Despite being well bred, well read, conversant in all manner of topics in multiple languages, and possessing an uncanny and impeccable taste for the finer luxuries in this world, I admit--during moments of weakness--a passing yet substantive fancy for tramping and a penchant for lap-dance discussions; after all, there exist, as a matter of due course, those occasions upon which nary a second should pass without thrusting erect (oh yeah) and headstrong into those crevices of the human mind that have proven baser and more carnal.
In short, it's fun to argue. I find great comfort in it. If one can't anonymously jump on the internet and falsely lord over others with jargon, statistics, and outright buffoonery, where can one truly suck the marrow out of life? Nowhere, that's where. One's girlfriend or wife (or special lady friend) simple won't stand for it. So on a Saturday like this, there are two options: 1) rake the lawn; 2) argue about Tim Tebow.
I'm picking the latter, thank you.
Last week, the Packers did almost everything the scouting report said they would, but the Broncos were powerless to stop them. Although the Broncos employed the right strategy defensively (playing nickel most of the game), they simply didn't have the horses to stay in the fight.
This week, the Broncos will again be the least talented team on the field; however, their familiarity with the Chargers' scheme and the Chargers' scheme itself should help the Broncos stay in the game.
Before we break down the percentages, remember that the system that Norv Turner uses in San Diego is the same system he's used since the days when he was the offensive coordinator for all the great Dallas Cowboys teams of the 1990s. Troy Aikman is played by Philip Rivers. Michael Irvin is now known as Vincent Jackson. Antonio Gates is Jay Novacek. At its core, it's a deep spread passing game, in which the quarterback, unlike other systems, reads deep to short. In other words, Philip Rivers isn't playing around. If the deep ball is there, he's going to take it.
Perhaps that's why his career average yards per attempt is 8.0. In Turner's offense, almost all of the passing plays have a deep option available to Rivers. The receivers are taught to get as much space as possible between their intermediate and long routes and between their short and intermediate routes. Rivers rarely uses a three-step drop. Instead, in Turner's offense, he consistently uses a lot of five- and seven-step drops. That doesn't mean he takes a lot of sacks, though. That's because in Turner's offense, which relies on timing, the quarterback is taught to get the ball out quickly. You've probably heard and read that Philip Rivers has a quick release. Part of the reason is because he actually does have a quick release. The other part is because he's expected to get rid of the ball as soon as his back foot hits at the end of his drop.
With this as our backdrop, let's look at how the Chargers attack a 4-3.
Happy Friday, friends. It’s Chargers week, and today we’re going to Digest the Bolts. After watching the film, I have some reasons to be cautiously optimistic, and I get the impression from some comments on other articles that I’m not the only one.
As with any week where I come back from vacation, it’s been hellacious. When you sign up to be a salaried employee, they don’t explicitly tell you that your pile only grows when you’re away, but you figure it out pretty quickly - and taking Friday and Monday off means doing six days of work in four days when you get back. Anyway, on to the analysis. Between my job, this site, and my Marketing Strategy class for my MBA program, my brain has been analyzing nonstop this week, and the hamster is getting a little tired. Still, for you, I press on.
Mike McCarthy may not like spiders and snakes, but he sure loves zebras and tigers.
This week, I did something a little different. I took my own advice (for once), and charted the first 15 plays from each of the Green Bay Packers' first three games of the year. As we've seen in the past, the first few drives can tell you a lot about how a team wants to attack their opponent. After this, the offense typically adjusts to down, distance, score, and time remaining in the game.
The Packers faced some interesting defenses, but all of them, like the Denver Broncos, were of the 4-3 variety. In Week 1 they took on Dennis Allen's mentor Gregg Williams and the blitz-heavy New Orleans Saints. In Week 2, they faced off against John Fox's old team, the Carolina Panthers. Finally, in Week 3, they battled against the Tampa-2 laden Chicago Bears.
What I found was a heavy dose of animal looks. What do I mean by this? Simply put, the Packers and Mike McCarthy rely almost exclusively on their 113 (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) and 122 (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR) when attacking the 4-3. In McCarthy's offense, these packages are called the Zebra (113) and the Tiger (122).
These animal personnel groupings are the key to understanding how the Packers plan to take apart the Broncos' defense.
Happy Friday friends, and welcome to the first ever edition of Digesting that was written in the air or on an iPad. It's been a hellaciously busy week as expected, but I'm heartened by the fact that as soon as we got over the clouds on the way out of Cleveland, the overcast gloomy view vanished and it was nothing but sunshine.
