Ask Aric: How could a potentially shortened preseason impact the Broncos’ offense?

Aric, with the league slated to play only two preseason games (as of right now) how much playing time do you expect for our starters? Specifically Drew Lock and his receivers, considering it’s an entirely new system and coordinator. – Alex C.

Alex, with the reported reduction in the preseason slate, I think you’re right to wonder how the Broncos will handle having two fewer games ahead of the regular season. Even if the preseason slate had stayed at four games, I think there was a chance that the Broncos would’ve given Lock and Co. more action than normal because of the loss of OTA reps. In a normal year, the starters tend to play a series in the first game, a quarter in the second game, a half in the third game and not at all in the preseason finale. Head Coach Vic Fangio modified that a bit in 2019 because of the Hall of Fame game, but generally that’s how teams handle the preseason. If the Broncos do end up playing two preseason games — and the NFLPA has reportedly suggested that all preseason games be cancelled — it will be interesting to see how teams handle the workload. Will they play their starters an entire half in the first preseason game to get live reps and then sit them in the second game? Will they play them a series in one and a quarter in the other? Will they see a quarter of action in each game? It’s tough to guess, in part because this is an unprecedented circumstance. One thing to note for the Broncos that could help us make an educated guess: Fangio has repeatedly promoted the value of preseason reps. For that reason, I’d expect to see Lock, Von Miller, and the rest of the Broncos’ starters for a reasonable amount of time in at least one of the two preseason games. Now, that doesn’t mean they’ll run anything other than a vanilla playbook. The Titans don’t know what the Broncos are going to do offensively as the team implements Pat Shurmur’s system. The Broncos would be wise to maximize that advantage for Week 1.

This question also deals with the preseason, but the nuance of it is a bit different. Let’s start with the offense. Most of the Broncos’ work in perfecting the offense will be done in training camp, because of the sheer number of plays they’ll be able to run compared to in preseason games. The starting offense may get 50-60 plays in a training camp practice, and that unit could get just 10-20 in a preseason game. Now, because joint practices aren’t permitted this year, the preseason games could be helpful in determining how the offense works against a different style of defense or for seeing how things flow at full speed. Largely, though, the Broncos will make strides on the practice field at UCHealth Training Center. And as long as the team is able to get in enough reps before Week 1, I don’t think that will play a major role in the offense’s development. Where it will make an impact, though, is with the young and undrafted players. In a normal season, players like Essang Bassey and LeVante Bellamy would get plenty of reps in the preseason to prove they deserve a spot on the roster. That’s how players like Chris Harris Jr. and Phillip Lindsay stuck around and begun Pro Bowl careers. With the loss of two preseason games — and possibly more — it could prove difficult to find this unmined talent.

The offense does seem to have a great number of interesting pieces. That does suggest more points. I do wonder if it is possible to give all the pieces enough touches to reach their potentials this season. (However, not sure that is a bad thing). What are your thoughts? – William L.

William, I think this is a fair point, because it’s quite possible the Broncos’ offense is drastically better even as numbers for certain players — Courtland Sutton and Phillip Lindsay, perhaps — aren’t quite as high as in previous seasons. With all of the options, it will be on Shurmur to find a way to involve all of the team’s dynamic options. More than in previous seasons, I think you’ll see a shift week-to-week in who leads the Broncos in receptions or touches. If the Broncos have the advantage against a team’s linebacking or safety corps, Noah Fant might go off for seven catches and 100-plus yards. If Denver likes the matchup between KJ Hamler and the opposition’s slot corner, Hamler could have a big day. If an opponent struggles against running backs out of the backfield, maybe Melvin Gordon III ends up with more catches than carries. Over the course of the season, I think you’ll see these numbers average out to the point where Sutton still leads the team in yards and receptions. If there’s a game, though, where Sutton catches three passes instead of seven, that could just mean that the Broncos have other matchups they’d like to exploit. 

