Doc's Musings

Tales from the SunnySide: Spencer Larsen

 "Called the "heart and soul" of the Arizona defensive unit, opposing offensive coordinators feared the dominant and versatile defender. " NFL.com

Spencer Larsen is a unique man and a unique player. As the Broncos look to solve their problems on defense, many of the powerful players in their fledgling youth movement are receiving substantial observation. Looking at Spencer Larsen is easier than it is with most – you only have to look for the ball when the Broncos are punting or kicking off.

In an age when athletes in the NFL are barely old enough to drink alcohol, Spencer Larsen is beginning his professional football career at the creaky age of 24. Born March 4 1984 in Mesa AZ, Larsen is a devout Mormon who took two years off of college to perform his mandatory and much loved mission for his church. In an age of bling and entourages, Larsen sees life through a very different lens. He and his wife Ann, who he met on his mission, simply put his signing bonus in the bank when it arrived. Shrugging, Larsen said, "We’ve never needed that much money." Money isn’t what’s important to this powerful young middle linebacker. Family, church and dedication are. He and Ann have a young son, Tyton, who is named after the Denzel Washington movie "Remember the Titans. They also have a young child on the way.

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Clady Earns Recognition

This is definitely a SunnySide kind of article – Doug Farrar analyzes Clady’s work on the first TD drive against the Saints. The full article also deals with the Wildcat formations that the Miami Dolphins employed against the Pats – I recommend it highly. Here is the Clady excerpt:

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Broncos statistical analysis

Lots of good threads and posts are out there, and I won’t re-hash what’s been said. We are 3-0, and we have KC up next, so 4-0 should be well within reach.

I saw some stats that should soothe a few souls out there and wanted to pass them on. The play of our linebackers in the game was pretty fair – I saw Boss out of position a few times, but Shockley is a tough guy to defend. Boss’s 5 tackles and 4 assists were third on the team – DJ Williams led all with a rousing 14 tackles and 2 assists, while Nate Webster came in 2nd with 7 tackles and 5 assists as well as a rumbling, stumbling great TD run. Those three led the team.

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Cutler vs Elway

This is something I’ve been thinking on for a while, and I wanted to share it with the folks at MHR and ask their opinion. There is a lot of discussion right now, including another thread that started with Cutler being in the current list of the top 5 QBs, something I consider well deserved. What we're seeing from this very young man at the beginning of his third year is truly extraordinary.

As I mentioned once before, he has compiled a 90.0 passer rating while completing 62.7% of his passes with 31 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in 22 starts. Those numbers put him in the same class with perennial Pro Bowlers Carson Palmer and Donovan McNabb during the early stages of their respective careers. His season 1 and 2 stats are up there with Peyton, Brady, Marino and, yes, Elway.

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Tales from the SunnySide: Proverbs

Proverb

Part of Speech:

noun

Definition:

A usually pithy and familiar statement expressing an observation or principle generally accepted as wise or true.

Synonyms:

adage, aphorism, byword, maxim, motto, saw, saying

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Chargers feeling defensive

If Broncos fans are thinking of how the offense is going to match up with the Chargers D, the San Diego papers are thinking about the same thing. This morning’s Union-Tribune ran a page 1 (Sports, of course – there’s another section of the paper?) article on the verities and weaknesses of the Charger D.

First in their sights was the play of Matt Wilhelm, the (currently) much maligned ILB. He acknowledged that right now, he’s been,  

“…tentative at times, a step behind or out of the play.”

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Broncos/Raiders postgame wrap-up

After two+ days of fighting the box monster I finally had enough time to sit down with the remote and pick apart as much of the Broncos tape as I could. I'm not a top analyist by any stretch, but there were a few things that I thought I'd like to share with the MHR community at large.

Two statistics on Cutler flew by me in the heat of the moment(s) and are worth repeating for those who might have missed them. Cutler is usually called a pocket passer but this is misleading. Over the past two years, he has the highest QB rating in the NFL when throwing from outside the pocket. That's right - numero uno.

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Tales from the SunnySide

San Diego – Opening Day

The morning fog slid over the waterfront like the greasy sauce on the enchiladas. The marine layer began to burn off just as the lattes were sliding into the cheaper seats in Qualcomm Stadium and another year of football was about to begin for the Chargers. It’s hard to sneak a 400 lb. Bear into the stadium, but I’m doing my job. I’m here to spy for the MHR.

The papers are but lightly filled with info on this team. The best article of the day was a short reflective on Charger history by Jerry Magee, and it might have been his last column for the Union-Tribune (downsizing – very sad). In it, he made the point that your record after having the most time to game-plan for any contest of the year matters - the best of coaches are ready to go for opening day (Shanahan is 11-4 on opening day going into tomorrow’s contest; Holmgren is next at 10-6).  Norv Turner may not have read this, and certainly he didn’t internalize it – he’s now 4-7. The Chargers came out soft, unfocused, and ready to lose. They went on to carry out their game-plan. 

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1st and 10 for Ryan Clady

When draft day rolled around this year, a lot of folks didn’t think that the Broncos had much of a chance. Pick #12 was a little too high for comfort, the critics said. There wouldn’t be a player there that was would be worth the high salary the pick demanded. Perhaps a running back, someone like Jonathan Stewart or even Mendenhall of Illinois, would give the Broncos that needed push, that power that Denver needed to put them back on top. More likely, it was said, they should think about trading down.

Others pointed to Chris Williams, himself of Vanderbilt, as one who could protect Cutler’s blind side. He might not be top 12 material, they admitted, but Lepsis retired because after years of hard work, finally injuries had taken their toll and he wasn’t ready to be any help. Pears wasn’t ready (if he ever would be) and Ryan Harris was too much of an unknown after two back surgeries at a young age. Yes, people generally agreed, Denver needed a LT, but Clady would be long gone and the second tier of those available might not be worth the money. So, go with a RB or improve a different category of player altogether.

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The joys of raiding: making lemonade

This is a short compilation of excerpts from the current ESPN analysis of the raiders. After reading the San Fransisco Chronical’s view of the preseason, the part of me that slows to catch a glimpse of car crashes wanted to see more. I did.

I’d like to point out that I think the Raiders are a great test of our team. We will know, at the end of the game next Monday, if our changes to our run D are solid or not. The new scheme will be tested by some talented RBs. The Raiders pass D is very talented. Their run D, like ours, had been suspect  (we were both awful) and they did things in the off season that, like us, they are happy with. They will be tested as well by the increasingly amazing arm of Cutler, Royal’s tremendous upside, Clady’s stoutness at LT and a solid, if not yet gifted group of RBs. We will see, of course, if Jackson and Colbert are the additions that we are looking for. Stokely is still one of the league’s best, and our TE’s are top rate. We will see if we have the pieces at the Dline, and if our safeties are up to the challenge on run D. It will be a very interesting contest.

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