Stephen R. Covey, who is a well-renowned business management writer famous for his classic "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", probably does not realize he is also an expert on dealing with training camp injuries.
Covey is not a medical doctor, but he can help the Broncos or any other team dealing with a sudden rash of injuries -- some perhaps even of the season-ending variety. Covey explained the concepts Circle of Concern and the Circle of Influence to assist anyone dealing with stressful situations. And losing key players can be extremely stressful to coaches and fans.
Granted, Covey was not thinking of injuries when he created the concept, but the practicality of his work applies.
The Circle of Concern relates to all the things that bother us in our daily life, yet we have little or no ability to control. For example, in football terms, the amount of time a player is going to miss because of injury or the fans reaction to personnel moves, or even the referee's calls during a game.
These are things that cannot be controlled, therefore it makes no sense to spend any time dealing with them.
The Circle of Influence are all the things that we can control, such as how we work, how we react to situations and how we prepare for the task at hand.
A team's destiny lies in spending time working on the areas they can influence. When the injury bug hits, the best course of action is to just move on and keep fighting. Not just in words, but also in action.
Recent news has not been kind to the Broncos as they lost the NFL's sack leader Elvis Dumervil for four months, but what can they do? They cannot control how long it will take for his pectoral muscle to heal, and they still have to be ready to play at Jacksonville in Week 1 without him. The Broncos' season moves on with or without Dumervil.
The Broncos are obviously a better team with Dumervil -- hence the reason they gave him a five-year, $58.332 million deal in the offseason -- but coach Josh McDaniels has a responsibility to the other players on the team.
If the staff reacts or dwells on the Dumervil injury, McDaniels will shrink his circle of influence. However, if he ignores the injury, just moves along, takes the "next man up" mentality, then he will expand his circle of influence.
Now you know why Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick or any great coach never acknowledge injuries and just keep moving forward. They are not being rude to the media or fans, they just understand that they cannot control injuries, so they spend all their time focusing on the area they can influence -- which is the players they have available to coach.
With star tackle Ryan Clady missing camp because of an offseason injury, there is a notion that the Broncos season is already over, and they will not be able recover. But the 2010 season is very young and this is when teams bond.
Winning in the league requires being a team, so the Broncos must use this time to find other ways to make up for the loss of Dumervil. No one player is going to replace his 17 sacks or all his hurries.
They need to find three guys on the current roster to raise their level of play.
Former first-round picks Robert Ayers and Jarvis Moss combined for no sacks last season, so it won't be hard for them to improve. If both can get six sacks each, which is not too much to ask, then the Broncos would need to find just five more somewhere else. Skeptics might think I am crazy -- at times I think I am -- for thinking these players can contribute, but did anyone at this time last year think Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin could become a Pro Bowler?
That is the beauty of the NFL. Players are just waiting for their chance to become stars. All that is needed is a chance to perform and a coach who will focus on his own circle of influence.
MORE BRONCOS ... INCLUDING TIM TEBOW
I spent some time in Denver recently reviewing their team before the Dumervil injury, and they looked more physical than a year ago. The Broncos folded down the stretch, losing their final four games by allowing 755 rushing yards in that span.
Their emphasis this offseason was to get bigger, stronger and more physical along both lines. The effort seems to have paid off as the defense looked stronger behind the play of Justin Bannan and Jarvis Green. Once Jamal Williams is back, they will get even stronger.
A ton of the Broncos' success will be dependent on how quarterback Kyle Orton performs. Orton is coming off the best season of his career, throwing for almost 4,000 yards. As he seems to get more comfortable in the complex Broncos scheme, he can only expect to improve.
He is the clear No. 1 quarterback, and when he threw for more than 6.8 yards per attempt in a game last year, the Broncos were 8-4. Expect more downfield throws and an even better season.
Although Thomas suffered what is exptected to be a minor injury over the weekend, he has been impressive physically with his great size and shows explosive power and quickness coming in and out of his cuts. His hands were good and assuming he can stay healthy, assuming this latest injury is not long-term, he will make a huge contribution as a rookie.
Second-rounder Zane Beadles will be the starter at left guard, and appears ready to handle the job.
Third-round wide receiver Eric Decker looked like former Bronco Ed McCaffrey in his movement and number 87 jersey. He too will have to stay healthy, but looked very good running routes.
Based on his play this week, the best rookie seems to be fifth-round pick Perrish Cox. The defensive back had his hands on numerous balls, coming down with four interceptions in just one practice. He looked like a top-10 pick, and should make an impact if he can avoid the off-field issues that hurt his draft stock.
Yes, I know they also had another first-round pick, Tim Tebow. The best-selling shoe man from Nike and owner of a new hair style has looked like a young quarterback struggling to get repetitions.
He did show flashes of it all coming together at times, and once he starts to play and not think, he will turn many of his doubters into believers. Tebow will make an impact this season in special situations like goal line and short yardage, but his chance to compete for a starting job is at least one year away.
I AM EXCITED ... GAMES ARE BACK THIS WEEK
» I am excited that we will have 27 straight weeks of football ahead. That is a great feeling.
» I am very excited to see who wins the starting job between Giants running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. Bradshaw is an outstanding back, who reminds me of former runner Charlie Garner. He has the ability to create plays and threaten the edge of the defense. Jacobs, meanwhile, was too slow to get to the outside of the defense last season. Every defensive coordinator in the league knew when he was in the game the ball was being run inside. I like Bradshaw to win this battle -- easily.
» I am very excited to see if all the glowing talk coming from Jets coach Rex Ryan about former first-round linebacker/defensive end Vernon Gholston is real. Ryan is never short of superlatives about his team, so Gholston will have to prove it to me in games. I am not buying Ryan's evaluation.
» I am very excited to see how many quarterbacks handle the preseason, but none more than Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart. Leinart will need to show everyone (coaches and players) he can do the job, or else there will be a new starter in Arizona.
» I am very excited that I no longer have to read about whether Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth passed his conditioning test. What a relief!
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