Fox making right decision on kickoffs, but for wrong reason

Jim Trotter posted a thought-provoking column today on kickoff deferrals:

Since the start of the 2010 season, flip-winning clubs that have opted to receive first are 185-209 (.470), versus 140-115 (.549) for those deferring.

"Six and a half-dozen," said Broncos coach John Fox. "You don't know how it's going to go."..."There are two principals that apply to coaching," Fox says. "One is, If it ain't broke don't fix it. Two is, Don't get caught up in the same old stuff."
Because the Broncos have scored touchdowns three of the last four games after receiving the second-half kickoff, look for Fox to stay with the same old stuff and not fix what ain't broke.

We've been heartened by John Fox's recent choices to defer possession until the second half kickoff in recent weeks, but it's just as disappointing to learn he's been doing so thanks to some sort of gut feeling.

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You Got Served: Revisiting the Broncos as Super Bowl contenders

Happy Thursday, friends.  In typical salaried-employee fashion, as I prepare to go on vacation Friday, I’m scrambling to do eight days of work in four days this week.  As such, my writing time has been a bit limited, but I want to share some quick thoughts today about team expectations and the stupidity of reporters.

One of my favorite drums to beat is that the NFL is a complex and dynamic system, where the facts of yesterday become the “not so much” of today.  I laugh every year as the John Claytons of the world, and also his imitators, attempt to forecast the NFL in the preseason.

Usually, this takes two forms: the dumber ones, like Clayton himself, will tend to predict that about 10 of the 12 teams that made the playoffs the year before will do so again, and that two other teams which had hyped draft or free agent classes will also get into the mix.  The smarter ones will note that on average, only 7 of 12 teams tend to make the playoffs in back-to-back years, and they’ll try to find the 10 teams that they think are mostly likely to move up and down in class.

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Jets are a clown show, Bro Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! During each of Denver's games this season, we've seen several shots of Peyton Manning speaking with his teammates after a drive.

Usually the camera shot only shows Manning surrounded by his five linemen and perhaps line coach Dave Magazu, but this apparently isn't a matter of just the quarterback and his linemen discussing protection and calls.

According to Peyton, the entire offense has been meeting after every possession, good or bad, to discuss what they saw on the field. Taking inspiration from the military, and encouraged to do so by John Fox, Manning & Co. refer to these get-togethers as their "debriefing sessions."

As for the location of these conferences, Manning says the skill players head over to where the big heavies sit, hence our television view of the backs of the offensive linemen, and Peyton facing the camera.

NFL Films captured a bunch of these conversations from the Carolina game in their latest Sound FX piece. (h/t AldenBrown)

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It’s the little things for the Broncos

It’s often said that it’s the little things that count in life. By my count, during the Broncos' 36-14 win over the Panthers, there were five of them in particular that deserved a big pat on the back.

The first one hits big. He often plays big. He’s Danny Trevathan, the 6-1, 232-lb nickel- and dime-package linebacker whom the Broncos took as their sixth-round draft choice in April. It doesn’t take much knowledge of the game to notice that he’s usually around the ball at the tackle, and that he’s essentially fearless. Danny’s been getting into games in nickel and dime coverage, paired with his Kentucky fellow alum and super ‘backer, Wesley Woodyard.

Trevathan looked outright diminutive next to the 6-5, 255-lb Carolina tight end Greg Olsen. But discriminating fans may have noticed that after Olsen had gashed the Broncos early on, the team assigned Danny to cover Olsen, with immediate positive results. Trevathan did not shut him down, and he will learn a lot from the encounter, but it shows clearly the confidence Denver is developing in him. And, it was a pretty good start, given what he was being asked to do on the fly. Olsen wasn’t the guy he was mostly studying in film work last week, and the rookie still bothered the TE and made his job harder.

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Even as praise rolls in, subtle front office moves get overlooked Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The credit continues to come in John Elway's direction for his stellar job turning the Denver franchise around.

In an interview with the AP, Elway revisits the decisions to come back to football, hire John Fox, and pursue Peyton Manning. But while the story covers the most discussed of John's Dove Valley moves, especially the recent ones, there are, of course, others worth recalling.

We recently lauded the front office's moves to re-sign Wesley Woodyard and sign Chris Harris as an undrafted rookie, but what about Elway's first big move - re-signing Champ Bailey?

Staying in the backfield, the choice of keeping Tony Carter over Drayton Florence (whom they'd given a $1.5M signing bonus only months earlier) stands as a move that evidences a rare ability to quickly recognize a mistake and move on from it, and obviously, Carter has been paying hefty dividends.

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With three games left against Broncos and Colts, Eric Berry’s equinophobia could be a problem

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A Second Helping of Denver’s fumble woes, Part 1

In the closing minutes of Denver's 36-14 victory over Carolina on Sunday, a remarkable thing happened.

Willis McGahee recovered his own fumble.

Normally this wouldn't be notable, and certainly not worth celebrating. But it was the first time all season that the Broncos had recovered one of their own fumbles.

In Week 10.

McGahee's gaffe - his second of the game - was the team's 14th of the year, and only the second one that didn't cost Denver possession; against New Orleans in Week 8, Ronnie Hillman fumbled shortly after halftime, but the ball took a fortuitous bounce out of bounds.

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LOL Chiefs Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! At some point, do we all have to feel badly for the Chiefs?

After having been predicted by a near consensus of NFL punditry to be this year's AFCW champs, KC has been reaching new levels of futility and despair by the week.

Last night, the Chiefs (1-8) lost to the Steelers (6-3) by an overtime score of 16-13, on a field goal set up by yet another turnover by Matt Cassel - this time an athletic interception by Lawrence Timmons. It was the team's 30th turnover on the season, but their only one of this game; they got to OT after Cassell connected with Dwayne Bowe on a 4th-and-15 conversion late in the fourth quarter.

Lowlight of the night for KC has to be the 15-yard celebration penalty they were hit with on a touchdown that had been called back.

Dumb rule, for sure. Still, quite befitting for the 2012 Chiefs.

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Open Thread: MNF Week 10 - Chiefs @ Steelers

Andy Benoit, Doug FarrarAdam TeicherSam Monson, and Benjamin Hoffman preview the matchup; here are the inactive lists. Enjoy the game!

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Dumervil escapes serious injury; Panthers fire ST coach

A day after having survived brief injury scares to key players Peyton Manning, Von Miller, Demaryius Thomas, and Willis McGahee, the Broncos have dodged another bullet.

An MRI on the injured left shoulder of Elvis Dumervil showed no tear, and there's a possibility the defensive end will play Sunday against San Diego.

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