Four days after Peyton Manning made his earth shattering decision to join the Denver Broncos, his colleague, Jacob Tamme made the same choice. Coincidence? Most likely not. Tamme was drafted by the Colts in the 4th round of the 2008 NFL draft. His most lucrative year for the Colts was in 2010 when he had 67 receptions, 631 yards receiving, and 4 touchdowns. His production dropped sharply in 2011 when Manning was sidelined due to injury for the year. In 2012, with the Broncos, Tamme had 52 receptions, 555 yards, and 2 touchdowns. His receiving yards made up roughly 12% of the offenses completions last year.
On May 31st, while discussing his goals for OTAs, he was asked if Manning was more comfortable this year. He said, “Last year he was going through a lot with a new team, not just with his body and rehab. He’s still working on that, but you can tell he feels a little bit better.” But he says comfortable is a word they “don’t like to use around here because we don’t want to be complacent, we don’t want to be feeling good about ourselves when we haven’t done anything. We’re working right now to see what we can do this year.” The whole team is focused on moving towards a bigger goal of winning a Championship and not dwelling on what they were unable to accomplish last year.
Tamme, just like Manning, is much more comfortable his second year with the team and has enjoyed getting to know Coach Fox better. He loves that Fox is “fun” and “so competitive, but he’s laid back enough that you can enjoy playing 9 holes with him.” The golf outing that was arranged during OTAs seems to have had a positive impact on the team overall. As is practicing against the best pass rusher in the league. He said there is so much he can learn from Von Miller and it’s a great opportunity for the whole offense to have a chance in practice to try and block him. He is impressed with talent on defense altogether.
Loads of Bronco fans were devastated this year when Brandon Stokley was not re-signed after Wes Welker became a Bronco. After all, Stokley was Manning’s rock last year when he moved from Indianapolis to Denver, mostly because they had played together for four years in Indianapolis from 2003-2006. Stokley had 45 receptions, 544 yards receiving, and 5 touchdowns and similarly his receiving yards made up approximately 12% of the Broncos offense in 2012. Between Stokley and Tamme they were equivalent to one fourth of Manning’s completions last year. Losing a piece of that would make anyone nervous, but after a year of adjustments to a new city and a new team, does Manning really need a security blanket anymore?
Some fans seem to have completely forgotten that Tamme played with Manning, too. Yes, Stokley made those tough catches and no one will forget the unbelievable touchdown catch in the second half of the San Diego game, one that helped clinch one of the best comebacks of all time. But missing Stokley might not hurt so much with the Broncos looking to possibly have three 1,000 yard receivers with Welker, Eric Decker, and Demaryius Thomas next year. Manning loves having weapons and thinks highly of Tamme, saying earlier this June that he reminds him of Aaron Hernandez. Luckily, Tamme is focused on using “this time to get better” and he isn’t focused on how many receptions he will have next year.
The Denver Post is pretty positive that Tamme won’t be much of a target for Manning this coming season because of the talent at wide receiver, saying that “the Broncos will run more three-wide formations” basically rendering “Tamme and Joel Dreessen non-factors in the passing game.” Meanwhile, Tamme is busy picking Welker’s brain and focusing on improving his craft. He’s well aware that having Welker on the team means his receptions will probably decrease, but he said, “I want a Super Bowl.” The selfless attitude surrounding the Broncos is simply incredible. Tamme said that Welker, “brings everything that he’s always done. He’s extremely quick and can do a lot of good things out of the slot” and it’s “like he’s always been there.”
Although it is very clear that the Broncos passing game has improved since last season with the addition of Welker, Manning is not going to discount Tamme, Dreessen or up and coming star Julius Thomas, who has impressed his teammates during the last few weeks at mini camp and OTAs. Manning is not going to brush this talent aside, he is simply going to spread the ball around more than he did last year. And trying to figure out how defenses are going to stop this talented offense is mind boggling. How do defensive coordinators plan to stop this up tempo, no huddle attack this year?
In 2012, Demaryius Thomas was ranked 4th in the league with 1,434 yards and 94 receptions, Wes Welker was ranked 8th with 1,354 yards and 118 receptions, and Eric Decker was 17th with 1,064 yards and 85 receptions. Tamme was ranked 81st. Perhaps these guys won’t lose out on receptions or touchdowns this year, perhaps Manning is primed to throw for more yards and touchdowns than he has ever before. What with Montee Ball eager for the endzone and Decker’s 13 touchdowns last year, the 37 year old quarterback might just have his best season. But not without Tamme. He will be there ready to catch those passes Stokley did last year, those critical completions on 3rd and 7. The amount of receptions matter not to him, he seeks that ring more than the fantasy points.