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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

Broncos season opener three weeks away

It might be hard to fathom, but the Broncos season opening against Tennessee is just three weeks from today.

With that in mind TheAthletic.com’s Nick Kosmider tried to get the best read possible on what Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and special teams coordinator Tom McMahon had to say when they addressed the media on Sunday.

The biggest takeaway on the offense side of things in my estimation is simply that the offense appears to be limiting the mistakes that have hampered it so much the past few years.

That isn’t to say the Broncos will be putting up 30 points every week, but hopefully something in the mid-20s is much more doable. It is fair to point out though, that we’ve heard pretty much the same thing for the past few years and the results haven’t changed yet.

On the defensive side of things arguably the biggest question is will we see a big jump this year as players become more familiar with head coach Vic Fangio’s system. Based on previous teams Fangio has coached the results are inconclusive.

The reality is Von Miller likely is the key. If he can have a bounce-back season it could be the spark the entire defense is looking for.

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Rockies win, tie best start in team history

Rockies

Germán Márquez allowed two runs in 7 1/3 innings while striking out nine and Nolan Arenado homered in his second straight game as the Rockies beat the Giants 5-2 on Tuesday night at Coors Field.

With the win Colorado is now 8-2 on the season matching the team’s best start in franchise history. The Rockies also started 2011 8-2, but stumbled to a 73-89 finish.

Despite his final line, manager Bud Black actually didn’t think Márquez was as sharp as he’s been this year, which speaks to how good he has become.

“I don’t think he was as sharp as we’ve seen him. I don’t think the fastball was as crisp, but he made pitches with the fastball, the secondaries were solid. From start to finish, I thought he was in complete control.”

Manger Bud Black talking about starting pitcher Germán Márquez

My thoughts: In a normal season an 8-2 start wouldn’t mean a whole lot, as evidenced by the Rockies in 2011. But this year it means the Rockies are in prime position to make the postseason.

It’s easier said than done, but with only 50 games remaining if Colorado plays .500 ball for the rest of the year they’ll finish 33-27 and almost assuredly qualify for the expanded postseason.

The most encouraging aspect so far has been the outstanding starting pitching from Márquez, Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela.

  • The Rockies and Giants are back at it again tonight (6:40 p.m., AT&T Sports Net, 850 AM) with Gray getting the start for Colorado and Logan Webb making the start for San Francisco.
  • Before Tuesday’s game Black told The Denver Post that pitcher Jeff Hoffman could get more opportunities out of the bullpen or even potentially starting if he continues to pitch well.
  • MLB.com released its Top 100 Prospects List and the Rockies had two players on it. Shortstop Brendan Rodgers (31) and outfielder Zac Veen (60).

Nuggets

The Nuggets take on the San Antonio Spurs this afternoon (2 p.m., Altitude, 92.5 FM) in the team’s third seeding game since the NBA’s return. They’ll be shorthanded once again though as Gary Harris (hip) and Will Barton (knee) are both out and Jamal Murray (hamstring) is questionable.

With that in mind Denver will need big contributions from Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. once again if they’re going to keep the momentum going after Monday’s overtime win against the Thunder.

  • Today’s Nuggets-Spurs game is one of a handful that will be broadcast by NBABet Stream and will follow the game with the betting public in mind.
  • TheDNVR.com’s Harrison Wind wrote about how the chemistry between Jokic and Porter is getting better and better.

Avalanche

The Avs are back on the ice today against Dallas (4:30 p.m., Altitude, 92.5 FM) in the second of three round-robin games before their playoffs began. Colorado is 0-4 against the Stars this season, but the last time the teams met was Jan. 14.

“They’re obviously a good hockey team (and) I think everyone in our room is aware of the troubles we might have had with them in the past and I think everyone is very determined to try to end them (Wednesday). If you want to talk about the law of averages, I guess we’re due, right?”

