Happy Tuesday, friends, and welcome to Part 4 of the ongoing series about the Peyton Manning offense. Today we’ll take our first step into the passing game, beginning with the key concepts that make up the three-step game. If you’ve missed any of the prior installments of the series, please feel free to catch up by following the appropriate links:
Every team runs some key three-step passing plays, which accomplish the goal of getting the ball in the hands of players in space by way of high-percentage completions. With an excellent QB like Peyton Manning, the three-step game is especially effective, because he’s so quick at identifying the best receiver to throw the ball to and then put it on the guy’s upfield shoulder, which allows him to immediately begin running after securing the catch.
Hello, friends, and welcome to Part 3 of our series about the Manning offense that we can expect to see in Denver. Today, we’ll focus on the running game, which I think will schematically have a lot of similarity to the base running game we’ve seen in Denver the past three seasons. The philosophy will be very different, though, and it’s on that aspect which I will dedicate most of my focus.
If you missed Parts 1 or 2, and want to catch up, please see these links:
Let’s begin by asking a simple question – why do football teams run the ball? The main answer that I would give is that it’s tradition. American football was invented in 1869, and the forward pass wasn’t introduced to the game until 1906. It actually was introduced as a safety measure, because a bunch of people got killed or seriously hurt playing the game in 1905, and President Teddy Roosevelt demanded rules changes. (The horror of government overreach!) The rules committee that was formed was the precursor of today’s NCAA.
Happy Tuesday, friends, and welcome back to Fat Camp. Today, as part of the ongoing series covering the Manning offense, I’ve decided to do some work on identification concepts that Peyton will use in diagnosing the defense and getting the Broncos into the right play. Most of this stuff is standard across all teams, and all offenses, but it’s so important to what we’ll see from the Broncos that it deserves a couple thousand words and prominent placement on a football Tuesday.
If you missed Part 1 from Saturday, here’s the link:
Have you ever watched a football game and wondered what the QB is doing at the line of scrimmage? He says some stuff and looks at things, and then the play happens. Today, I aim to demonstrate, through the liberal use of diagrams, what Mr. Manning will be looking at, and what it means he will/should set the play as. Exciting, huh? (Yes, I just used the word liberal – I wonder if I’ll be accused of making this a political pontification? Probably.)
Hello, friends. I know it’s been a little while, but I’ve been super-busy with work and other pursuits the last couple weeks. Today, let's explore what the Broncos offense might look like this season with the addition of Peyton Manning. Since it’s a really simple scheme, I think we can pretty easily have a really good sense of what to expect once the regular season arrives.
Since we’re the only Broncos site which possesses the capability of getting deep into the X’s and O’s, we’ll be the ones to lead the way in educating Broncos fans on what to expect. Let’s get going shall we? Ready…. BEGIN!!
Let me first start by saying that as much of a fan as I am of Tim Tebow, I'm relieved and glad that he's gone. The price of having him is just too high, with all of his yahoo bandwagon fans acting as a totally pious menace to intelligent society. It will be interesting to see whether they drown out New York, or whether New York drowns them out. Picking the Big Apple to win seems obvious, but you never know, and it will be interesting to see. When people are determined to believe what they want to believe, it does little good to apply standards of reason to it.
I'm rooting for Tim Tebow the Quarterback to succeed, steal Mark Sanchez's job and women, and maintain his relationship with the homie Jesus, if that's what he wants to do. Thanks for being a good Bronco, Tim, and good luck in Jersey. Hopefully your fans don't ruin your career by making you somebody that no team would want to sign. They're off to a pretty good start, unfortunately.
The 2011 Denver Broncos were really bad at protecting the Quarterback, whether it was Kyle Orton or Tim Tebow. Part of that was on the QBs themselves – Orton lacks escapability, and Tebow was extremely conservative about throwing against tight coverage, and often held the ball too long. But most of the issue was the play of the individual protection players, and some questionable scheming.
LT Ryan Clady had a down year, which still put him in the top 10 or so of players at his position. His foot quickness has never gotten back to what he showed in his first two seasons, and sometimes he gets beat with quickness. LG Zane Beadles and C J.D. Walton don’t anchor well enough, and both need to get significantly stronger as their careers progress. RG Chris Kuper was the best of the bunch, but he’s coming off of a broken leg, which is a significant injury. Finally, RT Orlando Franklin buried guys in the run game, but his foot quickness needs a lot of improvement if he’s going to play outside.
