One of the big questions going into the 2010 offseason is deciding exactly what, if anything, the Broncos are going to do about their linebacker position. Given that Coach Don Martindale has been named to the defensive coordinator position, it's clear that that Broncos both like his style of coaching and appreciate what he's done with a group that was cobbled together from continuing players, castoffs from other squads and players from Denver moving from different positions.
It says here that Martindale has been one of the top coaches on the team, and if they move him up to DC, I hope that they can find someone nearly as good to take his place. By the way, for those who asked - the style of defense and the terminology were part of the package that Josh McDaniels impressed Pat Bowlen, Joe Ellis and Jim Goodman with. It's not going to change, so there will be continuity.
After reading two of BShrout's articles this week, I liked them both very much. The article on the running game was very interesting to me, and I thought I'd bring a little extra info to your attention. Most of it probably isn't new.
The points that were made on the comments were quite accurate. One of the things that came out was that it was very effective for Denver, under Mike Shanahan, to use the passing attack to get ahead, and use the running game to close out the game. This is taken directly from Bill Walsh, the inventor of the West Coast Offense. Although other coaches have used this same line over the years, he understood (and used that phrase in an interview I saw with him) the phrase "Pass to score, run to win". At the very least, he based much of his system on it. Lots of teams know this principle and use it - as in, all of them - in degree.
Born in Arkansas, the son of Amos and Elsie Branson, and growing up in Starkville AK, Marquez Branson is one of two things. Depending on exactly how you like to see the world, either he's a converted wide receiver who doesn't really fit anywhere in the NFL game, or he's another of the multi-talented, versatile players that coaches like Josh McDaniels is looking for. After only a single season on the Denver Broncos practice squad, it's really anyone's guess which one he is, but right now he's someone who is clearly worth keeping an eye on.
Branson's name has come up in two different capacities in the past week. First of all, he's ostensibly a tight end and the Broncos seem to be debating the future of Tony Scheffler with the club. At about 6'3 and somewhere between 242 and 250, he's obviously somewhat light for the position right now, but has the frame to fill out another 10-20 lbs over the next few years.
I have a confession to make. I love the draft.
To me, it's both Christmas and birthday, rolled into one. Optimally, the general manager and the head coach combine with every scout, position coach and assistant to pick out my presents for me, and I can't wait to get a chance to play with them. It's a great time to consider the issues of strategy and tactics, to review one's own way of viewing the game and the concepts of team-building. It's an opportunity to watch the front office carefully and to pick up ideas about how your own team views these same ideas. In short, it's a heck of a chance to debate, theorize, argue, bloviate and pontificate. It's two of the most enjoyable days of the NFL calender year, back to back. In many ways, there's nothing like it.
Eddie Royal didn't have the 2009 that he had intended to have. On the other hand, Eddie Royal is a man who is used to difficult experiences.
You could say that his whole life was just such an experience - he was the last child born into a family of seven children. He and his siblings were raised by Pearl Royal, who was a single mother. The family stayed together. They went to church together. Sometimes there wasn't much food, but Pearl was a constant positive role model for Eddie. Eddie saw people in his life making the wrong decisions and it drove him to do better. He realized from an early age just what was and what was not important in life. One of those things was an education. Eddie realized that he could play football pretty early on. His choice of Virginia Tech showed that he was just as concerned with his classroom work as he was with the playing field. He did well at both.
Josh McDaniels is an idiot. Right? He's a fool, a fop, a child, a moron, unsuited for his job, making decisions based on who was chosen by Mike Shanahan, making decisions based on nothing more than a passing feeling and never plans anything at all. Right? Well, if you believe a lot of the posting from last night and this morning, that's the facts, carved in stone, writ by the finger of God.Then something else happened.
Then the other shoe dropped, and we found out what really happened...
I had some family stuff that stopped me from watching all of the game. I caught the first Philly TD, and then I was called away for a while. Heard that we were down 10-7 and then I came back in the third quarter when we were down 27-10. Watching that second half, heartbreaking as it was, was a great experience for me. 4 seconds left when the Eagles kicked that field goal, but you already knew how it would end. It's not the end of the mathematical chances of a playoff slot, but it ended, for me, any thoughts of a last surge. I didn't have many such thoughts anyway. Too many problems are still out there. But, I knew that going in, and didn't give the Broncos much more than a puncher's chance. It was a slugfest in the second half, but we took too many body blows during the first half to matter.
Are there problems with the Broncos? As Willie the Shake said, let me count the ways....they have troubles like the Louvre has art, like a lodgepole pine has needles or a hound has fleas. But all is far from dim -- they have a lot more good pieces than they did last year. They need a few more, so I thought that I'd put a little thought into just what the problems are. It makes it easier to decide what to do about them.
I wrote a bit today on the subject of the improvements that can be seen in the Broncos this season over last, but came across this today and thought that it was worth sharing. One area where the Broncos were having a lot of difficulty last season was in the area of dropped passes. Brandon Marshall, in particular, had too many and received a lot of fairly just criticism for that.
I was musing over the vagaries of the Broncos' fall from grace on Sunday. Losing a second year in a row to the Raiders late in the season, at home, is about as unconscionable as anything I can imagine. It hurts on a deep level, and for a lot of reasons. Let's face it - when you can't stop JMR on one drive for the win, you shouldn't have won. Denver's loss was by far the most disappointing of the season.
Like the lists of player problems and mistakes that I've been making as I work through the film room material each week, the list of miscreants from this game was long. I don't tend to easily abandon hope and I generally can see the brighter side of things. There weren't a lot of things to celebrate this time. Most of the problems are just the same mistakes from the same offenders that I've seen each week. We have often won in spite of foolish errors. This time, we threw away a game that we could have and should have won.