The Stats That Don’t Lie - Week 12: 3rd downs, they ain’t what they used to be

How many video operations directors does it take to change a light bulb?

Who knows?  But it takes a whole hell of a lot of them to make the Broncos' stats look good.

After a few weeks on the sideline, The Stats That Don't Lie are back.

Unfortunately for the Broncos, they haven't made a triumphant return.

As you'll see, these stats can't be made to make the Broncos look good under any circumstance.

The good news?  You can change your own light bulb.

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The Elways and the spread, Part 1

Note: This is the first of a three-part series on the history of the spread offense. Part 2 will appear tomorrow (Thursday), and the series will conclude on Friday with Part 3. Special thanks to TJ for providing the play diagrams that appear throughout this series.

You’ll find very few Broncos fans who would argue that John Elway wasn’t the greatest Broncos quarterback of all time. Many fans in and out of Denver have called him the greatest quarterback of all time. That’s high praise for anyone, especially a player who was once dedicated to becoming a running back. The story of how that changed, and its link to the current Broncos QB Kyle Orton, is a tale worth telling. Settle in, and I’ll set the stage for you. The full production will begin in the second section, but without the background, you won’t catch the full effect. Let’s begin in the State of Washington. In fact, let’s begin with Washington State University.

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Not so many comebacks Lard 12-1-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Like many of you, I grew up practically worshiping John Elway, and it always stings to read about the lies we've been told regarding his 4th-quarter comeback wins. Really, he's not actually the Comeback King. But as someone who loves stats, facts and the debunking of myths, narratives and internet memes, I've just got to accept the disappointing realities along with the uplifting ones. Not sure if you're ready to do the same, but here's an excellent read from Scott Kacsmar over at the PFR Blog regarding Elway's comebacks. The silver lining is that it shows that Elway was much better than Brett Favre in the fourth quarter, and very similar to Dan Marino. Well, except for the fact that he's got more rings than the two of them combined...

Among the links you'll find sense and reason from Mike Lombardi and myth busting from Ted Bartlett. And later today, the first of Doc's excellent series linking the Elways to Kyle Orton.

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Debunktion Junction comes to Adam Schein’s county

I’m  a total multitasker, and technology has made me worse.  Twitter is one of my diversions at times, and I’d say I use it very sporadically, unlike a lot of people who use it all day.  Today, I was relaxing in my bathroom, taking care of some things, you know how it is, and I fired up the old Tweetdeck on my iPhone 4 to let my mind have something to do.  I happened across the following Tweet from my good pal Adam Schein.

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Bowlen says McDaniels will be back in 2011 - well, maybe Lard 11-30-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! I got a bit of a late start today, and since our good friend Ted Bartlett has plenty of rational commentary on where the Broncos stand with Josh McDaniels, let's just see what he has to say. Read that, and then come on back for the news.

As far as injuries, McDaniels announced yesterday that Demaryius Thomas and Andre' Goodman would again be out on Sunday, and Brian Dawkins will likely also miss the trip to Kansas City with a knee injury. Darcel McBath may return again, and Joe Mays is a bit banged up.

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Huge Decision of the Week: Bowlen keeps McDaniels

Pat Bowlen, at the age of 66, no longer runs triathlons; he tears it up on the stationary bike instead.

For those that question whether or not Josh McDaniels will be around to tear up the AFC West this year, Bowlen had this to say to AOL's Fanhouse tonight: 

"I am not interested in making a coaching change."

Straight from the horse's Broncos' mouth,  Denver fans.  Bowlen isn't taking his coach to the woodshed--this year at least.  

Get used to Josh McDaniels.  The hoodie, the baseball cap, and the baby-faced protege is sticking around for awhile, whether you like him or not.  Personally, I'd like to see him sport a Fu Manchu moustache for the last 5 games.  That way, he'd at least be dressed the part of the villain, which is the part the national media has cast him in for the last year week.  

