Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions about the state of the Denver Broncos. Got a titillating question? Put a dollar bill into the Dude’s G-String and he might answer your question—after bowling practice.
Duderino, I’m not the first person to point out that a certain 250-lb. running back is shredding defenses in Cleveland, Ohio. We had that kind of talent in our backfield and we wasted it! Why? Does Josh McDaniels not know talent when he sees it? And all we got in return was a tee-shirt and Brady Quinn. I’m with that guy from the Denver Post (I can’t remember his name, but I know he’s not Woody Paige) who said that McDaniels really got it wrong by letting Peyton Hillis go. Really really wrong!
—Don, Bay Village, Ohio
Good Morning, Broncos fans! There were some positive developments yesterday as Knowshon Moreno, Andre’ Goodman and Wesley Woodyard returned to practice, albeit in limited fashion. Spencer Larsen is still out, while Champ Bailey did not practice for personal reasons. In case you missed it, Randy Moss was traded to the Vikings after more hissyfits in New England, and Roy Halladay pitched the second no-hitter in postseason history. Yes, I know - it’s baseball news and this is a football blog (plus I’m a Mets fan), but I find it deserving of mention, even here.
I’m a corporate finance guy, by profession, and one of my favorite words is fungible. It’s a fairly specialized word, and many of you may not know it, so I’ll explain what it means. If an item is fungible, that means that individual units of that item have mutual sameness, in terms of value, and are easily substituted. (Commodities tend to be fungible, as mutual sameness is a lot of what makes something a commodity rather than a product.) Currency is fungible. One dollar bill has the exact same value as another dollar bill, even if the second one has a phone number written on it lipstick. A bushel of corn is also fungible, as is a barrel of light sweet crude oil. Here is the Wikipedia article, if you’re interested.
Employees tend not to be fungible. Do y’all know of Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders? He’s kind of a B-minus football thinker who thinks he’s an A-plus. Like all the guys at Football Outsiders, and others of their ilk, they tend to over-value statistics, especially the proprietary ones that they create. Anyway, this fellow Barnwell had a silly tweet the other night.
Note: Each Wednesday, we take a look at a critical coaching decision from the prior week’s game that had an impact on the final score—from a statistical point.
Josh McDaniels is known for having a playbook a mile high, each week throwing multiple formations, personnel packages, and looks at the defense.
Against the Titans, he thinned the playbook out real fast. Unable to run for much (all) of the game, the Broncos were forced into an aerial attack.
McDaniels himself is quoted as saying that at about the midway point of the 4th quarter, he essentially abandoned the running attack:
“We’re not going to go into any game and try to be one dimensional. I think, though, at some point in a game, and for today it was 9:27 to go in the fourth quarter, we were, ‘That’s it. That’s enough.’”
Certainly, the Broncos never intended to throw the ball as many times as they did last Sunday, but I do believe that the Broncos were heavily skewed towards the pass from the kickoff. In fact, I think it was the focus of their game plan. And that choice to attack the Titans, who came into the league as a highly-ranked passing defense—is our huge decision of the week.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! If I may, I’d like to take a moment to offer something of a reality check on the Kyle-Orton-Sucks-McDaniels-is-an-Idiot-Oh-Wait-Orton’s-Good-Vote-for-Kyle-for-MVP Train. Indeed, Kyle is off to a very good start this year, his grasp of the McDaniels offense is certainly better than it was last year, and he’s spreading the ball around quite well. He’s racking up the yardage and breaking records. But he’s got a long way to go. Despite his 175 attempts (an almost unprecedented crazy number), Orton has only 6 touchdown passes (tied for 8th best) with a TD rate of 3.4% (tied for 20th with Joe Flacco). That TD percentage will need to go up - and in a big way - before Kyle Orton is an elite QB, even for a season.
Now, this is something of a rant-laden Lard today. Clearly this is not an everyday thing, but as you know, when things get my goat, I tend to rant. Just ask the guys I work with what happens when they start talking about certain baseball players being “clutch” or “winners”...but I digress. Let’s get to those sand-in-my-shorts links!
Happy Monday Night, or Tuesday morning, or whenever you it is that you read this. A funny sidebar just occurred to me, as I embark upon this throwaway paragraph. I always say Happy Monday, or whatever, which long-time readers will recognize going back to my ST&NO days on Mile High Report. It was recently pointed out to me at work that my use of that greeting convention is rubbing off, and that other people are starting emails that way too. I can get colleagues to write and speak like me without trying, but I have a harder time getting them to do what I ask in the actual emails. You know, like sell new business, and get new projects underway. It’s funny how the power of suggestion works.
Never mind the cheap shots, the wasting of their own efforts and how well the Broncos handled them. Forget the Titans. What do you say about Kyle Orton?
You’d probably have to start with the fact that very little fazes him. Not the 6 sacks that the Titans laid on him. Not the late hit below the waist. Not the outright hatred that a lot of misguided fans laid on him in the past year. Probably not even the number of late arrivals that are looking for a bandwagon to jump on. Mostly, Kyle Orton doesn’t care. He just does his job, drives his Prius and works with conservation groups. This is NOT normal star QB behavior. But then again, Orton has never been the big star QB.
There’ll be time enough for countin’, when the dealin’s done. —Vince Lombardi
Even though we’ve already reached the quarter point of the football season, it’s important to remember one thing:
We’ve still got three quarters to go.
That means, like in any game, there’s still time to make a run. The same is true for your division opponents (sans Oakland).
So do yourself a favor and don’t get too married to the following stats after only four weeks. Yes, the numbers will show exactly what you’ve been thinking—that the Broncos can’t run, but they sure can pass. But a lot of this can change in just a few weeks.
This is going to be a weekly gig - a celebration of two players, one from each line, who made a positive difference, win or lose. Some weeks it’s not easy - the guys who do the best are in the middle of piles and you can’t read their jerseys. But this week, that wasn’t hard.
Offense: The award for this week goes to the rookie center, JD Walton. Walton was fighting for his life on much of the day, but watching him racing Ryan Clady down the field, the second level quickly turning to the third, looking for more people to hit gave you an idea of how hard he was working throughout the game. Like most rookies, he is learning by doing. He’s going to get mauled at times, but he’s holding his own better and better. Congratulations to him.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Some potentially good news coming, as the Broncos have reportedly restarted talks with Champ Bailey’s agent on a four-year extension. Plus, the Broncos expect Knowshon Moreno and Andre’ Goodman to return for the game at Baltimore. But cross your fingers; don’t hold your breath.