They say if you don’t like the springtime weather in Colorado, just wait 15 minutes and it will change. The same could be said of springtime sports, as the Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets and Avalanche are all making news in the month of April.
Although the NFL season will not begin until late August, the buzz surrounding the Broncos never ceases. Will they take a quarterback with the 10th pick? Will they continue building the offensive line? Will they draft an edge pass rusher on the defensive line to go along with an already dynamic core of quarterback-crushing linebackers? How about a late-round shot at a game-breaking wide receiver to go along with Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton?
All of these questions are being asked, but none will be answered until April 25 when round one of the draft kicks off in Nashville, Tenn. Teams will stop at nothing to disguise their intentions. They visit with players they have no interest in. They pretend not to have interest in players they actually hope to draft. They tell the media they will do one thing, then do another. When teams don’t tell the media anything, the media makes assumptions based on that silence. Assumptions turn to rumors, rumors turn to news, and the frenzy of speculation and uncertainty continues until draft day.
The most recent rumor is that the Broncos say they are set at the quarterback position for 2019, and that other needs will likely be addressed. There have been hints that the offensive and defensive lines will be the top priority in Nashville. Other draft experts are saying defensive backs and receivers will be tops on the Broncos’ wish list.
Having seen this movie before, and considering what the Broncos are saying publically, I think Missouri quarterback Drew Lock is still the primary target. The more they say he isn’t, the more I think he is …
The Rockies started out like a house on fire with a pair of season-opening wins over the Miami Marlins. Then the tide shifted dramatically with three consecutive losses. Talk about movies we’ve seen before … At home, no problem. On the road, yikes.
What is different this season is that many of the most respected pundits and prognosticators are predicting that the Rockies will win the National League West. That is certainly news to the Dodgers, I’m guessing, since they have won the division title six years in a row.
Another interesting tidbit is that the Rockies are expected by many to win the division in large part because of their exceptional pitching. That’s right. I said “pitching.” The starting rotation is stacked with talented pitchers who figure to be relevant for the foreseeable future. Every starter on the staff had successful campaigns in 2018, and the average age of the starting rotation is just 29 years old.
The top part of the batting order, one through six, is said to be among the best in baseball. After reviewing the lineup personally, and examining the offensive statistics of each player, I’m just not sure I’m seeing it. I hope I’m wrong.
No matter how the Nuggets fare in the playoffs, this season represents a remarkable turnaround. Last season the Nuggets finished ninth in the Western Conference, one game out of the final playoff spot. This season, currently sitting with a record of 51-25, the Nuggets finished second in the Western Conference just one game behind the mighty Golden State Warriors.
That means the Nuggets could conceivably enjoy home court advantage all the way to the Western Conference finals. If Golden State awaits them there, Golden State would be the home team for that series. But again, the second place finish was a pleasant surprise for a young team that finally seems to have turned the proverbial corner.
The Nuggets have received far less attention this season than some of the teams that have finished behind them in the West. Houston, Oklahoma City and Portland have garnered much more attention from the national press than have the Nuggets. But there is nothing new about that. If the Nuggets want the respect they deserve, a prolonged run through the Western Conference playoffs would certainly do the trick. Go Nuggets.
The Avalanche finished last season with a heartbreaking loss to Nashville in the first round of the playoffs. Because Nashville was a heavy favorite, and because of the way the series played out, the Avalanche appeared to be poised for an exceptional 2019 season. For a variety of reasons, that anticipated step forward never really materialized.
A streaky season, filled with unexplainable highs and lows has left the Avalanche clinging to the final playoff spot among Central Division teams. The Avalanche are 36-29 after 79 games, and they are just two points ahead of Arizona. Both Colorado and Arizona have just three games remaining on their regular season schedules.
Colorado will host the Edmonton Oilers, followed by the Winnipeg Jets, and will close out the regular season on the road April 6 against the San Jose Sharks. Just like last season, inclusion in the playoffs, or elimination from the playoff picture, will likely come down to the 82nd game.