Why would Bowlen--a guy known for staying behind the scenes and rarely granting interviews--suddenly give an impromptu interview to AOL Fanhouse late into the evening?  It's simple.  He had to do it.

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Another county heard from (Cuyahoga, that is…)

I’ve been feeling pretty hostile toward a large part of the Broncos fan base lately.  I used to think that we were a really educated and reasonable fan base.  Through the magic of Twitter, I’ve learned that neither is actually the case.  Broncos fans, by-and-large,  are tremendously spoiled, and short-sighted.  They don’t know much about football, and they don’t try too hard to learn about it from resources like It’s All Over Fat Man and Mile High Report.  (The Broncos MSM only has negativity and obviousness to contribute, of course.)

On that note, here’s the ever-growing media narrative:  the Denver Broncos are on the wrong track because their young egomaniac coach has set out to destroy a once-proud team.  Doug Farrar from the often-craptastic Football Outsiders grew up in Denver, and this is the truth, according to him.  Mark Kiszla thinks Josh McDaniels looks like a beaten man.  (Which for Mark, would be a big success!)  This whole thing reminds me of when noted assholes TJ Simers and Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times successfully ran Dodgers’ GM Paul DePodesta out of LA after 2 years.  They hated the young, Harvard educated, Moneyball-reared DePodesta, and called him Google Boy, like knowing how to use The Google is a bad thing.  Luckily, Pat Bowlen said Monday that it’s not going to work.

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Surveying the blitzed

Okay, folks, we’ve got a pop quiz, and it’s a five-parter...

  1. What team holds the NFL's single-game sack record?
  2. What was the year, and who was their opponent?
  3. Who was the Defensive Coordinator of the team that set the record?
  4. For extra credit - Who taught the scheme to the defensive coordinator for the winning team?
  5. For EC double points - What was the system that he used to earn that record?

If you can answer each of those, you understand much more of what happened at Invesco Field on 11/28/10. Invesco....ironic name, really. The company that bought the naming rights has gone belly up. When you come right down to it, the Broncos are doing the very same thing. 

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Was it really that close? Lard 11-29-10

UPDATE 9:45AM ET - In his MMQB, Peter King shares some insight into the situation in Denver and on Josh McDaniels, whom he claims to "know fairly well." King writes...

"McDaniels is adamant that he didn't trash the Patriots in his staff meeting Friday...McDaniels seems to know he's got a traitor in his midst...None of this will matter if the Broncos keep losing, like they did Sunday to St. Louis...If the Broncos lose out, McDaniels is probably done...The Broncos did him no favors by giving him an inexperienced GM, Brian Xanders, who clearly hasn't been strong enough to save him from making some bad personnel calls. The team should have invested in a savvy, veteran GM to help McDaniels navigate his way early."

As you know, we spend a good deal of time here mocking King, but there's some actual journalism in today's MMQB and it is an important read for Broncos fans. What stands out from the above snippets is the line regarding Xanders - is this McDaniels' way of laying the blame at the GM's feet, and/or a way to let us know that McDaniels did not handpick Xanders as has been previously portrayed?

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Gut Reactions - Week 12, Broncos-Rams

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Wrecks, sighs, and videotape.

The wreck: losing at home to a team who is in rebuilding mode.  

The sighs: the Broncos' continued futility to convert on 3rd downs, lack of quarterback pressure, inability to tackle, and  turnovers (on both sides).

The videotape: The Rams' offense seemed to confuse the Broncos after their first drive with their normal misdirection and bootlegs; their receivers and tight ends had more space than Buzz Lightyear. Their defense, as Brian Griese pointed out from the radio booth, confused the Broncos all game, blitzing eight defenders on one play, only to drop eight defenders in coverage the next.

Quick, someone call Steve Scarnecchia and get him back on the payroll (and rolling footage).  The Broncos could have used six more minutes of film today.

Despite a late surge, some luck, and some conservative play calling by the Rams, the Broncos' season took another shot to the chin today.  

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