Lateef, I’ve mentioned a few times that I think the Broncos would be well-served to add another cornerback to the roster. A.J. Bouye seems like a solid option at the No. 1 cornerback position, but Bryce Callahan still has to prove he can both play outside in base coverages and stay healthy. Behind Bouye and Callahan, the Broncos will be counting on one or two of a handful of young players to emerge as a viable option. If the Broncos were to add a veteran cornerback, I think it would provide a bit of a safety net — especially early in the season as some of the young players try to adapt to a bigger role. Several veteran players remain on the market — including Trumaine Johnson, Dre Kirkpatrick, Logan Ryan and Darqueze Dennard — but at this point I wouldn’t expect the Broncos to sign anyone until training camp begins and potentially after they see how Bouye, Callahan and the young reserves look on the field together. Denver could also add a player off waivers ahead of the regular season.

Aric, I have been a Bronco fan since the mid-1970s. I have learned recently about Floyd Little’s battle with cancer. I have seen a Go Fund Me page to help in paying for his treatment. Is this page legit? If it is I would like to contribute. Can you at DenverBroncos.com provide a vetted link or can you inform me what it is? This is a Bronco legend that needs help. – Brian H.

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Washington football team name change could come in coming days – Sports Illustrated

News regarding the Washington football team officially changing its name appears to be imminent.

Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson reported Saturday that the team will announce a new name in the coming days.

“Washington is about to have a new name in the next 24 to 48 hours,” Robinson said on ESPN 103.3 FM in Dallas. “Yeah, that’s going to happen, for sure. Definitely happening.

“But I heard the NFL is starting to take steps to tell everybody who has Washington’s nickname on its platform, to start scrubbing it, start taking it off. Which means something’s coming.”

On Saturday night, ESPN’s John Keim also reported that Washington is close to having a new name “sooner rather than later.”

On July 3, Washington announced that the franchise would “undergo a thorough review of the team’s name” following requests for a change to its nickname.

The team said the review formalized the initial discussions it had with the NFL in recent weeks.

“In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team’s name,” the organization said in a statement.

The team is expected to change its name, according to multiple reports. A source told the Washington Post that team owner Dan Snyder, who has previously opposed a name change, “has been listening to different people over the last number of weeks.”

Last weekend, head coach Ron Rivera told the Washington Post that he and Snyder had been talking about a possible name change for more than a month.

“If we get it done in time for the season, it would be awesome,” Rivera told the Post.

Many Native American leaders have long called for the changing of the nickname, which the franchise has used since 1933.

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Netflix’s The Old Guard Dug Deep to Bring the Comics to Life

Comparisons between The Old Guard as a comic book and as a live-action movie

In both Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernández’s The Old Guard and director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s new film based on the comic book series, a group of seemingly immortal warriors from different time periods all band together to commit their lives to ridding the world of its societal evils. None of the big bads they take on are quite as supernatural as they are, and so The Old Guard’s action, though brutal, skews towards the more grounded side of things.

But just because the comic’s bloodsoaked fight sequences focus mainly on the Old Guard wailing on their enemies with regular weapons doesn’t mean that the battles being spotlighted couldn’t still sights to behold.

Rather than drifting away from the comic’s depiction bare-knuckled, bone cracking brawls in favor of something a bit flashier and more in line with other comic book movies, The Old Guard actually sticks surprisingly close to the source material. A new featurette delves into how The Old Guard’s production team approached the film with the express intention of bringing moments from the comics to the screen in a way that felt both real and larger than life.

Image’s The Old Guard, written by Greg Rucka with illustrations from Leandro Fernández and Daniela…

Beyond just the impressive stunt work and fighting, both Rucka and Bythewood also went into detail in another featurette about how much of the comics’ narrative essence was incorporated into the film. While there are a number of scenes ripped right out of the series’ pages, Rucka felt the need to further flesh out characters aside from Andy in order to make their cinematic counterparts feel like more fully realized people.

The Old Guard is now streaming on Netflix.

