The Broncos and Jets open Week 11 tonight, and the rest of the country will get its first look at Tim Tebow as a starting NFL QB. What will they get? Three yards and a cloud of dust from both teams, with the defenses and punters as the stars of the show? Or will Sexy Rexy's defense dare Tebow to air it out and find a willing adversary? Some are suggesting that Rexy's D won't allow the Broncos to run the ball with any sort of success, while the extra-short week (the Jets played Sunday night) and travel across two time zones and up to altitude could help to level any talent deficit Denver may be facing. Let's see if the Stats That Don't Lie will offer any hints:
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Tonight's game should be fascinating if speculation about Denver seeing a Cover 0 from the Jets is true.
The thinking is that in order to stop the Broncos' running attack, Rex Ryan is going to go to the Cover 0 more often than not.
If that's the case, it won't be boring. Exciting football is dangerous football, in which the defense operates on the razor's edge of risk and reward.
The Cover Zero says, Throw at us, we dare you.
Let's take a quick peek at what it looks like:
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Greg Cosell was likely speculating when he suggested during his weekly podcast with Doug Farrar that Rex Ryan's Jets might keep nine men in the box and run Cover-0 with Darrelle Revis and OctoDad. Because as Ryan Wilson pointed out in a post yesterday, Sexy Rexy's book Coaching Football's 46 Defense has an entire chapter devoted to defending the option, and as part of the lead-in to the chapter, he writes:
As a DC, you should avoid rigging a "special" defensive plan versus the option. Every defensive scheme can be manipulated to meet the demands of stopping an explosive option attack. Generally, it is a bad idea and an unsound premise to structure a special defense for the option. With the 46 pressure defense, you don't need a special plan or a gimmick, you only need practice at the sound strategies available inside the package...The 46 allows you to plan various strategies to attack the option. These looks are accomplished through varying the individual responsibilities of your perimeter and second-level players...Just as the DE can be assigned different responsiblities, so can the free safety and linebacker.
I think you get the picture, but if not then sign into your Amazon account, click on Search inside this book, submit option and you'll find that Rexy devotes more than eight pages to the weakside option. Hopefully Mike McCoy or one of his assistants brushed up on this chapter, because frankly they'll need some creative wrinkles to outscheme a guy who literally wrote a book on defense. Either that, or they'll need to have superior personnel or out-execute the Jets defense, which is tied with Denver for eighth-best in terms of yards per rush allowed. Which one do you think the Broncos are counting on accomplishing?
Week 10, Arrowhead Stadium. What a long, strange game it was.
Actually, it wasn’t that long - it only went 3 hours and 3 minutes. Strange? Unusual, at the very least. Keeping the clock running while you gash your way down the field, slicing off chunks of yardage like carving a Thanksgiving turkey with play after running play, forcing the Chiefs to retreat further and deeper into their own territory and all without a viable way to stop it - it takes the heart right out of a team.
There was more finesse to it than we often think - the smoothness of Von Miller, slicing past the center and the running back as if they were mere phantoms before embossing the #58 on his jersey’s shoulder onto Matt Cassel’s ribcage was particularly memorable. Enjoying watching Knowshon Moreno relive his college days in vaulting a defender, and the sadness of seeing him go down to injury. DT Brodrick Bunkley was a Houdini in disengaging with the right guard as if he were just a minor annoyance; Bunkley then launched himself at the running back, pulling him down from behind. And, on the other side, LG Zane Beadles displaying those light feet that make him such an effective pulling guard as he cleared the route for Tim Tebow to run for his TD. It was a very strange game, but for trench-hounds like me, it was the Bolshoi Ballet.
I'm not offended by the Tebow-as-Jesus jersey; in fact, I find it liberating. If some cat wants to spend a few hundred dollars of their hard-earned money outside of a strip club, who am I to judge?
Escapism is the American way. Some folks get addicted to gambling. Some folks get addicted to drugs. Some folks buy another man's replica jersey. Raiders fans do all three.
The point is that dudes that played Dungeons and Dragons have to grow up someday. And when they grow up, they wear jerseys.
So I came up with a few jerseys of my own that all Broncos fans can get behind.
Even the nerds.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! As Ted pointed out yesterday, Tim Tebow and the Broncos continue to affirm inclinations all over Broncos Country - so much so that Confirmation Bias Week has stretched for over a month now, and there's no sign of it ending anytime soon. It's been a perfect recipe, as the Broncos are 3-1 with Tebow as their starting QB thus far, and he's been exceptional running the ball while rather inept at throwing the ball during that stretch. So, Tim's "just a winner" who will obviously continue to do so, and work so hard that he'll become a 60% passer someday - because all of this winning will buy him the time to do so. A reader even wrote something to the effect of, "Tebow is already almost a 50% passer" last week in our comment section. Of course, the other side of the debate (since there are only two, right?) is that Tim is so far from being a legitimate NFL thrower of the football that the Broncos, John Elway and John Fox aren't long enough time or political capital (yes, even Elway) to wait for that to happen.
Happy Victory Tuesday, friends. Today, you’re going to get a Serving of thoughts on the Chiefs game, and something to Digest about the Jets, since that game is being played on Thursday night. Get excited, because it’s a two-fer Tuesday. Ready… BEGIN!!
1. Sunday’s win came in an unusual way, but you should never apologize for a victory. One of the Denver reporters got a little smart-assed with John Fox, and asked if he’d ever coached a game like that before. Fox kind of smirked, and said that yes, he had. It turned out that he won that one too. Jake Delhomme was out, and they pounded the hell out of the Falcons that day and played good defense.
For the last two weeks, the Broncos have gotten in touch with their physical side on offense, and a creative and effective running game has led to back-to-back road AFC West victories against both of the Broncos’ most hated rivals. For a Denver Broncos fan, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Somehow, though, being a Broncos fan has gotten to be more complicated than that. Somehow, everything came to revolve around the Quarterback, and sides have been chosen; everybody seems to have a bias one way or another, and the Broncos and Tim Tebow keep confirming it, whatever it is. For a while this was amusing, but it’s really kind of tiresome to me at this point.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! PFF's John Breitenbach analyzes the Jets' loss to the Patriots Sunday night, and he says NJ played quite well at times but blew their opportunities with poor special teams play and turnovers. They allowed 4.5 sacks to Shanny favorite and Denver son Andre Carter, with Mark Sanchez deserving plenty of blame for holding the ball too long. We'll see how that works out against Von Miller.
Meanwhile, Breitenbach has plenty of praise for Jets NT Sione Pouha, whom he says is always involved in running plays and "occupies double teams but gets off blocks and makes tackles too." He then goes on to list the virtues of Jets C Nick Mangold, comparing him to ex-Broncos C Chris Myers, who has excelled with the Texans after Shanny & Co. sent him to Kubes in a rare sign-and-trade deal. Finally, Breitenbach writes that Jets S Eric Smith had a rough day trying to cover Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker, and that his tackles in the run game all came downfield. Hopefully there'll be more of that come Thursday...
Here's what Matt Bowen is looking for from tonight's matchup.