Woodman: What’s up with Demaryius Thomas? Or down? He looks disinterested. Shouldn’t he be replaced by Courtland Sutton, who is a younger, taller, better version of D.T.? I’ll hang up the phone and listen. – John Jackson
Another Jackson – Browne – might sing that D.T. is “Running on M.T." Demaryius is ranked 80th among receivers after two weeks with 11 catches for 81 yards and one touchdown. But this is what is amazing. He has been targeted 21 times. The NFL stats claim that Thomas has dropped only two passes (tied for second in the league behind Golden Tate’s three), but the eyes believe he has dropped at least three or four, or more. A fellow Gazette columnist and I were talking in the press box on Sunday about how weak D.T. has come out. He’s not disinterested or disenchanted. He is in decline truthfully, and Courtland Sutton, who had a controversial touchdown catch overturned, is on fast incline. I was sort of surprised in camp how much taller than D.T. he is, and he’s obviously faster and has softer hands. But the Broncos aren’t going to displace Thomas and disrupt the starting lineup. They’ve won two games. Thomas had a surge or three in the opening weeks, but certainly hasn’t been as impressive as Sutton or Emmanuel Sanders - 14 catches on 15 targets for 231 yards, a 43-yarder and one touchdown. Heck, T.P. (Tim Patrick) is stronger now than D.T. But Keenum is spreading the ball around to his five receivers, tight end Jake Butt and Phillip Lindsay. We must remember that D.T. remains among the highest paid NFL receivers at $12 million-plus in 2018. But he is not the D.T. of the Manning era, and he was not named captain this year after one season of being an ineffective leader. Demaryius is not going anywhere, though. John Elway exercised the $4 million option in March to bring back D.T. for at least this season and next – when he will be paid a base salary of $14 mil (plus bonuses).
WoPa: Derek Carr still is a better quarterback than Keenum. After two games, what’s your opinion of Keenum’s chances to be the starter all year? – The Gym Ratt
Carr may be superior individually to Case, but one is 2-0, with two fourth-quarter comebacks, and the other is 0-2 with two second-half meltdowns. Neither one is Patrick Mahomes (10 touchdowns in two victories) or Philip Rivers (1-1), but Keenum has a heart and a will. You should ask Bill Musgrave, who has been the offensive coordinator for both, whom he prefers. He won’t answer, but, based on our conversations, I know he really likes Keenum’s work habits and refusal to back down. But there are issues for Case. He said before the season he had to protect the ball and score touchdowns. Four interceptions and three touchdowns. That won’t work. He will be the starter all year. Guaranteed. I am somewhat surprised that Kevin Hogan has been inactive both weeks behind Chad Kelly. Hogan, at least, has played in eight NFL games, and started one. If something happens to Keenum, Kelly will be the replacement.
Woody: I see where ESPN "experts" have our Broncos 15th in the latest power rankings. Don’t you think they deserve more love? They belong in the top 10 with two wins. Are your cohorts crazy or what? – Bronco Betty
The 80 ESPN NFL writers, commentators and columnists (but I wasn’t asked) who contribute to the power rankings surely haven’t given the Broncos much respect, but it could be worse. The Dolphins have won two games (including one on the road), and they are ranked at No. 16 in the league. I would have placed the Broncos at 12th, ahead of the Saints, Steelers and Panthers. Pittsburgh hasn’t won a game. If the Broncos win in Baltimore, they’ll be right in the top 10 mix. If they lose, they’ll probably stay about where they are in the middle of the league. In regard to the division, K.C. is the best team at the moment, we’d all agree, and the Chargers rebounded. I’d make them second, even at 1-1, and the Broncos third until they prove they can win more than a game or two on the road. Don’t fret. Those ESPN experts are not infallible, and I am, of course, fallible.
Hey, you: Who you got as Broncos MVP after two games? Asking for an enemy. – Sam in the Springs
That’s a fair debate. There are four viable candidates, and the edge, for me, is the No. 1 edge rusher in the league – Von Miller. He has four sacks, highest among NFL defenders, two forced fumbles (one recovery) and nine tackles. He is Reggie Jackson, the (non-plastic) straw that stirs the Broncos’ defense. Just behind him, I feel, is Emmanuel Sanders, who almost never drops a pass, and has produced at least half a dozen large catch-and-runs, including a 43-yarder. He’s so dependable, unlike the other guy. I would go with Lindsay for third. He’s been the only undrafted free agent in NFL history to have back-to-back 100-yard offensive games to start his career. And he also returns kickoffs and plays on special teams. He’s a Poor Man’s Christian McCaffrey (because he makes millions less than the other former Denver-area high school star). Let’s compare. Lindsay has rushed 29 times for 178 yards (6.1-yard average) and caught three passes for 35 yards (11.7 per). He has one touchdown (reception-run) and three tackles. McCaffrey, in his second year, has rushed 18 times for 87 yards (4.8-yard average) and caught 20 passes for 147 yards (7.4). He has not scored yet. McCaffrey has the overall edge, 234-213, but it’s not decisive. And "No-Brow’" Lindsay was The Steal Deal of UFAs. Fourth on the MVP list would be Keenum, 2 of 2 in fourth-quarter QB comebacks.
The last note: Lest you forget, the Rockies are in the middle of tight race.
Woody: Seems Jon Gray’s resurgence was short-lived. Do you think it’s too late to send him down to Albuquerque again? Seriously, his "act" is getting old and PAINFUL. I know Buddy doesn’t have any other options for starters. If we lose Nolan and keep Gray I’m gonna seriously reevaluate my Rockies loyalty. Your take? – Ken Church
One problem with your desire. If the Rockies sent Gray back to Albuquerque, it would be to buy turquoise jewelry. The Isotopes’ season is over, my friend. And the Rockies’ season could be over if Gray doesn’t come through in his last two starts. No chance he will start a wild-card game this time, or the opening game of any series.