Happy Friday, friends. Can I talk frankly? Yes, I think I can. Since I started my football writing “career” back in 2008, I’ve always been kind of a loose cannon. I’ve mostly avoided agreeing to put myself in any boxes, rather than to generally say that I’ll have something written on this day or that day. A lot of times, if I have something due on Friday at noon, I’ll have no idea what I want to write about when I’m driving home after work on Thursday afternoon. I just like to let stuff go from my mind to my fingers to the screen. It’s kind of like being a 30-something dude who lives with his parents and won't date a chick for longer than three months because he doesn’t want to grow up.
Well, I went and agreed to produce a recurring feature on Fridays as part of our game lead-up package, which is going to be just outstanding, even if it isn't scantastic. I don’t have a fitting gluttony reference for it yet, so I’m just going to call it Opposition Research, because that's what it is. Basically, I plan to watch some recent video of the upcoming opponent, take some notes, and then talk about some non-obvious things that I saw, particularly stuff that you can't get just by looking over a couple box scores. Then, I’ll talk about what the Broncos can do to be successful in light of those observations. Pretty straightforward, right? Here goes, as we break down Tranny Nation after the jump.
Happy Friday, friends. With Game 2 of the preseason happening tomorrow night, I decided to share some thoughts on what I’ll be looking for in the game. I think we learned some stuff in Game 1, at least at a cursory level, and that we’ll have a good opportunity to learn and evaluate more tomorrow.
1. Does personnel grouping on offense still seem to follow the QB? Last week, Kyle Orton played with a lot of 21 and 22 personnel, while Tim Tebow had a lot of 11 personnel, and Brady Quinn had a lot of 12 personnel. It will be interesting to see if those concepts continue.
The implications are that when Orton is on the field, the offensive staff sees itself as a running/play action operation, and that to some extent, Quinn follows that. Tebow’s typical package places more of a premium on spreading out the defense with the formation, ostensibly to create running lanes for Tebow, and angles for the kinds of throws that he makes the best.
Tebow has a different skill-set than Orton or Quinn, so it’s no surprise that they’d have different play-calling. I wonder if this recent media push to claim that Quinn is #2 stems from thinking within the coaching staff that any in-game change at the position is best handled by a player who is more well-suited to running the same game plan as the starter. In that case, I could still see Tebow getting some snaps in games using specialty packages, even as the nominal #3 QB, while Quinn sits behind Orton, waiting for an injury or ineffectiveness in a game.
Here at Fat Man, we think you deserve more than just football analysis.
You deserve a nice meal, too. So in the spirit of food and drink, we present to you our weekly analysis of the upcoming Broncos game and opponent. May you leave a little wiser. And with a full stomach.
This week, we’re gonna chow on the Oakland Raiders.
(Note: Doc Bear contributed to this tasty meal)
Here at Fat Man, we think you deserve more than just football analysis. You deserve a nice meal, too. So in the spirit of food and drink, we present to you our weekly analysis of the upcoming Broncos game and opponent. May you leave a little wiser. And with a full stomach.
The New York Jets come into this game the darlings of the NFL. After a razor-thin loss in Week 1 to the Ravens, the Jets have rolled off four straight wins against quality opponents like the Patriots, Dolphins, and Vikings.
Offensively, the Jets come into the game ranked 1st in the league in rushing yards per game and 3rd in rushing yards per play. That’s fortunate for them, because the Jets run the ball like they’ve got Earl Campbell in the backfield. They are one of only five teams in the league that run the ball more than they pass (52% of the time). One of the potential pitfalls for the Jets last season was interceptions. QB Mark Sanchez has dramatically improved in this department this year. He has yet to throw even one interception.
Quick, who is last in the league in turnover margin?
Detroit? Buffalo? San Francisco?
If you guessed the Raiders, you almost got it. They are tied for 24th. And it’s always a legitimate guess to place the Raiders as the worst in any category.
But how many of you guessed the Baltimore Ravens?
That’s right. The Ravens are officially minus-7 on the year in turnover differential. Dead last in the league.
And yet this is a team that is 3-1. So what do we make of this turnover stat?
