Doc's Musings

A Second Helping of Danny Trevathan against the Chargers

Second-year Denver linebacker Danny Trevathan is hoping to continue and increase his repetitions with starter Wesley Woodyard on nickel downs. Trevathan took some snaps last season with the radio helmet when Woodyard was injured, but his normal role is to match with Woodyard (who usually wears the radio) in the nickel/base formation.

If Woodyard is injured, Trevathan will be likely to step into Woodyard’s roles, with one of the other linebackers stepping into Trevathan’s.

Trevathan’s work showed up in the pivotal Week 6 game in San Diego last year, where the Broncos snoozed through the first half, handing over a couple of fumbles and spotting the Bolts a 24-point lead. Yet San Diego found they’d awakened a sleeping giant when the gun sounded for the second half.

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Is San Diego’s D.J. Fluker a tackle, or a guard?

The newest addition to the Chargers' starting lineup is former Alabama lineman D.J. Fluker, whom they chose with the 11th-overall pick in April's draft.

Although Fluker made his bones in college with his work at right tackle, there are already those who would like to see him move to guard as a pro. Among those pundits is ESPN’s Matt Williamson, as noted by UTSD reporter Tom Krasovic:

ESPN scout Matt Williamson suggests a shuffle. He would move Starks to right tackle, use Dunlap at left tackle and switch Fluker to right guard.

“That way you would have one great player this year on that line in Fluker,” Williamson said. “I think he can be a Pro Bowler at right guard. I think he will struggle some at right tackle. He will have trouble sliding and dealing with speed rushers. At right guard, he can move ahead and smash people, which are his strengths.”

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Running back roulette

Second-round pick Montee Ball made a lot of fans in Denver happy when he chose Mike Anderson’s old number 38, as an homage to ‘Sarge’. The Broncos are hoping that he can also recreate the kind of tough-nosed performances that made Anderson such a fan favorite during his time in Denver.

As a young man who started off his life as a Broncos fan, he’s already taken the right first steps.

One thing you can count on - any team of John Fox’s will try and use a committee approach to the game. Said OC Adam Gase,

Coach Fox has always been great mixing in the multiple backfields and using different guys. He did it in Carolina. We'll do the same thing here.

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Fat Camp: Stopping the run

While going through some of last year’s film, I found a play that demonstrates so precisely how to stop the run, that I wanted to share it with you.

It’s from the first quarter of the Broncos' 30-23 victory over San Diego in Week 11 - the first play of the first possession. It exhibits two versions of classic shed techniques, and in doing so, the Broncos turn a potentially good gain by San Diego into a one-yard play.

In the first shot, fullback Le’Ron McClain (33) is split out to the side and pretends to go in motion, then settles back into the wing slot. Jackie Battle (44) is the ballcarrier. They’re in a two-tight end package, sometimes called a max, max-protect or, depending on personnel, jumbo package.

San Diego ran it a lot due to their odious offensive line - it gave Philip Rivers some degree of cover. Denver lines up with their defensive ends flipped - Elvis Dumervil (92) is on the defensive left, across from the outside shoulder of tight end Randy McMichael (81).

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Osweiler’s discovery

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Brock Osweiler has one of the most fortunate situations in professional sports.

Osweiler gets to apprentice under one of the greatest of all time, in Peyton Manning.

He’s been taken in hand by the likes of John Elway, Mike McCoy, Adam Gase, Manning, and now Greg Knapp, with Knapp being one of the best in the business of developing quarterbacks. Brock’s being paid millions to soak in every drop of knowledge about the position that exists. It’s an enviable circumstance.

Via Andrew Mason, for the team site:

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Monday Musings: Derek Wolfe’s mentorship of Sly Williams

John Fox and his three coordinators sat down just after the draft to talk with reporters about the team so far, and to no one's surprise, the subject of the newer-look defense came up.

Jack Del Rio noted that the Broncos are looking to get an edge rush from Von Miller, while 2013 first-rounder Sylvester Williams and Derek Wolfe crash up the middle to keep the quarterback from stepping up into the pocket. There is an assumption that the edge opposite Miller will also be attacking the QB, but it wasn’t stated.

The idea of Miller on the edge with Wolfe and Williams up the middle has taken on wings with the almost instant connection between Wolfe and Williams. Del Rio updated his thoughts on the two last week:

Both of these young men, you've watched them come in the building — they both have approached it very similarly. Come in kind of determined, serious, mature in their approach. I think you’re going to see Sylvester be able to come in and impact us in a similar way (to that we saw from Wolfe in 2012).

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Understanding why David Bruton is a lock for Denver’s 53-man roster

When the Broncos recently added Quentin Jammer to their already crowded defensive backfield, one issue that arose - although hardly one that can’t be overcome - is how to handle that positional glut. Some folks have suggested that David Bruton should be one player to get the axe.

One reader wondered if Bruton was worth keeping...

Wait one second. Bolden and Irving were ST tackle leaders?! I thought L Ball and D Bruton were the ST aces? It shall be interesting come TC cut time.

...while another was succinct in pleading his case...

You can't let Bruton go. He is our best ST player.

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Mailbag: What does it mean to “install” a football scheme?

From reader Isaac H:

[DC Jack] Del Rio talked about the "installation" of the defense being pretty much complete over these OTA's. I've heard the term "installation" of either the offense or defense a lot over the years and have often wondered what exactly that means?

It's a very good question, Issac, so thanks for asking it. We always appreciate having the chance to learn exactly what our readers want to know about.

So, what's in an installation? In brief, its main function is to give the players a chance to learn precisely how they - the offense, defense or special teams - are going to handle all the game situations by walking through them in a slow, thorough manner. It lets them see how the group functions as a whole and how the chosen scheme applies to game situations.

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The demise of the three-down linebacker?

It’s become a local mantra - the move from older base formations to using a nickel package as a team’s base package is a natural response towards slowing the pass-centric tendencies of the modern NFL.

I’ve been on that bus for a few years now. Last season, the Broncos used their nickel defense 65% of the time. Nickel is the new base.

But along with that recognition, there’s been an increasing suggestion that you don’t need three-down linebackers as much. The starting Mike, in particular, often leaves the field for nickel downs. That’s particularly the case if the Mike has better skills downhill than in outracing running backs, wideouts, or tight ends in a coverage role.

Does a team have to change their linebackers out when they move to nickel?

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The impact of Luke Richesson

Most of us has been impressed with the level of innovation under John Elway, but the installation of Luke Richesson along with his equipment and staff may turn out to be one of the best of them all.

From Eric Decker on Wednesday:

We worked out at Duke in March or April and I definitely felt like he had more zip on the ball. I think he's come back stronger, he's come back with the program that we've got — it's unbelievable the amount of muscle mass and endurance that guys have and the cut-down of injuries that we had last year. I think that's a compliment to the strength and conditioning staff here and I think Peyton is one of those that took advantage of it and really got himself in good shape and is stronger and healthier this year.

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