News Flash: Von Miller is above average

Von Miller wants to become the NFL's Derrick Rose
sports.yahoo.com

“I’ve never been around a player like him,” said Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, who spent 11 years in the NFL as a player and the past 16 as a coach. “He’s incredibly quick, but he also has more strength that you’d expect.

Such a display was last season against the New York Jets when Miller made a quick move to the outside against 318-pound offensive tackle Wayne Hunter. As Hunter quickly backpedaled, Miller put his right hand to Hunter’s chest and tossed Hunter aside on the way to sacking quarterback Mark Sanchez. In all, the play took around two seconds.

“That’s why I like so many of those two-sport guys,” Fox said. “With Von, it’s like he’s running almost parallel to the ground sometimes, like his torso is almost six inches off the ground or something crazy like that and he’s going full speed.”

Fox then laughed and said, “Oh yeah, that’s all coaching.”

This piece by Jason Cole mostly concerns Miller's latest foray into athletic shoes, but the quotes about his athletic ability were too much to pass up.

It's also proof that there's good money to be made with your ass to the ground at full speed.  

Ravens already bitching and moaning—about bitching and moaning

Ravens say Peyton Manning's protests win over referees
www.usatoday.com

“It’s known that they’re going to complain or if they get thrown down and look at a ref they’re going to get a flag thrown against the defense,” [Brendon] Ayanbadejo said. “We’ve seen that happen against us before with Tom Brady. We always teach the same rules, regardless of the quarterback: hit them in the strike zone. If you’re within a step of his arm motion, hit him.”

But only one roughing-the-passer penalty has been thrown for a hit on Manning this season. Perhaps the lack of penalties can be explained by Manning’s knack for getting the ball away in time — Denver gave up 21 sacks during the regular season, second fewest in the league.

Other Baltimore players share non-specific resentment for the quarterback who had offseason neck surgery that forced him to miss the 2011 season. The Ravens weren’t penalized in December for roughing up Manning, but they think they have to walk on egg shells. “Peyton Manning is one of the best of all time,” defensive lineman Ma’ake Kemoeatu said. “We want to get in there and get him down. At the same time you have to try not to get a penalty for hitting Peyton Manning.”

This type of talk is utterly hilarious coming from a team who tried to bully its way to a victory in their first matchup against the Broncos.  Cary Williams and Anquan Boldin both learned that wasn't going to happen. 

So what's the next step?  Complain, of course.

The Ravens still don't get it.  It's not the year 2000.  There are eight teams left in the playoffs, and they are the weakest in the herd.

They're not the Ravens.  They're prey.   

A quick look at Denver’s 2013 cap situation

While the Broncos are among eight teams whose seasons are still ongoing, the other 24 franchises are busy figuring out their front office and roster situations. Even as the team preps for Saturday's showdown with the Ravens, we figure it's never a bad time to look at the cap and salary circumstances for next year.

According to John Clayton, Denver is carrying over $11.5M in cap space over from the 2012 season, which in concert with their $7M in 2013 headway will give the team $18.5M in space. The Broncos could easily create more wiggle room by negotiating new deals with or releasing any of D.J. Williams ($6M salary), Joe Mays ($4M), Matt Prater ($2.5M), and Caleb Hanie ($1.25M).

Continue reading "A quick look at Denver’s 2013 cap situation"

Broncos in good health; Baltimore’s Pierce, Leach sit out practice

Three days ahead of Saturday's divisional matchup, more good injury news is coming out of Dove Valley. Although Tracy Porter (concussion) remained sidelined Wednesday, the rest of the team practiced fully, including Ryan Clady (shoulder), Chris Kuper (ankle), Orlando Franklin (knee), Mike Adams (knee), and Trindon Holliday (ankle). Willis McGahee again practiced as he hopes for a potential conference title game return.

For Baltimore, RB Bernard Pierce (knee), FB Vonta Leach (ankle), and G Jah Reid (toe) were absent from practice, while Dannell Ellerbe (ankle) was limited. All others, including most of the Ravens starting defense, were listed as full participants despite a slew of injuries.

The Manning offense is still the Manning offense

One Trick Pony
www.grantland.com

As they gained exposure to their new quarterback, though, the stance of Denver’s coaches grew more flexible. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy noted that he’d “be an idiot” not to listen to Manning, and that the goal was to find a “happy medium” between the approach of Denver head coach John Fox and what Manning had previously done.

After watching Denver this season, I’m not convinced “happy medium” is accurate. While the terminology Denver uses might be its own, both structurally and in its specifics, the offense is strikingly similar to what Manning did for years in Indianapolis. Despite some early protestations, that opinion has spread throughout the league. When asked how similar Manning’s current offense is to what he ran in Indianapolis, New England coach Bill Belichick was typically candid. “It’s identical. It looks the same to me.”

