Wednesday, March 30, 2016

104.3 FM The Fan Playing Scared (And Lazy) and Broncos QB Vomit

If you have tuned into Denver Sports Radio since the Broncos won the Super Bowl the talk has centered around the Quarterback position.  It has been nearly two months since the Broncos won the Super Bowl and 3 weeks since Brock Osweiler signed with Houston and yet, we are continually inundated with the same damn story over and over and over and... you get the point.  The 3 stations currently running in Denver Sports have all approached it a different way and with 950 AM KSE Altitude Radio coming onto the scene in April, many are digging their own grave!

Many have tried 760 AM but it has a Broncos stamp on it so big that the sunshine spinning that comes from anything Broncos is just too much for many to handle.  It feels like they are operating with the Howard Stern red phone in the producer booth if someone says any of the 7 Dirty Words regarding Broncos.  Hell, 760 AM/850 AMs sister station does more Buffs and Rockies games and ev than Broncos, but that is a moot point.  Dave Logan is very solid on play by play and a great football coach and mind, but his 850 AM show for years made me realize I am not going to listen to him other than when I am in commute during a Broncos game.  Hell, they have a cheerleader trying to add something to a conversation.  Before you say hey women can do sports.  Yes, they can.  There is finally an all female show on weekends on ESPN I listen to when I go grab my Santiago's in Brighton on Sunday's but this is not that!

Romi on 760 AM Afternoons-Sunshine

 Many programs on AM 1340 and now FM 104.7 (though for many reasons they have not announced it publicly) Mile High Sports have went away from discussing the quarterback situation ad nauseam while 104.3 The Fan has embraced there never being an off-season for the Broncos talk and went all-in on Broncos.  Hell, even the most long tenured and actually sports diverse and intelligent guys attacks callers for saying they are sick of the talk and would like some discussion of Nuggets, Rockies and Avs because they have tuned out this ongoing Broncos talk.  Sandy used to be diverse, but it feels like the criminals that stole Jesse in Breaking Bad and the station is being forced to cook Broncos Meth even though some of them are more diverse and have talked the other sports during this time of year even after Super Bowl wins.

This is the time of year you get the Mt. Rushmore's, the all-time great lists and while I tune some of that out because it is just filler until the Rockies get going and are done within 60 days of Opening Day, at least it's something different.

I have had to hear how Trevor Siemean is ready to be the Broncos starting quarterback based off his pre-season?!  Did these same people miss his college career where he turned the ball over at an extremely high rate and make unintelligent decisions at a school known for intelligence (hint for the casual fan: he went to Northwestern)?  I don't give a shit if a guy has a NFL arm because NFL arm means little when you are turnover prone, simple!

Mark Sanchez is great based off his playoff performance and can operate in this system and not make mistakes.  Maybe Back to the Future has already made another bad sequel and the 80s have called and it is okay to have a QB have a 1:1 TD to INT ratio.  But in today's NFL turning over the ball is not an option.  The Broncos can not catch the same luck and all-time Top 5 Defenses play at the same late turnover level the Broncos got throughout 2015 Season and through their Super Bowl run.  But they can you say?

Does anyone really remember the 86 Bears or 2001 Ravens or 2004 Bucs?  No, because they followed up their Super Bowls by falling short of expectations.  Yeah, and it took a complete roster overhaul and a dozen years for one of those teams to win another Super Bowl while the other two are still waiting on that.

But back to the QB situation and how 104.3 The Fan has played it out and highlights:
D-Mac: Brock Osweiler was wronged and this franchise is paying the price for handling it wrong
Big Al: Johnny Manziel is the most viable option and I haven't done show prep for years and have been hand fed
Mark Schlereth: Prediction sure to be wrong, Josh McCown will be Broncos starting QB
Cecil Lammey: Bunch of football jargon only about 1/4 of his listeners truly get and Colin Kaepernick is an awful option, but what else is out there?  There is some guy in the draft...
Mike Evans: Tasting Schlereth's green chili and playing whatever he is fed by DeHuff and his boss, Program Director, Armen Williams, to say
Sandy Clough: Shut up!!!  You are an idiot, caller!  I know what is best *10 second pause* for the Broncoss *15 second pause* and will end segment with something intelligent sounding about every QB option and how all are both worthless and could be the starter.  (Andy falls asleep from his voice)
Stokley: I am actually getting paid to not know anything about any other sport and just agree with Sandy and talk about what Peyton did and how it was to be a pro.

