Good Morning, Broncos fans! After keeping it close (and even winning one) against three sloppy teams who handed them 11 first downs along the way, reality hit hard yesterday as Denver lost in Green Bay 49-23 to the flawless Packers (box score). While the Broncos made it momentarily close in the second quarter with two Kyle Orton-to-Eric Decker touchdowns bringing them within four points of the defending champs, it was a men-versus-boys type of affair as Aaron Rodgers accounted for a whopping six TDs - four through the air and two via the ground. Green Bay's other TD came on an early pick-six of Orton by Charles Woodson which put the Pack up 14-3.
There were a few positives, as Von Miller was again a terror (two sacks, three QB hits, two TFL), Willis McGahee topped 100 yards on just 15 carries, Mike McCoy opened up the playbook a bit, Orton had three TD passes, and Brandon Lloyd broke free for 136 yards on eight receptions after his "selfish complaining" from last week (hilarious). But in addition to his fatal misthrow to Woodson, Orton also came up woefully short on a would-be 40-yard TD pass to an open Lloyd early in the fourth quarter, and instead CB Sam Shields took it back 60 yards before Rodgers connected with Donald Driver to cap Green Bay's scoring.
He pulls a knife. You pull a gun.
Unless all you've got are plastic spoons.
He sends one of yours to the hospital. You send one of his to the morgue.
Unless all you can do is help them to the end zone.
The Denver Broncos tried to play with the big boys of the NFL today. What they got was the Packers' way.
Today's loss shows just how far the Broncos have to go before they solve any conflict through violence, coverage and tackling.
The final score matters little at this point. All I can remember is the image of Aaron Rodgers showboating in the endzone with his title-belt celebration.
Enjoy the games, everyone - and Go Broncos!
Over the years, TJ has presented The Stats That Don't Lie, a weekly glance at the Broncos' standing within the league in several key statistical categories. Going forward, I'm going to be reprising STDL by focusing on a few numbers that evidence a high correlation to winning (or losing) NFL games, and how the Broncos match up in those areas against their upcoming opponent.
We'll start today with Broncos/Packers, which as you might have figured doesn't look pretty in bar graph form. Actually, no figures would look good in my crude charts, but we're working on coming up with something a bit more pleasing to the eye.
It's a sad weekend in Broncos Country, as former Denver assistant head coach and wide receivers coach Mike Heimerdinger passed away Friday night at the age of 58 in Mexico, where he was receiving experimental cancer treatments. Heimerdinger had been diagosed with a rare and aggressive cancer which attacks the lymphatic system in November of 2010, and he incredibly continued to coach the Titans' offense and call plays for them while undergoing chemotherapy last season.
Coach Heimerdinger, who played WR in college, was a roommate and teammate of Mike Shanahan while both were at Eastern Illinois, and Shanny credits Dinger with having saved his life after the young QB had ruptured a kidney during spring practice. The two were reunited in 1995 when Shanahan hired Heimerdinger to coach the Broncos' wide receivers, and during his five seasons in that role he helped turn Rod Smith into the only undrafted player to gain 10,000 receiving yards, and the twice-discarded Ed McCaffrey into a Denver fixture. Dinger returned to Denver in 2006 as Shanahan's assistant head coach for two years, coordinating the Titans and Jets' offenses during the intervening years.
Heimerdinger is survived by his wife Kathie, their daughter, Alicia, and son, Brian, who works for Kubes and the Texans in their scouting department. Our thoughts at IAOFM go out to the Heimerdinger family. RIP, Coach Dinger.
Like a moth to the flame burned by the fire, my picks are blind; can't you feel my misfire?
That's the way picks go.
Welcome to another addition of Fat Pickins--the least-read column of the week at our humble site.
Why does it get so few hits?
Because no one really cares who another man believes is going to win a football game--unless there are naked cheerleaders involved.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the time this week to arrange for that, so we'll make fun of Peter King's afro instead.
Mike McCarthy may not like spiders and snakes, but he sure loves zebras and tigers.
This week, I did something a little different. I took my own advice (for once), and charted the first 15 plays from each of the Green Bay Packers' first three games of the year. As we've seen in the past, the first few drives can tell you a lot about how a team wants to attack their opponent. After this, the offense typically adjusts to down, distance, score, and time remaining in the game.
The Packers faced some interesting defenses, but all of them, like the Denver Broncos, were of the 4-3 variety. In Week 1 they took on Dennis Allen's mentor Gregg Williams and the blitz-heavy New Orleans Saints. In Week 2, they faced off against John Fox's old team, the Carolina Panthers. Finally, in Week 3, they battled against the Tampa-2 laden Chicago Bears.
What I found was a heavy dose of animal looks. What do I mean by this? Simply put, the Packers and Mike McCarthy rely almost exclusively on their 113 (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) and 122 (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR) when attacking the 4-3. In McCarthy's offense, these packages are called the Zebra (113) and the Tiger (122).
These animal personnel groupings are the key to understanding how the Packers plan to take apart the Broncos' defense.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Knowshon Moreno and D.J. Williams are listed as probable on the final injury report for the week, Champ Bailey, Elvis Dumervil and Marcus Thomas are questionable, and Eddie Royal, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas are likely not back before Denver's Week 6 bye. For Green Bay, RB Ryan Grant and RT Bryan Bulaga are indeed out, while LT Chad Clifton, LB Clay Matthews, TE Jermichael Finley, CB Tramon Williams and CB Charles Woodson are all probable.
Chris Benson of PFF previews the game, and he thinks a realistic goal for Denver is to cover the 13-point spread. He writes that the Broncos have not faced anyone as dangerous as Jermichael Finley, and that the teams is faced with quite a dilemma in picking the poison between Finley and WRs Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson. Benson thinks that if Champ isn't quite up to his usual standard, Aaron Rodgers may pick on him a bit with Jennings, and of course he figures that the Broncos will provide Orlando Franklin with plenty of help in dealing with Clay Matthews.
Happy Friday friends, and welcome to the first ever edition of Digesting that was written in the air or on an iPad. It's been a hellaciously busy week as expected, but I'm heartened by the fact that as soon as we got over the clouds on the way out of Cleveland, the overcast gloomy view vanished and it was nothing but sunshine.
This week it's the Green Bay Packers in lovely Wisconsin, land of cow patties and beer farts. I'm not exactly breaking news to say that this will be challenging, and I'd go so far as to say that I think Brian Burke's model which Doug referenced this morning may be over-optimistic in giving the Broncos a 25% win probability. I've got my rubber gloves on (I lease them with an option to buy) and I'm ready to conduct the examination, so without further adieu, let's get it on.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Surely this is going to bring some cries of diva, but Brandon Lloyd wants to see more deep targets in his direction. He does have 10 catches in just two games played (he missed the Bengals game with a groin injury), but his average reception has gone for just 12.7 yards, a pittance relative to his 18.8-yard average from last season.
Lloyd blames the team's purported commitment to the run, while John Fox says Lloyd just hasn't been healthy enough (probably true). Yet, the Broncos have a split of 62% pass and 38% run so far - they just haven't attacked deep, or as Ted would say, they haven't taken the top off of the defense. To wit, the Broncos and Kyle Orton have only attempted 13 deep passes through three games, completing five of them. Meanwhile, the team has just 7 passes that have gone for 20 or more yards (including YAC) which ties them for 8th-fewest in the league. Meanwhile, the Patriots have had 22 such plays and the Cowboys 20 of them, although the high-octane Packers have had just 9 passes go for 20+ yards and have only attempted 17 deep passes.