Schon: It's A Wrap

Training Camp officially comes to an end at Dove Valley - check out Schon's Top Ten highlights and predictions for the upcoming season.

It's a wrap - Broncos Camp 2007 officially comes to an end - thirteen days, 33,701 people and a half a million bumps, bruises and injuries later. Whether they're any closer to hoisting the Lombardi trophy remains to be seen, but from my standpoint it's been one of the best camps in recent memory (keep in mind my memory's not necessarily what it used to be).

Top Ten Camp highlights

1. Javon Walker - considering what he's been through over the past eight months I'm amazed he even took the field at all. A walking example of the human spirit.

2. Jim Bates - The guy is an animal - strict disciplinarian with the motivational skills of a slightly older Jack Bauer.

3. Nate Webster - I swear the guy hit anything with a pulse (I mean this in a good way).

4. Mike Shanahan - anytime a head coach orders a second-year receiver to quit milking an injury and get back out on the field and play, he's a lock for my top five.

5. The hot looking blonde from Apache Junction, Arizona that swore she was an Optometrist and actually had the patience to help me learn how to spell it. (From what I understand - Apache Junction is exactly 22 miles from the surface of the sun)

6. Champ Bailey - the best cornerback in the NFL

7. Dre' Bly - the second best cornerback in the NFL

8. The kid who led the final morning ‘breakdown' of camp - when a ball boy busts out with better moves than any of the players, you got to give him props.

9. Travis Henry, Mike Bell and Cecil Sapp - Henry may be marked as the starter, but don't discount the fact that Shanny could pull out the running back by committee card anytime throughout the year, albeit an abbreviated version.

10. The record number of fans who made their pilgrimage to Dove Valley - it was almost like a religious experience - once they found a place to park.

Let's be optimistic - it's a new year with a new QB - hopefully with better results. I'd like to think that Jay Cutler's ready to take the reigns, but I can't say I'm completely sold yet. At times he looked great in camp - while other time he played out like a guy that's got exactly five NFL games on his resume. Shanahan may have constructed one of the most talented teams in the league during the off season - but it's fate lies on the arm of a twenty-four year old kid from Santa Clause, Indiana - your guess is as good as mine.

On the flip side, defensive coordinator Jim Bates is a Savior - nothing against Larry Coyer but it's like upgrading from Rosanne Barr to Megan Fox - definite improvement if you can keep up with it.

Special Teams Unit is, well… it's the Special Teams Unit. Todd Sauerbrun looks set and Jason Elam is a given - the big key is downfield coverage - hopefully tackling somebody will work its way into the picture in 2007.

On a scale of one to ten - Broncos Camp 2007 slides in at number seven. Overall, progress was made - no major injuries and a mile and a half of optimism. Considering the clusterbust in Oakland and the meltdown in San Diego, Denver's only real threat in the AFC West will be Kansas City - which in itself should be enough to make Bronco fans smile.

Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past ten years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio stations around the country.

Schon can be reached at

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