Doc's Musings

A passing league and Ryan Clady

On the heels of Ryan Clady's new five-year contract, I was thinking about the importance of various players and positions with regard to the changes that are evident in the league. In the pass-centric game that is the modern NFL, there has been an increasing and well-warranted examination of the importance of the left offensive tackle position.

Questions remain as to how much more important it is or isn’t than any other position on the front line. Is locking up Clady at a partly guaranteed cost of $52.5 million dollars over five years wasting too much capital on a single LOT?

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Doc’s Musings: Familiarity breeds success

Jay Cutler is familiarizing himself with a new offensive coordinator and playbook for the third time in as many years, although new head coach Marc Trestman will be running the show and calling the plays over new new offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer. Writes Eli Kaberon:

When asked about digesting Trestman’s offense in time for the Sept. 8 season opener against the Bengals, Cutler told the media, “It takes time. It’s every day, just trying to get better and trying to learn the offense so that it’s less thinking and more just reacting out there."

“Whenever you want to get into it, it’s a three-year process to learn an offense,” Cutler said. “It just is what it is. It takes time. It’s hard to go out there Year One and blow the doors off. But we’re going to do the best we can with the time allowed and we’ll see where we’re at.”

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The pitfalls of double-teaming Von Miller

With Elvis Dumervil having moved on to Baltimore, I’ve noticed many suggestions that teams will be able to double-team Von Miller more often, and with effective results. They seem to quantify ‘more effective’ simply as a matter of reducing his sack total.

That some teams will try to do so is a fair bet. That it will bear fruit, to me, isn’t as cut and dried.

I’d like to examine the idea as a matter of logistics, more than as a Broncos fan. I have an admitted tendency to view Denver players and schemes through the filter of being a fan - I just don’t think that it’s important in considering this theory.

There are a few basic assumptions that play into the validity or inaccuracy of the idea. Let’s run through them:

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Brain trauma and the NFL

Over time, it’s become obvious that some people still believe that NFL players should always have known their sport involves a high risk of lifelong problems arising from multiple concussions - and they have to know it by now.

After all, they knew about head injuries and boxing back in the 1920s, right? It’s true - such a study was done, and it did show the dangers for boxers. There were more studies in the 1950s and 60s, as well.

There’s just one problem here: the NFL has been telling the players that this was a nonissue for them ever since the league began. And that, my friends, is where the ugly truths begin.

New info keeps on surfacing regarding the history of the NFL's conduct regarding concussions and brain trauma. In recent months, several reporters and sources put together timelines of the brain injury situation vis-a-vis the NFL. An older article also came up, and they fit together into one long tale.

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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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