MILE HIGH MONDAY

David Shaw was a wise move, as Broncos continue to bolster staff

Jun 24, 2024, 7:13 AM

Broncos Country should be excited for what’s to come. The Denver Broncos are on a break, but they will get back to work on July 23 at the start of training camp.

I like taking some time away from the game. However, even though I’m on “vacation,” I’m also thinking about what’s ahead for the Broncos – and its exciting!

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep Wrangler TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

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Hater-Ade

Players are hearing the noise this offseason. There are plenty of people who think the Broncos aren’t going to be very good this year. I have predicted nine wins as a possibility this season, and people have accused me of being a Broncos homer (I’m not). Jaleel McLaughlin joined “The Drive” last week on 104.3 The Fan, and he was fired up when talking about the haters.

McLaughlin is a player who could produce more than some think. He said it “pissed him off” when people talk trash about the Broncos and their outlook for the 2024 season. He’s the type of player who uses a chip on his shoulder to thrive, and it’s encouraging to hear how fired up he’s getting. McLaughlin has constantly proved doubters wrong in his career – and he finished his college career as the all-time leading rusher in college football! Doubting him now could only propel him to even more production in 2024.

This Broncos defense is going to be tested, as well. With the offense likely to be better this year, opponents may have to score more to win. That means the defense will be tested in ways they weren’t when the offense couldn’t put points on the board. The Broncos offense can respond, but if they don’t get help from the defense then all these emotions will be for naught.

It’s all about responding to the haters, but it’s also about proving your supporters correct. The rest of the league may be down on the Broncos, but with better-than-expected play they can change that narrative.

***

Shaw a Great Hire

Even during the break, the Broncos are doing work. Last week, it was reported that the Broncos hired David Shaw. The former Stanford head coach joins the Broncos as a senior personnel executive, and he will be working under general manager George Paton. He stepped down from the college ranks in 2022 with an eye to get back to the NFL.

Shaw gives the team another set of eyes. He’s got plenty of coaching experience with nearly a decade of time served as an assistant coach. In fact, Shaw and Broncos HC Sean Payton both served as assistant coaches with the Philadelphia Eagles back in 1997. Now, Shaw will work on Payton’s staff as they work through this Broncos rebuild as fast as possible.

What’s this mean for Paton? I think it’s a bit overboard to say they hired Paton’s replacement. In fact, Paton and Payton look like they’re working together better than ever based on what they were able to do in the 2024 NFL draft. Shaw is a quality football guy who can help guide the coaching staff or personnel department.

Shaw was a great hire. It’s always a good idea to hire great people – even when you’ve already got a room full of great evaluators.

***

Tillman Worth a Look

In addition to hiring Shaw, free-agent DE/OLB Dondrea Tillman (UFL) signed with the Broncos last week. Tillman was a defensive force for the Birmingham Stallions, winning a championship in each of his three seasons with the team. Measuring in at 6-foot-3, 270-pounds, Tillman compiled 92 total tackles (51 solo) and 8.5 sacks while grading out as one of the best in the league.

Tillman played college ball at Division II Indiana University of Pennsylvania. During his college career, Tillman registered 82 solo tackles, 28.0 sacks, two interceptions, and a pair of defensive touchdowns in 48 games. He went undrafted to the NFL, but spring football gave him the avenue to showcase his ability.

You can never have enough pass-rushers in today’s NFL. The thing I like about Tillman is his hustle. He’s got length, and that helps him make up ground quickly, but he just never stops in his pursuit of the ball-carrier. I also appreciate the way Tillman shows up in the biggest games, like when he had a whopping six (!) quarterback hurries in the UFL Championship Game.

I’ve seen every practice for this team during the offseason, but I haven’t scouted Tillman in person yet. I do have his game film (coach’s tape) from the UFL, and I like what I see. I can’t wait to see how Tillman can fit on the depth chart with his performance in training camp.

***

In Living Color

Running a small business is a challenge. I have big plans, but I must stay patient as I work toward those goals. This requires lots of work, but it also requires finding people who do great work as well. That’s why I’m always excited when I add to the roster of my independent comic book company, Smokin Gun Comics. I’ve found that to have a successful business means you must surround yourself with great people.

I was introduced to colorist Sean Callahan about a month ago, and I was a fan of his work with Scout Comics (and other ventures). It made me happy to have him work on some of my previously published covers, and I am blown away by the results. Seeing my ideas come to life in the pages of comic books is a dream come true. Seeing those dreams in color is even better!

I have eight intellectual properties that I’ve turned into aschan comics, but most of what I’ve had produced is in black and white. Hiring a colorist (like when I brought former Spawn colorist Dan Kemp on board) is a big step to making my products even more appealing for the audience. Again, running a small business is hard – but it’s so rewarding when you find great people to work with. I can’t wait for you all to see Sean’s work in the near future!

Do you have any questions about my comic books? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

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