Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Hey, so we're still all here, right?
In lieu of a full STDL column, let's take a quick look at the advanced metrics and where the Broncos and Browns stand:
Denver remains atop Brian Burke's efficiency rankings (third on offense, second on defense), with an 81% probability of beating the Browns and an 86% chance of gaining a first-round bye. Cleveland is 23rd in overall efficiency (25th on offense, 13th on defense).
PFR's Simple Rating System ranks Denver fourth overall (offense second, defense fifth), and Cleveland 25th (28th, 17th (tie)).
The Broncos remain second to the Niners in PFF's grading, but they narrowed the gap a good deal last week. Denver grades out at third on offense, and first on defense, while Cleveland ranks 23rd on offense, 11th on defense, and 17th overall.
Peyton Manning tops fan voting
Manning, who has 31 touchdown passes and has thrown for 4,016 yards this season, topped the fan balloting with 993,045 votes cast on NFL.com.
Before we get too carried away, remember that this is only 1/3 of the vote. The players and coaches still have their turn. Manning leads everyone, while Bailey and Miller are tops at their respective positions.
It's hard to imagine, though, the outcome changing for these three Broncos.
Tebow's time in New York nears end
It surely can’t end soon enough, because this season — Tebow has attempted all of eight passes — has done nothing to convince his detractors he can throw the ball well enough to be an NFL quarterback.
A high-ranking NFL personnel evaluator, who spoke on condition of anonymity to share his scouting report, said: “(Tebow) attempts to play quarterback despite poor footwork, throwing platforms, release, timing, efficiency, progression, reads, anticipation, arm strength, accuracy and any other position-specific category you can think of.
“God bless him for trying,” the personnel man said, “but I wouldn’t touch him and would pass on the Jacksonville (Jaguars) job if it forced me to take him.”
Interesting to see everyone coming out of their zombie shelters now that Rex Ryan (stupidly) made it safe and the risk of infection is so much lower.
Weenies. Where were these guys yuking it up last year when we were fighting off the bath salts crowd with only our keyboard and Bill F-ing Murray?
The good news for these cats? We've stockpiled tetanus shots.
To answer some questions that were in the comments of today's Lard, the Broncos play a hybrid defense, which is more akin to a 3-4 than it is to a true 4-3. You can think of it as a 3.5-3.5 if you’d like. The discussion was around whether the Broncos have featured an adequate interior pass rush from its defensive tackles, and whether the scheme actually calls for them to really rush the passer.
The Broncos use three 300-pounders on their base defensive line, in Derek Wolfe, Kevin Vickerson, and Justin Bannan. That’s why I say it’s more like a 3-4 than it is like a 4-3, because in the base running scheme, the defense is asking those three players to two-gap, and to effectively control six of the eight gaps. That’s a challenging task, and the front three for the Broncos has been consistently up to the task this year.
The two edges are manned by SLB Von Miller and open-side DE Elvis Dumervil (or Robert Ayers). Eight gaps are accounted for by five players, and that allows the ILBs (two from among Wesley Woodyard, Keith Brooking, D.J. Williams, and Danny Trevathan) to read the run play, and flow to the action. It also allows them to briefly maintain their initial depth, and avoid biting on play action.
Ryan Clady Says Peyton Manning Has Made Him a Better Player
How different it is blocking for Peyton Manning as opposed to Tim Tebow:
“One of the differences is pretty obvious. Peyton Manning just gets rid of the ball a little faster. That definitely helps out the offensive line. Also with Peyton you know the spot he is going to be in for the most part. With Tebow it was kind of up in the air as to where he was going to be.”
On the improved running game:
“Yeah, no question. It’s something our coaches have been harping on. Something they have been harping on and the past couple of weeks it’s something that all good playoff teams need to have is a good running game so I think we have done that and we need to continue to run the ball well.”
Whether he feels like Peyton Manning has made him a better player:
“I feel like he has. His ability to play the quarterback position always helps out the offensive line. When he was in Indy he never really had any big name offensive linemen but he made them look good which is a good thing and that’s what good quarterbacks do.”
Does this mean Clady is cool if the Broncos slap the franchise tag on him at the end of the season?
Arian Foster gifts Segways to line
The star running back gifted each of his offensive linemen with a Segway personal transporter on Wednesday.
Foster said the Texans’ offensive linemen were always getting on his case about him riding his Segway.