Does Armen Williams not realize that only Zombie Broncos fans can stand 12 straight hours and as a treat to the "Special" Broncos crowd, another 3 hours of taped Big Al and D-Mac to close it out?  Hey, Big Al was an idol to me, played Defensive End in pros and played for my Buffs and Broncos but he is overpriced shit on-air.  Schlereth's heart appears to be in Connecticut and getting his face on the TV instead of with company man Mike Evans.  There is no doubt why Evans has lasted so long on The Fan, he is the biggest company man I have ever listened to.  Stokley, do I have to beat the guy up anymore?  He sucks.  He is not a radio guy and it was an act of desperation and idiocy to pair him with Sandy.

The Fan is on defense because they see what is headed their way. 

 While Spring is here, The Fan's perfect winter shit storm is about to hit their Greenwood Village castle when 950 AM Altitude Radio launches.  The strength of having Tom Helmer, whom is an honest and diverse sports guy that hasn't pulled punches, lead off with a refined version of Vic and Gary with Lombardi and his long-time prankster friend Kyle Keefe taking over the mid-days.  Vic is the guy that everyone from their 20s to 60s respects and thinks highly of.  They will end the day with the best radio talent in Denver, Nate Kreckman bringing the band back together with Tom Nalen.  Nalen worked his ass off to go from radio goof to radio goof that understood the biz before old Tom G/Lou from Littleton ruined the best show in Denver at that time.  Big Al and D-Mac have a younger, better looking and less brain damaged (insert bad CTE joke which is not PC here) duo to try to fight off.

104.3 The Fan is playing scared and their lazy radio will help push their long time fans to Altitude Radio come Rockies opening day.  Fortunately for myself, I like to be entertained, to laugh and think a little bit so I have been with Kreckman and the many talents on Mile High Sports for many years.  The Fan had their shot and in less than a month, they blew their chance.  When you fire your four most diverse on-air talents that are all a fraction of the cost of current on-air talent and fill it with a very football "Armen-ian" nation you get turned off listeners.  I am turned off and just like the other Armenian nation, the Kardashians, that has ruined much of television, The Fan has done it's best to ruin Denver Sports Radio but I am telling you that you can turn off that garbage and switch to 1340 AM and soon 950 AM Altitude Radio! 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

2016 Denver Broncos Quarterback Options

In less than a 50 hour window, the Denver Broncos lost an NFL legend and one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time in Peyton Manning and his back-up the past 4 seasons and what was thought to be his eventual replacement in Brock Osweiler.  People can debate until they are blue in the face if Osweiler is worth the $37 million guaranteed and $18 million average over 4 years the Texans paid him, but the simple fact is only his performance going forward will prove if it is or not.  Some of us are like TO talking about his quarterback:

But this is Broncos Country, so instead of worrying about overpaying free agents, we wait to see what John Elway will do in bargain bin shopping and in the draft, but still the overriding question is and will be, who do the Broncos start at QB1 (starting quarterback) for the 2016 Season?

The Broncos have many options, they can go with the old veteran that has bounced around or started and then went to back-up status, career back-up, the young guy that has had a falling out with his past or current team, trade for a vet a team is ready to move on from or even a younger player that a team doesn't see as a good long-term fit or develop a guy and pray he is good enough from the start.  Here is a look at all of those options:

Bounce-Around Veteran
Brian Hoyer (Texans): Hoyer played last year for the Texans and once they realized that Ryan Mallett was just a tall dumb ass that couldn't set his alarm, they made the playoffs with Hoyer.  The playoff game versus Kansas City was a shit show, but Hoyer wasn't the only factor.  Hoyer had a Top 20 Passer Rating (better than either Broncos starting QB of 2015) and 19 TDs versus 7 INTs.  He is smart, won't make a ton of mistakes and may be the system bland QB the Broncos need until they get their guy in the draft or free agency.  He does well rolling out and operating under center.   He is a solid fit for this Broncos team.  He would have to  be released or the Texans would have to trade him,  but it shouldn't cost much since he isn't thought elite.  His price tag is VERY friendly to a team that showed they don't need elite QB play to win it all.  Tickles my curiosity more than the guy below.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (Bills): AKA Fitz-magic nearly led the lowly Jets to the playoffs, but he also may have been what cost his team with an atrocious Week 17 loss to the Bills.  He has bounced around more than a pinball in a 1970s bowling alley, but he is smarter than any person in the NFL based off his Wunderlic and his kid is smarter than any CSU grad.