Avs defenseman Ian Cole told The Denver Post

Currently the Avs and Vegas Golden Knights are tied in the race for the West’s top seed. If there is a tie after the three round-robin games, then regular-season winning percentage will serve as the tiebreaker. That order was St. Louis (.662), Colorado (.657), Vegas (.606) and Dallas (.594).

Broncos

Linebacker Von Miller spoke about a variety of topics on Tuesday, from how he gave “serious consideration” to opting out this year because of coronavirus concerns to how the death of Kobe Bryant and “The Last Dance” changed him.

Miller tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-April and said by early May he had lost 15 pounds.

“It was hard for me to get my wind back for probably two or three weeks after the virus. Everybody’s symptoms aren’t the same, but for me, I lost my taste and smell. I couldn’t really eat because when you can’t taste or smell food, you lose your appetite. As soon as I got my second negative (test result) back, I started back training and started back running and it was tough no doubt about it. It was tough to just warm up, but I pushed through it and at about 2-3 weeks, I started to feel back to normal and hit it a little harder. I would say about two weeks after the virus, you still have a little wind issues, but that was for me – I have asthma and I felt like that was part of that.”

Von Miller on his battle and return from COVID-19 this offseason

As for dealing with Bryant’s death, Miller talked about reading Bryant’s book The Mamba Mentality: How I Play after and wanting to be able to lead his team in a similar fashion.

“Then ‘The Last Dance’ came out and I watched what Michael Jordan was doing back in his prime and I asked myself, ‘Hey, Michael Jordan was the best that ever played. Was I really making that commitment to the game? Was I really doing the same stuff he did? Like Kobe was one of the best to ever play. Was I doing the things that Kobe was doing? Was I demanding more out of my teammates? Was I demanding more out of myself? And I looked in the mirror and said I wasn’t. I just tried to change that and work as hard as I possibly could. I didn’t take any days off. I didn’t go on any vacations. I didn’t do anything but workout and grind and reinvest all of the time I would usually spend on like endorsements and all of this other stuff. I just reinvested that time back on myself.”

Von Miller talking about his offseason

My thoughts: There’s no question Miller has trained differently this offseason, the only question is how it will translate on the field. And that’s even assuming we have a football season.

It’s been great watching Miller learn and grow from the time the Broncos drafted him up until now, it would be great if he’s able to get back to the top of his game and eventually retire with the Broncos.

CSU Rams

Colorado State president Joyce McConnell is launching an “immediate and objective” investigation into the athletic department after allegations that student-athletes have been intimidated and threatened as leaders sought to disregard COVID-19 protocols.

CSU suspended football activities last week after a coronavirus outbreak. Then yesterday, multiple Rams players told ESPN.com that a position coach told players to hide possible symptoms of COVID-19 because “we can’t afford it” as a team.

According to the ESPN.com story: As the numbers continued to grow, some players felt compelled to minimize their symptoms, according to multiple people within the program. One source said a player who had a severe cough and eventually tested positive continued to work out. Another source said a player with symptoms, who subsequently tested positive, was “scared” to mention them to the coaching and medical staff.

TheColoradoan.com also published a story yesterday detailing the potential covering up of the COVID-19 health threat.

My thoughts: Multiple CSU players have come out to dispute the reports, but the fact that the ESPN.com story specifically says it was a position coach who was discouraging players makes it that much more believable to me.

Not only do I trust the reporting from ESPN and The Coloradoan, but if it was one or two coaches it would make sense that not all the players would have experienced the same thing.

Either way it’s a terrible situation and one that these athletes should not have to be dealing with. On Wednesday morning UConn announced it was canceling its football season due to COVID-19, the first FBS team to do so. At this point I don’t understand why colleges refuse to push the season back until spring at the very least, instead of continuing to put people’s lives at risk.

High school sports

CHSAA announced on Tuesday that the high school football season in Colorado would be pushed back until spring due to coronavirus.

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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.