Gut Reaction: Week 5 - Broncos at Patriots

It's elk season here in Colorado.

Today, the animals were safe, though.  It was the Broncos who got gutted.

The Broncos knew the Patriots were going to run a no-hunddle offense. They'd seen it on film for four weeks.

The reality of playing against the no-huddle, though, was quite different.

The Patriots regularly snapped the ball with twenty-five seconds on the clock.  That's not just a no-huddle offense. That's a video game.  Sixty minutes later, the Broncos were gassed, John Fox was baffled, and the Broncos were wounded.

Like any wounded animal, the Broncos did put up a fight.  But in the end, it's the Patriots who wore orange and came in for the kill.

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Open Thread: Sunday Week 5

Here are the day's inactive lists. Denver will be without QB Caleb Hanie, C/G C.J. Davis, DT Sealver Siliga, LB Steven Johnson, S Duke Ihenacho, TE Julius Thomas, and RB Knowshon Moreno.

Thomas is kicked back off the 45-man by the return of Virgil Green from suspension, Johnson by the return of Joe Mays, and Chris Kuper will make his season debut. Brock Osweiler is the primary backup QB yet again, while Ronnie Hillman, whose role has expanded each week, keeps Moreno inactive.

As expected, the Patriots will be without TE Aaron Hernandez today; also inactive are LB Dont'a Hightower, WR Julian Edelman, S Steve Gregory, C Matt Tennant, TE Michael Hoomanawanui, and DE Jake Bequette. Hightower's absence is a significant one, and a mild surprise; Tracy White is listed as his backup.

Enjoy the games, and Go Broncos!

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Thoughts on scheming against New England

Happy Sunday, friends.  It's been a hellacious week for me, and it's been a few days since I've had time to write.  I decided to share some thoughts today on how the Broncos should try to match up with New England today.  Obviously, these are two good teams who both find themselves with 2-2 records, and this game will likely end up influencing the AFC playoff picture.

First of all, let's say something that's obvious, but that Broncos fans willfully choose to get wrong.  The Patriots are extremely well-coached and schemed on both sides of the ball.  Bill Belichick gets a lot of credit, but quite a few Broncos fans are wrongly convinced that Josh McDaniels is a bad coach.  The Patriots had a couple three-and-outs early last week against Buffalo, and I saw a couple Broncos fans on Twitter saying it was the "McDaniels effect."  The Patriots then promptly scored six straight touchdowns, and swamped the Bills.

Let's take a look at what the Patriots are doing on both sides of the ball, and think about how the Broncos can find success against them.

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Gronk hurting for real Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Reiss says Rob Gronkowski's hip injury is nothing to be taken lightly and has had him in significant pain, and that the Pats are quite concerned about it.

Sal Paolantonio just reported the same thing on ESPN, but that Gronk will play today. As for his fellow tight end, Aaron Hernandez is still not expected to play.

As devastating as the Patriots offense can be, and as they were in the second half their demolition of the Bills last week, an absent Hernandez and a hobbled Gronkowski give the Broncos a chance to come away with an upset.

Reports continue to be that Chris Kuper will be a game-time decision, but that just reads like John Fox playing Bill Belichick's injury game.

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Chiefs fans ready to fly Pioli out of town Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Five Denver players are on the Week 5 injury report, but all of them are listed as having fully practiced on both Thursday and Friday, and all are probable for the game.

John Fox is maintaining that Chris Kuper will be a game-time decision; the team headed to New England yesterday, a day early, due to the two-time-zone difference.

WR Julian Edelman and S Steve Gregory are out for the Patriots, while in typical Bill Belichick fashion, TEs Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, RB Brandon Bolden, LB Dont'a Hightower, G Logan Mankins, and T Sebastian Vollmer are among twelve Patriots listed as questionable.

New England is clearly trying to make it appear that Hernandez will be ready to play, presumably to force the Broncos to plan for the possibility. Hightower claims that he himself will be a game-time decision.

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D.J. Williams loses another three games to suspension

Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams' suspension increased by NFL
www.nfl.com

The Denver Broncos will be without linebacker D.J. Williams until mid-November after the NFL added three games to his suspension Friday. Williams was punished for violating the league’s substance abuse policy following his conviction in August of driving while ability impaired.

He already was serving a six-game suspension to start the season for violating the league’s banned-substances policy - such as performance enhancing drugs - after the NFL said he supplied a “non-human” urine sample during a drug test. Williams, the team’s leading tackler in four of the last five seasons, won’t be eligible to return to the Broncos until Nov. 12.

D.J. Williams--a walking public service announcement in which a suspension is worth a thousand words.  

Manning, Brady discuss Week 5 matchup via Facebook

By now, most of you have probably already seen the FakeConvos meme that's been making the rounds today. Still, it's too funny not to share here.

Be sure to click through for the rest of the conversation. (via ProFootballMock.com)

QB Fake conversation

 

Can you believe the Jets gave the Broncos a fourth-round pick for this?

Slauson on Tebow: “That option is not an option”
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

With all the talk about when/if the Jets will switch from quarterback Mark Sanchez to quarterback Tim Tebow, a fairly important constituency has been overlooked. 

The other players on the team.

One of them, guard Matt Slauson, says that the idea of a change in quarterbacks and the offensive overhaul resulting from it won’t work.
“That isn’t our offense,” Slauson said, per Bob Glauber of Newsday. “I have no idea what we’d have to do.  But to us in this room, that option is not an option.”

Of course, you knew this was coming.  We predicted Sanchez would last about eight games before he caved under the pressure of the media, the fans, and his own fancy pants.

We're heeding ESPN's advice--you can't talk enough about Tebow.  This is especially true when it's not your city or your beloved team being paraded on the national stage and used as a lightning rod for America's culture war.  As Malcom X might have said: "We didn't land on Tim Tebow.  Tim Tebow landed on us."

And we're glad he did.  Tebow is fond of saying that God has a plan.  If God's plan for the Broncos meant enduring the McDaniels/Tebow era in order to pave the way for the Elway/Manning era, then hallelujah---better expressed by John McClane in the movie Die Hard: Yippee-ki-yay, Mother$#%@er!

A Second Helping of Willis McGahee vs Oakland

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.

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Broncos’ 53 healthy heading to Foxboro Lard

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.

Even so, John Fox isn't yet saying whether the right guard will return to the starting lineup this week; Mike Klis says it's "almost certain" Kuper will at least be on the gameday 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.

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