Saturday, May 28, 2016

How Paxton Lynch became the guy for the Broncos

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- All evening Thursday, minute after minute, pick after pick, the Denver Broncos decision-makers kept their eyes on the prize.

Executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway said the Broncos opened the draft with the intention of selecting University of Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch in the first round. And then the team sweated through each pick before the Broncos couldn't wait any longer and Elway traded two picks to the Seattle Seahawks to move up from No. 31 to No. 26 in order to select Lynch.

“We worked the phones from noon [Thursday] to try to find where we could slide in,’’ Elway said. “We talked to everybody starting at 17 all the way up and finally were able to do a deal with the Seahawks. We were thrilled to be able to do that, and Paxton was still there and we’re extremely excited. He’s a big, athletic, strong young guy that fits us perfectly.’’Paxton Lynch has the size, arm and mobility in the pocket that the Broncos were looking for. 

Yes, of all of the quarterbacks on the draft board for the Broncos, Lynch is the one who became the guy. And it’s because, in Lynch, they see many of the attributes Elway, a Hall of Fame quarterback, believes a top-flight passer must have to flourish in the NFL.

“The one thing that we really liked about Paxton is the enthusiasm that he plays the game with,’’ Elway said. “I think if you watch tape, he’s the first down there if they have a long touchdown or whatnot -- Paxton is the first one down there in the end zone to congratulate the guy. He’s involved, so I think we really liked that what we saw on tape. And his enthusiasm and the way he plays the game.’’

Lynch also possesses top-tier arm strength, something he was not always afforded the opportunity to showcase in the Tigers’ spread offense. Then add in that Lynch also has the physical profile the Broncos like -- 6-foot-6 5/8-inches tall, 244 pounds -- and you have a player the Broncos had rated on par with California quarterback Jared Goff, who was the No. 1 pick of the draft Thursday night by the St. Louis Rams.

“It was honestly the greatest feeling,’’ Lynch said of getting the call from the Broncos. “I know the work I have put into this and all the stuff I have done going through this process and meeting all these people and talking to all these people. You just want to get picked and go to a team and get to work. This is a dream come true to me and the Denver Broncos organization is obviously one of the best in the league.’’

The Broncos also like Lynch’s mobility -- he had 288 rushing yards in his three years as a starter at Memphis, including 113 carries and 13 rushing touchdowns in 2014 -- which they believe will translate into a player comfortable in their offense in terms of moving around in the pocket to find a receiver or working the play-action game.

“The thing that’s really exciting is that this guy extends plays,’’ Kubiak said. “He has the knack for making people miss, extending plays, and it’s really hard in this business to coach guys to keep their eyes down the field when they’re moving, and this guy does a great job of that. Big, strong kid, makes all the throws, moves around very, very well and, like I said, very motivated too. That’s one thing I really liked about him when he was here was how motivated he is to come in here and be successful.’’

Lynch also trimmed his interception total in each of this three seasons -- 10 as a freshman, nine as a sophomore and four this past season as a junior -- while also going from nine touchdowns as a freshman, 22 touchdowns as a sophomore and 28 as a junior.

The Broncos also, when they met with Lynch in the weeks leading up to the draft, felt he had answered some of pre-draft questions about his ability to become the face of a franchise, a player who leads the way.

“He’d fit in very well, he did a great job when he was here, and like I said, that was a very big piece of the puzzle,’’ Kubiak said. “I thought it was a great visit.’

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sundays with Sacco: The marriage of football and television

+Jim Saccomanno contributing to +Denver Broncos

How professional football began its relationship with television.

When we watch the NCAA Final Four or some other major event on television, we take it completely for granted.

But we should, because once something is invented and reaches mass market status, we quickly forget that it once did not exist. The same goes for cell phones (remember the flip phone, the wall phone, the party line, or even no phone at all?).

The Broncos' Super Bowl 50 win was seen live by the entire country and most of the globe; such is the interest of fans and the growth of both TV and its relationship with the NFL.

But as with everything, there was a beginning that came before the present. Before there was the robust young adult, there was the birth, which has been carefully chronicled by

In the 1940s, there had been games televised here and there, but there were not enough TV sets in public use to justify more.

Things all changed in 1950. As with so many things, the first golden age of pro football spawned the marriage of sport and new technology. The Los Angeles Rams became the first NFL team to have all of its games, home and away, televised to its home market.

The Washington Redskins followed the Rams in arranging their games to be televised, with other teams making deals to have selected games shown on the new medium.

In 1951, the Rams tweaked their policy and decided to televise only road games, figuring that televising home games would hurt sales at the gate.

That same season saw the NFL Championship Game televised nationwide for the first time. The Dumont Network paid the staggering fee of $75,000 for the rights to the game, in which the Rams defeated the Cleveland Browns, 24-17.

Once it began, neither the NFL nor TV went back. Everyone could see the potential, and Park Avenue eyes opened like manhole covers.

The NFL's policy of blacking out home games was challenged in court in 1953, but upheld.

The title game continued to be televised by DuMont, but competitive bidding had begun almost as soon as that first game was shown, and in 1955 NBC replaced Dumont as the network for the title game, paying a rights fee now up to $100,000.

In 1956, CBS became the first network to broadcast some NFL regular-season games to selected television markets across the country.

As with so many things, where we are today had its birth in the post-World War II decade of the 1950s and its growth to full maturity in the turbulent 1960s.

A gigantic leap forward came in the 1958 title game, still referred to as The Greatest Game Ever Played. Entire books have been written about that seminal moment, with key elements coming together like a Big Bang theory for the combination of football and TV.

The Colts (with superstar Johnny Unitas at quarterback) beat the New York Giants (the biggest of big city franchises) in the first "sudden death" overtime game ever played in NFL Championship Game history. Not only did a national TV audience watch, but the pro football fandom was captivated by the concept of sudden-death overtime.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Broncos selected Memphis QB Paxton Lynch with the No. 26 overall pick of the 2016 draft. Broncs CR3W Absolutely Love It!

Paxton Lynch at the 2016 +NFL Combine, drafted by the Super Bowl Champions, +Denver Broncos
+Getty Images, former +Memphis Tigers Athletics 
Lynch (6'7/244) started three years at Memphis, finishing his career with a 63.0 completion percentage, 7.36 YPA, 59:23 TD:INT ratio and 17 rushing scores. Lynch has huge hands (10 1/4") and high-level quarterback athleticism, running 4.86 with a 36-inch vertical. Big, mobile and over a year younger than Carson Wentz, Lynch's drawbacks consist of up-and-down ball placement resulting from technical flaws as a pocket passer and frustrating game-to-game consistency. Lynch has drawn some comparisons to Blake Bortles, and would benefit from a year on the bench, though he'll undoubtedly make rookie starts behind Mark Sanchez.