The postseason runs of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche have, much to the dismay of Denver sports fans, come to an abrupt end after second-round Game 7 losses this past week.
But worry not, as the Colorado Rockies have climbed to within sight of .500 and the Denver Broncos have officially kicked off Phase 3 of the offseason.
With that in mind, we sat down with “Stokley and Zach” co-host Brandon Stokley to get his thoughts on the two teams and the major storylines surrounding each this week.
Digital content producer Johnny Hart: Nico Falah is the latest Broncos player to have his season come to an end at the hands of an Achilles injury. In your experience with a similar injury, how difficult was it to work back onto the playing field?
“Stokley and Zach” co-host Brandon Stokley: Well, it’s not the easiest thing, for sure. Any time that you have a lower-leg injury it takes a while. But I do know the Broncos have really good trainers there because that’s where I rehabbed my Achilles at. And they know what they’re doing. I think that you’re seeing these injuries more and more these days around the league and in sports in general, and the surgeries they’re having now and the rehab, it’s so much more advanced than what I had back in 2006.
JH: Falah’s Achilles injury is the fifth for a Denver player (or recently departed Denver player) in the past 12 months, significantly outpacing the rest of the NFL in terms of how often players experience such an injury. Is that a cause for concern or is it just a statistical anomaly?
BS: You are seeing more Achilles in sports these days, but, certainly, the Broncos, I promise you they have looked at this and are doing research on why so many Achilles have happened. What could we change? What could we do better? Do we need to switch some things up in how we’re training in the offseason or how we’re practicing? I guarantee you they’re looking at that. But sometimes injuries just happen. You can’t really explain it. And I think when you look at sports as a whole, Achilles injuries are up also. So, I think that’s part of it too.
JH: Joe Flacco said his job is to worry about learning the Broncos offense and to win games, not to mentor Drew Lock. What has your experience in the NFL — both as a young player and a veteran — been in terms of mentoring?
BS: As a young guy, Qadry Ismail really helped me out a lot in Baltimore. (He) showed me the ropes, not only on the football field but off the football field, and was there to help me out. And I tried to always do that for other players along the way. But, certainly, with Joe playing the quarterback position and coming to a new team and new offense and everything that he’s got going on, certainly he has a lot on his play. And I think mentoring Drew Lock is way down on the list of things. Drew Lock’s got a couple of coaches. He’s got offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, his quarterback coach, T.C. McCartney, there, and that’s their job. Like he said, Joe needs to worry about playing the quarterback position at a high level and mastering this offense. So, Joe has a lot going on. Way down on the list is helping Drew Lock out this year.
JH: The Rockies are a fourth of the way through the season and, at times, have looked as if they wouldn’t climb out of an early hole. Where do you evaluate the team with three-fourths of its games still left?
BS: Well, I think they’ve steadied the ship here, which they had to do after such a bad start. But they’ve got to get things going. They’ve got to be a little bit more consistent because they dug themselves a little bit of a hole there. But they have played better baseball as of late, which is a nice sign. Their bats are coming alive. You know what, baseball’s such a long season. Sometimes you’ve just got to be patient. I think the Rockies, at least, have given themselves a fighting chance here.
JH: What’s the deal with your affiliation with the Red Sox, and with split allegiances this week, who do you side with, Boston or Colorado?
BS: Well, I am a Red Sox fan. I grew up collecting baseball cards. And I just liked Wade Boggs for some reason. So, I became a Red Sox fan that way. But, certainly, living here now, I’ve been a big — a huge — Rockies fan. And I love that organization. I love watching the Rockies play. Who am I pulling for this week? I’m pulling for the Rockies, man. This is where I live now. So, I’m pulling for the Rockies.
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