The Stats That Don’t Lie - Week 8: A kick to the testicles

One trick almost all stats guys have in their bag is sample size.

If you cherry pick your sample size to your desires, you can make the numbers say almost anything.

For example, if a team loses 59-14, you can always focus on that one game and make a wickedly-good argument that the loser of that game was perhaps the worst team in history.

Now that the Broncos have finished 8 weeks of play, these tricks become less useful.  8 games turns into 81 drives, 316 passes, and 185 rushes. 

In short, it’s getting harder to hide.

With this in mind, I present to you this week’s Stats That Don’t Lie, which aren’t really bad.  They’re just drawn that way.

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McDaniels safe through 2011 Lard 11-2-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Our friend Woody Paige is back with some real, actual (and needed) journalism today. In confirming what Adam Schefter stated on Sunday NFL Countdown on Sunday, Woodrow says Josh McDaniels is very much safe in Denver. This is especially so because the Broncos are already paying half of Mike Shanahan’s annual $7 million salary in 2010 and 2011, and owner Pat Bowlen will not consider paying three head coaches next season (if there is one). But aside from the fiscal reasoning of why not to fire McDaniels this year, Woody states that Mr. B and COO Joe Ellis are pleased with how McDaniels and GM Brian Xanders have managed the salary cap and upgraded the roster, and they see growth in McDaniels in his off-field management of players.

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Broncos vs SF - the aftermath

Sorry to be out of touch, folks. Certain things took precedence.

It looked yesterday like Denver was taking over the game in the 3rd quarter. Several problems came up, and they lost control of the game. Not unusually, the problems started for the most part with an idiotic penalty call on Knowshon Moreno for falling down. The Niners LB was indeed hit from behind, but if you watch, the lineman wasn’t in contact with the LB when he fell over Moreno - who did not, by any rational measure, block the player. Frankly, that was up there with the lack of an end-zone call on the hold on Brandon Lloyd. Those two factors together cost the Broncos the momentum, and probably a shot at the game. Kyle Orton has tried like heck to put the team on his back, but he also played against some terrible officiating.

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A Second Helping of…Bad starts

Note: Each Monday we take a look at a player the Broncos used in a new, creative, or interesting way from the previous day’s game.  This week we’re getting a second plate of not a player, but how bad starts have affected Kyle Orton’s stats.

One criticism I’ve leveled at Kyle Orton is that his statistics have been very hollow this year. The general argument I’ve made is that of course Orton is going to compile some big numbers, because he’s been playing from behind so much—essentially the defense softens and plays a deep cover-4 zone.

While I still feel that the statement is true, I want to say it’s a needless criticism at best.  Why?

Because the guy has had no choice.

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All-phases failure Lard 11-1-10

Good Morning, Broncos fans. I could try to sugarcoat this, but frankly that would be too difficult - I’m a Mets fan, after all. Some might say it was the referees’ fault, or that a few mistakes were to blame for the Broncos’ 24-16 loss to San Francisco. There’s bad luck, there’s misfortune, and then there’s making glaring mistakes at seemingly every juncture. Yes, the Broncos were perhaps only a big call or mistake or two away from winning the game. However, they made an awful lot of them. The special teams were atrocious, as Britton Colquitt shanked two punts, Matt Prater missed an extra point, and Jarvis Moss negated a would-be Eddie Royal punt-return TD with an unnecessary block in the back. The defense allowed Frank Gore to rack up 125 total yards despite his being the clear focal point of the Niners’ offense, while Andre’ Goodman got torched on a Michael Crabtree TD despite having help over the top, and Brian Dawkins and Champ Bailey allowed a Hail Mary completion at their own 1-yard line despite outnumbering the Niners receiver. That same defense failed to take away the ball and came up with zero sacks on the day.

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Gut Reactions - Week 8, Broncos-49ers

Jet lag—like a set of perfect English teeth—may not exist.

But the Broncos are believers.

The only way to describe their performance today was sluggish.  How about just plain blah?

They may have walked off the plane 48 hours ago, but, in what has come to be a hallmark of this Broncos team, they again couldn’t get their wings off the ground to start the game.  They barely got airborne the entire game. 

The usual suspects appeared—and we aren’t just talking about those British hoodlums that show up to soccer games.  The Broncos showed a plethora of penalties, blown assignments, and miscommunications.  They were also 0-for-4 on 3rd downs through their first 4 drives.

Can god save the queen?  Who knows.  But it would be nice if he’d at least bless the Broncos’ run defense.

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Week 8 Open Thread

Inactive for Denver are S Darcel McBath, CB Perrish Cox, LB Robert Ayers, LB Wesley Woodyard, DE Kevin Vickerson, OL Eric Olsen & OL Chris Clark. Brady Quinn is the 3rd QB.

Enjoy the games everyone, and Go Broncos!!!

Halloween in London Lard 10-31-10

Happy Halloween, Broncos fans! What’s to say, aside from the obvious? This is a must win for Denver, on so many levels. Pushing back memories of last week, calming a rabid fan base and local media, getting into the bye week on a winning feeling, among the more cliched ones. Perhaps none of those are truly important in a football sense, and today is again but one game, yet things could certainly get ugly with a loss today. On the flip side, it will surely be interesting to see/hear what the folks who claimed Josh McDaniels had lost his team last week will have to say if the Broncos win, and especially if they do so emphatically. I’d suspect there wouldn’t be much backtracking, but rather downplaying the value of a victory against what would be a 1-7 Niners team. Okay, I’ll stop speculating. Let’s get to those sparse Sunday links (lots of stuff about playing in England, not a lot on actual football)...

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The Jesus, The Generator and the Experts - Week 8

Terror plots were thwarted this week.

If only I could thwart Peter King.

As we usually do, we ask our random number generator (RNG) to makes its picks for the week’s NFL games.  We then compare these picks to the so-called experts.  To make things even more lively, I include my cat, Jesus Quintana, in on the picks, along with Doug Lee and myself (Doc Bear is too smart for this).  The RNG is simply armed with the notion that 57% of the time, the home team is a winner in the NFL.  Quintana picks between two quarters as I drop them to the floor.  Doug Lee uses his calculator mind.

I use Kahlua and a proprietary mathematical formula. If that doesn’t work, I contemplate how many chicks Brett Favre has picture-texted his junk until the picks come to me.

This week, we continue our section called Peter King Actually Wrote This.

So how has the RNG done this week?

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Jet lag and being your own man

If the Broncos lose to the 49ers, Josh McDaniels will be facing more than just an angry fan base.

I think the media—even those who are well respected—will turn on him.

I realized this on Thursday (10/28) of this week when I tuned into the 2nd hour of the MIke and Scott Show on The Fan here in Denver. 

As the conversation drifted from the Colorado Rapids to the Denver Broncos, the discussion centered not on the game itself, but on McDaniels’ preparation for the game and the jet lag the Broncos could be facing.  Specifically, there was this criticism from Drew Goodman, respected play-by-play TV announcer for the Colorado Rockies:

“He’s going over there on 48 hours of…time to acclimate, based on, you know, the fact that last year New England went on…basically 48 hours out.  They’re [New England] going from two time zones, that’s closer, but that still doesn’t make it right…but now you’re [McDaniels] seven times zones away…and I think it’s absolutely the wrong thing to do, and I think he’s basing every decision he makes, or it seems that way, at least…based on how…and he’s going to be heavily influenced by Belichick, I understand that, but the people around him that he will listen to….you’ve got to make a stand for yourself.”

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