Tag Archives: Denver Broncos

Green, Gaston

Cards: GameDay 1992, Score 1989
Acquired: TTM 2017, C/o Home
Sent: 12/31/17 Received: 1/12/18 (12 days)

At the time of his graduation from UCLA, Gaston Green stood atop the Bruins’ career rushing charts with 3,731 yards. After trading Eric Dickerson, John Robinson was looking to reload the Rams offense. The Rams had other needs as well, but when the #1 back in the draft plops in your lap at #14, you take him. There were quite a few recognizable names in the 1988 NFL Draft. The most notable name was Thurman Thomas, selected near the top of Round 2. John Stephens, taken a few picks after Gaston, won the 1988 Rookie of the Year Honors. Other names that rounded out this group were: Lorenzo White, Ickey Woods, Brad Muster, Craig Heyward, and Lars Tate. With the surprise emergence of afterthought Greg Bell in LA, Gaston played sparingly for the Rams, biding his time primarily on special teams. After 3 seasons behind Bell, Cleveland Gary, Robert Delpino, and Marcus Dupree– Gaston was traded by the Rams to Denver in 1991.

The Broncos were a run first squad as well. It was good timing as starter Bobby Humphrey was holding out. Gaston took over as starter and didn’t look back. He had his best season as a pro posting 1,037 yards on 261 carries, and 4 touchdowns, earning Green his only Pro Bowl appearance. In 1992, he had 648 yards on 161 carries. After the season he signed with the Los Angeles Raiders, but opted to retire instead. It really worked out best this way for Gaston, as he retired before he was 30 with his health still intact.

Great cards of Gaston. In fact, nearly all the card images of Green from his playing days are amazing. It was really tough to choose between his GameDay, Action Packed, Score, and ProSet entries, but these two were among my favorites. I have a box that I keep of players that I really want and when Gaston popped up, I dashed a letter out the door to him the next day.

G/GS 58/28       Rush 551      Yds 2136      Avg 3.9      TD 6      LG 67t
Rec 32      Yds 232      Avg 7.3       Td 1      Lg 33
Kr 47      Yds 981       Avg 20.9      Td 1      Lg 99t

Osweiler, Brock ‘Os’

Card: Topps Strata Clear Cut 2012
Acquired: 2017, EBay
Failure: TTM 2015, C/o The Denver Broncos

Brock Osweiler had a solid Junior year at Arizona State completing 326 of 516 passes for 4036 yards with 26 TDs to 13 interceptions. He’d declare after the season and enter the NFL Draft for 2012. The opinions were mixed on Brock. From the scouts in particular the talk was polarized.  He’d end up going in the 3rd round to the Denver Broncos to be groomed as Peyton Manning‘s heir apparent.

He’d ride the bench from 2012-2014, picking up some garbage time. It’d all change in 2015, when Manning suffered a foot injury. Osweiler came in and had a very hot hand leading the team to a 5-2 record in Peyton’s absence. Coach Kubiak was willing to let it ride, but eventually benched Brock in favor of Peyton. Manning despite having the worst year of his career, guided the Broncos the rest of the way to a Super Bowl victory.

It was obvious that this was Manning’s last hurrah, but it was also a contract year for Osweiler. Rumor swirled that Brock was unhappy about his benching and this played into his decision to play the free agent market. GM John Elway wanted to keep Osweiler in house and made a competitive offer, but in the end the Broncos just didn’t want to match what was being offered on the open market. Enter the Houston Texans.

Brock was offered a 72 million dollar contract to sign with the Texans. Houston had long suffered with a who’s who of quarterbacks, and felt that after their 30-0 shellacking at the hands of the Chiefs, that Osweiler was the man. His pedigree suggested that. During his run in Denver, Brock beat both the Chiefs and the Patriots, and studied under Peyton Manning. That had to amount to something right?  Osweiler certainly talked the talk and walked the walk when he arrived in Houston. He had a pretty decent preseason for all points and purposes aside, but already there were concerns about him. The first thing that troubled me was head coach Bill O’Brien had not met Brock before the team signed him. -I mean it’s not too entirely uncommon to happen in the NFL with the GM making the moves and all, but O’Brien is a sticky, hands on, in your face coach with his QBs. Still the pairing seemed to be a workable one. O’Brien is considered a renown QB whisperer, squeezing talent out of discarded journeyman quarterbacks.

Houston’s history of QB frustration goes back to the days of Warren Moon. Blessed with Moon’s golden arm, the city was nothing but spoiled from his excellent play. As time has passed, Warren’s skill has only become legend, and the fanbase has  wanted that back desperately since the Texans arrived in 2002. That can put a tremendous amount of pressure on a QB. While initially optimistic about the signing, I immediately got worried based on past failure with big name free agent signings- who talked the talk, but did not walk the walk. Given an option to pick between a Brock Osweiler jersey and RB Lamar Miller- I quickly selected the latter.

The Texans opener was against the woeful Bears in Houston. I expected a slaughter. While there were some bright points, I was already troubled by Brock’s pedestrian numbers. During his tenure in Houston he failed to eclipse 300 yards in any game. In 11 games of the 15 he played that season, Brock had at least an interception, and in 3 games he had 2 or more. His average yards per attempt was a woeful 4.97 and did not throw for 3 or more TDs in any game during the year. The worst part about Osweiler, was that he really showed me that there was such a thing as a bond between QB and his receivers- as he had none with DeAndre Hopkins, a guy who could catch a pass from a scrub off the street.  In essence, Brock failed to deliver. He failed to take over any game he was in.  It was no fault of the Texans organization. Throughout as much of the season as they could they portrayed an extremely professional demeanor about his play. While most fans were exiting Osweiler One after 4-5 games, I gave him well over half a season. The in person performance I saw against the Lions cinched it for me. He just couldn’t hit the side of a barn to save his life.