The Old Guard follows a group of extremely long-lived warriors who all have the ability to be…

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Oprah and Lionsgate Team Up To Adapt Nikole Hannah Jones’ ‘The 1619 Pr – BOTWC

Oprah and Lionsgate Team Up To Adapt Nikole Hannah Jones’ ‘The 1619 Project’ for Film & Television

This is amazing!!

Oprah Winfrey and Lionsgate are partnering to adapt Nikole Hannah-Jones’ “The 1619 Project” for film and television, USA Today reports. 

Nikole Hannah-Jones spearheaded “The 1619 Project” for The New York Times in an effort to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to America. The exposé took a deep look into the impact of slavery and how it manifested in every facet of society. The New York Times Magazine published the project in August 2019, eventually releasing it as a podcast as well and Hannah-Jones went on to win a Pulitzer prize for her work. 

Now the award winning journalist will be working on developing films, TV series and documentaries inspired by the project with Winfrey coming on as a producer. “We took very seriously our duty to find TV and film partners that would respect and honor the work and mission of ‘The 1619 Project,’ that understood our vision and deep moral obligation to doing justice to these stories,” Hannah-Jones said. 

Winfrey is also excited about the project, saying, “From the first moment I read ‘The 1619 Project’ and immersed myself in Nikole Hannah-Jones’ transformative work, I was moved, deepened and strengthened by her empowering historical analysis.” 

No word yet on when we can expect the film and television projects to air but a series of books for “The 1619 Project” are currently in the works. 

We can’t wait for these projects to be released!

Photo Courtesy of Themba Hadebe(Associated Press)/Brent N. Clarke (FilmMagic)

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Disney+ Streams Uncensored Hugh Jackman Butt

Disney+ is at this point pretty notorious for not letting anything good get on its streaming platform: there is little-to-no sex, cursing, or nudity, and there are multiple High School Musical installments and spinoffs. Lin Manuel Miranda famously had to edit out several “fucks” in Hamilton just to get Disney+ to stream the musical. Lizzie Maguire, meanwhile, is not allowed to fuck at all. Disney+ is prudish as hell.

So it was with some interest, and the sounding of a small hypocrisy alarm bell, that I read a Variety report on Sunday that revealed the Puritans at Disney+ let a little man-butt slip through. Apparently, the streaming site is airing an “unedited” version of 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past—one that includes at least one fuck and a shot of Hugh Jackman’s butt. I only vaguely recall this film and/or the entirety of 2014 and I cannot find a usable photo of the butt online, but trust assured, it’s a full butt.

Hugh Jackman has a censored version of the butt on his Instagram, should you care to see it (scroll through):

This is mildly scandalous, but what’s more curious is that Disney+ has, in fact, previously removed a butt from a classic film now in its streaming library. The film is 1989’s Splash, and the butt belongs to Darryl Hannah. Disney reportedly used CGI to cover up some of Hannah’s nudity, which, I mean, fine, it’s a “family” site (i.e., boring as fuck). But it does seem a taaaaaaad strange that the platform would censor a woman’s butt and not a man’s. Butt equality now!

On the other hand, it’s possible this big leap to full butt will pave the way for Disney+ to let down its hair a bit. Maybe, just maybe, one day they’ll finally let Lizzie fuck? A girl can dream.

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‘Lower Decks’: See Trailer for ‘Star Trek’ Animated Comedy Series – Rolling Stone

The Star Trek franchise enters a Rick and Morty-like universe in the new trailer for Star Trek: Lower Decks, an animated comedy series heading to CBS All Access this summer.

The show, developed by Rick and Morty vet Mike McMahan, “focuses on the support crew serving on one of Starfleet’s least important ships, the U.S.S. Cerritos, in 2380. Ensigns Mariner, Boimler, Rutherford and Tendi have to keep up with their duties and their social lives, often while the ship is being rocked by a multitude of sci-fi anomalies.”

Unlike every Star Trek series that proceeded it, Lower Decks puts the emphasis on humor, with the cartoon set up as a class comedy between the “bridge crew” — the main focus of every Star Trek series — and the workers in the “lower decks” of the spaceship.

