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Broncos

Broncos’ Von Miller likely out for the season

Broncos linebacker Von Miller is reportedly done for the season after sustaining a “freak injury” to his ankle near the end of the team’s practice on Tuesday.

It is devastating news for both Miller and the Broncos. Miller had undertaken a rigorous offseason training program after he registered only eight sacks last season. The hope was that Miller along with Bradley Chubb, who’s coming off ACL surgery, could anchor the Denver defense and help get the team back into the playoffs this season.

“Last year, I didn’t play to my standards. I didn’t play to the Sack Master’s standards. There was more for me to give. My coaches felt like there was more for me to give. Most of all, I feel like I can give more and I can be more. I don’t feel like I’m finished yet. I wanted to come back here, and I wanted to play the best that I possibly could. I wanted to put everything into the offseason; I wanted to pour everything into myself and go out there and play the best that I possibly could and see what happens.”

Miller said to the media on Aug. 4.

Has Von played his last game for Denver?

It’s hard to believe, but it is possible that Denver’s all-time sacks leader (106) might have played his last game with the Broncos if his season is indeed over.

Next season is the final year on Miller’s current contract and he’ll carry a salary cap hit of $22.125 million, the highest on the team. If Denver were to cut him before June 1 it would create $13.875 million in cap space.

In a perfect world the two sides would work out an extension that keeps Miller in a Broncos uniform for the rest of his career while lessening the cap hit for an aging player coming off a season-ending injury.

What does Denver do now?

With Chubb not fully recovered from his ACL injury last season, the Broncos defense is suddenly in major need of help in the pass rushing front.

With that in mind The Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran looked at a few notable free agents they could pursue.

There definitely are some big names out there like, but they’re not spring chickens: Clay Matthews (34 years old), Terrell Suggs (37), Cameron Wake (38) and Ziggy Ansah.

Extra points

TheAthletic.com and The DNVR.com both looked at what Miller’s injury means to the Broncos with the season opener against Tennessee less than a week away.

  • In other news The Post’s O’Halloran wrote about why going with a two-tight end set to start the season might be the best approach early in the season for Denver.
  • O’Halloran also wrote about why there could be major changes along the defensive side of the ball next season if 2020 isn’t a major success. Simply put, as O’Halloran said, nine of Denver’s expected starters on defense have expiring contracts or 2021 cap numbers that might not be in line with their production levels.
  • Early in the day on Tuesday it was announced that for Denver’s second home game at Empower Field, Week 3 vs. Tom Brady and Tampa Bay, the team will be able to have 5,700 people in the stands. A lottery will be used to determine the fan who can attend.

Broncos-Titans Week 1 preview

The NFL’s look a the Broncos-Titans Week 1 game before the news of Von Miller’s injury was announced.

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Broncos

Where the Broncos stand with opener closing in

It can be hard to believe with the NBA and NHL playoffs going on right now and the weather just recently leaving the 90s on a daily basis, but the Broncos season opener against Tennessee on Monday Night Football is less than two weeks away. With that in mind here’s a roundup of what’s going on the Broncos as of right now.

Conservative approach with Chubb

The Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran wrote how the Broncos are being cautious with linebacker Bradley Chubb who is coming off ACL surgery. The team still expects him to be ready for the opener.

“We’re going to be conservative with him this week and get him some days of rest. I think he’s where we kind of thought he’d be. We never said (he’s) 100% yet — at least I never did. I think what he’s going through is a natural progression in recovering from his (ACL) injury and I’m still optimistic he’ll be out there the first week and playing good — probably not playing like he was pre-injury, but pretty (darn) close. It’s going to be a work in progress.”

Head coach Vic Fangio said.

No tackling in practice

With no preseason games this year the question going into training camp was how many “live” practices the Broncos would have before the regular season got underway. As it turns out the answer to that question likely will be zero.

So far the team has had one live period during a practice to work on goal-line situations. But Fangio’s plan going forward appears to be no tackling during practice.

“We may have a short-yardage/goal-line live period, but other than that, probably not.”

Fangio said when asked about having any live practices.

New Big Al in Denver?

Most Denverites are familiar with former CU and Broncos great Alfred Williams, known as Big Al, well, he might not be the only Big Al in Denver for long.

As The Post’s Kyle Newman wrote, rookie tight end Albert Okwuegbunam keeps turning heads in practice. Both quarterback Drew Lock and fellow tight end Nick Vannett both referred to him as a “monster” with Vannett also adding:

“He’s just so physically gifted. The thing with him is he’s kind of raw right now, but I don’t say that in a bad way. I say that like if he keeps building on it and keeps figuring it out, he’s going to be one of the best tight ends in the league. Just how fast he is, how built he is — I really do believe if he can figure it out, he’s going to be a scary dude in this league for years to come.”

Vannett said of Okwuegbunam.