From the Department of Great Timing, Chris Brown has an excellent article for Grantland, and not shockingly, he agrees with me that the Broncos are effectively running the same passing offense as he ran with the Colts for all those years.  He doesn't say whether there are any Air Coryell principles, but trust me, there aren't.  Brown also agrees with me that the Broncos have retained run game elements from the past offense, which is clear on film.  You should definitely check this article out, and maybe even tweet it to Jeff Legwold.  I bet he'd be thrilled to hear from you on the topic.

Since Brown didn't explain this, in the diagrams, MOFO means Middle Of Field Open, and MOFC means Middle Of Field Closed.  The inside receiver has a read to make - iIf there's a safety in the midde, he's supposed to keep vertical in the seam, and if there isn't a safety in the middle, he's supposed to go to the post.

Fun with graphs, Broncos/Ravens rematch edition

Remaining Eight Playoff Teams' EPA
www.advancednflstats.com

I noticed an interesting thing about the eight remaining teams in the playoffs. They are currently the eight and only eight teams that are in the upper-right quadrant of the Team EPA visualization (on the main page or full viz here.)

Here's the visualization to which Burke is referring. What does it say relative to Broncos/Ravens?

Well, Denver fields the most efficient team in football, as Burke's data has said since Week 6. As the most northeast team on that viz, that means the Broncos are the best combination of offense and defense among all teams, and as follows, the best of the playoff teams.

Of the eight remaining squads, none are less efficient than Baltimore, which is most southwest in that first quadrant. They have, by far, the least efficient offense, and along with the Packers, the least efficient defense.

Official site continues to provide unparalleled Dove Valley access

Photos: Broncos player seen peeing behind Peyton Manning in team-produced video
blogs.westword.com

Remember that golden moment from a November 2011 Denver-San Diego game when Chargers kicker Nick Novak was seen pissing on live TV? Apparently, the Broncos wanted a similar splash of magic going into their Saturday playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens. That’s our conclusion after seeing a team-produced video in which a player can be seen taking a leak at practice.

We had some fun when the team went all reality TV during the last coaching search, and when John Elway headed out into the Twittersphere.

But this...this is a whole new level of access, Broncos TV. You've outdone yourselves, and of course, we love it.

via Deadspin

An open letter to Jeff Legwold

Dear Jeff Legwold,

I understand that you’re in a tough position at the Denver Post, considering that you’re supposed to be their “analyst,” and that you’re so obviously ill-equipped to analyze football.  It’s not really your fault, because you’re a reporter, and your employer is asking you to be something other than what you are.

As Doug Lee tweeted today, your assertion that Norv Turner could be coming to Denver to be the offensive coordinator is patently ridiculous.  We don’t think you made the idea up; rather, we suspect that somebody who doesn’t know what they’re talking about told you that it may happen.

You told Doug that because Mike McCoy once worked for Dan Henning, who worked for Joe Gibbs, who worked for Don Coryell, the Broncos were already using some “principles” of the Air Coryell structure.  I’m here to tell you that Henning’s influence on the Broncos passing scheme is minimal, at best.  I didn’t consult a Rolodex to know this; I know it by watching games, and knowing what I’m talking about, because I’ve been studying technical football for a very long time.

Continue reading "An open letter to Jeff Legwold"

More proof the Broncos shouldn’t be paying a kicker $4.25M

Altitude and Field Goals
www.advancednflstats.com

But what about altitude? How does the thin air of Denver’s Mile High Stadium affect field goal success?

Kicks in Denver do indeed have longer range, to the tune of about 5 yards.

Anyone who's been reading here as far back as July knows precisely where this is going. Thanks to Denver's altitude alone, the Broncos don't need to pay any kicker $4.25M (as they are with Matt Prater this season), or $3.25M/year over a contract (Prater's average salary from 2012 to 2015), even less one of the most inaccurate ones in the league.

This is only compounded by the presence of one Peyton Manning, a man from whom John Fox we never want the ball taken away. All thirteen of Denver's wins this season have been by at least seven points, and none of them hinged upon a field goal attempt.

Kuper on track for career playoff debut Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's been well-documented here and elsewhere that the Ravens will come to Denver with many players they didn't have for the first matchup between the two teams.

But Denver has several recovery stories of its own, if not all with an eye toward Saturday, or even this 2012 season.

Willis McGahee's return to practice yesterday offers hope of a particularly deep backfield - given the emergence of Knowshon Moreno - but Willis will only become a factor should the Broncos emerge victorious from this upcoming divisional round game.

To get there, a likely reappearance by Chris Kuper in the starting lineup would be a major boon, given the oft-noted vast difference between the offensive line's pass protection with Kuper around rather than Manny Ramirez.

Continue reading "Kuper on track for career playoff debut Lard"

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