NFL

NFL AM: Mark Sanchez Betting He’ll Be Broncos Starter

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Mark Sanchez is betting on himself to be Broncos QB:

The Denver Broncos very public pursuit of Colin Kaepernick is all you need to know about how the team feels about their only real option at quarterback right now, Mark Sanchez.

Despite the fact that he’s obviously not “Plan A” in Denver right now, the seven-year veteran is putting in as much work as he can to put himself in a position to win the job he realizes is likely his last best chance to succeed as a starter in the NFL.

Since being acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles, Sanchez talks like a man obsessed with grabbing this opportunity by the horns whether anyone’s ready to give it to him or not. Sanchez employed the help of Demaryius Thomas and Emanuel Sanders to set up a “Broncos Beach” passing camp to build comradery and chemistry with his new teammates.

“One, it’s just to be around each other. That’s important. It sounds like they have that family atmosphere in Denver. They talk about the locker room and it sounds fun. It’s because of stuff like this,” Sanchez told the Denver Post. “They get together in the offseason, and make sacrifices with their time and their money and travel to do that. Emmanuel and Demaryius were awesome, saying, ‘Let me call so and so.’ They’ve been great.”

While his career has been loaded ups and downs, the former Eagles and New York Jets quarterback is a guy who has led a team with a great defense to AFC championship games in the past, and he feels this is his opportunity to do it again.

He may not be the ideal option for John Elway, but Sanchez is betting on himself to win the Broncos starting gig, and he doesn’t care who the Broncos bring in for competition.

“Listen, I don’t care who is there, what is going on right now. They are going to give me a fair shake, that’s all I can ask for, a fair shot. I am good. Let’s go. I will bet on myself and compete my butt off,” Sanchez said before his workout. “I will be friendly and professional with whoever is there. But I want this bad. Really bad. I want what they experienced last year.”

Sanchez knows that he’s going to have to surprise some people and prove some people wrong to become the Broncos starter next season, but he sounds like a man possessed to do just that. As unlikely as the story of Sanchez turning his career around in Denver is, it could just be the perfect situation for him to do just that. If nothing else, we’re extremely excited that he’s gotten to a point where he can talk about working his “butt off” without thinking about the butt fumble, because we sure as heck can’t!

Raiders sign Reggie Nelson:

You’re probably tired of reading about how impressed we’ve been with the Oakland Raiders since the beginning of the new league year, but you’re done hearing about it yet because Reggie McKenzie continues to make smart signings that should have the Raiders in contention in the AFC West this year.

On Wednesday, McKenzie continued that trend by bringing in another Reggie, safety Reggie Nelson. The former first-round pick is coming off of his first Pro Bowl selection after an eight interception 2015 campaign for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Nelson is getting ready to enter his 10th NFL season, but he still brings the kind of presence to a secondary that makes opponents think about where he’s at. From getting his hands on the football, to putting big hits on opponents, Nelson is a guy you want to keep an eye on.

The new Raiders safety is a former Florida Gator, but he was heavily recruited by Bobby Bowden at Florida State, who described the veteran safety as a guy you could hear coming because of his speed and the impact he brought when making tackles.

You might be tired of hearing about how good of a job McKenzie and the Raiders are doing, but the reality is they should be better just about everywhere. The offensive line will improve with the addition of Kelechi Osemele at left guard, and many of the weapons on offense are young ascending players like Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and others.

Defensively, with additions like Sean Smith, Bruce Irvin and now Nelson, the team should be a lot better and also bring more of an intimidation factor. When they get Aldon Smith back from suspension, he will join Irvin and Khalil Mack to form one of the most ferocious three-headed pass rushing attacks we’ve seen in recent years.

It’s unlikely that anyone predicts the Raiders will go to Super Bowl 51, but that doesn’t mean Oakland fans shouldn’t be overwhelmed with optimism. This franchise is undoubtedly heading in the right direction.

When’s the last time you were ready to say that about the Raiders?

Vontaze Burfict and DeAngelo Williams trade jabs on Twitter:

Everyone now and then you have to thank the Universe for things like Twitter. Where else can we enjoy watching grown men act like children and see the silliest of arguments turn into full on feuds with vailed threats.

That was the story on Wednesday night after Vontaze Burfict saw that DeAngelo Williams told ESPN that if not for Burfict’s hit that took out receiver Antonio Brown that the Steelers would have gone onto Super Bowl 50.

“For me, my rival throughout my year will be the Cincinnati Bengals,” Williams said. “I don’t think there was any doubt in my mind if AB was not interfered on or hit the way he was hit, however you want to label it — there’s no doubt we go on and give the Broncos hell.”

Burfict took issue with Williams’ comments, and then this melee ensued.

This was followed up by a tweet Burfict removed where he basically threatened Williams saying, “Not a great come back I’ll teach u how to keep my name out mouth tho remember I have to tackle you.”

 

While your natural instinct might be to blame Burfict for the whole thing because he’s been known to be a knucklehead, and Williams is pretty highly regarded as a classy guy who spends his time fighting for women with breast cancer, this isn’t a good look for either guy.

Twitter is a fantastic way for fans to connect with athletes and to keep up on breaking news, but many of us (slowly raising hand) have fallen into the trap of getting into it with people who say dumb stuff to us on the internet. Tighten it up, everybody. Especially you two, Vontaze and DeAngelo.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.