Fat Camp: Scoffing at the “blueprint” and those who tout it

Happy Friday, friends.  Today, I’m going to respond to an excellent question posed by longtime reader DCJ1 in the comments from yesterday's article:

Any time a football team has a good day against another football team, media types always seem to like to proclaim that a “blueprint” was found for beating the losing team.  This is primarily a product of the media guys not understanding football very well, and arrogantly thinking that because they saw something that they hadn’t thought of, the coaches must not have realized that an up-tempo running game may be successful.  They also wrongly assume that what the Patriots did would be easily replicated.

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Holliday shortest Bronco in history Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Demaryius Thomas (hip), Ryan Clady (hamstring), and Keith Brooking (concussion) were limited in practice yesterday.

Denver's claim of Trindon Holliday makes the 5-5 return specialist the shortest player to ever appear on the team's active roster. The Broncos waived safety Duke Ihenacho to make room for Holliday, and beat out the 2-2 Colts in waiver priority to land the player. According to Mike Klis, Holliday will replace Jim Leonhard as the team's punt returner, and could eat into Omar Bolden's role as the top kickoff returner.

Much of the talk out of Dove Valley yesterday was about consistency, and about stretching the team's fourth-quarter successes to the rest of games.

John Fox says the team is close to putting it all together, while several players acknowledge the importance of Monday's game, especially as a division matchup.

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Open Thread: TNF Week 6 - Steelers @ Titans

Bucky Brooks and Gordon McGuinness break down the matchup; Benjamin Hoffman picks the Steelers; Bill Simmons predicts the Steelers will win, but not cover the spread.

Enjoy the game!

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Broncos’ subtle move shows they’re getting smarter

Broncos acquire returner Trindon Holliday
blogs.denverpost.com

The Broncos are taking a chance that Trindon Holliday can enhance their return game.  The Houston Texans’ kickoff and punt returner this year until he was waived earlier this week, Holliday was claimed and awarded to the Broncos on Thursday,

They say the definition of stupidity is dating a girl with a Raiders tattoo doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Consider the Broncos suddenly wiser.  This move won't get a lot of attention, but I like it.  In previous years, the Broncos have drafted various types of players and hoped someone would emerge as a return threat.  Trindon's signing (we hope) shows a recognition by the Broncos that the strategy has failed.  

Holliday may not work out, but the Broncos deserve some credit for realizing the value of having a return specialist on the roster.

Digesting the Chargers Offense

Happy Thursday, friends.  I thought I’d take a few minutes today to talk about the Chargers offense, and how the Broncos can best contain it.  They did a pretty solid job against them in San Diego last November, holding Philip Rivers and Company to thirteen points, and in a general way, Monday will see a stronger Broncos defense playing against a weaker Chargers offense.

Mr. Rivers has always reminded me of Bernie Kosar, and I think his game is slipping in his early 30s, similarly to how Kosar’s did.  His numbers aren’t that bad so far in 2012, but I just don’t see the same guy on video that I saw three or four years ago.

The receiving group that Rivers is working with is diminished from 2011, too.  Losing Vincent Jackson and replacing him with Robert Meachem is a bad deal.  Eddie Royal, nice guy that he is, still struggles to get open against a zone defense.  An underrated loss in the Chargers’ passing game is running back Mike Tolbert, who caught 54 passes for the Bolts last season.  His replacement, Jackie Battle, doesn’t have that kind of receiving skill, and he has just six catches for 49 yards in five games.

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Quick breather turned into long one for Von Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's been an interesting week for discussing the quality of each city's fans, what with the Arrowhead cheering of the concussed Matt Cassel.

Denver is certainly not above the fray, as some of our own booed then-new starting QB Kyle Orton in the team's 2009 scrimmage at the then-Big IF. Of course, then came the billboards a year ago.

Due south of Kansas City, Dallas's fans have been dragged into the discussion. You know, America's Team.

Brandon Marshall went so far as to say his team's trip to play the Cowboys "felt like a home game," what with the large Bears contingent in attendance.

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Dominance, thy name is Terrell Davis Lard

Good Evening, Broncos fans! By now, all of us who were around for the heyday of Terrell Davis's Denver career have either delivered or been presented with the case for his HOF worthiness.

We like to stress his status as the greatest postseason runner in NFL history, but the most common ammunition is that TD was absolutely dominant, and for a period, the best player in the NFL. He's got the hardware to back that up: the SB MVP, the league MVP, and the 2,000-yard season. Only TD comes to mind as the best (eligible) player on multiple SB-winning teams to not be in the HOF.

Generally, the argument against his inclusion boils down to the supposed brevity of his career, or the success of subsequent Denver running backs in the Shanahan/Gibbs zone-blocking system.

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Brees: My boy Phil is elite for another decade

No mistaking the player, but Rivers the person is just misunderstood
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

“Philip is an elite quarterback,” Brees said after throwing for four touchdowns in a 31-24 defeat of the Chargers and Rivers on Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. “I know at the end of the day quarterbacks are judged on wins, losses and championships, but there have been Hall of Fame quarterbacks who’ve played this game and not won Super Bowls—Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Warren Moon, Dan Fouts. There are certain circumstances that sometimes come into play ...”

Brees paused.

“Philip’s in the prime of his career and he could be in the prime of it for the next eight to 10 years,” he continued. “The story is still to be written on him.”

Epilogue:  Philip Rivers's career suddenly took a turn for the worst in 2012, when the usually hard-nosed quarterback became skittish in the pocket--flinching from phantom defenders, rushing his throws, throwing off his back foot inside the pocket, and tossing the ball out of bounds at the first sign of trouble.  Perhaps the beginning of the end came with a four-interception performance against the Denver Broncos on Monday, October 15th, when Hall of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey returned two interceptions for touchdowns, and Von Miller (currently nominated for the Hall of Fame), tallied five sacks in one game.  After the game, Rivers could only repeat the word: "Rosebud."

J.J. Watt is 15 feet tall

Woody Johnson: Tim Tebow with Jets for 3 more years
www.nfl.com

“We should’ve done a better job of accounting for (Watt). And keeping an eye, spy on him. And just don’t throw in that area or throw extremely high ... He’s 6-6. He can jump 30 inches. So he’s probably like 15 feet when you add it all up.” Johnson said.

Putting a spy on J.J. Watt.  Geeze, why didn't we think of that, Woody?

Unlike in 2011, 2012 Broncos gashed on third and long Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mistakes and a difficult schedule have often been cited as the main culprits in Denver's three losses.

But let's not forget about the factor of luck, specifically when it comes to fumbles.

As mentioned by Andrew Mason, the team has had the remarkable misfortune of having lost all seven of its offensive fumbles - three by Demaryius Thomas, two by Willis McGahee, and one each by Peyton Manning and Knowshon Moreno.

For clarity's sake, Thomas's first fumble was on the game-ending hook-and-lateral play against Houston, and of course, Knowshon's fumble was clearly recovered by Eric Decker before the scab refs did their thing. From our vantage that's really six offensive fumbles and what should be one own recovery.

Even with those tweaks, the Broncos have been unlucky - but not quite as unfortunate as Mason's 47.82% defensive recovery figure suggests.

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