Seven new players will don the captain's "C" on their right chest plate for the 2009 Denver Broncos.
Head coach Josh McDaniels announced prior to the team's practice session on Wednesday afternoon who these players would be, and elected by their teammates were:
- QB Kyle Orton
- C Casey Wiegmann
- TE Daniel Graham
- CB Champ Bailey
- S Brian Dawkins
- LB Mario Haggan
- Wesley Woodyard
This is a very respectable group of players for the Broncos.
Quarterback Kyle Orton is in his first year with the team, and has already won them over enough to warrant the status of captain. It is not out of the ordinary for Orton to be a captain, though.
In 2008, Orton was an offensive captain for the Bears as well, and veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher, one of the best defensive players this league has ever known, had only great things to say about Orton upon his departure.
"He's a real solid quarterback," Urlacher said. "He does what he needs to do to win the game. You look at his career record as a starter—he wins games. It doesn't matter how you do it, as long as you win."
Say what you want, Bears fans, but that statement is coming from the best player you have had since Walter Payton. He must know a little something about the game, and his teammates.
This is also a testament to veteran center Casey Wiegmann, one of three Broncos represented in the Pro Bowl in 2008.
Wiegmann, like fellow Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall, had a dispute over his contract this offseason. He stated publicly that he would retire if not given more financial security before training camp started, but unlike Marshall, Wiegmann attended every mandatory workout this offseason.
He never missed practice and never put up a fuss. He proved to management and his teammates that despite the fact that he wanted more money, he was not going to risk getting better over it.
While Wiegmann and Orton are both first time captains for the Broncos, tight end Daniel Graham is on his second go-round with these duties.
Graham has been a force in the locker room since coming to Denver. He is never afraid to voice his opinion (i.e. Brandon Marshall situation) and his actions on the field speak louder than his words.
Graham is widely considered one of the most complete tight ends in the NFL, although quietly so. He was signed to a very lucrative deal by Denver in 2007, and has maintained his status as an elite blocking tight end while also improving greatly in his pass receiving skills.
Champ Bailey is the most seasoned of the Denver team captains. He is in his third year of duty in this role with the Broncos, and the reasons do not need an explanation.
Bailey is not the most vocal leader on the team, but he certainly leads by example. He is considered an elite cornerback in this league today, and is also projected by many to be in the Hall of Fame someday. A well deserved recognition for the ten year veteran.
Joining Bailey as a captain in Denver's defensive backfield is safety Brian Dawkins, whose choice as a captain comes as no surprise whatsoever.
Dawkins is a vocal and spiritual leader who also leads by example with his play on the field. He has been a captain for the Eagles since many can remember, and his mental and physical toughness make him a prime candidate for this spot in Denver.
The third defensive captain is a first time captain for the Broncos in linebacker Mario Haggan.
Haggan is beginning his second season in Denver and his first as a starter. Throughout his career, he has been primarily a special teams star, but the Broncos saw enough in the veteran to offer him a contract extension. It has to be a huge honor for him to have been voted as captain by his peers.
On special teams, the Broncos voted second year linebacker Wesley Woodyard as the captain.
Woodyard earned a spot on last year's roster because of his special teams prowess, and continues to be a star contributor in that area for Denver.
A very worthy group of players, indeed will represent the Broncos as captains this season.