Yesterday's pre-draft press conference from Brian "The Mind" Xanders and John "The Collar" Elway was better than nothing.
Xanders still doesn't tailor his jackets nor his penchant for malaprops. My favorite Xanders quote (aside from his propensity to simply call John Fox by his last name) from yesterday was the following:
"...we're in unchartered waters..."
Despite this, Xanders has an odd appeal to me: he's the anti-Joe Ellis. Under the buzzcut and the confusion, there just might be a savant. We'll soon find out.
Elway, for his part, could have used some gold chains. If you are going to show that much chest hair, you've got to come strong or don't come at all.
The Duke? How about the Disco Inferno?
Outside of these two observations we learned the following:
Good Morning, Broncos fans! John Elway and Brain Xanders hosted a pre-draft presser yesterday, covering all the usual topics from whether they want to trade down from #2 to whether there's a franchise QB on the roster. A few things that stood out: Xanders said the team's board included 190 players, almost double the 100 or so favored by ex-coach Josh McDaniels (and Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, Scott Pioli, Tom Dimitroff - but what do those guys know about draft strategy?), which will surely spark a few this way is much better and McHoodie was an arrogant jerk columns in coming days. Xanders chalked up the bigger board to the possibility that this year's talent depth is greater, and that moving to a 4-3 defense presents more options (both ridiculous, perhaps he's learned to not totally throw people under the bus at his pressers?). Also, Elway mentioned that there are four or five players they're considering at #2 - figure they're Bama's DT Marcell Dareus, Auburn DT Nick Fairley, A&M LB Von Miller and LSU CB Patrick Peterson? Finally, Xanders mentioned that Steve Antonopulos will be in the war room - so Greek sat in on all the HC interviews, and now he's going to provide input during the draft? Interesting...
Happy Wednesday, friends. I had semi-limited time on Tuesday night, and there’s little compelling football news to write about lately, so I decided to break y’all off a little bit of Fat Camp. It also gives me a chance to mess around with the play design software that TJ bought. I’ve been doing mine in PowerPoint for the last few years, but this software has some cool features that will allow me to be more detailed.
Today’s topic is Passing Concepts vs. Blitz-Man Defensive Looks. I’m going to assume that it’s First and 10, inside the scoring area, which is a passing down, and a blitzing down. I’ll walk through some alignment concepts, as well as some play nomenclature, and finally some pattern and protection design.
Peep this first graphic, and take a moment to note all of the key things you know from looking at it, without looking past the jump. Feel free to write them down if you want, to measure how you did.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's nearly eight months away, but who's not looking forward to the return of Pouty Pants on December 11? Don Banks, Jason Cole and Joe Fortenbaugh all included that Week 14 tilt among their most notable meetings of the year. Granted, we're talking here about a matchup between a team that went 4-12 last year and another that lost to the eventual SB winners by a single score in the NFC title game - so it may not actually be much in the way of competition. But when considering the prospects of a 4-12 team for whom we don't even know who the QB will be, these are the things we have to look forward to, right? Man, if that doesn't call for an official Orange Sunday, then I don't know what does...
Here is the 2011 schedule; all times are expressed in Broncos Standard Time.
|1||Monday||Sep 12, 2011||Oakland Raiders||8:15 PM|
|2||Sunday||Sep 18, 2011||Cincinnati Bengals||2:15 PM|
|3||Sunday||Sep 25, 2011||at Tennessee Titans||11:00 AM|
|4||Sunday||Oct 2, 2011||at Green Bay Packers||2:15 PM|
|5||Sunday||Oct 9, 2011||San Diego Chargers||2:15 PM|
|7||Sunday||Oct 23, 2011||at Miami Dolphins||11:00 AM|
|8||Sunday||Oct 30, 2011||Detroit Lions||2:05 PM|
|9||Sunday||Nov 6, 2011||at Oakland Raiders||2:05 PM|
|10||Sunday||Nov 13, 2011||at Kansas City Chiefs||11:00 AM|
|11||Thursday||Nov 17, 2011||New York Jets||6:20 PM|
|12||Sunday||Nov 27, 2011||at San Diego Chargers||2:15 PM|
|13||Sunday||Dec 4, 2011||at Minnesota Vikings||2:05 PM|
|14||Sunday||Dec 11, 2011||Chicago Bears||2:05 PM|
|15||Sunday||Dec 18, 2011||New England Patriots||2:15 PM|
|16||Saturday||Dec 24, 2011||at Buffalo Bills||11:00 AM|
|17||Sunday||Jan 1, 2012||Kansas City Chiefs||2:15 PM|
As per the DP, the Broncos will open the 2011 season on September 12 at home against the Raiders on Monday Night Football. According to Klis, the Broncos will also host the NJ Jets in a Thursday night matchup. The full schedule will be released sometime after the top of the hour.