Fitzpatrick may be intelligent, but his propensity to throw an ill-timed interception is worrisome indeed.  He is similar to Hoyer in that he is simply not your long-term answer due to age and just the drives you fucking nuts with decisions factor.  The other issue is  he is a shotgun guy or classic drop back passer.  His style does not fit Kubiak's system in my opinion.
Mark Sanchez (Eagles)-Good old butt fumble, Dirty Sanchez, formerly known as The Sanchise (Franchise and Sanchez combined) has fallen off the map.  His curly locks are about the only thing going for him.  He has a weird two leg hop when trying to get rid of the ball.  He seems to be more of a Fitzpatrick than Hoyer and not a good fit.  Eagles will want to rid themselves of a $4.5 million 3rd stringer.  Maybe the Broncos catch lightening in a bottle and he is better but I would pass.
Brandon Weeden (Texans)-Elway was seriously considering this guy.  He was awful with the Browns, so bad with the Cowboys that they signed another career back-up.  Simply put, no thank you.  He is broken.

Career Back-Up
Matt Moore, Tavaris Jackson, Bruce Gradkowski, Charlie Whitehurst, Luke McCown, Josh Johnson, Matt Flynn, etc, etc.-You can stop puking in your mouth now, but I would not be surprised to see one of these guys in the thick of it.  Luke McCown makes bad commercials and is a bad quarterback if he hasn't got a chance by 34.  The ONLY guy that truly intrigues me is Matt Moore, but he hasn't done anything in 4 years and that's pretty much how this whole list goes.

Young Gun Looking For Resurgence
Robert Griffin III (Redskins)-Simply an electrifying personality coming out of Baylor.  He set the NFL on fire with his rookie campaign.  Things looked promising, but injuries and his beyond quirky personality and isolation like ways seems to have thrown a lot of people off.  He had track speed, but he changed after getting hurt.  He has slowed down and wanted to change his game. Simply, he was only good as a rookie because he was so dynamic as a rusher.  He has a very lean build and truly I don't see him taking a beating of a complete NFL season.  He would make for a good spot starter and great back-up to an athletic QB like Cam Newton, Tyrod Taylor or Colin Kaepernick, speaking of which...
Colin Kaepernick (49ers)-Oh my, after a 2nd year near Super Bowl win and NFC Championship game loss the following season, Kaepernick has fallen off the map.  Yes, the 49ers are a shit show right now with players retiring early and coaches being fired one after the other and now the circus clown Chip Kelly taking over, but the simple fact is Kaepernick has regressed.  He got benched for Blaine Gabbert.

Kaepernick has a good body that can take punishment and he is extremely athletic, but let's look at the facts of his game.  He is more keen to tuck and run than he is to stand in the pocket and throw a dagger.  His mechanics are interesting, since many throws are with his arm rather than body due to his mechanics.  His dual threat ability will make people say with the right coach and franchise he could be as good as Cam Newton.  His contract is team friendly for the next two seasons and puts him in the middle of QB contracts, but it is still around $16 million to see him play.  He is going to cost a team draft picks and unless it is beyond 4th round compensation the Broncos would give up, there may be better trade options.

Trading Options
There are a few names that make sense here depending on what direction a franchise may want to go in.  I have heard Drew Brees and Matt Stafford but let's be honest, the Saints don't retain Sean Payton if they want to start afresh.  They believe those two are peas in a pod and belong together.  Brees is also on the downhill side of his career.  Of course Peyton Manning was too and had a 55 TD year in him, but Brees is honestly suited for the launch it approach of Payton and not this controlled offense of the Broncos.  Stafford is the same to me.  He wants to throw the ball downfield.  I leave both to finish in their cushy indoor stadiums.

Tyrod Taylor (Bills)-Kubiak wanted him big time last year. They were offering him more money than the Bills but Taylor saw an opportunity to start IMMEDIATELY in Buffalo and did.  Other than a mid-season injury, Taylor had a VERY good year for the Bills.  He is still growing but his abilities shined last year and he kept defenses on their toes.  He also had a couple complete dud games where he did nothing for an entire game.   His cost is so franchise friendly that unless the Bills get RGIII and promise him to start, this is very unlikely.  Taylor probably stays a Bill for a long time but if Kubiak and Elway REALLY want him, don't rule out a 1st rounder this year and a player The Ryan Duo would want on their defense like Shaq Barrett or someone along those lines.

