Gut Reactions

Immediate analysis of NFL games and news

Gut Reactions - Week 12, Broncos-Rams

Tuco_01

Wrecks, sighs, and videotape.

The wreck: losing at home to a team who is in rebuilding mode.  

The sighs: the Broncos' continued futility to convert on 3rd downs, lack of quarterback pressure, inability to tackle, and  turnovers (on both sides).

The videotape: The Rams' offense seemed to confuse the Broncos after their first drive with their normal misdirection and bootlegs; their receivers and tight ends had more space than Buzz Lightyear. Their defense, as Brian Griese pointed out from the radio booth, confused the Broncos all game, blitzing eight defenders on one play, only to drop eight defenders in coverage the next.

Quick, someone call Steve Scarnecchia and get him back on the payroll (and rolling footage).  The Broncos could have used six more minutes of film today.

Despite a late surge, some luck, and some conservative play calling by the Rams, the Broncos' season took another shot to the chin today.  

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Josh McDaniels would make a bad Sicilian

I'm done with Josh McDaniels.

Not because he's failed to draft any defensive linemen with the 19 picks he's had in the last two years; not because his first meaningful move as coach of the Broncos was to cut the long snapper; not because 33-year old guys throwing down f-bombs on national television fail to motivate grown men in their mid-20s and 30s.  I'll even leave the record-setting blowouts aside for the moment.

I'm done with him because he apparently hasn't watched any of the Godfather movies.

Had he, he would have realized that in the Cosa Nostra of the old sicilian mafia, or, let's face it, in the coaching tree of Bill Belichick, you don't rat out anyone in the "organization."  Even if takes a week or more and pressure from league officials.

The Sicilians have a term for this: Omertá, which means maintaining a code of silence.

To betray Omertá is to invite retribution of all kinds--Peyton Hillis as MVP, Jay Cutler getting into the playoffs, bloody horse heads in the bed, and more.  

And you thought the Curse of Brett Kern was bad.

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Gut Reactions - Week 11, Broncos-Chargers

big-lebowski

The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

Unless you forget to take the second.  Then you simply fall on your ass.

Tonight the Broncos started fast.  Once the Chargers adjusted, however (putting more guys in the box), Denver's excellent adventure turned bogus.

And we didn't even get a cameo from Keanu Reeves.  Damn, dude.  

What started as a fake punt quickly turned into a nightmare of missed tackles, blown assignments, penalties, dropped passes, and desperate gadget calls.  In other words, outside of a few good weeks, more of the same.

Last week the Broncos were the ones who had two weeks to prepare for their opponent.  This week, it was the Chargers who had the additional time.  Honestly, though, they didn't need it, so I hope they spent at least half of that time prepping for the Colts.  

Time didn't beat the Broncos.  As we've seen again and again, the Broncos beat themselves. 

Get your mock drafts ready.  

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Gut Reactions - Week 10, Broncos-Chiefs

chuck-norris

Two weeks is an eternity in the NFL.

It's time enough to get healthy; time enough to recommit to the running game; time enough--if you're Josh McDaniels--to regain the faith of an entire city, fan base, and organization. 

To say that Josh McDaniels was coaching for his very job is to overstate the importance of today's game.

To say that today's game was just another game, however, is to ignore the obvious.  Josh McDaniels--no, the entire Broncos organization--needed today's win. 

They needed the win so badly that McDaniels brought in none other than John Elway to give the Broncos a pep talk earlier in the week; despite the disappointing off-field actions of DJ Williams, everyone must have listened.

If today's game is what we'll get from an inspired Broncos team, I say bring in The Duke for the remaining 7 games.

Welcome back to the AFC West, Denver.

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Gut Reactions - Week 8, Broncos-49ers

Jet lag—like a set of perfect English teeth—may not exist.

But the Broncos are believers.

The only way to describe their performance today was sluggish.  How about just plain blah?

They may have walked off the plane 48 hours ago, but, in what has come to be a hallmark of this Broncos team, they again couldn’t get their wings off the ground to start the game.  They barely got airborne the entire game. 

