Denver Post sports columnist Woody Paige posts Woody's Mailbag on Thursdays.
ATTENTION, readers. I have a CORRECTION (sort of)!
In last week's mailbag, there was a question asking about the relationship between John Elway and Josh McDaniels, and the response was that I didn't believe they had much of a relationship.
Josh has told me in the past that he doesn't read what is written about the Broncos in the newspapers (or, apparently, on The Post's website), but I know that Mark Thewes does.
Mark, whose title is "assistant to the head coach," is also from Canton, Ohio, and played high school football with Josh.
Thewes was a four-year starter on the Miami (Ohio) University baseball team and received his bachelor's degree from that school and a master's from Ohio University.
He served as an intern with the Pro Football Hall of Fame, then joined the Cleveland Browns and worked in their marketing department.
He was an account director in sports for GMR Marketing (NFL, NCAA, NASCAR) before being hired by Josh when McDaniels became Broncos coach.
He is McDaniels' right-hand man and go-between with the media. Thewes does read the newspapers and websites and watches ESPN, and he summarizes all that information for McDaniels.
So Josh does know what is said about him by all of you and me, if you're wondering.
Mark and I talk at practice and on the phone occasionally. He is a pleasant fellow who likes Denver and skiing. He called to tell me that Elway and McDaniels have indeed established a good relationship, have talked on the phone "many times," and that they've had lunch during the offseason (presumably at John Elway's restaurant, not Mike Shanahan's.)
There's the scoop.
Woody: Once in a while when I read your column, I wonder if you or a reader is giving up too much information on a public forum on the team's intentions on the draft or whatever the team will be doing for the next game. Have you heard of another team getting unintended inside intel from a mailbag or article that they've used to their advantage?
-- Bob E., Washington, D.C.
Bob: I've never gotten this question before.
We now know that Mark Thewes gets information from this forum, although I hope he doesn't read all those comments when people who read the mailbag get into fights with each other about who knows more about football and who can use the most obscene words.
I gave up reading the comments a long time ago.
I know, for a fact, that NFL teams do get information from newspapers and ESPN and the NFL Network and use it.
I also know that they don't pay attention to random blogs and comments made at the bottom of stories and mailbags.
Every little piece of information can help a team prepare for the draft, the upcoming game, the next season. I'm sure you've heard the expression "bulletin board material." That's one way a team will utilize media stories.
If a player on a team calls out, or trash talks, the other team or a specific player during the week, the other team's coaches make certain the players see it.
When Tom Coughlin was the coach at Jacksonville, and the Jaguars were playing the Broncos in the playoffs, he cut out my column ridiculing, facetiously, the "Jagwads" and had it placed under every player's hotel door the morning of the game.
Afterward, Coughlin held up the column on national television and said that was the reason the Jaguars pulled off a major upset. If you were the coach, wouldn't you give credit to your team and yourself?
As John Madden told me long ago when he was the Raiders coach, and we had lunch during the offseason in Denver: None of that stuff matters once the game starts.
In the past, teams would get all the newspapers clippings from the papers in the opposing cities and search for any kind of info about injuries, game plans, etc., but now everything is available on the Internet, and they just print it all out and have someone look at it.
Does it really help? I doubt it. The NFL puts out the injury lists weekly. Teams such as the Broncos usually don't open practices beyond the first few minutes when they're warming up (they do the big stuff in secret), and any trick plays or changes are kept mostly secret.
But I knew the head of a casino gambling operation in Vegas in the 1970s that had insiders around every team. According to what the head of the sports book at Caesars Palace told me months ago, they can get all they need from newspaper stories and TV networks.
There are hundreds of mock draft sites, and none of them really know that much. The Broncos don't even know who they will draft with the first pick. They have four or five guys they're thinking about, and they speculate just as we do.
Last year The Post suggested they might draft Knowshon Moreno and/or Robert Ayers, and no other team ahead of them rushed out and picked them. If they did, the Broncos would have drafted somebody else.
Do we know who the Rams will take? Not really. I would guess Sam Bradford, but they may go for one of the defensive ends. They're not going to tell a sports writer or some blogger or a guy off the street, and the head of scouting is not going to tell his barber.
There is so much information and misinformation out there, and teams really don't know what the other team is doing.
For instance, last year, the Broncos didn't divulge whether Kyle Orton or Chris Simms would start the week after Orton was hurt in D.C.
San Diego prepared for both. Both ended up playing. The Chargers didn't win because of inside information. They won because they played better.
From a personal standpoint, I can tell you I've never said, "Oh, I better not print this because the other team will find out."
Besides, last year, the Cincinnati Bengals were featured on the show "Hard Knocks," and I watched it every week, and we got a lot of inside information, and the Bengals had their best season in several years.
People have told me about stocks that have done well, and I watched the stocks, and they didn't do well.
I don't think any of it makes any difference, except ... when the Broncos played the Raiders for the 1977 AFC championship. I was the beat writer/columnist for The Rocky Mountain News.
