The Stats That Don’t Lie - Week 4

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.

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He’s Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Bronco - Week 4

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.

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Knowshon and Goodie maybe? Lard 10-5-10

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.

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A Second Helping of…Eddie Royal

Over the past offseason, Josh McDaniels admitted to several coaching mistakes he made in his first season.

One of his biggest regrets?  Not utilizing Eddie Royal’s unique skills.

Broncos fans were told to expect something different in 2010.  McDaniels committed Royal to the slot-receiver spot, which would allow him more immediate separation off the line of scrimmage.  This additional space would allow Royal to utilize his superior quickness and get into his routes before a defender had time to jam him.

Royal, for his part, committed himself to getting stronger in the offseason.

Yesterday, against the Titans, we were able to see how it all came together.

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Broncos beat Titans

It’s happened to all of us. It looks like your team is playing like processed dung. You pop into the kitchen for a brewski and find the remains of last night’s chicken sitting next to it. The BBQ sauce you made for the last set of ribs still looks kind of good, smells fine, and pretty soon, you’re well into food prep. You walk back to the living room and suddenly the Hottentot Hasbeens have gained 10 points on the scoreboard. Ah, well, they’re still down 10 more. You’ll catch the highlights on whatever sports show is in your area.

The game drags on - looks like both teams fought out their energy in the first half, but the Hasbeens are at least trying. Suddenly, it looks like the Davenport Dilberts have been caught in press when their safeties are in Cover 2 - you just don’t do that. Your QB audibles, drops into the shotgun, drops back, loads up - and through the window comes a piercing scream from the area of the swing set. This isn’t your first game - it’s not your first kid, either, that that was the “I fell and sprained something scream (Note - it’s not your first kid-scream, either)”. You fly out the back door, with the ball still in the air. Worse still, it turns out that it’s probably just a minor sprain, but it’s a a full-bore bickering argument between the kids. By the time you straighten that out and clarify that pulling on people’s pants when they are hanging from the monkey bars really is unacceptable behavior, regardless of what a visiting male child he thinks that his uncle told him (make a note to talk to that perverted idiot) and get an ice bag on the knee, you suddenly recall that there’s a game on. Or was. Could be?

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Even Steven Lard 10-4-10

UPDATED 11:40AM

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The Broncos beat the Titans yesterday 26-20 on a late TD pass from Kyle Orton to Correll Buckhalter. It was far from a perfect game for Denver, but any road win is a good one. Titans KR Marc Mariani was both a hero and a goat, first scoring on a 98-yard return in the third quarter to give his team the lead. But after the Broncos took the lead on Buckhalter’s TD reception, Mariani fumbled Matt Prater’s short kickoff. Prater’s ensuing FG essentially put the game away, and the Broncos had their upset victory. While the absence of Wesley Woodyard and Spencer Larsen likely cost Denver in kick coverage, it wasn’t all bad on special teams, as Prater went 4-for-4 (plus a re-kick after a Titans penalty) and the Broncos may have finally discovered a KR in Demaryius Thomas, who racked up a 36-yd avg on 3 kicks with a long return of 65. His big return was an important answer to Mariani’s TD gallop.

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Gut Reactions - Week 4, Broncos-Titans

Sometimes your opponent tries to give you the game.

And sometimes they just don’t catch the football.

Today, the Broncos watched their opponent do both.

On a day in which the Titans missed a field goal, fumbled the ball, committed stupid penalties, and dropped numerous key passes, they saved their best for last. The winds were swirling.  And with just a few minutes remaining in the game, in what was reminiscent of the Broncos’ 1998 AFC Championship victory over the New York Jets, the Titans forgot to handle the kickoff.

Do we thank the wind for the victory?

No way.  This was a gutsy 26-20 victory against a great defense.  Give the Broncos their respect.

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Week 4 Open Thread

Tim Tebow will be the Broncos’ #2 QB, with Brady Quinn the emergency QB. Meanwhile, the players who will be inactive today for Denver are Andre’ Goodman, Knowshon Moreno, Spencer Larsen, Wesley Woodyard, Eric Olsen, Chris Clark and Richard Quinn. Goodman is a surprise, as he was expected to return today from the thigh injury that kept him out of last week’s game.

For the Titans, CB Rusty Smith, starting CB Jason McCourty, DB Robert Johnson, LB Rennie Curran, OT Michael Otto, OG Ryan Durand, DE Jacob Ford, and WR Lavelle Hawkins are inactive. Starting DT Tony Brown will be active.

Big Fat Stat Preview (and pregame limerick, too!) - Broncos/Titans

Sometimes stats aren’t as important as tendencies and patterns.  This week’s tendency can be expressed as the number 104.

This is the personnel package the Titans love early in the game.  I saw it in all 3 of their games this year.  It consists of 1 running back, 0 tight ends, and 4 wide receivers.  For most teams, this is a personnel package that screams pass.  Not so for the Titans.  They love to use the package early in the game to give the defense a passing look.  But in reality, they are handing off to Chris Johnson. 

It’s a great package for Tennessee because it creates a lot of space for Johnson.  And Chris Johnson in space is deadly.  The defense has one of two choices. They can play nickel.  Or they can stay in their base formation and add another responsibility for the safety (usually on the strong side of the formation).  Either way, the package forces the defense to stretch out horizontally across the field.  And this benefits Chris Johnson.

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Week 4 Lard @ Tennessee 10-3-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! We’re only a few hours from kickoff, and it appears the Broncos will finally be at full strength on the offensive line and in the defensive backfield with the reemergence of Ryan Harris and Andre’ Goodman (after Darcel McBath’s return last week). Let’s hope for a positive turnover differential and for the Broncos to win the field-position battle. Should add up to a Denver victory. Go Broncos!!!

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