Texans during 2011-12, Houston averaged 527 running plays during those two seasons. In other words: Do not be surprised if Denver rushes the football 100 more times in 2016 than it did in Kubiak’s debut season as head coach of the Broncos.
The real question: How do the Broncos get to 500 rushing attempts? I love the chip C.J. Anderson carries on his shoulder, but he never has carried the rock more than 179 times in three NFL seasons. The opportunity for rookie Devontae Booker is immense. Does Kapri Bibbs really stand a chance? And does anybody remember Ronnie Hillman?
OK, if I’ve learned anything from three decades of attending training camp, I know it’s foolish to make predictions before the third preseason game, especially with a team undergoing as extreme a makeover in its offensive personnel as Denver. But here’s one prediction I feel pretty confident about: If the Broncos average 125 yards rushing per game in 2016, they will win the AFC West for a sixth consecutive year. And if they don’t, they will miss the playoffs.
When the choices for the Broncos are a journeyman in Sanchez, an unproven Siemian and a raw Lynch, here’s the five basic moves that Denver’s quarterbacks need to master during training camp: 1) Take the snap; 2) Turn around; 3) Hand off the football; 4) Clap, and 5) Repeat. [...]
Every year presents another opportunity and often a mandate for NFL players to prove themselves. “Last year” no longer applies when the Broncos hit the field Sept. 8. Here are five Broncos under the microscope this season:
Demaryius Thomas – It’s a tough crowd when 105 catches, 1,304 yards and six touchdowns are considered an “up and down” year, but that’s the case for Thomas, who dealt with dropped passes and inconsistency, and that trickled down to the entire offense. In 2016, the quarterback situation is even murkier than last year, and more than ever, the Broncos need Thomas to be the elite receiver they paid him to be. Unlike last season with his contract dispute, he will have received a full offseason to get ready for a potential Pro Bowl year. It isn’t about the stats. It’s about being able to count on Thomas in the clutch.
Russell Okung – It’s obvious in Okung’s contract, which is virtually a one-year deal if he doesn’t perform well, that he’s betting on himself this season. The Broncos are expecting a lot of him too. The oft-injured left offensive tackle hasn’t started a full season in any of his six years in the league. He spent most of his offseason rehabbing from shoulder surgery, so health once again is a big concern. With uncertainty at the quarterback position, Denver needs to be able to lean on its offensive line and running game to be effective. Okung is the most important cog on the line.
Aqib Talib – The Broncos and Talib will have to play a waiting game to see if the cornerback will receive discipline from the NFL for his June 5 shooting incident in Dallas. In the meantime, Denver will be looking to see if he’s limited from the gunshot wound in his right leg. There isn’t a better cornerback duo in the NFL than Talib and Chris Harris at their best. Talib’s and Harris’ man coverage skills allowed the Broncos to have immense flexibility in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ scheme. With Talib now 30 years old, Denver has to wonder how much longer he can play at a high level.
Cody Latimer – Year 3 is time for Latimer to show up if he ever hopes to live up to the expectations the Broncos had when they selected him in the second round in 2014. The road was clear for Latimer to establish himself as the Broncos’ No. 3 receiver behind Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders last year, but he failed to separate himself from Bennie Fowler, Jordan Norwood and Andre Caldwell. Latimer has eight catches for 82 yards in his two NFL seasons. He has established himself as an excellent special-teams player, but on offense he needs to take that next leap.
Todd Davis – The biggest Broncos surprise during draft weekend was that they didn’t select someone to replace Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker. Instead, Denver displayed confidence in its in-house candidates to own the role. Davis is the favorite to win that job, receiving heavy praise from his teammates and Phillips. Linebacker Brandon Marshall will be the signal caller, but Davis will be counted on to gobble up tackles the way Trevathan did and still be able to cover consistently. The third-year linebacker has played well in stints, but the full-time role is another animal. [...]
The most popular trophy in sports won’t be the only historical artifact on display next week when Pittsburgh Penguins center Matt Cullen shows it off in the Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Minnesota, metropolitan area.
The Stanley Cup will be next to a Stanley car.
A West Fargo antique car museum is tuning up a 1936 Rolls-Royce that belonged to Edward Stanley, himself a hockey player and son of the man who founded the trophy that goes to the NHL champion. His father, Frederick Stanley, was the Governor General of Canada and became interested in hockey because Edward and his siblings played the game.
The car has been at the Bonanzaville museum since the early 1970s, when Marv Koeplin loaned it to the museum. Koeplin died in 2002. His daughter, Mary Dickinson, said her father had an “extreme interest in education” and would have loved having it as part of the Stanley Cup event.
“My goodness, it is just a wonderful connection with the Stanley family,” Dickinson said. “I’m very happy that a piece of history, a historical artifact, can rise again like the Phoenix to go next to the Stanley Cup.”
The antique car display at the West Fargo museum includes more than 50 vehicles. Brenda Warren, executive director of the historical society and museum, said the Stanley Cup and Stanley car are a perfect pairing.
“I think it’s a great association,” Warren said. “It’s a beautiful luxury car that has great historical significance behind it.”
Cullen, a 20-year NHL veteran who grew up in Moorhead and lives in the area with his wife and three kids, will pose for pictures with the cup and the car on July 30. All players on the cup-winning team get the trophy for 24 hours.
The 3-foot high, 35-pound trophy is the oldest professional team sports trophy in North America. Frederick Stanley bought the cup from a London silversmith and donated it to Canada’s top amateur team in 1892. In 1910, it was given to the champion of a professional competition and remained that way until it became the property of the NHL in 1917.
It is the second Stanley Cup for the 39-year-old Cullen, who won his first with Carolina and also has played for Anaheim, Florida, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Minnesota and Nashville. [...]