When I realized that my Monday column fell on the real opening day of Denver's season, I wanted to put together something with a gravitas fitting to the occasion. Musing over the years, I found myself thinking back to an event that was essential to John Elway’s presence as Vice President of Football Operations for the Broncos. It features historic characters, human fallibility and an outcome that changed history for the team that he’s putting back in orange.
Did you know that John Elway actually agreed, in a phone conversation, with Ernie Accorsi (the much-loved GM of a demented franchise in those Baltimore Colts, owned as they were by Robert Irsay) to wear the horseshoe? History records that Elway was willing to make the leap that would have kept him from ever becoming a Bronco. I’d never heard this part of the story until recently, and since we are on the threshold of the first regular season game with Elway running the franchise, I think that it’s worth looking back upon.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Here we go - it's been a tumultuous 12 months for our team, what with the firing of Josh McDaniels, John Elway taking over the organization, the hiring of John Fox, the lockout, yet another scandal (the arrest of Perrish Cox and the prospect of Broncos players having to testify against their ex-teammate) and something about a pair of quarterbacks whose names I'm struggling with at the moment. It felt like the longest offseason in history, but finally we get to see the 2011 Broncos for really real tonight, and against our most hated rivals, nonetheless.
Enjoy the games, everyone!
Several weeks ago, we explored the basics of personnel groupings and how they can quickly tell you how a team wants to attack its opponents. There's a good reason we got that out of the way before the start of the season: We're going to now put those groupings to the test as we scout the Oakland Raiders.
The goal (at least the stated goal) of these reports is to provide you something akin to what teams get as they prepare each week.
Typically, defensive players will get a report from the advanced scouts that look at the last three or four games of their opponent. The reports focus on personnel groupings, formations, tendencies, and general tips that will be helpful. They are generally short and to the point and include diagrams and visuals. The groupings and formations are always framed in the language of the defensive team's lingo. So while the offense may have terminology of their own, the scouting reports will be in language of the defense. In short, the offense may be speaking Latin (or Pig Latin in the case of the Raiders), but the defense is still going to translate the groupings and formations into their own native tongue. E tu, Butkus?
This immediately presents us with a problem. What language do we use here at Fat Man? Simply put, something that even the most mainstream of fans will understand. This means personnel groupings will be referenced by numbers instead of terms (212 will be used to describe 2 RBs, 1 TE, and 2 WRs instead of the term "Regular"); formation descriptions will be kept to a minimum and displayed visually when there is any chance for confusion.
Good Morning, Broncos fans - here we are, the first Sunday of regular-season football in 2011! Enjoy the games - of course we'll have an open thread for you to discuss the action, and TJ has a stellar analysis of the Raiders as the Broncos prepare to face them tomorrow.
As we commemorate the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, our thoughts here at IAOFM go out to all who suffered a loss on that day, and to all who have served.
WR Demaryius Thomas has suffered yet another injury, although at least this time it's not major - he broke a finger on his left hand during Thursday's session and missed practice yesterday and today. Thomas has been working back into football shape as he returns from surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, and he was already expected to miss at least two or three games to start the season.
Also listed as out for Denver on today's injury report are Marcus Thomas, Ty Warren and D.J. Williams, while David Bruton, Brodrick Bunkley, Quinton Carter, Chris Kuper and Matt Willis are all probable. For Oakland, TE Kevin Boss, S Mike MItchell and WR Louis Murphy are out, while LB Darryl Blackstock, WR Derek Hagan, CB Chris Johnson, RB Taiwan Jones, WR Chaz Schilens, and CB DeMarcus Van Dyke are all listed as probable.
On Wednesday we talked about the Erhardt-Perkins offense: its history, some of its usage and some principles on how it’s going to be used in Denver. Today I’d like to touch a little more upon what the Air Coryell offense is and how it fits together with the EP for Denver, including specifically what the groups of players are doing by position.
As I noted last article, Denver is combining the EP vertical passing offense with its power running game - and by saying ‘power’ I’m not dismissing the zone blocking aspect. Big, stronger blockers with good feet fit into this approach efficiently - they can have a lot of size and power, even though zone blocking is generally expected from smaller linemen. The issue is simply whether they have the feet to handle it. A simple way of combining the two systems comes from Ron Erhardt himself. Back towards the end of his coaching days, Erhardt took his system and combined it into a hybrid with the spread formation, in an approach that was quickly dubbed ‘Air Erhardt’. A coach whose team has been running a spread variation and is developing a good running game can use some plays from that as a good beginning. Denver is more likely to do what they’ve said - to use the run more aggressively.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Nothing earth-shattering in Broncos Land today, so I'd like to take this opportunity to mark a pair of noteworthy occasions here at IAOFM. Plus, tomorrow should be all about the first Sunday of real NFL football rather than self-referencing snobbery. Anyway, tomorrow marks the first anniversary of IAOFM's existence, and it's been quite a year. Doc, TJ, Ted, David (who runs the technical side) and I have had an incredible time working with each other, we've made a bunch of new friends, and we're excited about what the future holds for our little endeavor. We set out a year ago to offer high level analysis of the Broncos, to make you think and laugh, and we believe IAOFM has been consistently evolving into a better product. We hope you feel the same way.
Happy Friday, friends. Can I talk frankly? Yes, I think I can. Since I started my football writing “career” back in 2008, I’ve always been kind of a loose cannon. I’ve mostly avoided agreeing to put myself in any boxes, rather than to generally say that I’ll have something written on this day or that day. A lot of times, if I have something due on Friday at noon, I’ll have no idea what I want to write about when I’m driving home after work on Thursday afternoon. I just like to let stuff go from my mind to my fingers to the screen. It’s kind of like being a 30-something dude who lives with his parents and won't date a chick for longer than three months because he doesn’t want to grow up.
Well, I went and agreed to produce a recurring feature on Fridays as part of our game lead-up package, which is going to be just outstanding, even if it isn't scantastic. I don’t have a fitting gluttony reference for it yet, so I’m just going to call it Opposition Research, because that's what it is. Basically, I plan to watch some recent video of the upcoming opponent, take some notes, and then talk about some non-obvious things that I saw, particularly stuff that you can't get just by looking over a couple box scores. Then, I’ll talk about what the Broncos can do to be successful in light of those observations. Pretty straightforward, right? Here goes, as we break down Tranny Nation after the jump.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! How was that for a season opener? If you thought you had something better to do than watch Saints/Packers last night, it really wasn't. Green Bay outlasted New Orleans 42-34 (box score) in an all-out slugfest which featured 51 first downs, 17-of-26 third-down conversions, 876 yards of offense, 84 pass attempts for 731 yards and six touchdowns, two special teams touchdowns, and a goal-line stop by the Packers to conclude the game on an untimed down from the one-yard line.
As for what last night meant to us as Broncos fans: Be patient this season. No matter how far they exceed any of our expectations (if they do), it will take multiple years for Denver to be able to consistently compete with teams the caliber of today's Packers and Saints. We saw third and fourth receivers making huge plays, electric kick returners, two of the best QBs we'll ever see, and we can only hope at this point that Julius Thomas will someday be as effective as either Jermichael Finley or Jimmy Graham in the passing game. And of course, we won't be seeing that brand of football anyway, as the John Fox-led Panthers scored 34 points or more just 13 times in nine seasons (including playoffs). For comparison's sake, the Packers have scored 34 or more points 13 times in their last 48 games, while we only have to go back 37 games to find 13 such outputs by the Saints. On the bright side - and this is no small matter - Darren Sproles is no longer on our schedule twice a year - once every four years is bad enough, so let's all hope he finishes his career in the NFC.