Is the center job decided?

As TheDNVR.com’s Zac Stevens wrote it appears like the battle for Denver’s starting center position might already be decided. Rookie Lloyd Cushenberry has been getting the bulk of reps with the first team, while the other contenders for the job, Austin Schlottman and Pat Morris are getting fewer and fewer.

Starting left guard Dalton Risner had this to say about Cushenberry:

“I’m really impressed with Lloyd. I was telling the coaches today that I want to keep getting more reps with him, as many reps as we can and we have to get reps after practice. That’s what we need. We need to have an understanding of how each other makes certain blocks and what we mean by certain calls. That’s so big for an offensive line. It’s about meshing together and coming together as a unit. I think Lloyd’s done an extremely good job and the offensive line is continuing to jell more and more. He’s got a lot of work to do just like I do, but I’m really happy with where we’re at right now.”

Based on Risner’s comments in particular it definitely sounds like the job is Cushenberry’s at this point.

Overall camp overview

Meanwhile, fellow DNVR writer Andrew Mason took a look at everything going on at Broncos training camp and noted that simply put the Broncos have plenty to do, but so little time to get it all done.

Locked in on Lock

And lastly, Nick Kosmider at TheAthletic.com followed what starting quarterback Lock goes through at a training camp practice.

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Rockies roll to 8-3 win

Rockies

Colorado ran its winning streak to three after its first comfortable win of the season by beating Oakland 8-3 on Tuesday night. Antonio Senzatela battled out of a jam in the first inning and picked up his first win of the season in the process. His final line: 5 innings, 2 runs, 6 hits, 3 strikeouts and 3 walks. Not incredible, but if the Rockies can get that on a consistent basis from their fourth starter it should be more than enough.

On the offensive side of things, Sam Hilliard went 2-for-5 with a double and two-run home run in the fourth inning off A’s starter Daniel Mengden. Every Colorado starter got at least one hit in the game, something that only happened twice last season, although in most of their games last year the Rockies didn’t have the benefit of the DH.

The Rockies and A’s finish off their short two-game series this afternoon (1:40 p.m., AT&T SportsNet, 850AM) with Germán Márquez taking on Oakland’s Frankie Montas.

Broncos

John Elway and Vic Fangio held their opening press conferences to begin Training Camp on Tuesday. Here is what we learned:

Defensive tackle Kyle Peko is the first Broncos player to opt out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns. Players have until Saturday to opt and and when asked if other players will opt out Elway said “There have been some rumblings about a couple of guys but haven’t heard anything else yet.”

Denver made moves to get its roster down to 80 players. Left tackle Elijah Wilkinson was put on the physically unable to perform list. While they waived rookie wide receiver Zimari Manning and placed rookie guard Netane Muti on the non-football injury list. Muti and Wilkinson are eligible to return at any time, but once they are taken off the lists they can’t be put back on.

Elway said that the Broncos and safety Justin Simmons were never close to getting a long-term contract done this offseason.

Bradley Chubb is not 100% yet, but according to Fangio “he’s pretty damn close.” Chubb is expected to practice with the team at the beginning of camp.

Fangio also said he senses a new “hunger, attitude” with linebacker Von Miller.

And both Elway and Fangio talked about the challenges ahead for the 2020 season as a whole.

Avalanche

The Avs return to the ice today to a play a game for the first time since mid-March as they take on the Minnesota Wild in an exhibition game in Edmonton.

The puck drops at 12:30 p.m. and while be televised on Altitude.

The Avs and Wild likely will have a show of unity before the game similar to what Pittsburgh and Philadelphia did on Tuesday. The Penguins and Flyers stood together on the same blue line during the playing of the American and Canadian national anthems as a show of support for racial inequality and against police brutality.

  • TheAthletic.com anonymously surveyed 20 NHL head and assistant coaches ahead of the NHL restart and a couple of the answer should be encouraging to Avs fans.
    When asked “Which star player has the ability to carry his team to a Stanley Cup?” Nathan MacKinnon was the runaway winner with 45% of the vote. Sidney Crosby was next highest at 20%.
    When asked “Which player returning from injury will make the biggest impact?” Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen came in third behind Seth Jones and Jake Guentzel.
    And lastly, Denver received one vote when asked “If you could have picked your ideal hub city, where would it be?”

Nuggets

A day after an impressive debut in the Nuggets’ final scrimmage rookie Michael Porter Jr. brought controversy onto himself during a Q&A on Snapchat.

Porter was asked if the coronavirus was being used to scare people and this is how he responded.

“(It’s) being used for population control in just terms of being able to control the masses of people. Because of the virus, the whole world is being controlled. I mean, you’re required to wear masks, and who knows what will happen when this vaccine comes out? You might have to have the vaccine in order to travel.”

Michael Porter Jr.

