IAOFM wants PFT to know there’s more to rushing the passer than just sacks

Aldon Smith wants Von Miller to know who leads the league in sacks
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

Miller is a phenomenal player who was last year’s defensive rookie of the year, but Smith is making a strong case that he’s the premier pass rusher from last year’s draft. Smith had 14 sacks last year to Miller’s 11.5, and Smith’s total of 29 sacks in his first 26 NFL games are the most any player has ever had in the first 26 games of his career.

Whether Smith or Miller is the better player may boil down to a matter of personal preference. Suffice to say, both the 49ers and the Broncos are very pleased with their first-round draft picks from last year.

Personal preference - or a willingness to look beyond the simple comfort of a traditional stat - as we were just discussing with our friends Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera.

By PFF's accounting, Von has 61 pressures (13 sacks, 11 hits, 37 hurries) in 663 snaps (9.2%), while Smith has 43 pressures (15 sacks, 9 hits, 19 hurries) in 618 snaps 7.0%). It's not exactly a close call. The site's grades say the same thing - they have Von at +60.1, and Smith at +14.6.

According to Brian Burke, Von also beats Smith in WPA (1.10 to 0.70), EPA (48.0 to 34.5), and Success Count (44 to 37).

So, sure. Miller versus Smith is a matter of personal preference. Or, of thinking versus not thinking.

Unfortunately for KC, they have to start someone at QB this week Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The big topic of discussion yesterday at Dove Valley was, of course, the injury to Wilis McGahee and how the Broncos will try to compensate for his loss.

Lance Ball, likely understanding that it's his own strongest suit in the race for McGahee's snaps, says picking up the blitz is the most important task for a Denver running back, while Ronnie Hillman admits he's still got some work to do in that facet of the game.

Knowshon Moreno, who is expected to be activated for the first time since Week 2 at Atlanta, says that not playing has allowed the knee injury which ended his 2011 season to heal completely.

Will McGahee's absence harm the Broncos' ability to rely heavily upon 11 personnel? Unfortunately, the prospects of that being the case are strong to very strong.

The bright side of the injury coin is the growing likelihood the Broncos will have Chris Kuper back in the starting lineup Sunday at Arrowhead.

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Open Thread, Cutler/Marshall Schadenfreude: MNF Week 11 - Bears @ 49ers

Andy BenoitSam Monson, and Benjamin Hoffman break down the matchup, for which Alex Smith has been ruled out. Here are the rest of the inactives; Jay Cutler will not play either, so it's a Jason Campbell/Colin Kaepernick special! Enjoy the game!

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A Second Helping of Lance Ball in blitz pickup

Please allow us to interrupt the day's (year's?) round of Lance Ball bashing for a moment.

Ball has been the target of plenty of criticism this season, including in this here space, although the ire has more often been directed at the Broncos' coaching staff for dressing and playing him over former first-round pick Knowshon Moreno.

That anger becomes magnified when Ball carries the ball on third-and-four (like he did against New England in Week 5), or on third-and-one (as happened on Denver's first possession yesterday, prior to Willis McGahee's injury).

The argument has been that Moreno provides more skill with the ball in his hands, while Ball is considered the better blocker and special-teams player (if Moreno is the latter, at all). Not to be overlooked is that Ball spent much of a year's time with the Colts between 2008 and 2009, and therefore he and Peyton Manning have a pre-existing comfort with each other.

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McGahee has torn MCL, fracture, reportedly could return within 4-6 weeks

For the most part, the Broncos have managed to avoid catastrophic injury so far this season.

So much for that.

An MRI today revealed that Willis McGahee tore the MCL in his right knee yesterday, and he is expected to miss 6-8 weeks as a result.

Updated 4:00pm ET

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A Second Helping of John Fox’s lame fourth-down decision-making

TJ and I each made clear our disapproval for John Fox's meek choice yesterday to attempt a 19-yard field goal with 11:33 remaining in the second quarter of a 7-7 game.

Unsurprisingly, the decision caught the critical attention of Advanced NFL Stats writer Keith Goldner:

On another note, I cannot express enough disdain for John Fox’s decision to kick a field goal on 4th-and-Goal from the 1 in a 7-7 game, early in the second quarter. The numbers say to go for it unless you can’t convert at least 32% of the time. Peyton Manning can convert that well over 32%. The CBS commentator, though, went on a long rant about him making the correct decision to “take the points, because points usually win football games.” When is Chip Kelly coming to the NFL?

Well over? How about double? This season, on third or fourth down with one or two yards to gain, Peyton is 13/17 for 119 yards, three touchdowns, and a 134.6 rating. The Broncos have converted on 24 of 37 attempts - whether running or passing - from those same downs and distances, or 64.9%. 

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30 points? Piece of cake Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The specialness of YOUR 2012 Denver Broncos is now far beyond Peyton Manning.

This has become a team that scores 30 points when it's hardly running on all cylinders, as it has shown for the past three weeks (and four of the past five). These Broncos score 30 and win easily - even when John Fox¹ and the referees² do their best to make things closer.

Denver won its fifth straight game, by a 30-23 score over visiting San Diego (GamebookANS box score), and now owns a commanding three-game lead in the AFCW over those same Chargers, plus the head-to-head tiebreaker in the extremely unlikely case of a tie at season's end.

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Gut Reaction: Week 11 - Broncos vs Chargers

The Broncos got the AFC West in a strangehold, baby.

You best get outta the way.

The Broncos took care of business. They handled the San Diego Chargers (don't let the final score fool you). They now own a three-game lead.  And finally, they've taken two straight from Norv's kids.

A.J. Smith's head may, in fact, now be two sizes smaller.

Now it's on to the rest of the AFC.

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Open Thread: Sunday Week 11

Enjoy the games, and Go Broncos!

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Phil Rivers, meet Chris Harris, Jr. Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As expected, the team officially added D.J. Williams to the 53-man roster yesterday, and he is expected to be among the 46 game-day actives against San Diego today.

Williams will earn a $950K salary for the rest of the season, plus a $100K escalator for each game during which he's active - a far cry from the pre-suspension $4.9M salary he had been due to make.

Meanwhile, fellow defenders Von Miller and Kevin Vickerson are trying to keep their salaries whole by appealing the fines levied upon them by the NFL for hits on Cam Newton last week. Miller says he was successful in appealing fines for hits on Mark Sanchez last year, while Vickerson is hoping for a reduction of his penalty.

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