About that “blueprint”

On Friday, I wrote that the Patriots' alleged "blueprint" for beating the Broncos was really a blueprint for beating any defense in the NFL.  I didn't think it all the way through, though, and an important point was left out.

The one-word fast running game only works when it's quiet enough for Tom Brady to call out that one word.  At Seattle yesterday, the Patriots couldn't play as fast, because Brady had no ability to communicate the play as quickly as he could at home.

CenturyLink Field is the loudest outdoor stadium in the NFL, and Brady may have an easier time in stadiums with less noise. But for the moment, I'm going to say that the one-word run game is only something New England can consistently rely upon at home.

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Seau changed for the worse prior to suicide Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver (2-3) has an opportunity to tie San Diego (3-2) for first-place in the AFCW tonight; if not, they'll maintain a dubious pace just ahead of the one-win Raiders and Chiefs.

Oakland (1-4) nearly pulled off a shocker in Atlanta, where the Falcons needed a last-second 55-yard field goal from Matt Bryant to escape with a 23-20 win and remain unbeaten. 17 points were scored in a wild final three minutes, with Asante Samuel returning an interception of Carson Palmer 79 yards for a score, Darren McFadden scoring with 40 seconds left, and Bryant capping yet another late game-winning drive by Matt Ryan, who had been picked off by Dennis Allen's boys three times in the first half.

Kansas City (1-5) got demolished in Tampa Bay 38-10 as the Brady Quinn-led Chiefs got outgained by 202 yards, and Quinn threw two interceptions (including a pick-six by Ronde Barber) in his first start since 2009. The Chiefs are denying that embattled GM Scott Pioli has been offered a two-year extension, as was reported by CBS's Jason La Canfora earlier in the day. But Jason Whitlock believes management only issued that denial because the team had just been pasted again on the field, and he says the recent Matt Cassel/booing fans/Eric Winston drama is just proof that the NFL and its players have no respect for their own fans.

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Open Thread: Sunday Week 6

Enjoy the games, and Go Falcons and Bucs!

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Game Day Limerick: Sunday Without the Broncos

Without the Broncos to watch on Sunday, I'm forced to attend church, clean out the garage--just kidding.  I have two advanced degrees, the recession hasn't touched me, and I'm one of the 53%.  So I just hire that stuff out, y'all.

Which brings me to my real point--limericks.  Feel free to have a whack at life without the Broncos on Sunday.  Here's what I did with my left hand (my right hand was otherwise occupied after watching reruns of Baywatch).  You see, 53% of us can multitask.

Sunday Cruddy Sunday
On a day like today I would say
there's nothing in this life as the play
   of the Broncos on high
   with a Manning so spry
that a Denver rerun is as gay¹ 

¹ 19th-century connotation, not that there's anything wrong with that)

Brooking over Mays, Hallelujah! Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! If there's been one figure who's received our scorn more than others in recent weeks, it's middle linebacker Joe Mays.

The hard hitter, who has displayed a laudable dose of humility and self-awareness when it comes to his misreads and missed tackles, has had a rough year. He's struggled in both coverage and against the run (his strong suit), especially during his last two games (against Houston and New England).

Denver's coaches have apparently seen the same issues.

As Doc had called for two weeks ago, it appears the Broncos will start Keith Brooking in place of Mays tomorrow night. Brooking had been working primarily at Will - splitting time there with Wesley Woodyard - but this week, he shifted to his more familiar Mike spot, working ahead of Mays. Needless to say, we applaud the decision.

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Clady practices, probable; Kaeding out for San Diego

Nine Broncos are on the final injury report for Week 6, and all are listed as probable, after all 53 players on the active roster were full participants in Saturday's practice. Ryan Clady was back in action after missing Friday's work due to a minor hamstring injury.

The outlook for the Chargers is not looking as good, as kicker Nate Kaeding is out, starting left tackle Jared Gaither and nickel corner Shareece Wright are doubtful, and wideouts Eddie Royal and Malcom Floyd are both listed as questionable. RB Ryan Mathews and RT Jeromey Clary are probable.

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Memo to Champ: Phil is still a jerk Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Ryan Clady (hamstring) and Tony Carter (illness) sat out Friday's practice; all other players were full participants.

John Fox says Clady is day-to-day; Chris Clark would take his place in the starting lineup should he not be ready to go Monday. Chris Kuper will likely see his first action of the year, but it's unknown whether he'll start at right guard and return Manny Ramirez to the bench.

Keith Brooking was a full participant after having passed his post-concussion tests on Tuesday; he admits he's likely past the days where he should be playing 60-70 defensive snaps per game.

Demaryius Thomas continues to tote a football around with him at Dove Valley in order to improve his ball security, and he hopes defenders will become preoccupied with trying to strip the ball instead of tackling him.

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Fat Camp: Scoffing at the “blueprint” and those who tout it

Happy Friday, friends.  Today, I’m going to respond to an excellent question posed by longtime reader DCJ1 in the comments from yesterday's article:

Any time a football team has a good day against another football team, media types always seem to like to proclaim that a “blueprint” was found for beating the losing team.  This is primarily a product of the media guys not understanding football very well, and arrogantly thinking that because they saw something that they hadn’t thought of, the coaches must not have realized that an up-tempo running game may be successful.  They also wrongly assume that what the Patriots did would be easily replicated.

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Holliday shortest Bronco in history Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Demaryius Thomas (hip), Ryan Clady (hamstring), and Keith Brooking (concussion) were limited in practice yesterday.

Denver's claim of Trindon Holliday makes the 5-5 return specialist the shortest player to ever appear on the team's active roster. The Broncos waived safety Duke Ihenacho to make room for Holliday, and beat out the 2-2 Colts in waiver priority to land the player. According to Mike Klis, Holliday will replace Jim Leonhard as the team's punt returner, and could eat into Omar Bolden's role as the top kickoff returner.

Much of the talk out of Dove Valley yesterday was about consistency, and about stretching the team's fourth-quarter successes to the rest of games.

John Fox says the team is close to putting it all together, while several players acknowledge the importance of Monday's game, especially as a division matchup.

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Open Thread: TNF Week 6 - Steelers @ Titans

Bucky Brooks and Gordon McGuinness break down the matchup; Benjamin Hoffman picks the Steelers; Bill Simmons predicts the Steelers will win, but not cover the spread.

Enjoy the game!

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