This week it's the Green Bay Packers in lovely Wisconsin, land of cow patties and beer farts. I'm not exactly breaking news to say that this will be challenging, and I'd go so far as to say that I think Brian Burke's model which Doug referenced this morning may be over-optimistic in giving the Broncos a 25% win probability. I've got my rubber gloves on (I lease them with an option to buy) and I'm ready to conduct the examination, so without further adieu, let's get it on.
Last week, we looked at the Cincinnati Bengals. Surprisingly, the Bengals stuck to the scouting report and presented the Broncos with few wrinkles.
Perhaps this is why they are the Bengals. It's one thing to know who you are and stick to what you do best. It's another thing entirely to fall into such a predictable pattern by Week 2. The Broncos' advanced scouting department probably deserves some credit for the win last week.
Today we're scouting the Tennessee Titans, who have been the Jekyll and Hyde of the NFL so far. In Week 1 they barely moved the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars, losing 16-14. A week later, behind timely turnovers and big plays, they smacked the Baltimore Ravens 26-13.
After charting every one of their offensive plays from both games, I came to realize that the Titans are not the world beaters they appeared to be last week.
In fact, there's a good chance the Broncos win this game.
Happy Friday, friends. I hope you enjoyed Tom Gower’s thoughts on the Titans that we posted earlier today. He’s a respected writer who contributes to Football Outsiders, and we’re happy to have his work appear at our humble site. My work likewise appeared over at his site, and I only hope that the readers at Total Titans find our contribution up to their normal standards.
Since Tom gave us some Titans thoughts, I said to myself, “Self, maybe you should go light, or even skip the Digesting piece, and just leave it to their “inside” guy who’s really familiar with the team.” I considered doing so for a few minutes, but y’all know me: I like excess. More is better than less. That said, here are some observations on the Titans:
Total Titans approached us about collaborating with their site to preview Sunday's game by exchanging some questions and having a writer from each site provide insight on their respective teams. Below are my questions to Tom Gower and his answers; Tom writes for TT and also contributes to Football Outsiders, and we appreciate his time and effort. In turn, I answered some questions from Tom which have been posted here.
Ted - Would you say that the schemes of the Titans have changed significantly with the new coaching regime in place, and if so, how?
Last week we took a look at the Raiders and their preference for motion and use of the single tight end in most of their personnel packages.
In order to give the Broncos something they hadn't seen on tape, the Raiders started the game with even more motion and several three-back sets. It was a sound strategy by Hue Jackson; it took the Broncos several series to adjust.
You should expect to see a wrinkle like this each week from the Broncos' opponents. They know the Broncos watch their last three to four games and chart formations, packages, and tendencies, just like we are doing. So they've got to surprise the Broncos, even if only for a drive or two.
This week we take a look at the Bengals. Unlike the Raiders, it does us absolutely no good to scout any games from last year. The Bengals have a new offensive coordinator with a West Coast philosophy and a different quarterback in rookie Andy Dalton. Anything we might have learned from last year would have been wasted.
So we've got a one-game sample from which to scout these cats--not preferable, but better than a kick to the family jewels.
Let's see what we can glean.
Happy Friday, friends. When we last talked I was depressed, and really down on Kyle Orton. Today I’m doing fine, and I’m still really down on Kyle Orton. A few of his cheerleaders on this site tried to get me to argue with them about Orton’s suckitude, but I have a long-standing policy of not arguing; I just say what I think. Besides, their rationalizations are about as meaningful to me as a billboard is to John Fox. He trusts his eyes, and I trust mine. This article is not about Kyle Orton, though, so let’s get down to the business of digestion. (Hat tip to broncosmontana for suggesting the title in last week’s comments. We’re going with it every week.)
Game Watched : Week 1 at Cleveland
a. My general observation is that the Bengals seem to have two tactics that they use frequently: They either line up in a Cover-2 look and play Cover-2, or they line up in a blitz/man look and blitz and play man-to-man. There’s very little effort to disguise what’s coming on defense, or to disguise who is blitzing when they blitz. They’re keeping it simple and trying to just go out and execute, and that kind of makes them parallel to the Colts' way of playing offense, except that the Colts (with Peyton Manning) are a lot better at executing on offense than the Bengals are at executing on defense.