The Daily Lard 11-28-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! If yesterday felt like Groundhog Day, that's because it basically was. The Broncos have found a winning formula, one with several parts stellar defense (22 tackles from Von Miller and D.J. Williams, three sacks from Von and Elvis Dumervil, 36 points allowed in three weeks), a few parts punishing running attack (208 yards including 117 from Willis McGahee), one part excellent special teams (a huge 31-yard PR by Eddie Royal which led to their first score), and a dash or two of luck (two missed FGs by Nick Novak, two Denver fumbles but none lost) and opponent blunders (Norv Turner's Andy Reid-style handling of the clock before halftime) thrown in for good measure.

Denver and San Diego needed OT to reach a combined 300 net passing yards, and the Broncos did Herman Cain proud with their continued offensive futility: nine pass completions, nine punts, nine penalties. But no matter, because a win is still a win, and this 16-13 victory moves the Broncos over .500 for the first time since being 8-4 in 2009 and losing four straight. It should be mentioned that Tim Tebow made some key throws late in the game, and seven of his nine completions went for first downs. Denver has now won five of six and four straight, including three road division victories in a four-week span - a remarkable feat in any season and no matter the circumstances.

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Gut Reaction: Week 12 - Broncos at Chargers

Quick, I know how we can settle this Broncos quarterback controversy very quickly.

Clone Von Miller.

Miller did a little bit of everything today except throw the football.  He got to the quarterback. He beat the double team.  He made the Chargers' offensive linemen look like they were on skates.  And when the Broncos needed him most, he slithered through the line and knocked the ballcarrier out of field goal range.  As a result, the Broncos won in overtime 16-13.

Miller is pure mayhem.  He changes games the way Lawrence Taylor did.  He's the single best draft pick of the 2011 draft class.

Watching Miller play requires you implant a swivel on your neck and suspend your belief that a linebacker can be out of this world against the run or the pass. He's turned the Broncos defense into a dominant force in a matter of months.

Before I prop up his candidacy for President of the United States, let me say one more thing.

It doesn't matter who the quarterback is as long as the Broncos have Miller in the game.

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Open Thread - Sunday Week 12

Enjoy the games everyone, and Go Broncos! Here are the day's inactives.

Lots of Tebow talk on NFLN: Marshall Faulk, Tom Waddle & Jamie Dukes, Mooch & Sapp, and the GameDay crew discuss today's matchup.

Denver has not promoted QB Adam Weber from the practice squad, and they will dress only 52 players and two QBs today. They will be without Quan Cosby, Quinn Johnson, Manny Ramirez, Tony Hills, Julius Thomas and Derrick Harvey today, while San Diego WR Bryan Walters, CB Marcus Gilchrist, G Louis Vasquez, G Tyronne Green, T Marcus McNeill, WR Malcom Floyd and DE Luis Castillo are inactive.

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The Daily Lard 11-27-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Nate Winkler previews Broncos/Chargers for CHFF, and he points to the ludicrous fact that Tim Tebow has averaged more yards per rush than per pass. Now, granted - part of that is because Tim is sporting a remarkable 6.9-yard average on his carries, but the flip side is that Blaine Gabbert is the only other QB to have thrown 100 passes this season with a lower YPA. But as Winkler stresses, Tebow has also done a great job of not turning the ball over, and his only two giveaways since taking over as the fulltime starter came during the blowout loss to Detroit.

Winkler believes the game will come down to third-down conversions, and there may be no better medicine for Denver's woes there than the San Diego defense. He also says it's a prime opportunity for Tebow to show he can chuck it better, as both the Chargers and next week's opponent (Minnesota) have allowed opponents to post very high QB ratings (unfortunately, so have the Broncos - 96.4 ZOMG!).

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Fat Pickins (and Probability) - Week 12

Stop me if you've heard this one.

Doug Lee, TJ Johnson, and Mike Silver walk into a bar.

Lee and Silver walk out a little happier.  TJ just gets wasted.

