There’s no real question about it - I’ve been looking forward to watching the film on RT Orlando Franklin since the beginning of this series. I loved it when Denver took Franklin with the 14th pick of the second round back in April, and I felt at the time that the issues of his potential problems vs. speed rushers and in pass blocking in general were being overblown. Now I had a chance to find out.
IAOFM reader Chibronx noted that the recent tale of the offensive line’s development is one of the best stories of the Broncos that no one is talking about, and I agree with him. My own experience (and some of you have actually played the position and have commented on this to me), has been that many of the fans have little understanding for the OL positions. I don’t blame anyone - the TV turned us into a nation of watchers rather than a nation of doers back in the 1960s. If the camera follows the ball, you may not hear an OL player’s name unless he whiffs on a block or commits some other infraction. How do you learn? Well, dropping by IAOFM is certainly the first step, but I hope to add some specifics through this series. I’d like to start with the player himself, since the fanbase knows him the least.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! So, Nate Jackson thinks the fact that Tebow doesn't fit everyone's conventional mold of a QB is good for football. Should Tebow become a sustained NFL success, that will absolutely be true. It's always neat to see the prevailing wisdom of the day turned on its head, no matter the forum, and a winning Tim Tebow would be great for the sport, not just for the Broncos. Yet, just like it's irresponsible to declare Tebow will never be an NFL QB, it's a bit early to be pronouncing him a football hero, wouldn't you say? Or, is perspective only welcome when the Broncos lose?
You know what else is funny about Jackson's column? The notion that passing the football and stopping the pass is the surest pathway to winning has only recently overtaken the outdated mindset of running and stopping the run. Sure, there have been plenty of championships won over the past several decades by teams that leaned primarily on their passing games, but the notion that this NFL is a "passing league" is still relatively new. And guys like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have reset the bar for precision quarterbacking over the past decade or so. But, Jackson finds this all too bland for his blood.
Happy Friday, friends, and welcome to a Victory Tuesday edition of You Got Served. Today, I’m going with less of a variety show style than usual, and I’m going to address the Broncos QB situation at length. Across the NFL world, that’s been an all-consuming topic, and I want to bring some knowledge and context to bear in discussing it. After that, we’ll see what we have time for. Ready… BEGIN!!
1. I was emailing with Lindsay Jones a couple weeks ago, around the time that she quoted Doug in the Denver Post as a counterpoint to the We Want Tebow hysteria. I was worried that she misunderstood the nature of our site, and she and I have had occasional communication since she happened across an article at my old Wordpress site where I savaged everybody at the DP except for her, and said a few nice things about her.
She used the term “fan-site” to describe us once or twice, and I frankly didn’t like that characterization. MHR is a fan-site; read their header – “By Fans, For Fans.” We’re a lot different than MHR. There, any dumbass with a keyboard can write a FanPost, which is kind of cool, but it’s different from us. If you add the quantity that comes from those FanPosts, and just the fact that they have 13 contributors (according to their masthead), you’re talking about a lot of different viewpoints appearing frequently, and really, whether by design or not, it’s virtually all stated from a Broncos fan perspective. I’m a fan, and I buy tickets, and this is what I want, or think, or like.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Excellent piece from Brian Burke yesterday relating to who else but Tim Tebow, and it recalls a conversation I often have with Ted. Let's just say I'm a bigger fan of stats than is Ted. As a guy who relies upon what he sees with his eyes to inform his opinions of football players (or anything else, for that matter), Ted thinks stats do not or will not capture the essence of someone like Tebow, who indisputably brings some terrific, immeasurable qualities to a football team and onto the field.
I disagree; my position is simply that the conventional stats folks tend to rely upon (ie. gross yardage, TD passes, interceptions) are not the ones that ever paint the most accurate picture anyway, so I don't care how Tebow ranks in those categories (rate stats like ANY/A, TD%, INT% are much more telling). In other words, if Tebow does become a good or great NFL player, we already have tools to accurately measure that via stats - this will not turn into a case of Tebow winning lots of games for the Broncos at QB while accumulating some crappy stats. If/when Tebow becomes a sustained NFL success, we'll know it with our eyes, and the stats that really matter will show that. (Sustained, because flukey things like a QB playing like crap but winning can happen in any single game, or even be strung into a good season or two. See Young, Vince.)
