A recent sportingnews.com article by Vinnie Iyer brought out a principle that was first noted by our very own hoosierteacher. It bears on Coach Nolan of San Francisco, Jamie Winborn and on the Denver Bates Experiment. From HT’s brilliant article on the 3-4 defense (find it here):
The truth is, any defensive coordinator can run a 4-3 or 3-4 indifferently. While coaches have preferences, they more often defer to what they have available. If the team could go either way, the coordinator is probably going with what he is more comfortable with.
What's better, the 3-4 or 4-3?
Don't get in the mind set of "better" when thinking about formations and systems. They are different, and do different things.
#51 / Linebacker / Denver Broncos. Height: 5-11 Weight: 230
Like a lot of Broncos people, I first noticed Jamie Winborn when the Broncos acquired him last September – we needed help at LB and he was an interesting pickup. The word potential was used a lot. With seven years of experience behind him, I hoped that he could help bolster our corps. He played well in a few games, made a lot of good tackles on ST and this off-season I rooted for him to catch on to the squad.
Then, on a whim I began to Google him. A few articles widened my eyes, and after several hours I decided to share a little of what I found. The Broncos are going heavily after players who have character and IMHO Jamie Winborn has it in spades.
There's a decent article right now on Ryan Clady by Jim Armstrong of the Post. He made several good points, and it's worth a read (find it here). One point is that until Clady has played for a while in the league it's too early to be talking Pro Bowl for him. Still, I have a lot of respect for John Lynch, who said,
"I know we haven't put pads on, but he looks like a guy who could go to 10 Pro Bowls. He's got very good feet. That jumps out at you right away. And he's strong. I know from personal experience that, once he gets his hands on you, he's a strong guy."
Whatifsports is doing the simulation season projections for Fox Sports. Since many athletes aren’t Republicans, Fox is unable to do the projections themselves. Whatifsports has some interesting things to say about the Broncos:
"Most Exploitable Weakness: Lack of a star - Simulations like these take human bias out of the argument, but what is going on here can be explained in a very human way. With the possible exception of Champ Bailey, there are no stars on this team. There is not really anything to get people excited. In the sim, that translates into the fact that no player puts the team over the top. Yes, it is balanced and lacks an obvious weakness, but Denver is balanced in a very average way across the board."
With yesterday's signing of Peyton Hillis to a rumoured 4 year contract, I looked over my notes from draft week and considered what we saw of him through the early camps. For some reason, I have the impression that Hillis may turn out to be one of the Bronco’s best picks in ths year’s draft. I can’t prove this – it’s more the effect of a lot of little things that seem to add up to a heck of a player. But I digress.
Hillis was born on January 21, 1986 in Conway Arkansas where he attended high school and where he resides to this day. In a sense, that greatly describes Hillis – if there is one word that sums up his life and his approach to football, it might well be ‘consistent’. He is a hard worker, a man who recognizes the gifts that he has been given and who works with single-minded determination to maximize them and to use what he has in any way needed to help himself and his team. Wherever you place him, he will attempt to excel. And this is the kind of character that the Broncos are filling the depth and range of this year’s team with – the kind that makes us pant for the start of training camp.
Those who can, do. Other than the Sports Guru and his band of merry and accomplished men, those who can’t are too often sports writers. Case in point:
Denver Broncos: Mike Shanahan has something that no other coach in the AFC West has: A Super Bowl ring won as a head coach, and he has two of them. Granted, at the time he won those he also had John Elway and Terrell Davis to fall back on. Since Elway and Davis have departed, his "genius" label has become tarnished. He is to the point where he could end up on the hot seat in Denver, but he doesn’t seem to have the horses to make a run at this point. OUTLOOK: Look for Shanahan to get his team up for the games, but don’t expect it to translate into wins.
The above post was part of a comparison of AFC West coaches that decided, not surprisingly, that Lane Kiffen is the only good coach in the AFC West. I like Lane Kiffen. As HT says, he’s a teaching coach who uses similar schemes up front on offense to Shanahan’s and seems like a good guy in a tough position. In that respect, I support him and wish him well.