“I feel like all of them big hogs up front can enjoy the joy that I get from riding my Segway,” Foster said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “Guys like Chris Myers and (Duane) Brown and Wade Smith, they’re always getting on me about riding my Segway. ‘You can’t walk? You’re too good to walk?’
If the Broncos play the Texans in the playoffs, please, someone, anyone, tamper with Foster's Segway so his legs get tired and he feels no joy.
Where did it all go wrong?
In September 2010, there was a notice from the water company taped to the door of McKinley’s house in Aurora, Colo., and rent that was past due. He had a court date to increase his child support payments. On crutches, with reality suffocating him, he got on a plane to South Carolina. He went to the clubs and walked the same streets he used to walk with Murdock and Thomas. He went to the Gamecocks’ Sept. 11 home game against Georgia. When his face appeared on the big screen, the crowd erupted in a standing ovation. McKinley soaked it in and waved. He was still the biggest star at Williams-Brice Stadium.
He stayed with Terrence Campbell, an offensive lineman for the Gamecocks at the time, and Campbell asked him to hang around in Columbia longer. It would be like old times. McKinley said he had to go. He told Campbell to get to work and focus on his season.
McKinley went back home to Georgia for a few days, watched his old high school team play a football game, then flew to Denver on Sept. 19. He paid his back rent, post-dated a check for October and chatted with his landlord’s 11-year-old son, a Broncos fan. McKinley went out that night, then slept in.
Sometime in the early-afternoon hours of Monday, Sept. 20, 2010, he pulled a sheet over himself, put a semiautomatic .45-caliber handgun to his head and squeezed the trigger. He was dead when police arrived at his house on Caley Place. The shades were drawn; the TV was on with the volume down low. McKinley died with the NFL Network on.
If you've got the time, we highly recommend you check out this story on the late Broncos WR Kenny McKinley and his pact with two college friends to make it in the NFL. It also gives a few more details about McKinley's relationshp with former Broncos QB Tom Brandstater, who emptied his bank account to help McKinley with his growing expenses. Finally, it paints a picture of a young man who struggled with the need for friendship, the desire for success, and the setbacks of life--in other words, with being human.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's been an especially rough few days for the LOLJets and their QB impersonators; it's only getting worse for their fans.
Monday night saw Buttfumble commit five more turnovers, including a game-ending bobble that put to rest the team's slim playoff hopes. That brought his two-year giveaway total to an even fifty, the most in the league.
The next day, it was announced that the team's third-string quarterback would take over for the starter, leapfrogging the purported backup. BTW, does that sound familiar?
For his part, the most epic of NFL fizzles says that all he ever wanted was a chance; apparently, the opportunity to prove oneself in practice doesn't count. Adding insult to insult, the UT™ is reportedly single once more.
Not Judging Browns by Record
“They’re 3-0 versus our division,” Head Coach John Fox said. “They’ve won three out of four of their last games. Really, that was a close game last week against Washington. They’ve got good players. I’ve said all year long, we don’t look at team’s records, we look at the tape and they’re very capable.”
Although I may not be the biggest John Fox supporter when it comes to strategy, I do love the dude's ability to keep a straight face while telling everyone to fear the Cleveland Browns.
After all, they've beaten the Chiefs, the Raiders, and the Chargers (by one point).
Stop laughing. Fear Cleveland.
When you really study the skills that each player brings to the table, it’s hard to go wrong with either man. Smith is a dominant pass rusher with intriguing skills and a non-stop motor. While he is still refining parts of his game, it’s tough to dispute his effectiveness. Miller is a monster playmaker off the edge with a game that is polished in every aspect. He can rush the passer from the linebacker position or as a defensive end, or he can play in coverage. Given that he has such a versatile and explosive game, Miller gets the nod in a close debate.
Don't get us wrong - anyone would take Aldon Smith for their team. But choosing between him and Von Miller? That's an easier choice than Bucky Brooks portrays.
Smith leads Miller in sacks by 3.5, but Von is ahead in tackles for loss, by wider a 25-17 margin; PFF has Miller down for 82 pressures and an overall grade of +77.9, which both dwarf Smith's impressive 65 pressures and 19.8 grade. The difference is Von's completeness, thanks to his vastly improved play against the run and in coverage.
Smith's a great player in his own right, but Miller is a superstar who is already surpassing comparisons to his idol Derrick Thomas, and instead should be measured against the great Lawrence Taylor.