After writing my game reaction yesterday, in which I had some criticism of Tim Tebow, I received several emails questioning my Broncos fanhood.
Just what does it mean to be a Broncos fan?
Back when I was a kid and began to identify myself as a fan, all that meant was watching my father curse John Elway on television and getting into fistfights at school with Steelers fans. It didn't take a lot of Broncos gear, Broncos tattoos, or a throwback jersey; it didn't require a cable package, mandatory attendance at Mile High Stadium (I made it to just a handful of games), or box seat; it didn't require that I adhere to a code, or sign my name somewhere, or join a group on Facebook group created by other self-identified fans.
And it sure as hell didn't require blind devotion--to the owner, to the quarterback, to other fans.
The IAOFM staff discuss the Denver Broncos' 18-15 comeback victory over the Miami Dolphins
Ted: WHO'S GOT TEBOW FEVER?
TJ: Schefter says Tony S. is playing for his job today. Sparano better have used the Tebow thing as bulletin board material. Otherwise, he should lose his job. I would give a hell fire speech before the game if I were Sparano, saying 1) Look at what they are saying!!! 2) They don't even care about you! 3) They care about some college player who thinks he's Jesus Christ Superstar, and then takes some chairs and smash them into Jason Taylor
Ted: I'll bet you Sparano doesn’t do that. He gives his usual execution speech. But it ain't going to matter if Matt Moore keeps playing like he's been playing
Doug: What's the point of firing him now? Unless Cowher is coming in right now, or someone like that? Otherwise you've got some interim coach for the last 10 weeks?
Ted: Yeah, Doug...Mike Nolan
Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's Monday, which means it's time for another wet towel to dampen all the excitement. I know, a win is a win, right? Especially when you come back from down 15-0 with 5:23 left on the clock to emerge 18-15 in OT (box score), and especially when your QB is making his fourth NFL start, right? Obviously, the ending was exhilirating, improbable and memorable, and if one had flipped on the game at that point they'd think Tim Tebow was an excellent NFL QB - and for those 5:23 of game time, that would be pretty accurate.
But here's the thing - we can't just judge Tim on those two drives. We all witnessed the first 54:37 of the game and Denver's prior 11 possessions, two of which went for more than 16 yards (34 and 54, to be exact). No, the playcalling wasn't good. But Tebow was worse. He was beyond terrible. What kind of calls can you make when your QB is missing wide open targets by 10 yards, or throwing the ball five yards out of bounds with open receivers and no pressure? Not only were the Broncos without a third-down conversion until the fourth quarter, but they were without a single passing first down until more than half of the fourth quarter was gone.
Confirmation bias isn't just a river in Egypt.
This week, every Broncos fan will have a legitimate claim to their view.
Does Tim Tebow have what it takes to be the Broncos starting quarterback?
The score says yes. So do the thousands of Tebowites who skipped church this morning to witness Tebow's 4th-quarter comeback.
But the game plan says no. John Fox and Mike McCoy called this game like they couldn't trust their quarterback--or their team. Without an onside kick recovery, an OT turnover, some amazing catches by Demaryius Thomas and Daniel Fells, and a Dolphins team that ran a prevent defense that only prevented them from winning, this game is a loss to a brutally bad team.
The Broncos had fourteen days to create a game plan for the Miami Dolphins. It was clearly thirteen days too many. They could have done better by simply letting Tebow use his old Florida playbook and flying in Urban Meyer. At least they would have converted a 3rd down before the fourth quarter.
This game did nothing to resolve the quarterback issue for the Broncos, but at least it was exciting in the end. That's more than the Broncos have had in a long time.
(Update & Correction: The coverage noted in the last two drives was clearly NOT prevent, quarter coverage, it was nickel, deep-zone coverage)
Enjoy the games, everyone - and Go Broncos!
Before I get to this week's picks, let me give you a quick scouting report on the Miami Dolphins.
They try to run. When that doesn't work, Brandon Marshall tries to push off up the field to get separation. Call it the bully route.
It's not been working that well this year. In fact, it's been a bit clumsy.
Gee, where have I heard that before?
Look for the trend to continue.
Now, on to the picks.