Taking up for the “game manager” Alex Smith (again)

Happy Friday, friends.  For years, even when it seemed like I was the only guy out in the wilderness, I’ve maintained that Alex Smith can play QB well enough to win a Super Bowl.

The last two seasons, as he’s had some consistency in coaching for the first time in his career, he’s looked a lot like I was right.  Now, all of a sudden, after his only bad game in two seasons last week, and one ill-advised throw last night, people are starting to say it’s time to dump him in favor of Colin Kaepernick.

It’s a bye week for the Broncos, so I just decided to run with this topic, because I think it’s absurd.  If you watched the game between Seattle and San Francisco last night, I’d question your grasp on reality if your takeaway was that Smith struggled.  If you didn’t see the game, and you just looked at the numbers- sure, they’re pretty average looking.

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Are the Broncos in the market for a defensive tackle?

Seahawks, 49ers must improve pass attacks; NFL-wide thoughts

7) The Denver Broncos really needs another defensive tackle, and they seem like a team that might be aggressive near the trading deadline, possibly one willing to give away a 2013 draft pick for a player who can solidify the middle of the defense. The potential trade partner would have to be a team out of postseason contention with a free agent-to-be. Would Sedrick Ellis of the New Orleans Saints qualify? Only if the Saints keep losing. How about Glenn Dorsey of the Kansas City Chiefs? Only if the Chiefs are not planning on bringing him back. With the deadline extended this season to the Tuesday after Week 8, these potential scenarios will get interesting.

What to make of Lombardi's comments?  Lombardi is likely speculating on the actual names; it's unlikely the Broncos would allow those details to get out on the street.  But there's probalby a kernel of truth to the idea the Broncos want to get stronger up the middle.  It's not as if the idea would shock anyone.  Even the most casual of fans have been advocating this strategy for the last five drafts.  Selecting Derek Wolfe was just a drop in the bucket.  

San Diego columnist: TYJE Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Unsurprisingly, San Francisco and Seattle waged quite the defensive battle last night.

The Niners emerged from the run-heavy physical matchup with a 13-7 victory which put them atop the surprisingly strong NFCW with a 5-2 record. The division, for many recent years the worst in the league, is currently the only one sporting four teams at or above .500, and no other division has three teams with winning records.

A pair of late decisions by San Francisco raised eyebrows: first, they ran the tentative Alex Smith on a draw while facing a 3rd-and-7 at the Seattle 13-yard line, which for some evinced a lack of confidence in the QB. The play gained just three yards, and the Niners kicked a short FG to extend their lead to 13-6.

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Open Thread: TNF Week 7 - Seahawks @ 49ers

Doug FarrarBucky BrooksGordon McGuinness, Benjamin Hoffman, Joe Fortenbaugh, and Dan Arkush preview the game, plus some notes on the matchup; Bill Simmons expects Seattle to win outright despite being seven-point dogs.

Mike Tanier analyzes the pistol formations Jim Harbaugh is utilizing with Colin Kaepernick but doesn't expect the Niners to transition from Alex Smith to their second-year QB. But Jason Cole thinks they should, and soon.

Enjoy the game!

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Can we please just let Peyton be Peyton?

Denver Dips Into the Old Colts Playbook for Some Vintage Peyton

At times this season it’s been clear that Denver head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy have been more focused on fitting Manning into their offense, with mixed results. Some of this has been because of Manning’s need to learn Denver’s terminology, while the rest of it has just been finding the right blend for the entire team. What we saw in the second half is something we’ve seen all year, namely the Broncos dipping into Manning’s old Colts playbook for plays he’s most comfortable with, and then succeeding with them.

During our in-game chats, I'm the all-caps guy pounding THROW THE BALL into my keyboard; Monday was no different. But I don't (usually) mean it literally.

Rather, run the ball when Peyton sees fit  - based upon box count - and not because Mike McCoy wants to script a three-TE set into the opening series. We've been over it again and again - left in Peyton's hands, he's going to run the ball plenty - when the situation and defensive personnel/formation dictate it.

But leave him be with his no-huddle, stay-on-the-field 11 personnel; it worked more than fine in Indy for thirteen years. Sure, McCoy and Fox probably think they have some great new-fangled scheme that combines their own playbook with that of Indy's, and maybe they're right. But the time to mess around is when you're up by twenty or thirty - not on the way to a weekly twenty-point second-half deficit.

