Tough questions don’t come from the media. They come from the media who try to represent the public.
The Broncos cut out the middle man Tuesday when more than 8,000 season-ticket holders joined a TeleForum™ conference call with the team’s top two football executives, John Elway and Matt Russell.
Elway stared down 300-pound defensive tackles in the pocket for 16 years as a Broncos quarterback. But that was nothing compared to the grill the executive vice president of football operations was placed on by Dan, who wanted to know why Jeremiah Johnson was cut instead of “Know-show,” the sarcastic name occasionally used by critics of running back Knowshon Moreno.
“Jeremiah has continued to improve year in and year out,” Elway said after reminding Johnson was brought back to the practice squad. “Now Jeremiah, the evaluation we had, we didn’t feel like he was quite there yet, especially on third down. He’s got to get better with protection.
“Whereas Knowshon is a guy who is very good in third down, does a great job in protection. And as we saw in the last couple weeks, Knowshon is running with much more patience and running the ball with more efficiency than he has in the past. And his knee is finally healthy.”
Now that Moreno has proved to be recovered from last season’s torn anterior cruciate ligament, he was moved up to No. 2 on the Broncos’ depth chart Tuesday.
About midway into the 55-minute conference call, Mark from Albuquerque asked about the quarterback situation behind starter Peyton Manning. The Broncos kept Caleb Hanie and Brock Osweiler on their 53-man roster.
“We’ll see how this week goes. We’ll probably only have two quarterbacks active on the (46-man game) roster,” Elway said.
The new depth chart also revealed rookie Omar Bolden as the No. 1 kick returner and Jim Leonhard as the top punt returner.
Michael from Denver asked if there’s a Devin Hester among Broncos’ returners.
“There’s only one of those that comes down the road every 10 or so years,” Russell said.
Mike from Boulder asked how Elway avoided major injury during his Hall of Fame playing career. Elway said luck is No. 1. A football body is No. 2. And then Elway came up with a rarely told tidbit for No. 3.
“Especially at the quarterback position, it’s learning how to fall,” he said. “The key thing for a quarterback to do is once that ball’s released and you know you’re going to get hit is not to fight it. You have to relax and let them take you where they want to take you. That always worked for me.”