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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Born in Hacienda Heights, Southern California, on January 222, 1983, the 6’4 Shaun Cody had a storied high school career at Hacienda Height HS, garnering USA Today All-USA Defensive MVP honors. He played in the first ever U.S. Army All-American Bowl game on December 30th, 2000. Advancing to college at USC, he was a first team All-American for the USC Trojans. He was the first Trojan since Chris Claiborne in 1998 to garner Pac-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. The USC defense went on to shut down the Oklahoma Sooners in the ’04 Orange Bowl. Cody, along with Mike Patterson and linebackers Matt Grootegoed and Lofa Tatupu put on a defensive exhibition.
It's hard to go from the enjoyable, upbeat banter of the Bronco's blogosphere to the San Francisco Chronicle's long suffering staff writer, David White, and his joyless write-ups on the state of the raiders. Actually, scratch that – he’s a bubbling cauldron of jollies compared to the podium presence of Coach Kiffin. Two days after ‘final cuts’, Kiffin is looking – wondering, hoping – for some help on the waiver wire. Right now, to hear him tell it, things are looking pretty bleak.
I thought that I'd open a thread fo rthose of us who are gluttons
The More the Merriman
Sun Tzu said that the first lines of attack or defense are spies, so my recent move to the climes of southern California may have multiple advantages for this Broncos fan and hopefully the members of the Mile High Report. Since along with my new location in Carlsbad I get both the Sunday LA Times and the daily San Diego Union-Tribune, I hope to provide information and occasionally perspective while deepening my knowledge of the game as provided by the local media. Thanks
I got off the plane in San Diego this week to find three things waiting for me - a great soaking tub at my new home in Carlsbad, a sea of boxes and the San Diego Union-Tribune. The first was spectacular, the second inevitable and the third was awash with the latest on Shawne Merriman.
Jordan Beck (6-foot-2, 233 pounds, DOB Apr 18, 1983 - Mount Herman, CA) is currently fighting it out for a slot as a 2nd string LB and special teams player. Information on him is fairly sketchy, but he is a third-year pro who was waived by the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 2, 2007 (Atlanta cut him after he lost his job to Tony Taylor, an undrafted rookie.) and we picked him up shortly after. He joined the Falcons as a third-round pick out of Cal Poly (SLO, CA) in the 2005 draft and was a surprise pick at #26 of the 3rd round, 90th overall. Unfortunately, he missed his 1st season with a broken foot. He played in 15 games last season for the Broncos and made 13 special teams tackles which was good for 2nd on the team behind Jamie Winborn even though he only played in 10 games. Beck is essentially a special teams ace who brings a lot to that part of the field.