Open Thread: Sunday Week 5

Here are the day's inactive lists. Denver will be without QB Caleb Hanie, C/G C.J. Davis, DT Sealver Siliga, LB Steven Johnson, S Duke Ihenacho, TE Julius Thomas, and RB Knowshon Moreno.

Thomas is kicked back off the 45-man by the return of Virgil Green from suspension, Johnson by the return of Joe Mays, and Chris Kuper will make his season debut. Brock Osweiler is the primary backup QB yet again, while Ronnie Hillman, whose role has expanded each week, keeps Moreno inactive.

As expected, the Patriots will be without TE Aaron Hernandez today; also inactive are LB Dont'a Hightower, WR Julian Edelman, S Steve Gregory, C Matt Tennant, TE Michael Hoomanawanui, and DE Jake Bequette. Hightower's absence is a significant one, and a mild surprise; Tracy White is listed as his backup.

Enjoy the games, and Go Broncos!

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Thoughts on scheming against New England

Happy Sunday, friends.  It's been a hellacious week for me, and it's been a few days since I've had time to write.  I decided to share some thoughts today on how the Broncos should try to match up with New England today.  Obviously, these are two good teams who both find themselves with 2-2 records, and this game will likely end up influencing the AFC playoff picture.

First of all, let's say something that's obvious, but that Broncos fans willfully choose to get wrong.  The Patriots are extremely well-coached and schemed on both sides of the ball.  Bill Belichick gets a lot of credit, but quite a few Broncos fans are wrongly convinced that Josh McDaniels is a bad coach.  The Patriots had a couple three-and-outs early last week against Buffalo, and I saw a couple Broncos fans on Twitter saying it was the "McDaniels effect."  The Patriots then promptly scored six straight touchdowns, and swamped the Bills.

Let's take a look at what the Patriots are doing on both sides of the ball, and think about how the Broncos can find success against them.

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Gronk hurting for real Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Reiss says Rob Gronkowski's hip injury is nothing to be taken lightly and has had him in significant pain, and that the Pats are quite concerned about it.

Sal Paolantonio just reported the same thing on ESPN, but that Gronk will play today. As for his fellow tight end, Aaron Hernandez is still not expected to play.

As devastating as the Patriots offense can be, and as they were in the second half their demolition of the Bills last week, an absent Hernandez and a hobbled Gronkowski give the Broncos a chance to come away with an upset.

Reports continue to be that Chris Kuper will be a game-time decision, but that just reads like John Fox playing Bill Belichick's injury game.

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Chiefs fans ready to fly Pioli out of town Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Five Denver players are on the Week 5 injury report, but all of them are listed as having fully practiced on both Thursday and Friday, and all are probable for the game.

John Fox is maintaining that Chris Kuper will be a game-time decision; the team headed to New England yesterday, a day early, due to the two-time-zone difference.

WR Julian Edelman and S Steve Gregory are out for the Patriots, while in typical Bill Belichick fashion, TEs Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, RB Brandon Bolden, LB Dont'a Hightower, G Logan Mankins, and T Sebastian Vollmer are among twelve Patriots listed as questionable.

New England is clearly trying to make it appear that Hernandez will be ready to play, presumably to force the Broncos to plan for the possibility. Hightower claims that he himself will be a game-time decision.

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Manning, Brady discuss Week 5 matchup via Facebook

By now, most of you have probably already seen the FakeConvos meme that's been making the rounds today. Still, it's too funny not to share here.

Be sure to click through for the rest of the conversation. (via ProFootballMock.com)

QB Fake conversation

 

A Second Helping of Willis McGahee vs Oakland

There's 12:37 remaining in the third quarter, with Denver facing 1st and 10 from their own 32-yard line. They’re up by only four points on the scoreboard, despite having dominated play on the field. A couple of errors have kept it close, but that’s about to change.

The Broncos are in 11 personnel, with Manning under center, Willis McGahee directly behind him, two wide receivers out to the offensive left, and WR Eric Decker to the right - the ‘z’ position. TE Jacob Tamme is tight to the line at the offensive right.

Having been picked apart by Peyton Manning in the first half, the Raiders are using a hybrid nickel defense. They have three down linemen up front, plus Lamarr Houston (99) standing at defensive left end; linebacker Rolando McClain (55) is shaded between center Dan Koppen and left guard Zane Beadles, while Philip Wheeler (52) is in a deep MLB position.

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Broncos’ 53 healthy heading to Foxboro Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Chris Kuper was listed as a full participant in practice yesterday, as were the rest of Denver's active 53-man roster.

Even so, John Fox isn't yet saying whether the right guard will return to the starting lineup this week; Mike Klis says it's "almost certain" Kuper will at least be on the gameday roster.

Likewise, Bill Belichick continues to give the league's injury report policy the finger, listing thirteen players as limited in Thursday's practice.

Word out of New England continues to be that TE Aaron Hernandez will not play Sunday, although he did return to practice on a limited basis yesterday.

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Open Thread: TNF Week 5 - Cards @ Rams

Bucky Brooks, Nate Jahnke, Jon Gold, Larry Hartstein, and Dan Arkush break down the matchup; Benjamin Hoffman picks the Cards to win, while Bill Simmons is taking the Rams as the outright upset.

Enjoy the game!

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A Second Helping of Wesley Woodyard’s sack of Carson Palmer

Fourth quarter, 12:20. Oakland’s trailing 34-6. They’re in 21 personnel, I formation with two WRs on the offensive left, starting from their own 39 at 1st and 10. Denver’s countering with man coverage on the WRs, a balanced-front defensive line, and Von Miller standing up as the RDE. Elvis Dumervil is at LDE, next to Mitch Unrein, and both are backed by LBs, with Champ Bailey behind them - an overload ensues on the defensive left.  It’s a fake, but it draws lots of attention.

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Owner may put Jets on Tebow Time Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As the team prepares for its trip to New England, it's only natural that much of the talk focuses on the showdown between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

QBs aside, these are two franchises that are very familiar with each other; not only did they face off twice last season, and seven times in seven seasons, but several players (Dan Koppen, Brandon Lloyd, Daniel Fells) have played for both teams (Niko Koutouvides doesn't count*). And of course, there's the Pats offensive coordinator, some dude by the name of Josh.

Unfortunately, three of their last four meetings have been absolute shellackings, with the exception being the Hoodie Jr./Hoodie Sr. game of 2009.

One key to this week's edition of Broncos/Patriots could be health.

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