Benoit: Expect Brees to target Porter and Moore, Manning to go after Harper

Film Room: Falcons-Eagles
www.footballoutsiders.com

It’s hard to imagine veteran Champ Bailey getting fooled too often by Brees’ body language. Porter, on the other hand, is an aggressive plant-and-drive gambler. Of course, even more enticing than Porter is Rahim Moore. If Jimmy Graham can return from an ankle injury, expect New Orleans to create inside matchups for him against the young safety.

Peyton Manning will be looking for one man when he steps to the line of scrimmage Sunday night: Roman Harper. If he sees the seventh-year strong safety in the box, he’ll pass. If he sees him out of the box, he’ll run. Or maybe pass some more, as Harper out of the box equals Harper in coverage, and Harper in coverage equals a very exploitable weak spot in the Saints defense.

FWIW, PFF has graded Porter at -2.0 (only Joe Mays has fared worse among Broncos), and Moore at +3.3 (best on the team) in pass coverage. Harper gets a -1.6 grade, while secondary mates Patrick Robinson (-3.2), Malcolm Jenkins (-6.2), and Corey White (-8.3) have been even worse.

Of course, Brees and Manning tend to make most secondaries look rather poor, and the continuing questions surrounding Porter's health mean the Saints QB may not have his former teammate to pick on come Sunday night.

STDL: Broncos’ metrics get healthier during bye

What's that old saying? A week off makes the metrics grow fond? Something like that...

Following Denver's Week 7 bye, they remain atop Brian Burke's efficiency rankings, and are now ranked number one in offensive efficiency (up from fourth). Their defensive efficiency ranking has slipped from third to fifth.

Broken down by unit, the Broncos rank fourth in passing, are tied for seventh in rushing success, and are eighth in pass defense, and tied for seventh in run defense.

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Top of Broncos’ 2011 draft paying dividends

4 Analysts, 4 Questions – The 2011 Draft Class
www.profootballfocus.com

Khaled: We’ve gone a long way into this piece without mentioning our 2011 rookie of the year, but in me choosing the Denver Broncos, that’s all about to change. Of course this class has a big leg up on the competition by having the (at this time) most dominant player from the entire class in it. Von Miller has been nothing short of sensational, and looks to be getting better the more he plays. When you add in a solid starting safety like Rahim Moore, and an underrated right tackle like Orlando Franklin you’ve done your job and then some. The rest of the class is still a little of a work in progress, but they nailed their top three picks.

Just like it was too early to call Moore and Franklin busts after their rookie seasons, it's not yet time to view their sophomore campaigns as having acquitted the job done by John Elway & Co. And there's still the matter of Nate Irving and Julius Thomas, who have significantly underwhelmed. But atop the Broncos' 2011 draft class, so far, so good.

Denver offensive line: TYJE Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The talk at Dove Valley yesterday was of getting a winning streak going - something that hasn't happened yet this season.

Of course, cleaning up their odd habit of first-half mistakes would go a long way to help build a string of wins, and Peyton Manning says it's about time for the team to put together a sixty-minute game. You'll recall that even their one blowout win, against Oakland, featured a halftime advantage of just 10-6, their only one of the season.

But it's not just a matter of cutting mistakes, especially with the big-play, pass-happy Saints coming to town.

The team is basically at full health, as Sealver Siliga missed practice for non-injury reasons, while Tracy Porter was a limited participant; six others were listed on the injury report as full participants.

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Notes on the Broncos defense, and a step back from writing

Over the bye week, I turned my attention to the notes that I’ve made on the team. Just as the offense did, the Broncos have made key errors on defense that cost them some games.

They’ve also showed the ability to play better. Here are some thoughts on Jack Del Rio's crew:

1. Rookie Derek Wolfe has played every position along the line (including nose tackle on at least one play) and already has three sacks to his credit - he’s also setting the edge with increasing effectiveness. Teams are commonly double-teaming Wolfe and/or handing him off from one blocker to the next, but all that’s done is to create more options for Von Miller, Elvis Dumervil, and the other players.

Del Rio isn’t shy about using his own immense creativity in putting new pressure packages together, and he’s started to use defensive secondary players in his QB pressure schemes, which helps. Most defensive ends/tackles need a couple or more years to really mature, but Wolfe’s off to a fine start.

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D.J. Williams gets 30 days of house arrest

Broncos' D.J. Williams to serve 30 days in-home detention — but after Super Bowl
www.denverpost.com

A Denver County Court judge on Wednesday sentenced Broncos linebacker Genos “D.J.” Williams to 30 days of in-home detention for his most recent DWAI conviction but delayed the penalty’s start date until Feb. 7 — just after the Super Bowl.
Prosecutors sought a month in jail, saying it was Williams’ second ability-impaired driving conviction in just over five years. He also faces two years of mandatory probation.

If D.J. has any trouble killing his newly-found free time, we've got a few suggestions:

  • Work on becoming a better secret keeper
  • Purchase a Whizzinator, learn how to use it.
  • Store up some drug-free urine to save for testing, so he doesn't have to use non-human piss anymore.
  • Program the telephone numbers of some Denver-area car services into his phone, and add them to his Faves

Honey, tell your dad we’re gonna run the ball all day long Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As would be expected, the Broncos aren't taking for granted that they're going to cruise to an AFCW title, despite the turmoil permeating the rest of the division.

​Chris Harris says experience and film work are what helped him nab his game-sealing pick-six in San Diego, and he thinks the same pass would have been completed on him last season.

According to Mike Klis, the determinant in Matthew Willis (still don't understand how he's making more than Willis McGahee this season) being a weekly game-day active over Andre Caldwell is special teams, and he doesn't expect the team to make any deals prior to Tuesday's 4PM ET trade deadline.

Jeff Legwold suggests that Denver's giant fourth-quarter deficits, and the aggressiveness they've necessitated, have led to their whopping 79-6 scoring advantage in the final quarter. Makes sense.

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Porter back after undisclosed illness Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! After four days off for their bye week, the Broncos returned to practice yesterday.

With his former team coming to town, Tracy Porter was cleared on a noncontact basis yesterday, after he was held back from the trip to San Diego by what is being called an illness. According to Mike Klis, it's questionable whether Porter - who is not making a big deal of the reunion - will be able to suit up against New Orleans on Sunday night.

Then again, the player himself declared himself "ready to go," so we'll assume that's the case.

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Open Thread & Cutler/Marshall Schadenfreude: MNF Week 7 - Lions @ Bears

Brandon Marshall, self-proclaimed student of the game:

Five years ago, I didn’t know what conference I was in, probably. When you go back that far, the game was different. It was definitely different for me. I was seeing a lot of one-on-one coverages and we were out there just throwing it all over the place. Now, we have to be smarter. The looks that we’re getting, the disguises, you have to be a student of the game. It doesn’t matter how talented you are, if you’re not a student of the game, you’re definitely going to fail. I think the things you guys are hearing from me is just a maturity — learning the game more, learning the business and understanding the business more — so it’s also refreshing to me to see the growth in myself and the guys around me.

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Dumb, but fun “stat” of the day

In Peter King's weekly shameless SNF promotion, he notes that Denver has 26 pass plays of 20+ yards so far this season, second only to their upcoming opponents, the Saints.

We have the word stat in quote marks because really, this amounts to trivia (why 20-yard plays, and not 19-yard plays?). 20 yards is a totally arbitrary threshold for a play to become labeled as explosive, and it's not the sort of figure you can correlate to winning or losing. More appropriate would be to just measure yards per attempt, and then figure in the effect of touchdowns, interceptions, and sacks - as we did last week.

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