Benched in favor of Tom Savage to cheers during a week 14 matchup with Jacksonville, it appeared that the Brock Osweiler experiment was already over, after Savage rallied the Texans to a win, but in the following game against the Titans, Tom was diagnosed with a concussion. Brock had words with Coach O’Brien that devolved into a screaming match at halftime, and then an accusation of being ‘restrained’ from leaving.  Essentially Brock mouthed off to O’Brien that, “He needed him now,” and O’Brien wasn’t having it. Despite Os’ season of futility, the Texans won the AFC South primarily on the back of their defense’s titanic effort. The Texans upended the Raiders in the playoffs, but Osweiler’s inefficiency was in full effect against the Patriots. He’d throw 3 picks, complete under 50% of his passes, with each completion averaging a measly 4.97 yards. Of note, Osweiler set the Texans single season franchise mark for interceptions with 16.

After the season the Texans did an evaluation of their talent and decided they had a problem. After discussions with the Browns, the teams cooked up a clever way of dealing with Osweiler and his contract. The Texans traded Osweiler to the Browns with a 2018 2nd round pick, in exchange for a 2017 4th round pick. Both teams came out a winner in the deal. The Texans jettisoned a toxic product and a large contract. The Browns were essentially buying a 2nd round pick and if they could turn Brock around- a player to boot. The contract hit to the Browns bottom line didn’t matter. (They had a ton of cap space to spend.)   While there was some initial preseason hype around Os, (including a hilarious promotion video) he didn’t make the squad. Unable to find a trade partner for Brock, the Browns cut him before the beginning of the 2017 season. I don’t feel badly for Osweiler. He won a Super Bowl ring and made out like a bandit. Literally while composing the post in 2017, Osweiler was working on signing again with the Broncos- proving you can indeed go home. He only lasted one season in his return to Denver, posting 5 TDs and 5 interceptions to go along with 1,088 yards and a 55.8 completion percentage.  In March of 2018 he signed a free agent contract with the Miami Dolphins where he is expected to duke it out for a backup spot behind Ryan Tannehill.

Talk about poor timing. I sent to Osweiler the week after he got benched. He was signing at a furious clip, and then all of a sudden BANG he stopped.  I had been waiting it out to get an autograph of his- for posterity’s sake, but the market on his autograph for some reason was very expensive. I got lucky and it so happened that this really nice card popped up at a bargain value. It should be noted that while the Topps Strata Clear Vision is really a well designed patch card- the patches are not authentic and say so in very, very small type on the back.

Kennison, Eddie

Card: Score 2006
Acquired: 2017, Future Considerations

Ah Eddie Kennison. I only casually followed the 1996 Draft. Things had already been put into motion with the Oilers, and with my personal life a complete disaster zone at the time, I was completely and utterly disinterested in football. Still, in the meantime, when the Rams selected Kennison, for a brief shining moment there he was the WR compliment for Isaac Bruce, before the appearance of Torry Holt.

An LSU product,  Eddie played for the Tigers from 1993 to 1995. His best year came in ’95 when he put up 45 catches, 739 yards, and 2 TDs. A track man, Kennison averaged 15.9 yards per reception. He had some good measurables entering the combine running a reported 4.29 40.  He’d be the 3rd receiver taken off the board, after Keshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn, and a spot ahead of future HoF WR Marvin Harrison. -Truly the 1996 draft was stocked with WR talent.

In his first season with the Rams, Eddie put up a solid stat line of 54 receptions, 924 yards and 9 TDs. He’d also contribute on special teams as a punt returner with 29 returns for 423 yards and a whopping 2 TDs. After the 1998 season, Eddie was signed by the rival New Orleans Saints. He’d record a career long 90 yard TD reception against the Atlanta Falcons in 1999 and lead the team in yards and receptions despite a quarterback carousel of talent. After the season the Bears traded a mere 5th round pick to get Eddie, where he’d spend just one season with Chicago before heading off to Denver in 2001.

Eddie had a rough ride with the Broncos. After 8 games he decided that he had enough of the sport and opted to retire. Denver released him, but Eddie decided that he still wanted to play after all. About a month later, he signed with  the rival Kansas City Chiefs. Eddie had his best years in KC, spending the next 7 seasons there. He had his best 2 seasons professionally in 2004 and 2005 respectively putting up consecutive 1000 yard seasons and posting career highs in both receiving and yards. After the 2007 season, he’d briefly resurface with the Rams in 2008, and retire after signing a ceremonial one day contract with the Chiefs.

Lance came through again with this one at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame dinner getting Eddie on this Chiefs card. Little known fact is that Kennison refuses to sign any cards from his early playing days on the Rams. Whether this is due to them being rookie cards or that he just has some bad memories with them is unknown. This is not a bad looking card. I find the embellishment and the pencil thin lines to be a bit distracting, but the photo is pretty solid. You can always count on Score to at least have good action photography and provide a wide spectrum of players from each team.

G/Gs 179/84   Rec 548     Yds 8345     Avg 15.2     Td 42    Lg 90t
PR  153       Yds 1528        Avg  10.0        Td   3     Lg   78t