The voice cast for Lower Decks features Tawny Newsome, Jack Quaid, Noël Wells, Eugene Cordero, Dawnn Lewis and Jerry O’Connell. The first episode of Season 1 premieres August 6th, with the remainder of the 10-episode first season to follow every Thursday after that.

Star Trek: Lower Decks is the third spinoff from the sci-fi franchise to stream exclusively on CBS All Access, following Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard, with a few more in the works, including Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and another, more kid-friendly animated series set for Nickelodeon. The streaming service also hosts the Short Treks anthology of short episodes.

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The Quarantine Stream: ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ Has Al Pacino Chewing Scenery and Keanu Reeves Using a Questionable Accent – /Film

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Movie: The Devil’s Advocate

Where You Can Stream It: Netflix

The Pitch: Hot-shot Southern lawyer Keanu Reeves gets recruited to join a big New York City law firm, but there’s a catch: his new boss, Al Pacino, is the devil!!!!!!!!!!

Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: It’s okay to have fun with dumb movies. And The Devil’s Advocate is pretty damn dumb. Keanu Reeves uses a questionable Southern accent, Al Pacino chews the scenery so hard he’s in danger of breaking some teeth, and a pre-fame Charlize Theron is stuck in a mini Rosemary’s Baby remake, and all of this happens in the same movie. Clocking-in at an overwhelming 144 minutes, and featuring scenes where Pacino dips his fingers in holy water and causes the water to boilThe Devil’s Advocate is a blend of legal drama and horror melodrama, and it’s a hoot.

Before Keanu Reeves did The Matrix, he starred in The Devil’s AdvocateTaylor Hackford‘s epic-length horror drama about a lawyer in danger of losing his soul. Reeves is a hot-shot young attorney from Gainesville, Florida (even though his accent suggests he’s from somewhere in Alabama), who is willing to emotionally destroy a sexual assault victim on the witness stand in order to win a case. Reeves’ lapse of moral compass gets him noticed by a huge New York City law firm, and as we all know, law firms, in general, are evil, but New York City law firms are the evilest.

Soon, Reeves meets his new boss, John Milton, played by Al Pacino. Even though it’s abundantly clear that Milton is the devil incarnate, Reeves’ character remains oblivious and is easily wooed by the prospect of money and power. The same can’t be said of Reeves’ sweet-natured wife, played by Charlize Theron, who does much better with her accent. Theron’s character notices almost immediately that something is up with not just Milton but also everyone in Milton’s circle, including some of her new neighbors. She begins to have a complete breakdown, but Reeves is once again oblivious. Not only is he focused on his work, he’s also focused on one of his new coworkers, a sexy lawyer played by Connie Nielsen.

Full of sex, violence, and big special effects, The Devil’s Advocate feels like the type of movie that would never get made today, at least not by a big Hollywood studio for $57 million. Yet in 1997, the movie was a hit, raking in $153 million. Imagine that happening today. You can’t.

As much as I love Reeves, it’s fair to say he’s not very good in this movie. I don’t mean to keep harping on his accent, but it’s so distractingly bad (even worse than his infamous Dracula accent) that it almost completely sinks his performance. That’s okay, though, because the real draw here is Pacino. The Devil’s Advocate arrived in the midst of Pacino’s shouty phase. After the actor scored an Oscar for his loud performance in Scent of a Woman, Pacino seemed to believe that every performance going forward required him to YELL AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS. While some may take issue with that, it works perfectly here. Pacino’s Satanic lawyer is all about excess – he loves to talk about fucking, and he loves to laugh his ass off at stuff that really isn’t funny. And when someone dares challenge him, he sends demonic homeless people to beat that person to death.

It all culminates in a big, loud, special effects-heavy conclusion that feels like a huge cheat. But by then it’s okay, you’ve already had your fun with The Devil’s Advocate. And it’s had its fun with you.

 

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