Welcome to another week of our staff picks, where we're out to prove you really can screw up your picks when you use shot glasses.

This week, the numbers say the Broncos have roughly a 33% chance of winning.

The numbers are wrong; the Chargers are in meltdown.

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The Playbook Abides - The growth of Tim Tebow

I've been steadfast in my defense of Tim Tebow in one area of his game--pre-snap reads.

Accuracy is another issue, but let's put that aside for the moment.  Let's continue to focus on Tebow's ability to read a defense when he comes to the line of scrimmage.

Last week's game against the Jets presented a greater challenge than Tebow had faced in previous weeks.  The Jets typically mix their coverages pre-snap; they did so again when facing the Broncos.

The challenge for Tebow then (as with any quarterback, for that matter) was getting to the line of scrimmage and knowing where he needed to go with the ball.

We'll take a look at the first play of the game last week, which resulted in a 28-yard gain.  Was it just luck?  Or was it Tebow?

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STDL: Week 12 - Broncos at Chargers

The Broncos are undoubtedly in the thick of things in the AFC West, and a victory tomorrow could all but end the Chargers' chances to take back the division they had ruled for five out of six years prior to last year's stumble. San Diego is reeling, having lost five straight games (the first four by a single score) and turning the ball over an astonishing 14 times during that stretch. Of course, the Broncos are on the upswing, have won four of their last five, and they've given it away just once in three games. Just how likely is Denver to pull of their (previously unimaginable) third road divisional win in four weeks' time? Let's check out the Stats That Don't Lie to find out:

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The Daily Lard 11-26-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Chris Benson previews Broncos/Chargers for PFF, and he says a loss will be close to a death knell to either team's playoff chances, especially so in San Diego's case. Benson theorizes that Denver isn't necessarily setting out to run the ball so many times, but they're just going with the flow rather than sticking with a pass-heavy game plan when it's not working. He also points out that both teams have been successful in defending the run, while on offense both squads are featuring running back corps that resemble MASH Units. Finally, Benson ponders the age-old question for Denver whenever they face San Diego (Who will cover Antonio Gates?) and wonders if the answer could be Von Miller.

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Re-Digesting the Chargers

Happy Fat Man Friday, friends.  On Sunday, the Broncos will plays the Chargers for the second time this season.  What’s changed since October 9th?  Well, on the surface, the answer is everything.  Tim Tebow took over the Broncos offense in the second half of that game, with his team trailing 23-10 and looking sluggish.  Tebow then rallied the team to fall just short of winning at 29-24, as a pass into the end zone on the game’s final play was nearly caught by Matt Willis in the typical Hail Mary crowd.  On that day, the Chargers improved to 4-1, and the Broncos fell to 1-4.

Since then, the Broncos are 4-1 on the strength of an improved defense and running game, as well as some timely plays by Tebow.  The Chargers are 0-5 in that same period and have gotten really banged up in the process.  I can’t see any way that their season isn’t over, in terms of playoff meaning, at this point.

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The Daily Lard 11-25-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! John Elway told Dave Krieger that he's stopped reading his Twitter account, and who can blame him? Krieger writes, 

Trying to have a rational public conversation about Tebow is mostly futile these days. The subject has passed into a realm normally occupied by politics and religion, where people already know what they think and once the usual talking points are exhausted, the argument often devolves into personal insults. Because Elway shares the doubts of many league insiders about long-term success without a robust passing game, and because he's forthright enough to say so, he is now routinely accused of being jealous of Tebow's popularity and wanting him to fail...Maybe the Twitter loudmouths are just the lunatic fringe. But it would be understandable if Elway has reviewed his most recent career choice lately and wondered to himself, "What the heck was I thinking?"

I couldn't agree more. However, if in fact Tim does not have the ability to be a franchise QB anytime soon (and you know what I think of that), then there's nobody aside from Elway who has the political capital to move on from the Tebow experiment. Well, except among the Twittersphere, of course...

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