He went on to say he’s never been vaccinated in his life and added that during the NBA shutdown he was playing 5-on-5 with his friends in Missouri because “guys down there really weren’t paying the virus too much attention early on.”

  • In on the court action, TheDNVR.com’s Harrison Wind wrote about how if the Jamal Murray and Porter we saw on Monday night, show up for the reason of the season and playoffs the Nuggets could make a deep run.

CU Buffs

Colorado landed its 10th commit for 2021 class with 3-star safety Trevor Woods.

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Rockies Opening Day arrives at long last

Rockies

It’s three-and-a-half months later than originally planned, but Opening Day for the Rockies has arrived at last.

In somewhat unexpected news rookie, former first-round pick Brendan Rodgers was left off Colorado’s 30-man roster to start the season. Instead, Rodgers will go to the Rockies alternate training site.

As for the Rockies, they open play tonight at Globe Life Field in Texas against the Rangers at 6 p.m. (AT&T SportsNet, KOA 850 AM). German Marquez will square off against the Rangers’ Lance Lynn.

  • Righty Peter Lambert meanwhile saw his season end before it started as it was announced he’ll have Tommy John surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Chances are likely his 2021 season is over as well.
  • It was announced on Thursday that baseball will have expanded playoffs this season, with eight teams from each league making the playoffs.
    The top two teams in each division will qualify and then the next two teams also will. The first round will be a best-of-three series with all three games hosted by the higher seed.
    My thoughts: I love this and which it would be the format going forward. How much fun is it when your team is out of the playoff race with two or three months to go in the season. The more teams with a chance to win it all the better.
    And while the one-game playoff was somewhat exciting, in baseball I just don’t think it works.

Nuggets

The Bol Bol hype machine was working overtime on Wednesday after the rookie’s impressive first NBA game, albeit in a scrimmage. But The Denver Post’s Sean Keller talked with former NBA All-Star Paul Pierce who quickly turned the hype machine off. Pierce said it was way too early to get too excited about Bol.

My thoughts: I couldn’t agree more. The final line of 16 points, 10 rebound and six blocks is exciting, some of the plays he made were thrilling, but it was literally an exhibition game coming off a four-month layoff for a pandemic.

Bol could go on to be Hall of Famer and we’ll look back on Wednesday as his coming out party. But he could also just as easily be the next Nikoloz Tskitishvili and leave us all wondering what could have been.

The other question is how much will we even get to see of Bol once the action starts up for real. Head coach Michael Malone was reticent to play Michael Porter Jr. big minutes earlier this season, what to say anything different will happen with Bol.

Broncos

Today Denver Post position-by-position preview focused on Denver’s outside linebackers.

My thoughts: When it comes to the Broncos outside linebackers everyone seems to focus on two players. Von Miller and whether he can return to the player he was before last season or if he’s now beginning a steady decline. And Bradley Chubb and how much he’s doing to help this defense as he returns from ACL surgery.

When it comes to Miller I think he still has a few very productive years left. Last year was simply a down year, they happen to everyone.

As for Chubb, there’s one important point that keeps getting ignored. This is Chubb’s second ACL surgery on the same knee, he previously tore the ACL back in high school. I really hope he never has anymore problems with injuries, but as we’ve seen with tight end Jake Butt once you start having reoccurring knee problems they can be come a never-ending cycle.

If, however, Chubb can stay healthy and Miller returns to form, this unit could be one of the Broncos’ best.

Avalanche

Before the NHL shutdown for four months due to COVID-19 the Avs seemed to be constantly battling injuries. As soon as one player returned it seemed someone else went down. Unfortunately things haven’t changed much for Colorado.

Cale Makar returned to the ice on Thursday, but Nathan MacKinnon was absent. Due to the NHL’s new policy regarding player’s health there’s no word on the exact situation with either player.

Rapids

The Denver Post wrote about when Jonathan Lewis is finally going to get more playing time. As of right now Lewis has been a regular sub and for the most part he’s been the best player when he’s been on the field.

As for the Rapids as a whole, the question now turns to what’s next. The MLS is Back Tournament is still going, without the eliminated Rapids of course, but afterward the league has yet to announce when the rest of the season is expected to start.

As it stands the Rapids head home and will continue training and simply waiting to hear what the plan will be.

CSU Rams

Colorado State wide receiver Warren Jackson was selected as the preseason offensive player of the year as voted on by the media.

Jackson, a senior, is coming off a season in which he caught 77 passes for 1,119 yards and eight touchdowns. It’s the second time a receiver has been selected as the preseason offensive player of the year. When was the first time you ask? That would be in 2015 when fellow Ram Rashard Wiggins was tabbed.

Golf

The CoBank Colorado Open got underway yesterday and as the only woman in the field Jennifer Kupcho got off to a solid start with a 1-under par 70.