Happy Friday, Broncos fans! The Colts (6-3) whipped the hapless Jaguars (1-8) 27-10 last night for their fourth straight win, avenging Jacksonville's only victory of the season.
Andrew Luck ran for two scores, and although I wasn't paying close attention, I heard Mike Mayock and others in the studio mention at least three times that Luck's athleticism is underappreciated. Well, gee - why might that be, Mike?
It's the same reason people wonder if Eric Decker is the next Ed McCaffrey, or why everyone was in such a hurry to say Peyton Hillis was the second coming of John Riggins.
No, this is not racism.
Rather, it's intellectual laziness, where people who spend their lives studying football and breaking physical traits and talents down to the nth degree, are somehow unable to see past the color of a player's skin (meaning, the people who are doing the underappreciating, not necessarily Mayock).
No matter their focus, whether on sports, politics, or anything else, statistical models have always been targets of intense criticism.
The number crunchers can test their methods all they want, and even show their work as they did for their high-school geometry midterms, yet ultimately, the old-schoolers will say there's no match for experience and intuition.
But by now, even those data-allergic folks have to admit the 2012 Broncos are pretty good, right?
With the squad sitting at 1-2 after three weeks, Brian Burke's data said the Broncos were the third-most efficient team in the league. Three games later, following the historic comeback in San Diego that evened Denver's record at 3-3, they had reached the top of Burke's rankings.
Updated 5:33pm ET
Good Morning, Broncos fans! We've been saying since before the season began that fullback Chris Gronkowski wouldn't be seeing many offensive snaps. Or at least, that he shouldn't be.
Not sure why Jeff Legwold & Co. believed otherwise, unless they were just willing to believe whatever sound bite John Fox and Mike McCoy provided them.
And now that Virgil Green is becoming more involved in the offense following his four-game suspension, he's taking some snaps at fullback. We'll disagree with Legwold's claim that Denver's large scoring deficits have been the reason for Gronk's limited play, especially since Chris has hardly played offense in the games when the Broncos didn't trail big, including Sunday.
The biggest factor is using the no-huddle offense and substituting less, which requires players be versatile pieces that can be moved around a formation. That's clearly not what Gronkowski is.
However, that doesn't mean Gronkowski has been a wasted acquisition; as Legwold notes, Gronkowski has been active in all eight of Denver's games, and is second on the team in number of special teams snaps to David Bruton.
Amendments don't change leagues' stances on marijuana
Though voters in those states approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday legalizing recreational marijuana, the drug remains illegal under the NFL’s and NBA’s substance abuse policies, league spokesmen said. “The NFL’s policy is collectively bargained and will continue to apply in the same manner it has for decades,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told USA TODAY Sports Wednesday morning. “Marijuana remains prohibited under the NFL substance abuse program.”
And here I was hoping the Broncos could use the marijuana angle for player recruitment.
Oh well, you can't win them all. Take solace in the fact that there's still alcohol (and the ad revenues that come with it indirectly to the NFL). After all, who wouldn't prefer this to a guy craving Doritos:
Two thumbs up for not vomiting!
Happy Wednesday, friends. Today, since we’re at the halfway point of the season, I want to revisit the series of articles I wrote in March and April about the Manning offense, and update them. If they’re going to live on as strong reference material, they deserve an update.
In advance, let me say that you shouldn’t take this as a victory lap, although I was right about a lot of stuff. And don’t even get me started on how right I was about the results of the Presidential election. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
Here is a set of links to the whole series of articles:
Holliday Earns Weekly Honor
On Wednesday, the NFL named Holliday its AFC Special Teams Player of the Week, marking the first time the second-year player has earned that honor.
Holliday becomes the 23rd all-time AFC Special Teams Player of the Week in Broncos history, and the second this season after Matt Prater took home the honor for Week 4.
The award is the fifth individual weekly accolade for the Broncos this season, as following each of the team’s wins, someone on the roster has earned an individual weekly honor.
A Broncos player has now taken one of these awards for each of Denver's five wins this season. Certainly not a bad thing.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! So much of the talk this season has been about Cam Newton's struggles.
But as several numbers-centric writers have noted recently, Cam's not been performing measurably worse in a lot of categories. Yes, he's passing and rushing for touchdowns at a lower rate this year, but that happens. His Y/A and NY/A numbers are actually better than they were in 2011, while his AY/A and ANY/A trail last year's figures by a tiny margin.
He even has a higher YPA on the ground than last year, albeit with fewer touchdowns and a lot more fumbles.
Point is, Cam Newton has not suddenly been figured out, nor turned into a crappy QB. He's still a serious threat, and five of his team's six losses have been by six points or less.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! As feared, a severe ankle sprain will keep right guard Chris Kuper out for as long as a month.
While the credit is not all his, the team's streak of three wins and three games without Peyton Manning having taken a sack, does coincide with the return of Kuper from the forearm injury he suffered during training camp. Denver also had (by far) its most productive game running the ball with Kuper, totaling 225 yards on the ground against New Orleans.
In 175 snaps played over three games, Kuper has graded out at an excellent +3.5; backup Manny Ramirez has a -2.4 grade in 387 snaps.
Here are the game's inactives; Andy Benoit, Doug Farrar, and Steve Palazzolo analyze the matchup; Drew Brees claims the ass-kicking delivered to New Orleans by the Broncos last week has served as a sort of wakeup call. Enjoy the game!