I wrote recently about the little things that build up to make a good team great. Developmental players who can handle the lights and the pressure of an NFL game are among the keys to any team competing for a chance at the playoffs, and that’s Denver’s goal this season.
The first player I mentioned was Danny Trevathan. Partly, that’s because Trevathan has excited me since I sat down with three of his college games and watched him - his speed, his fearlessness, and his tackling fundamentals all stood out, and I saw a player with a ton of potential.
There was a scouting report comment, repeated by several reports (which might have taken it from the same scout - most teams buy either BLESTO or National’s scouting reports as well as employing their own guys) that Trevathan had trouble in zone coverage despite his quickness - he was too often caught looking at the QB’s eyes and not seeing his man coming into his zone. In one of his games, I saw him do it, too. That doesn’t mean that he hasn’t since been coached out of it.
Von Miller has been named the AFC's Defensive Player of the Week for his three-sack performance against the Chargers. It's the second time Von's received the award (2011, Week 11), and the sixth individual weekly honor given to a Bronco this season. Peyton Manning won a monthly award for his stellar October.
In other news, the Broncos will be facing their old teammate at Arrowhead on Sunday, as Romeo Crennel has announced that Brady Quinn will
be this week's prey get the start at quarterback. Fortunately for Quinn, he'll be playing behind a line that features two of PFF's top-11-rated offensive tackles in Branden Albert and Eric Winston.
Jay Glazer is reporting that the Broncos will place running back Willis McGahee on season-ending IR today.
Although there had been reports that the 31-year-old would be able to recover from his torn MCL and leg fracture in time for the playoffs, the team has obviously given up on that possibility.
Mike Klis reports that the move has not yet been finalized, and that Denver may designate McGahee as eligible to return. Adam Schefter is reporting that the decision has been made, and that the back could be back in time for the AFC Championship game, should Denver make it that far. Lindsay Jones has gotten confirmation of that from Denver PR man Patrick Smythe.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Trout/Cabrera MVP voting notwithstanding, the baseball community has embraced statistical analysis more so than any other major sport.
MLB front offices are not only littered with so-called outsiders who utilize a blend of advanced metrics and scouting in their decision-making process, but a large portion of teams, led by the A's, Rays, Rangers, Indians, and Mets, are now run by these people.
Michael Lewis's bestselling book Moneyball glorified this way of thinking as employed by Billy Beane's Athletics, and the Red Sox went from cursed franchise to two-time World Series winner in no small part by studying the A's model. Tampa Bay has become a low-payroll powerhouse, winning an average of 91.6 games over the past five years despite having paid its players an average of just $57M per season over that span.
There's of course always been resistance from the baseball lifers and scouts, and the beat writers who think their access gives them a better understanding of how the game is played and won, this year's AL MVP voting a prime example.
A 65-year-old Lee’s Summit man is charged with shooting a man after an insult-filled afternoon of watching the Chiefs football game. Ronald L. Hall is charged in Jackson County Court with assault and armed criminal action.
Court documents state Hall, his son and several other men gathered at a Lee’s Summit house on Sunday to watch the football game. Hall’s son told police everyone at the gathering had been drinking and trading insults as they watched the game. He also told police his father was ill-tempered and mean and his disposition had gotten worse in the last year, according to court documents…
...The victim suffered critical injuries, including a stroke.
Kids, listen up to your ol' friend TJ: mixing firearms, alcohol, and Chiefs games is rarely a good idea.
It's One to Grow On...
Aldon Smith wants Von Miller to know who leads the league in sacks
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.
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.
Andy Benoit, Sam 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!
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.
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