Draft Class
This draft class has 3 first round guys and a bunch of question marks after that.  The simple fact is Carson Wentz and Jared Goff will be gone within the Top 5-10 guys.  There are a few QB hungry teams picking up high to not have that happen, please see Cleveland, perhaps 49ers if they trade Kaepernick and Los Angles Rams.  Heck, the Cowboys may realize Romo is truly an undrafted free agent and not worth being made the starter beyond this year and take a guy though that is more likely a 2nd or 3rd round type.  The Jets are in this group too if they can't convince Fitzpatrick he is not worth $18 million and is lucky to be starting in this league.  But Broncos have options in the draft and while they may draft these guys, unless any of them show Russell Wilson type maturity/ability they most likely will be a back-up to one of the guys mentioned above.

Paxton Lynch (Memphis)-Think Osweiler's body but with more athletic ability.  Lynch was allowed to take off and ran more of a spread type offense but you can see many bootlegs as well.  He may take a little time to get his footwork down since he has not played under center and hasn't played against elite competition and speed yet.  If he is there at 31, the Broncos need to seriously consider him as a sit and learn for a year project.

Connor Cook and Christian Hackenberg-I lump these two together because NEITHER one of them is the type of guy I would want on my team.  Both are selfish and arrogant in ways that will not fit well in a strong locker room like the Broncos but one needing an offensive leader with Manning/Osweiler gone.  I pass.

Dak Prescott (Miss. State)-After being the buzz in 2014, he kind of cooled in 2015 with Miss. State not being as  high on the radar.  His leadership, football IQ and just all around presence makes me think of Russell Wilson, so I would take him late 2nd and not feel too bad about it.  He ran a Tebow like offense and thus may need time to develop, but he may develop quickly and force the Broncos to play him if he is better than the vet they bring in. 

Other guys to consider are abundant but besides Lynch and Prescott, none of them seem to have the WOW factor those two have and upside to be an NFL starter.  The one name that may change that is Kevin Hogan.  He is smart and solid, but he is not going to wow you.  He seems more like a solid back-up guy for years along the lines of the McCown brothers but will not be a great NFL starter.

Breaking it down, I am honestly not sure who the Broncos will take.  Kaepernick seems to be the guy that fans would fall in love with and believe he just had a rough two years because of the turmoil in San Fran.  RGIII may take a team friendly deal to be promised the starting job but can his body or mind handle this offense and the NFL after being completely rattle the last two years?  Call me crazy, but I wait for Brian Hoyer to be released or offer a contingent 7th rounder for him and make him the starter and then draft Prescott or Lynch.  I tell Hoyer he is our guy this year and if he does well, he may stay there beyond this year.  He is a smart player and a guy that works his ass off.  He seems to be a guy that won't divide the locker room to where the young guys in RGIII and Kaepernick had some guys that didn't like their shtick.

Whatever the decision is, the simple fact is the Broncos continue to have drama that rivals any soap opera on TV and if there was a camera and constant storyline on them they would probably garner the highest ratings for daytime, prime time or as a Sunday movie.  Broncos Country trusts in John Elway and Elway is a smart, bold, calculated front office leader that will explore all avenues and possibilities to do what it takes to get Denver back to the Super Bowl.  Stay tuned!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Has 104.3 The Fan Lost Denver?

The landscape of Denver Sports Radio changed dramatically to start 2016 and just two months later, it hit again but the radio listener and the sports stations are none for the better. 

104.3 The Fan looked promising with the addition of Armen Williams taking over as program direction.  He moved the talented duo of Shawn Drotar and Ryan Edwards from Late Nights to the 10 am to noon slot and added Joshua Dover to produce/co-host with James Gomez for Fan Late Night.  These two shows were the fans most diverse in sports topics and listener friendly, both in taking calls and discussing more than just Broncos every second of their show.

Unfortunately, news came on Friday March 4th, 2016 that both duos would be shuffled out of the line-up in favor of a more football heavy product and ESPN programming/live games in the evenings.  It was the lazy and easy approach for Williams and Co, but one that is very disappointing to many loyal listeners of those two shows.