Not to pile on Joe Mays, but…

Snapshot: Run Stop Percentage, Linebackers

Touted as a Secret Superstar before last season, Joe Mays made us look like geniuses in 2011 with his superb play in limited snaps. However, 2012 has been a little more rocky. Mays has taken on more snaps in the Broncos’ defense and with that change he has been making fewer plays in the running game. Mays was tied with Bowman for the league lead in Run Stop Percentage in 2011 and his 46 stops were third among all linebackers. This year he has six stops, the worst Run Stop Percentage among qualifying middle linebackers, and an amazingly low nine solo tackles against the run. With the success he has had in the past, one can only expect Mays’ stats to get better as the season goes on.

He's not a candidate to move into the middle, and he does have two missed tackles (which is a lot), but interesting to see Wesley Woodyard among the leaders in RSP (eighth-best, at 13.5%). Also, as much as we've been pointing out the successes of Vontaze Burfict in Cincy, we'd be remiss to ignore his presence on the list of players with the worst RSP.

San Diego is the new Oakland

Broncos fan recovers after attack at Qualcomm Stadium

“Someone spilled their beer on me, and the next thing I noticed I woke up in a hospital the next day,” said Eric, a 22-year-old Broncos fan who didn’t want to give his last name.

Eric said Chargers fans began harassing him because he was wearing his Broncos jersey just before the start of the game.  Within seconds someone hit him on the back of his head, and he fell to the ground and hit his head.  He spent two days in the hospital. Wednesday, he returned home to begin the healing process.

No word yet as to whose jersey it was that caused San Diego fans to act like savages.  A Terrell Davis?  Rod Smith?  Ashley Lelie?   Personally, I'm hoping it was an Elway jersey.  Elway spent years beating the hell out of the Chargers on the field.  Now he's doing it off the field, too.

In the end, it doesn't really matter.  Chargers fans will be Raiders fans.  Or is it the other way around?

Stay classy, Chargers fans.  Oh, and go #$@% yourselves. (via MHS)

Rest of the West in chaos Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The team held a light and abridged practice yesterday before heading their separate ways for the bye week.

Tracy Porter, who was held out of Monday's game and did not make the trip to San Diego due to dizziness and lightheadedness (let's hope it's not concussion-related), was the only Bronco not to participate.

John Fox exhorted his players to stay out of trouble, telling them he only wants to read about them if they "win the lottery."

Not everyone will be able to get away, as Chris Harris will still be frequenting Dove Valley for treatment on the ankle injury that's bothered him for much of the season, and Derek Wolfe says his introduction to the NFL has him too beat up to go anywhere.

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Feeling Foxy and Getting Norved

When it comes to football, and other activities conducted by public figures, it’s easy to think that you know better, or would do better, than the people who are doing the actual jobs.  I live in an upscale apartment complex in Tallahassee, and I always laugh when I see maybe the worst-looking truck in the whole 300-unit place, and it’s got a sticker on the back window that says INCOMPETENT, with the familiar Obama "O."

You may not agree with things that the President does, or says, or believes, but if you’re driving that broke-ass truck, I’m pretty sure you’re not qualified to judge a president’s competence.  Your personal worldview isn’t, and can’t possibly be, a reasonable litmus test for competence, which simply means ability to complete a specific task. 

It was really easy for people of my worldview to perceive George W. Bush as being stupid, due to the way he spoke, and to conflate that perceived stupidity with incompetence.  The evidence was that he did a lot of things we didn’t like, okay?  I know that I am smart, and I wouldn't do what he did, so he must not be smart.  Only smart people can be competent.  Therefore, George Bush isn't competent.  It was easy for liberals, with their highfalutin college degrees, and ability to correctly pronounce polysyllabic words (such as polysyllabic) to make this logical leap.

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Clady making the case for Joe Thomas money

Snapshot: PBE, Offensive Tackles

While Justice has the top rating there’s always more interest in left tackles, so who leads the way there? Well, step forward Ryan Clady who is picking the right time to produce his best form with his contract coming up. He’s building himself a case for Joe Thomas-type money with the Cleveland Brown left tackle just behind him in the third spot.

For the record (or PFF's record), Clady has 240 pass block snaps and only allowed five total pressures.

How much of this will the Broncos brass and John Elway attribute to Peyton Manning?

It may not matter.  If the market perceives that Clady plays at Joe Thomas's level (and perhaps he does), he's going to get Joe Thomas money, which is more than the Broncos offered in the offseason.

Right now--and we're only six games in--Clady may have made the right call by not signing that deal.  Our advice to Clady in the next ten weeks?  Don't play pickup basketball.

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