There's 12:37 remaining in the third quarter, with Denver facing 1st and 10 from their own 32-yard line. They’re up by only four points on the scoreboard, despite having dominated play on the field. A couple of errors have kept it close, but that’s about to change.
The Broncos are in 11 personnel, with Manning under center, Willis McGahee directly behind him, two wide receivers out to the offensive left, and WR Eric Decker to the right - the ‘z’ position. TE Jacob Tamme is tight to the line at the offensive right.
Having been picked apart by Peyton Manning in the first half, the Raiders are using a hybrid nickel defense. They have three down linemen up front, plus Lamarr Houston (99) standing at defensive left end; linebacker Rolando McClain (55) is shaded between center Dan Koppen and left guard Zane Beadles, while Philip Wheeler (52) is in a deep MLB position.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Chris Kuper was listed as a full participant in practice yesterday, as were the rest of Denver's active 53-man roster.
Likewise, Bill Belichick continues to give the league's injury report policy the finger, listing thirteen players as limited in Thursday's practice.
Word out of New England continues to be that TE Aaron Hernandez will not play Sunday, although he did return to practice on a limited basis yesterday.
Enjoy the game!
Report: Peyton Manning to become minority owner of Memphis Grizzlies
According to Chris Vernon of ESPN radio in Memphis, Manning has agreed to become a minority owner of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies.
According to Vernon, other members of the Grizzlies ownership includes Penny Hardaway and Justin Timberlake.
We always wondered why Peyton was so noticeably quiet during last year's NFL lockout; we'll still buy Mike Freeman's assertion that Manning kept mum to protect his own brand. But could part of the reasoning have been that Peyton saw himself as a future franchise owner, in the NFL or elsewhere?
Pregame work for NE-DEN—Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez is a virtual certainty to miss the Bronco game, I’m told, but could be back for Wk 6.
New England is still loaded without Hernandez, as evidenced by their 52 points and 580 yards of offense against Buffalo. Rob Gronkowski still looms as a devastating TE, and Denver has had their problems covering that position. But Gronk also missed practice yesterday due to a hip injury.
However you cut it, the Patriots being without Hernandez is a boon to Denver's chances on Sunday.
Fourth quarter, 12:20. Oakland’s trailing 34-6. They’re in 21 personnel, I formation with two WRs on the offensive left, starting from their own 39 at 1st and 10. Denver’s countering with man coverage on the WRs, a balanced-front defensive line, and Von Miller standing up as the RDE. Elvis Dumervil is at LDE, next to Mitch Unrein, and both are backed by LBs, with Champ Bailey behind them - an overload ensues on the defensive left. It’s a fake, but it draws lots of attention.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! As the team prepares for its trip to New England, it's only natural that much of the talk focuses on the showdown between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
QBs aside, these are two franchises that are very familiar with each other; not only did they face off twice last season, and seven times in seven seasons, but several players (Dan Koppen, Brandon Lloyd, Daniel Fells) have played for both teams (Niko Koutouvides doesn't count*). And of course, there's the Pats offensive coordinator, some dude by the name of Josh.
Unfortunately, three of their last four meetings have been absolute shellackings, with the exception being the Hoodie Jr./Hoodie Sr. game of 2009.
One key to this week's edition of Broncos/Patriots could be health.
Like most of you, I was pretty thrilled with the Broncos' 37-6 victory over the visiting Raiders on Sunday.
A few first-half errors (you tried a pass from who to who?) left me feeling that Denver should have been up by more than four points at halftime. The lights-out play of Carson Palmer, who had one good WR, a decent TE, and a great running back to throw to, kept the Raiders somewhat in the game.
Three three-and-outs in the third quarter, though, and the ensuing onslaught of the Broncos offense sealed the deal. Overall, I came away impressed with Denver’s composure, elated with Jack Del Rio’s play-calling, and comfortable going on the road for four of the next five, to see what this team really has in store.
These are some thoughts taken from my notes during the game, not always in any given order:
Jason Whitlock raised eyebrows two weeks ago when he wrote the following about Peyton Manning:
Manning can't throw the ball accurately or with zip more than 20 yards. Manning is toast.
It was a lethargic takeaway from Peyton's three-interception debacle against the Falcons, and while Ted thinks the picks were a matter of poor decision-making rather than an issue of arm strength, Whitlock was certainly entitled to his opinion there.
Granted, the numbers through four weeks (small sample alert) don't exactly back up Whitlock's assertion that Peyton is inaccurate beyond 20 yards. According to PFF, Denver's QB ranks twelfth in the league in terms of accuracy on throws beyond twenty yards. At 46.7 percent, he's just a tick behind Tom Brady in that category, while placing slightly ahead of his brother (44.4%), Jay Cutler (43.5%), Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger (42.9% each), and far better than the strong-armed Joe Flacco (39.4%) and Matthew Stafford (38.5%).
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest mailbag, Mike Klis addresses concerns about the boringness of using Jim Leonhard as Denver's punt returner.
He's right - although Leonhard isn't making any big plays, he's also not making major gaffes. And once the defense has gotten the opposing offense to give up the ball, the next play is all about making sure Peyton Manning gets his crack with it. Sure, a faster player might bring an extra couple of yards per return, but that doesn't seem worth the tradeoff of a less-experienced returner who may be more likely to fumble or make a poor decision.
Unfortunately, the Broncos just don't have a punt returner who's the complete package. This was readily apparent during the preseason; it's just one of those things the Broncos will have to accept until next offseason, when they are yet again presented with the issue.