Good Afternoon, friends. We've never been shy about touching upon hotly debated issues here, but have only done so when prompted by words and actions from NFL figures.
Today is different though, because for the past 24 hours, it's been impossible to go more than a few minutes without thinking of the 20 small children who were murdered yesterday. That's murdered, mind you.
Immediately following the horrors in Aurora, and again yesterday, the airwaves and social media have been strewn with claims that it's "too soon" or "not the time" to discuss our nation's status as the mass-murder, assault-death capital of the developed world, and what must be done to fix that.
No day is better or worse to have this conversation, because by the time the self-appointed arbiters of national dialogue deem it's appropriate to broach the topic, we're onto our next mournful episode. Sadly, there's no law of nature that says today won't bring the next tragedy.
Happy Friday, friends. We got a question about the productivity of Elvis Dumervil from a reader the other day, and along with Doc, I am coming off the other edge to help answer it. It’s hard to contain a rush that’s coming off of both sides.
Doc took the position that Elvis has fine numbers, and I agree with him completely. I’m going to come from the schematic angle, and talk about how team strategy is directly feeding into his numbers, and the tactics he’s employing.
If I use the term Wide-9, what does that mean to you? Over the last couple of years, NFL talking heads have decided that it was a scheme that was being employed in Philadelphia. In the true sense of the term, Wide-9 simply means that a defensive player is aligned on the outside shoulder of a second TE, if there were one. He’s very far outside the offensive tackle.
In a column posted yesterday at Pro Football Focus, Ben Stockwell suggests that, outside of favorable matchups against the Chargers, Elvis Dumervil hasn’t done a very good job of rushing the passer this season.
It even discusses the idea that potential opponents might just try and shut down Miller (good luck there) and let the rest of the line try and beat them. I think that in this case, even PFF’s own stats show this to be a weak argument. So does the film.
In this explanation, I used some numbers that I took out of PFF's own website - an article from earlier in the week on pass rushing productivity on third and fourth downs. According to PFF, Miller is second in the league in total late down pressures, which isn’t surprising. Who’s tied for tenth? Elvis Dumervil, the player who supposedly isn’t performing well. This ignores, incidentally, the fact that Von and Elvis have each forced six fumbles - which only serves to expand the impact of their pressures.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! The AFC playoff picture got slightly clearer last night, as Cincinnati (8-6) pulled away in the second half of a 34-13 slopfest, turning over the Eagles (4-10) five times along the way.
The win puts them a half-game ahead of Pittsburgh, whom they'll visit next Sunday. A Steelers loss this week at Dallas would give the Bengals a chance to clinch a playoff spot next weekend with a win over Pittsburgh.
Cincy and Pittsburgh are essentially in a battle for the AFC's sixth seed, with an outside shot at overtaking Baltimore for the AFCN title.
The Jets have a slim chance at a wild card, while the Bills, Dolphins, Browns, and Chargers are essentially holding lottery tickets. To make the playoffs, San Diego needs to win out, have four other games go their way, and not be joined at 8-8 by Cleveland.
Meanwhile, a Denver win at Baltimore would almost ensure they'd be at least the number-three seed, and maintain their hopes of gaining a first-round bye.
Today, I want to briefly look at a play from the Raiders game that went for good yardage, and talk about why it worked. I'm going to try to start doing this at least every week to stimulate thought and discussion.
The situation in last Thursday's game that we're covering is a 1st-and-10 from the Denver 36, right after the Broncos have received a third-quarter punt. The score is 23-7:
Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's been quite a week in the hubris-filled, awareness-free alternate reality occupied by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Paul Tagliabue's smackdown of the Ginger Hammer's disastrous handling of the NFL PR department-crafted Saints bounty scandal showed how a quality commissioner should perform his job, and called into serious question whether Goodell deserves to keep his.
At least Tagliabue did Rog the favor of providing closure for the scandal and maintaining the power of the commissioner's office, even if it came with a sharp rebuke of Goodell's methods.
Were Goodell a reasonable person, this would have been a humbling, chastening experience - one prompting self-reflection and a reconsideration of one's tactics.
We happen to hate things like this, but today's quirky date has inspired us to look back at the history of the Broncos and the number 12.
Besides, the world is coming to an end in nine days anyway, so there isn't much time for people to call us the Broncos fan's version of Bleacher Report (and isn't that title already taken, anyway?).
So without further ado, here goes - our first, and presumably last - countdown column.
Here are the eleven different players to have worn #12 for the Broncos in the regular season, ranked in ascending order of Career AV (couldn't make this a completely brainless exercise):
Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Elway called it "one of the best throws I've ever seen," which is heady praise from one of the best throwers of the football in history. The recipient of the pass, Demaryius Thomas, is still marveling at it, more than a week later, and having already played another game in the interim, but he does so with good reason.
We're talking about the first of Peyton Manning's two third-quarter TD passes to Thomas against Tampa Bay, and we've been meaning to show how ridiculous a play it was. Not much needs to be said, aside from pointing out that while Demaryius is just two strides into the end zone, the ball is already coming out of Peyton's hand: