Scouting the Broncos: Back to basics

As usual, I’ve been looking over the film of the first game with regard to the offensive line. Health issues prevented my spending the time necessary to fully cover the second game, but I did a little poking around in the stat pile as far as where the Denver OL stands in general.

I’ll work in what I found in the first game - as you’d expect, the stats were better in that contest, simply because the line played very well. Here are just the bare bones of the second game, using the figures over at Pro Football Focus:

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Something does not compute here

Peyton Manning, the outsider
espn.go.com

While he continues to knock off the rust from missing all of last season, Peyton Manning should do this: Stay to the outside.

Manning is excelling outside of the painted numbers in the first two games of the season, but he is struggling in the middle of the field.

I don't find this article to be very intelligent, but I wanted to point something out here.  There has been a lot of media howling over the last few days about Peyton Manning's diminished arm strength, particularly from Jason Whitlock, but from plenty of others too.  Then good ol' Pork Chop says that Manning should stick to the outside. 

If Manning's arm strength really is diminished to a significant degree, that should limit his ability to throw outside, and make him most effective inside the numbers.  That's what we've seen from weak-armed guys like Chad Pennington and Colt McCoy, as well as legitimately diminished guys like Carson Palmer.  As NBC showed in week 1, Peyton's fastball to the outside is almost the same as it was in 2010.

What we're really dealing with here is small sample size, and an idiot who thinks he's doing "analysis" by taking numbers within that sample size, and drawing conclusions from it.  When you go 0-for-4 in the deep middle with 3 interceptions in one game, that's ugly, but let's see how it looks five or six games down the road before we start thinking about making pronouncements.

Why can’t Monday be the refs’ fault? Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! I'm not sure why I need to clarify yesterday morning's intro, because I thought it was rather clear. But here goes...

Yes, my point was indeed that the officiating played a large role in the outcome of Monday's game. Were their blown calls alone in causing Denver to lose? Of course not. The turnovers helped, as did a dropped interception or two. The pass rush could have been more impactful.

But here's what I find quite amusing regarding the allocation of blame for a loss:

Why is one person's claim that Peyton Manning's three interceptions were the main reason for the loss considered indisputable, while it would be completely invalid to blame the refs?

Both are opinions, and not based in delusion, right? Or is the latter un-American?

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Blake to IR; C.J. Davis back to 53-man roster

The Broncos are placing fourth-round pick center/guard Philip Blake on IR, and promoting center C.J. Davis from the practice squad to take his place on the 53-man roster. Adam Grant, who spent the 2011 season on Denver's practice squad, will rejoin the group in place of Davis.

Blake was inactive for Denver's first two games and was listed on the team's injury report as having a "Thump" issue which limited his practice on Saturday. So, either thump injuries are a big deal, or something else has happened to Blake.

Davis made the team out of training camp but was cut loose to facilitate the addition of veteran center Dan Koppen.

Happy National Cheeseburger Day Lard

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! Today is National Cheeseburger Day, so be sure to celebrate with your favorite version of the iconic American food.

A Hamburger Today is marking the occasion by giving away a signed copy of George Motz's Hamburger America. Motz's show Burger Land, which reairs on the Travel Channel next Wednesday and Thursday, is worth checking out.

My favorite version of our national treasure (favorite meal, really) is a rare burger with cheddar at J.G. Melon, along with their crispy cottage fries; the photo below is from my most recent trip there.

J.G. Melon is unfortuntely located on Manhattan's stuffier-than-stuffy Upper East Side, and the service isn't exactly top-shelf. But there's no better burger for my money.

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More from Replacement Refs Gone Wild

Replacement ref reportedly told LeSean McCoy, ‘I need you for my fantasy team!’
sports.yahoo.com

Now, we have another conflict case—and if this one is true, it’s a major stab at the integrity of the game. On Monday, Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy was talking with Anthony Gargano and Ike Reese of Philly’s 94WIP radio when the subject of replacement officials came up. “During the game, they made like a bad call or something, the ref, and I see Ray Lewis pump his chest up, trying to scare him. Don’t you know [the ref] started stuttering? I’m like, ‘what’s this?!’”

Well, most people would stutter if Ray Lewis was in their face. McCoy then had a more disturbing reveation. “They’re like fans. I’ll be honest, they’re like fans. One of the refs was talking about his fantasy team, [and said], ‘McCoy, come on, I need you for my fantasy [team],’ Uhhh, what?”

It’s not known who the official was, or if the official was joking, but even the appearance of this kind of impropriety is absolutely ridiculous. The NFL used to have a strict policy against any sort of wagering among its officials for this exact reason; nobody wants the specter of a crooked game hanging over the league’s head. Nobody wants an NFL version of Tim Donaghy.

How long, Roger?  How long before you get the message?  How much longer are you going to jerk around with the NFLRA over what amounts to scraps for you and your buddies?

Greg Aiello and the NFL are full of it

Replacement officials taking heat
espn.go.com

“Officiating is never perfect. The current officials have made great strides and are performing admirably under unprecedented scrutiny and great pressure,” Aiello said in an email to The Associated Press. “As we do every season, we will work to improve officiating and are confident that the game officials will show continued improvement.”

Reached for comment Tuesday, Aiello told ESPN in an email “that we are looking at how to improve officiating for the long term, and that is an important part of the negotiations with the NFLRA.”

Spare us the bullshit, Greg.

The NFL just doesn’t care Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! You know, you never want to make it about the officials. It's petty, it's weak, and it's the mark of sore losers.

Especially when you turn the ball over four times within a quarter. Well, three times, if the referees had even the slightest clue on Knowshon Moreno's fumble.

See? There we go.

The story of Denver's 27-21 loss (Gamebook) was going to be Peyton Manning's three early interceptions, but the defense held Atlanta to just 10 points following those inexcusable gaffes.

From there, the Ginger Hammer's so-called "competent" replacement officials took over.

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Gut Reaction: Week 2 - Broncos @ Falcons

Peyton Manning said the Broncos are a work in progress.

Perhaps we should have believed him.

In Week 1, we all caught a case of Coltsahanta Virus--the feeling of invicibility that results from having Peyton Manning under center.  Unfortunately, it's a virus that hasn't been communicable since 2009.

It would be easy to blame this loss on a group of replacement referees that blew call after call after call--they actually referred to the Falcons as "red" at one point during a penalty.  The faster the league replaces the replacements, the better.  

Yet, this loss is mostly Manning's piece of work. You can't spin the loss any other way.  Despite a flurry of activity late in the fourth quarter, Manning floated several passes, turned the ball over three times in the first quarter, and often checked into poor audibles.

Get back to work, Peyton.  I believe you now.

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Open Thread: MNF Week 2 - Broncos @ Falcons

Inactive for Denver are CB Chris Harris, RB Ronnie Hillman, DT Sealver Siliga, WR Andre Caldwell, C/G Philip Blake, QB Caleb Hanie, and G Chris Kuper. Out for Atlanta are S Charles Mitchell, CB Terrence Johnson, C Joe Hawley, T Lamar Holmes, DE Jonathan Massaquoi, DE Cliff Matthews, and QB Dominique Davis.

The absence of Harris means Tony Carter will be Denver's nickel corner; Brock Osweiler will be Peyton Manning's backup with Hanie inactive, with Hillman and Caldwell again notable inactives. Key players in T Tyson Clabo and LB Sean Witherspoon had been listed as questionable for Atlanta but are active.

Enjoy the game everyone, and Go Broncos!

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