Forte has Grade 2 MCL sprain, likely to miss next week’s game

Sources: Matt Forte has Grade 2 sprain
espn.go.com

CHICAGO—Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain in Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, according to the initial diagnosis, sources close to the situation told ESPN.com.

Injuries such as these typically sideline players two to six weeks. There are four games left in the season.

The Broncos get more good injury luck, in advance of a big game.

H/T my brother ChrisB860 (an occasional poster) who called me on the phone to tell me.

Gut Reaction: Week 13 - Broncos at Vikings

Don't look now, Denver, but the Broncos are in first place!

This was a game the Broncos should have won, but who would have thunk it?

Like this?  Yeah, just like this.  The Broncos' high-octane offense put up 28 points on the road, my friends. 

Their offense was a second-half juggernaut.  It came at just the right time.

On a day in which the Broncos needed Tim Tebow to pass as well as he's been running the football, they got exactly what they needed. Tebow had his best passing day as a pro.

Their remaining schedule has them playing at home three out of four.

Do you believe? You'd better start.

Continue reading "Gut Reaction: Week 13 - Broncos at Vikings"

Open Thread - Sunday Week 13

Enjoy the games everyone, and Go Broncos! Unfortunately Von Miller has been ruled out of the game today; joining him among inactives are Rahim Moore, Quinn Johnson, Mike Mohamed, Manny Ramirez, Tony Hills and Julius Thomas. Minnesota will be without CB Asher Allen, RB Adrian Peterson, CB Chris Cook, S Andrew Sendejo, OL Brandon Fusco, OL DeMarcus Love and DE D’Aundre Reed.

Continue reading "Open Thread - Sunday Week 13"

STDL: Week 13 - Broncos at Vikings, plus Tebow stats

We're going to change things up a little bit with Week 13's STDL. As I mentioned last week, I'd been thinking of switching the passing numbers here to NY/A (Net Yards per Attempt) from ANY/A (Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt) since NY/A is better at predicting future results, which is the whole point of this column. NY/A adds sack data to plain old YPA (Yards per Attempt), while ANY/A adds the weight of touchdowns and interceptions to the mix. Why is NY/A more predictive, while ANY/A is more retrodictive (better at explaining why something already happened, rather than what's likely to happen next)?

Touchdowns and interceptions are more random than YPA. Not random, mind you, just more random than YPA - in other words, if your offense is effective at moving the ball down the field, it's likely to score more than an offense that doesn't move the ball well. Naturally, the 2008 Broncos would stand as a stark exception (2nd in Yards per Play, 16th in Points). Of course, this means I need to reconsider whether to keep touchdowns in with the rushing data. That could be next week's tweak...

Plus, we'll take a look at how Tim Tebow stands in relation to the other QBs in the league via NY/A and ANY/A data, but with rushing stats baked in! As always, there'll be something in it for Tebowmaniacs and Tebow Skeptics alike.

Continue reading "STDL: Week 13 - Broncos at Vikings, plus Tebow stats"

Fat Pickins (and probability) - Week 13

Quick, what's more likely?  Me winning a round of picks or Norv Turner keeping his job?

I'd say I've got better odds.  Norv has a quarterback who resides inside his own dome.  At least I tied for first this week.

Another bit of good news: the Broncos are favored against the Vikings today.  The numbers say they've got almost a 53% chance of skull busting the Norsemen.

Enjoy the games, everyone.

Continue reading "Fat Pickins (and probability) - Week 13"

The Daily Lard 12-4-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As distant and microscopic a possibility playoff contention had appeared just a few weeks back, Denver has a chance to move into a tie for first place in the AFC West today with a victory in Minnesota combined with an Oakland loss at Miami. Key to the Broncos' chances will be the status of Von Miller, who had surgery on Tuesday to repair torn thumb ligaments and will be a game-time decision. But even if he does play, he'll be wearing a cast on his right hand and will likely cede a good deal of playing time to Mario Haggan.