The usual suspects appeared—and we aren’t just talking about those British hoodlums that show up to soccer games.  The Broncos showed a plethora of penalties, blown assignments, and miscommunications.  They were also 0-for-4 on 3rd downs through their first 4 drives.

Can god save the queen?  Who knows.  But it would be nice if he’d at least bless the Broncos’ run defense.

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Gut Reactions - Week 7, Broncos-Raiders

Has there ever been a worse 1st half in Broncos history?

Not in recent memory.  Halloween came one week early in Denver. 

Before most Broncos fans had a chance to see Tom Cable’s frightening haircut on the jumbo screen, they were down 24-0. 

The defense ran confused; Kyle Orton threw confused;  Josh McDaniels was confused. 

But don’t confuse them with a playoff contender.  In arguably the worst division in football, the Broncos are the cellar zombies of the AFC West.  The season is effectively done. 

Perhaps the Broncos were thinking about what scary costumes they were going to wear in London next week.  So they decided to take an eyepatch from every Raiders player, coach, and fan, and put them on both eyes.

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Gut Reactions - Week 6, Broncos-Jets

Last week, Josh McDaniels said the Broncos weren’t tough mentally.

Early in the game today they were just plain stupid.

In the first quarter alone, the Broncos managed a stupid personal-foul penalty; several miscommunications in the passing game; a fumble despite covering the ball with two hands; and the most idiotic of all things in the NFL (or high school for that matter) - a botched field-goal snap.

The Broncos’ run defense and the Jets themselves—stupidly turning the ball over 3 times—kept the Broncos in the game.

But at crunch time, on a day in which the Broncos painted the town orange, the color yellow was the stupidest thing of all.

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Gut Reactions - Week 5, Broncos-Ravens

As a Broncos fan, it was hard to watch the past five seasons as teams like the Ravens continued to simply beat up on Mike Shanahan’s finesse offenses.

But in some ways, it’s even harder to watch the same thing happen to a bigger Broncos team like the one Josh McDaniels is creating.

The Broncos are bigger.  The Broncos are tougher.  But against the standard bearers of big and tough—the Baltimore Ravens—they continue to play small and weak.

For all of the talk about the Broncos high-octane passing attack, they were the ones to internally combust.

But can a team really light itself on fire in all phases of a football game?  Apparently so.

The Broncos lost the game 31-17.  As a player, a coach, an owner, and a fan, you can point in a lot of different directions.  Drive-killing penalties?  Check.  Turnovers?  Check.  Lack of pressure?  Check.

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Gut Reactions - Week 4, Broncos-Titans

Sometimes your opponent tries to give you the game.

And sometimes they just don’t catch the football.

Today, the Broncos watched their opponent do both.

On a day in which the Titans missed a field goal, fumbled the ball, committed stupid penalties, and dropped numerous key passes, they saved their best for last. The winds were swirling.  And with just a few minutes remaining in the game, in what was reminiscent of the Broncos’ 1998 AFC Championship victory over the New York Jets, the Titans forgot to handle the kickoff.

Do we thank the wind for the victory?

No way.  This was a gutsy 26-20 victory against a great defense.  Give the Broncos their respect.

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Gut Reactions - Week 3, Broncos-Colts

Turnovers are hard to overcome. 

Red Zone sterility doesn’t make it any easier.

Against Peyton Manning and the Colts, both are an RSVP to your own implosion.

Today the story will be how Peyton Manning defeated the Broncos—again. 

But the true story is that on a day in which the Broncos defense finally mastered the Colts, their offense and special teams let them down. Whether it be through an interception, a lack of push on 3rd-and-short, or a fumbled punt, turnovers and lack of red-zone execution were the seeds of destruction.

Denver had a great game plan today.  From doubling Dallas Clark at the line of scrimmage to some great pass calls out of running formations, this was a game they could have easily won, despite the final score.  Unfortunately, a great game plan, no matter how great it is, just can’t overcome turnovers and horrendous execution in the red zone. 

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