Tuesday began with the announcement the team signed 36-year-old inside linebacker Paris Lenon. And as benign as it sounds, it caps a bizarre chain of events.
You would think Lenon is chasing recently injured starting middle linebacker Stewart Bradley around the country. It’s Lenon who beat out Bradley for the starting middle linebacker job during the last two seasons in Arizona. So it kind of makes you wonder why the Broncos just didn’t sign Lenon instead of Bradley.
Now, Bradley originally signed with the Broncos to challenge Nate Irving, but no one thought Bradley could actually win the job. After all, John Elway used a third-round pick on Irving to be a starter and said as much during the offseason.
But that’s not the case.
Yesterday, news came out that Wesley Woodyard will be the Broncos starting middle linebacker – a position he’s never played in the NFL. And Irving is replacing recently suspended Von Miller at outside linebacker –a position he’s never played in the NFL. It defies logic and is so perplexing that it’s almost comical.
Tuesday’s eventful day ended with the announcement that the team traded defensive lineman Sealver Siliga to Seattle for offensive lineman John Moffitt. And it sounds like a pretty good deal until you read the fine print.
Moffitt is probably a good guy, as the dude suited up to play for Cleveland on Tuesday morning following a deal with Seattle until he was called off the field before the first snap. The Browns voided the trade for Moffitt immediately after he failed his physical; and after hearing the news, the Broncos just had to have him. So they immediately made a deal with Seattle – who after the voided trade regained Moffitt’s rights – so no other team could jump on him.
Unfortunately, Moffitt’s story doesn’t end there because this is what you won’t read in the Broncos perfectly crafted press release.
Moffitt pleaded guilty in June to disorderly conduct in relation to three incidents in Seattle in 2012 that included urinating in public. This, by the way, was the second time he got busted for peeing in a parking lot.
And as unabashed as he is about exposing himself to anyone or anything other than a toilet, he is less careful about the sample he’s giving. While on injured reserve as a rookie, Moffitt was suspended for four games for testing positive for Adderall, a performance-enhancing drug banned by the NFL.
At least the Broncos are now veterans at damage control in handling a player suspended by the league for violating the drug policy.
Sandwiched in between those key transactions, the Broncos learned their best defensive player would be suspended 38 percent of the regular season.
This social-media-fueled story that featured numerous (and as we later found out) accurate reports, John Fox finally pulled his head out of the sand to say, “I don’t know if that was confidence (about no suspension or a lesser suspension) as much it was wishful thinking.”
It might be wishful thinking to believe the Broncos have a shot to win the Super Bowl, yet denial is a more powerful emotion that can derail any semblance of logic.
Are the Broncos in denial that Manny Ramirez can play center or Nate Irving was the answer at middle linebacker? Are they in denial that Rahim Moore will bounce back from the Ravens debacle or that Ronnie Hillman or Montee Ball can carry a significant load in the backfield? Are they in denial that Brock Osweiler is the heir apparent to Peyton Manning or that Ryan Lilja, Steve Vallos or Chris Kuper can give the Broncos legitimate help on their offensive line?
Are they in denial about believing Miller again? After all, this is a guy who publically said he did nothing wrong and then got his suspension reduced to six games. That’s hardly a punishment for a guy who did nothing wrong. And while he technically didn’t fail his most recent drug test as he proudly trumpeted at the start of training camp, he conveniently forgot to mention he tampered with it.
One thing is for certain. The Broncos remained in denial about Miller’s suspension up until the final hour; the guy was still playing with the No. 1 defense yesterday at practice. And they’re still in denial because it defies logic on why he would even suit up for Saturday’s preseason game against St. Louis. Miller doesn’t need to be taking playing time away from a guy who might eventually play his position into October.
Whether the front office or coaching staff believes it’s in denial or not, the entire group deserves a high-five for keeping a secret. The NSA has nothing on these guys.
John Elway said he was aware of the Miller incident this past May while it seems many recent press releases have begun with the phrase, “We had been aware of this situation…”
Elway added, “Whether it’s a distraction or a bump in the road, we have to deal with it as a football team.”
This franchise has been dealing with sinkholes, not bumps. And it will be lucky to only have bumps the rest of the way. The road to the Super Bowl is paved with adversity and the first steps haven’t been taken. But already the Broncos self-inflicted wounds – including drunk driving arrests, a failed drug test and a fax machine malfunction – are setting up to be a foreshadowing of things to come.
The regular season starts in two weeks. And many Broncos fans are bracing for what’s going to happen next. Or worse yet, what the front office knows and isn’t telling us.
Eric Goodman hosts Afternoon Drive with Mac and Goodman 3p-6p Monday through Friday on Mile High Sports Radio (AM1510 | FM 93.7). You can also follow Eric Goodman on Twitter @ericgoodman
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