(Note: Each Saturday we bring you a tasty late-night Broncos snack. The Kool-Aid is optional, but we’re drinking enough for everyone.)
Man shall not live by the spread alone.
If you’ve paid any attention to the media this week, you’ve probably seen tomorrow’s game billed as the league’s best passing offense versus the league’s best passing defense. While this is technically true when viewed through the prism of total yards per game, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to see Kyle Orton chucking the ball at 20-yard clips or Brandon Lloyd battling along the sideline for deep balls.
You’ve probably also heard that the Broncos absolutely must establish some sort of running game in order to have a chance in the game. This is equally untrue. Statistically speaking, passing the football has always (unless we go back 6 decades) had a significantly higher correlation coefficient to winning than running the football. Moreover, today’s passing game, if done properly, has the ability to replace the run a lot of the time.
In today’s NFL, running the football is truly secondary to the pass. Still, the run has some importance, if, for nothing else, to keep a defense from simply guessing pass on every play.
But if the Broncos aren’t going to challenge the Ravens deep and they aren’t going to establish the run, how are they going to beat the Ravens?
Sometimes stats aren’t as important as tendencies and patterns. This week’s tendency can be expressed as the number 104.
This is the personnel package the Titans love early in the game. I saw it in all 3 of their games this year. It consists of 1 running back, 0 tight ends, and 4 wide receivers. For most teams, this is a personnel package that screams pass. Not so for the Titans. They love to use the package early in the game to give the defense a passing look. But in reality, they are handing off to Chris Johnson.
It’s a great package for Tennessee because it creates a lot of space for Johnson. And Chris Johnson in space is deadly. The defense has one of two choices. They can play nickel. Or they can stay in their base formation and add another responsibility for the safety (usually on the strong side of the formation). Either way, the package forces the defense to stretch out horizontally across the field. And this benefits Chris Johnson.
Caught you, Broncos fans.
You were up jonesing for a late-night Broncos snack, weren’t you?
Well, open the fridge and indulge yourself. Here at Fat Man, we don’t mind. You can even add some extra chocolate syrup if you’d like.
For our friends who read us in Europe, good morning!
Here are 7 reasons the Broncos will beat the Titans tomorrow. Why 7 reasons? Because I couldn’t think of 57 (Tom Jackson’s numbers), so I went with Elway’s. Call me lazy.
Why am I so sure they will beat the Titans? Truthfully, I’m not so sure, but being a fan is fundamentally, at its core, supposed to be fun. And losing isn’t any fun. So, until further notice, the Broncos are winning.
Now, here are your 7 reasons:
Here’s a number you’ve probably not heard mentioned leading up to today’s game against the Colts: 158.
That’s the number of times the Colts targeted tight end Dallas Clark in 2009.
To put that number in perspective, you’ll recall that the Broncos were often criticized last year for throwing to Brandon Marshall almost exclusively—154 times. Although Peyton Manning attempted 30 more passes than Kyle Orton last year, the number of passes thrown in the direction of Dallas Clark was immense.
Manning and Clark have already decided to attend the afterglow party as well in 2010. Clark has been targeted 20 times in 2 games, putting him on pace for a similar number of targets as last year.
If you haven’t heard, Peyton Manning likes Dallas Clark. He likes him quite a lot.
This week I’m bringing you another stat you’ve probably not heard about leading up to today’s game with the Seahawks, or as my friend Doug Lee lovingly calls them, the Sea Chickens. Personally, I’m a big fan of economy, so I’m partial to Sea Chicks.
If you spent any amount of time last week following the Sea Chicks, you probably heard the media focus on what the San Francisco 49ers didn’t do as opposed to what the Sea Chicks did right. Certainly you’ve heard all about how Mike Singletary blamed his team’s headsets for a lot of the mistakes the 49ers made. Or maybe you heard Alex Smith whine about the plays not getting to the huddle efficiently (headsets, it seems, actually throw interceptions these days).
Seattle ran the ball 23 times, and from the coverage of the game, it sounded like Seattle’s running game was paltry. The stats back that assessment up, as Seattle averaged only 3.3 yards per play.