It appears 104.3 The Fan is going right back to where it was the last time ESPN loomed overhead, headed national and being fucking lazy.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love Cecil Lammey who will now be on 9-11 am, but the place he should have got is where Brandon Stokley filled in.  Stokley was added to Sandy Clough's show from Noon to 3 pm and it makes many scratch their head considering Stokley is like Joel Dreesen, a former athlete that is fun to listen to for about an hour a week but really brings nothing to the show.  The Fan now has a former NFL player from 6-9 a.m. and Noon-6 p.m. and during their 12 hours of live radio from 6 am to 6 pm, 104.3 The Fan now has a football only type guy on there the entire time and as evident by too many years with Big Al, the limited sample with Stokley and Schlereth's history, The Fan is all football year around.  I love football, it is my number one sport and Denver's number one sport but hearing the NFL for 12 hours a day for 52 weeks grows tiresome. 

The moves are frustrating, as I started to increase my listening of 104.3 The Fan with them being the only station in town on the FM dial as of January 3rd, 2106 and with their wise initial line-up decisions of LIVE local sports talk for up to 15 hours a day.  What else may be frustrating is seeing the best guy in the business Nate Kreckman on the free agent market and Williams choosing to put Stokley on and give Clough another hour to put me to sleep with his awful radio text reads from the 303 or the 720.  Sandy, use the first 3 digits or last 4 digits of the phone number, the area code is fucking pointless.  I digress, but Williams showed some intelligence having Kreckman paired up with old co-hosts Charles Johnson and Tom Nalen for a couple great weekend shows during the Broncos Super Bowl run.  But it was just a tease that still sees Kreckman seeking the best opportunity.  Williams fumbled an opportunity here.  He could have still added Cecil Lammey, Drotar and Edwards go 11 am to 1 pm, Sandy 1-3 pm and then plugged in Kreckman with Clough or finally replaced dead weight in Big Al.  Knowing what Alfred Williams demands in salary compared to what the guys that were cut is beyond frustrating considering you could pay 3 guys to do a job they work their asses off for in place of a guy that simply doesn't put in the prep to make him worthy of the premier spot.  Of course you are going to be the highest rated show in Denver when you have fans that can't hear the scratchy 1340 AM, hear the Broncos pre-game show every single day on 760 AM with Ed McCaffrey and Andy Lindahl.  Kreckman and Nalen or Kreckman and anyone would be able to captivate the current Drive audience and then pick-up all the guys like myself that have been trying to find something that is both entertaining, funny and stimulates the sports IQ.

It is March, the quarter ends March 31st, here is hoping Kroenke Sports uses the strong 950 AM signal to put Kreckman back on-air, put Vic Lombardi back on the radio since he is having a sports midlife crisis with his weird vlog/periscope/youtube channel thing he has going on and let's a refocused Scott Hastings get back into it.  And if Mile High Sports wants listeners back, they will add an FM signal again.  The number one complaint I get from fellow sports radio listeners is they just can't get the station, so they gave up on it.  I am at that point once 5 pm hits.  Mile High Sports may also have to think outside their box to lure in the big dog in Kreckman and help sell for him, since he would give the station a name that is well recognized and relevant to 2016.  I enjoy the shows Mile High Sports has, but their most recognizable show is an hour show in Irv and Joe.

No matter what happens, I say best of luck to Shawn Drotar, Ryan Edwards, James Gomez and Joshua Dover knowing that all 4 of those guys are some of the hardest working, most talented and best sports radio personalities out there.  Unfortunately, like in the sports newspaper game, even a fresh new face like Armen Williams is afraid to think outside the box and cut old, dead weight and give the up and comers the chance to shine.  Hope they all land on their feet and we hear news of Kreckman getting back on-air soon.  In the meantime March appears to be about Peyton Manning retirement, Broncos QB talk (will Brock stay or go) and what aging RB should the Broncos sign next.  Very little talk has been given to what is on the landscape: How will the Broncos address their awful Offensive Line situation, the losses they take in free agency; Will the Nuggets tank the last quarter of the season?  Are the Avs set up to even make the playoffs?  Will the Rockies hit 100 Losses and what is there to look forward to in their season.  The Super Bowl hangover needs to end, but instead of helping it end, 104.3 and Armen Williams just continued the drunken, brainless chatter.  Let's move on, like many diehard sports listeners will with Williams decision to can two of the station's best shows!