For those of you clamoring for Tebow's pass/run data combined, stay tuned...

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 12-4-11"

If you’re gonna tackle Tebow, you better pack your lunch

Former Florida stars Tebow and Harvin face off
lacrossetribune.com

“I’m not sure,’’ Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson said, asked why the Broncos are thriving with an offense that’s not supposed to work. “I was one of those guys that said the same thing, just because of the amount of time your quarterback is going to get hit. But maybe they’re successful because of the durability of Tebow, him being a bigger guy and having a running back size compared to a normal quarterback.’‘

At 6-foot-3 and 236 pounds, Tebow packs a punch, and he’s faster than a fullback. He ran the ball 22 times last week in a win over San Diego, the most in a game by an NFL quarterback since 1950. Sanford said he thought he was done defending the option when he left college.

“He’s strong, really one of strongest guys I’ve ever come across, especially at quarterback,’’ [Jamarca] Sanford said. “He’s really like a tailback. When you come to tackle him, you better pack your lunch.’‘

You might consider bringing your hard hat and steel toe boots, too, son.

ESPN masters the obvious: beat Tebow by scoring on the Broncos’ defense

How to beat the Broncos
insider.espn.go.com

The Broncos are also winning with Tebow posting a Total QBR of 34.6 (31st in the league). However, it’s fair to note that while QBR does account for a quarterback’s running ability, it doesn’t account for the return of the option quarterback. The option hadn’t been seen in the NFL for decades and is even being phased out in college football. But the Broncos are running it and Tebow is making it work.

According to our video analysis team, up to this point, the Broncos’ option is working at a rate of about 55 percent, a rate far exceeding that of normal rushing plays around the league (about 44 percent), and an enormous jump on the Broncos’ running success rate when not using the option (about 36 percent). Given that Tebow has to make the quick decisions on what to do with the ball, he deserves some credit for this that QBR is currently not giving him.

You'll need an ESPN Insider subscription to access this article, but if you don't have one, let me summarize Dean Oliver's earth-shattering game plan for beating the Broncos:

  1. Score on the Broncos' amazing defense
  2. Use play-action passes
  3. If you get a lead, don't go Marty Schottenheimer
  4. Play Cover 2 with the safeties and spy Tebow
  5. Don't overload the box in running situations; the Broncos are being deceptive.

Oliver does offer another fact that doesn't constitute a strategy, but is interesting (and obvious if one has been paying attention)--namely, that the Broncos have been trying to trick opponents by showing 3-wide receiver sets when they are, in fact, going to run the football.   Of course they have, my dear Oliver.  It's simply another way of forcing the defense to use a defensive back against a 245-pound quarterback who loves to truck guys smaller than him.

Fortunately for the Broncos, Oliver's plan is not not easily executed unless you're the Green Bay Packers. Six teams have tried.  Five teams have failed. Something is working.  The last time I remember reading articles like this, it was 1998.

The Daily Lard 12-3-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! I know some of you are probably exhausted by the Tebow/stats talk, but in the comments of yesterday's Lard, reader DavidinLA shared a link to a Mark Kriegel column about those very topics, and I think it's worthy of some discussion. If nothing else, I'd like to share my opinion of stats and writing about them in general.

My first reaction to Kriegel's column is that a red flag goes up for me anytime a sports columnist who rarely or never mention stats in their typical writing decides to suddenly cite them because they happen to support his/her viewpoint. In this case, Kriegel sought out some stats to prove his point, which is the worst mindset from which to turn to stats - when you set out to prove something via stats, you are going to have blinders on, and you're going to get someone to feed you some line of crap, because damnit you've got a deadline to meet and a premise to bolster.

Continue reading "The Daily Lard 12-3-11"

Why even call it Denver anymore?

NFL.com Is Still Calling The Broncos The "Denver Tebows"
deadspin.com

The “fast-charging Denver Tebows” are still “in the hunt” for a Wild Card spot, according to NFL.com. I’d prefer the Denver Not Kyle Ortons, but that’s just me.

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