Over the bye week, I turned my attention to the notes that I’ve made on the team. Just as the offense did, the Broncos have made key errors on defense that cost them some games.
They’ve also showed the ability to play better. Here are some thoughts on Jack Del Rio's crew:
1. Rookie Derek Wolfe has played every position along the line (including nose tackle on at least one play) and already has three sacks to his credit - he’s also setting the edge with increasing effectiveness. Teams are commonly double-teaming Wolfe and/or handing him off from one blocker to the next, but all that’s done is to create more options for Von Miller, Elvis Dumervil, and the other players.
Del Rio isn’t shy about using his own immense creativity in putting new pressure packages together, and he’s started to use defensive secondary players in his QB pressure schemes, which helps. Most defensive ends/tackles need a couple or more years to really mature, but Wolfe’s off to a fine start.
A Denver County Court judge on Wednesday sentenced Broncos linebacker Genos “D.J.” Williams to 30 days of in-home detention for his most recent DWAI conviction but delayed the penalty’s start date until Feb. 7 — just after the Super Bowl.
Prosecutors sought a month in jail, saying it was Williams’ second ability-impaired driving conviction in just over five years. He also faces two years of mandatory probation.
If D.J. has any trouble killing his newly-found free time, we've got a few suggestions:
Good Morning, Broncos fans! As would be expected, the Broncos aren't taking for granted that they're going to cruise to an AFCW title, despite the turmoil permeating the rest of the division.
Chris Harris says experience and film work are what helped him nab his game-sealing pick-six in San Diego, and he thinks the same pass would have been completed on him last season.
According to Mike Klis, the determinant in Matthew Willis (still don't understand how he's making more than Willis McGahee this season) being a weekly game-day active over Andre Caldwell is special teams, and he doesn't expect the team to make any deals prior to Tuesday's 4PM ET trade deadline.
Jeff Legwold suggests that Denver's giant fourth-quarter deficits, and the aggressiveness they've necessitated, have led to their whopping 79-6 scoring advantage in the final quarter. Makes sense.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! After four days off for their bye week, the Broncos returned to practice yesterday.
With his former team coming to town, Tracy Porter was cleared on a noncontact basis yesterday, after he was held back from the trip to San Diego by what is being called an illness. According to Mike Klis, it's questionable whether Porter - who is not making a big deal of the reunion - will be able to suit up against New Orleans on Sunday night.
Then again, the player himself declared himself "ready to go," so we'll assume that's the case.
Brandon Marshall, self-proclaimed student of the game:
Five years ago, I didn’t know what conference I was in, probably. When you go back that far, the game was different. It was definitely different for me. I was seeing a lot of one-on-one coverages and we were out there just throwing it all over the place. Now, we have to be smarter. The looks that we’re getting, the disguises, you have to be a student of the game. It doesn’t matter how talented you are, if you’re not a student of the game, you’re definitely going to fail. I think the things you guys are hearing from me is just a maturity — learning the game more, learning the business and understanding the business more — so it’s also refreshing to me to see the growth in myself and the guys around me.
In Peter King's weekly shameless SNF promotion, he notes that Denver has 26 pass plays of 20+ yards so far this season, second only to their upcoming opponents, the Saints.
We have the word stat in quote marks because really, this amounts to trivia (why 20-yard plays, and not 19-yard plays?). 20 yards is a totally arbitrary threshold for a play to become labeled as explosive, and it's not the sort of figure you can correlate to winning or losing. More appropriate would be to just measure yards per attempt, and then figure in the effect of touchdowns, interceptions, and sacks - as we did last week.
Carolina Panthers should place call to Brian Xanders
Brian Xanders should be on their short-list of candidates. This is a guy who knows the inner front-office systems of three teams — the Atlanta Falcons, Broncos and New England Patriots (through his time with Josh McDaniels). Xanders has worked nearly NFL job, from coach to salary cap manager to talent evaluator to general manager…Panthers owner Jerry Richardson should give Xanders a call.
When considering any candidate for a position of power and influence, it's good to do your research. For example, how good will he be with the media? We suggest our Brian Xanders Random Quote Generator as a good starting place. Some of our favorite Xanders quotes of all time include the following:
Other "stuff," like Xanders's role in drafting Tim Tebow and whether Xanders really did prefer Clay Matthews to Robert Ayers are just minor things.
Perhaps it doesn't have the ring of Peytonpalooza, or of Tebow Time, but the Brady Quinn Era will continue indefinitely in Kansas City, according to Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel.
Quinn had started in place of the injured Matt Cassel in KC's Week 6 blowout loss to Tampa Bay, and Cassel, who's in the fourth season of a six-year, $63M contract, has been cleared to play this week.
Coming out of college, I had the impression that Cam Newton had impressive mental toughness. It came out in the middle of Auburn's season that his dad had tried to get paid for sending him to a college, and Cam seemed to ignore it, and just keep dominating.
Last year, he flashed really impressive talent, and some huge plays as a rookie. It seemed like he was the next big thing in NFL Quarterbacking.
The 2012 season is going terribly for Cam, though, and for the Panthers, who just fired their longtime GM Marty Hurney.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The AFCW got nominally more bunched yesterday, after the Raiders rallied for an overtime win over the decimated Jaguars.
Oakland is now 2-4 and one game behind Denver and San Diego after they overcame a 20-6 deficit for a 26-23 victory. Jacksonville lost Maurice Jones-Drew and Blaine Gabbert to injury, and then backup QB Chad Henne showed exactly why the Jags hadn't yanked Gabbert yet. The ex-Dolphin was 9 for 20 for a woeful 71 yards, and was sacked three times for 26 yards - 45 net passing yards on 23 dropbacks. These are numbers that remind us of...oh, never mind.
Jacksonville wideout Cecil Shorts fumbled on the opening possession of overtime, and Sebastian Janikowski ended the game with a 40-yard kick.
As for Carson Palmer, who does he think he is? Jake Plummer?
Oakland's next game will be Sunday at Arrowhead against the 1-5 Chiefs, who were idle this week. Mark your calendars - should be a good...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.