The two men couldn’t be more different:
Vincent Thomas Lombardi had come to the NY Giants as an assistant in 1953 and rapidly moved up to running their offense. He was a man of tremendous passion: he saw no contradiction in his deep devotion to his Catholic faith and the profanity-laced tirades that he quickly became famous for as he rose to the offensive coordinator position for the Giants, before becoming the head coach of the venerable Green Bay Packers. He became the ideal coach for his era, motivating like no one else in the game, molding a team that was as physical as it was fearless into winning five NFL championships. His .738 winning percentage remains the third best of all-time. Mercurial, vastly intelligent and intensely innovative as a coach, many of Lombardi’s developments for the NFL game remain standard aspects of it almost six decades later. It defines the concept of a legacy.
Thomas Wade Landry was the polar opposite of Lombardi, which was fitting since he had become the defensive coordinator of the Giants at about the same time Lombardi took over the offense. Landry had trained as an industrial engineer at the University of Texas and flew bombers as a co-pilot in World War II. He flew a total of 30 missions during the war and even survived a crash landing in Belgium when his plane ran out of fuel. He was a player-coach with New York from 1955-57 before becoming a full-time coach the following year. His methodical, step-by-step process of innovation was a stark contrast to Lombardi’s impassioned approach, although Lombardi’s innovation was no less than Landry’s. Landry was also a self-professed born-again fundamentalist Protestant, and in person he was reserved to the point that people often found him ‘cold’. He demanded that the front office give him players who were ‘good Christians’ and family men.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's defensive tackle day over at NFL.com, where Pat Kirwan writes that Alabama's Marcell Dareus has the best chance to dominate in the pros, pointing out his youth (he's just 21 - almost two years younger than Nick Fairley) and remarkable 10-yard split time (1.66s). Meanwhile, Kirwan is among the crowd that thinks Fairley is a boom-or-bust prospect, citing the player's lack of dedication in the weight room and the perceived tendency to disappear in some games. Then again, Kirwan writes that Fairley sometimes looks like the next Warren Sapp.
Meanwhile, Bucky Brooks lauds the versatility of Dareus in terms of the various defensive fronts he can fit into and his pass-rushing abilities. As for Fairley, Brooks says the Auburn star looks on film like the most dominant defender in the draft, calling him an impact player and a tone-setter. Brooks is hearing the same knocks everyone else is regarding Fairley; questions of character, technique, motor, work ethic and attitude.
There are few topics - even with the legal brawl that the NFL has descended into - that have been getting as much interest, concern and press as the problems of concussions and long-term health issues in the modern game. A sham committee, bought and controlled by the league, has been replaced by real research and painfully difficult conclusions - there is no longer any doubt that multiple concussive issues are very real and extraordinarily difficult to deal with. That being said, I’m feeling increasing positive about the effect that this debate is having on youth and college football, and on the general population, who never really give a thought to how many concussions an average person might experience over time.
That being the case, I had occasion to respond to a recent email comment by a reader who had experienced three concussions of his own. I told him:
I'm so pleased to hear that you're getting checked on the concussion issue. Getting a baseline at the very least, especially after three, is just so important. Over our lives, a few falls and a careless driver or two happen later on to a lot of people - probably most of them. Knowing that there's a potential problem and then applying whatever solutions are currently available (and that aspect of the field is growing rapidly) really makes sense: the future holds a lot of promise with techniques of dealing with that area of healthcare.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to Klis, the Broncos are actually under consideration to host one of the Monday Night openers for the 2011 season following six straight road openers. For AFC teams to play in the later slot, they have to do so during the 11AM BT (Broncos Time) slot, as CBS broadcasts the U.S. Open men's final during the later one. Hence, all of these early road games for Denver to start the season.
It's a safe bet that Denver would host the second of the two Monday Night games, because there's no way ESPN would want the squad that went 4-12 last year to open their season. But really - why would ESPN even be willing to have Denver be a part of either game? Can't be great for ratings - unless of course, Tim Tebow is starting...