I was the only person from the paper who covered the team. The Post had two writers -- Joe Sanchez and the late Dick Connor. We went to practices all the time.
That week I decided to go to Oakland to get stories, and The News put another writer on the Broncos.
Red Miller closed practices for the first time all year. When the game was over, we found out for the first time that quarterback Craig Morton had been in the hospital for part of the week and didn't practice. Nobody knew.
Morton couldn't tie his own shoes. Miller did it for him before the game. The Broncos were afraid the Raiders would find out that Morton had a badly bruised hip and would go after him.
Instead, Morton wasn't sacked once in the game. As a result of that game, the NFL started the injury list.
Woody: What is your analysis of the trade the Broncos made with the Browns to get Brady Quinn? Do you think he can push Kyle Orton for the starting job? Even if he doesn't, he's still an upgrade over Chris Simms, right?
-- Ron, Broomfield
Ron: I think "The Mighty Quinn" will push Kyle Orton for No. 1, but not at the beginning of camp or the beginning of the season.
I was stunned Sunday by the deal. I really thought the Broncos would try to draft a QB. Pat Bowlen did say the Broncos would get a young quarterback, and they did, although not quite the way we thought.
Quinn was a major disappointment going 3-9 as a starter in Cleveland, but at times he put up some pretty good point totals (the Browns scored 20 or more points in six of his 12 starts).
The Broncos got him cheap, depending on what you think of Peyton Hillis. But Hillis was never going to play for Josh McDaniels, whether you like it or not. So I like the trade.
Chris Simms was cut by the team on Monday, so Tom Brandstater will be No. 3 on the depth chart and Quinn will start at No. 2.
If Orton falters or is injured, or the Broncos start off next season awful, McDaniels, despite his statements that he doesn't like to change quarterbacks in a season (and who would with Tom Brady), will make the change.
I can't see Quinn being No. 1 in the first game because McDaniels wouldn't admit he made a mistake last year, and Josh genuinely believes that Orton will be improved and is the man.
But we've got ourselves a good old-fashioned quarterback controversy again, and you have to know that the Broncos are not so overwhelmed with Orton for the long term.
But I love the deal, and it does put pressure on Orton to perform, and the Broncos can find out if Quinn is a player.
But wouldn't it have been easier to trade Cutler for Quinn last year?
This will be fun.
Hi Woody: Who are you picking the make the NCAA Final Four? I like Duke, Kentucky, Ohio State and Syracuse.
-- John, Denver
John, Denver. Cute name. Today is Monday, and I've just filled out my brackets. You can see them all on ESPN.com's Bracket Challenge and play along with tens of thousands of others. I've got Kansas winning the championship -- what a surprise -- because of their experience, depth and because I really like Bill Self as a coach.
My Final Four is Kansas, Syracuse, Kentucky and Villanova. Syracuse has an easy bracket. Villanova will beat Louisville, which will beat Duke, and Kentucky has six young players who will be drafted by NBA teams, but is a bit too flaky, I think, to win it all, as John Calapari's Memphis team couldn't do it.
Ohio State can't beat Kansas in the Midwest Region. K-State can't beat Syracuse out West. West Virginia will not beat Kentucky in the East region, and Louisville will take 'Nova to the wire in the South region.
I think Syracuse and Kansas will play for the championship. It should be a great game.
Years ago, my mother filled out two brackets, one I helped her with, one of her own. She won her office pool -- with the one she picked.
Andra Davis was released less than 24 hours after Alabama's pro day. Is this a sign that the Broncos' brass is thinking of selecting linebacker Rolando McClain with the 11th pick, or is this a coincidence?
-- Asher, Toronto
It is merely a coincidence. The Broncos are not drafting a linebacker No. 1. Think wide receiver from Oklahoma State or Georgia Tech. Think nose guard from Tennessee. Think offensive lineman from somewhere.
Very little has been said about Ryan Harris lately. As I understand it, he has had problems with his feet since college. Are the Broncos expecting a full recovery (I think it was double-toe dislocation) or do you think they are being somewhat cavalier in the matter?
-- Dave Thyfault, Bow Mar, Colo.
Dave: I was told Harris is on the way to a full recovery from two different injuries to his right toe. I think the Broncos would like a little more beef at right tackle, but they like both Ryan Clady and Harris.
Woody, with the new additions along the defensive line, what does that mean for the future of Chris Baker? I remember reading articles saying he was a little raw but had a big upside.
-- Brandon, Minneapolis
Brandon: Baker was a free agent who impressed the Broncos last year in practices, and he's cheap. He weighs about 310 (which is somewhat small here now), and he can play some. But he has been given the dreaded "potential" label, so the Broncos will hope he gains a little bit of weight, gains a little bit more understanding in the offseason minicamps and can be a No. 3 next year with a chance to fit in case of injury. But he's not ready.