The good news is that this is a group of five players who are all still in their 20s and showed a high degree of durability. I’ve said this before, but for an offensive lineman, durability is a skill. Teams tend to carry only eight of them, so if a player gets hurt a lot, he’s a liability. Linemen get hit a lot, but they tend to be lower-impact close area hits, where the guy they’re colliding with doesn’t have much of a running start. You have to be able to take 1,000 or so of those hits and play every snap while managing some aches and pains and avoiding ankle sprains and the like.
Denver's defense has bitten - and thus been bitten - a few times on screens this year. The screen that Denver has been biting on is the slow screen, which is sometimes called the conventional screen - it's hard to run and not that many teams use it much. The reason for that is simple - once the team has been together for a while, they usually won't bite on the slow screen.
It's a very hard play to run and time properly. If you're a defensive lineman and you're suddenly not being blocked, there's a reason for it and it generally isn't clean living and good fortune - it's because they're trying to make a sap out of you. Denver has been terribly undisciplined defensively for years now, and I've been a bit disappointed in the lack of progress there - but I do believe that if we give DC Dennis Allen a full season he’ll put a stop to a lot of it, and I doubt that it will be as much of an issue. It’s early in the season, but Broncos DC Dennis Allen looks like one of the finds of the offseason.
Every team needs a screen pass or three on hand to keep the on-rushing defenders honest or to make them pay when they’re not. There are five screens that are generally considered as such - and there is an additional option called a ‘smoke route’ that I’ll also cover, since it does much the same thing - run properly, it makes the defense pay for their tendency towards aggression.
On Wednesday we talked about the Erhardt-Perkins offense: its history, some of its usage and some principles on how it’s going to be used in Denver. Today I’d like to touch a little more upon what the Air Coryell offense is and how it fits together with the EP for Denver, including specifically what the groups of players are doing by position.
As I noted last article, Denver is combining the EP vertical passing offense with its power running game - and by saying ‘power’ I’m not dismissing the zone blocking aspect. Big, stronger blockers with good feet fit into this approach efficiently - they can have a lot of size and power, even though zone blocking is generally expected from smaller linemen. The issue is simply whether they have the feet to handle it. A simple way of combining the two systems comes from Ron Erhardt himself. Back towards the end of his coaching days, Erhardt took his system and combined it into a hybrid with the spread formation, in an approach that was quickly dubbed ‘Air Erhardt’. A coach whose team has been running a spread variation and is developing a good running game can use some plays from that as a good beginning. Denver is more likely to do what they’ve said - to use the run more aggressively.
As we shift from the player-evaluation mode of the preseason to games that count, I thought this would be a good time to turn our focus to just what type of offense we can expect to see from the Broncos. Exhibition games offer only a hint of what's to come, as teams are reluctant to telegraph their intentions for the regular season and are concentrating more on roster construction.
Denver is employing their own variation on the Erhardt-Perkins offense, which was very much what Josh McDaniels used both in New England and in Denver. The new version Denver will utilize will emphasize the run more, where McDaniels preferred to use the short pass more as a sort of ball-control passing game - in a certain respect, not dissimilar to the Bill Walsh theory of the game. However, most of the passing from Denver is likely to be vertical, and of the Air Coryell variety.
A few simple things should be covered before we get into much detail on the offensive system, and we'll start today by revisiting the history of the Erhardt-Perkins Offense; we'll get more into the nitty-gritty on Saturday.
Denver had a pair of high-profile injuries two weeks ago, and confusion reigns as to what all these terms mean. I wanted to try and sort it all out for you. You might want to keep this one around - you’re likely to glance at it frequently in the coming months. I also want to sincerely thank Denny Clifford, MD (known around these parts as Ponderosa) for his help on the Western side of this piece - it’s always a pleasure for us to work and share information together, and Denny is without question one of medicine’s good eggs.
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons gives these guidelines on their public site: Sprains and Strains: What's the Difference?
Happy Friday, friends. It’s that busy time of the month for me again, so my goal is to provide maximum value over minimum length today. Whenever I’m faced with that challenge, I tend to fall back to technical football, because there’s not really anything for me to research, nor is there a particularly exhaustive case to be laid out, since it’s not an opinion. Thus shall it be today.
One of Doug’s friends, a youth football coach in NJ named Rob Arciero, asked if we could write about the technical aspects of QB drops at some point. I decided to make “some point” today. We’re a customer-focused website, after all.
When I was married, I went through this period of teaching my ex-wife about football, and she taught me about her favorite thing, cosmetics. The end result is that I now know 10 times more about cosmetics than your typical heterosexual man, but I don’t know how well the football instruction took with her. I bring this up not to brag on my vast knowledge of the product lines at MAC, but because I vividly remember her asking me once how come TV guys always say that QBs always take pass drops that are an odd number of steps. That was a very good observation by her, and it lent itself to a good teaching point, which I’ll now share with you.