Mark it Zero

Throwing the “challenge flag” on Broncos perceptions

In the NFL in 2009, coaches were only successful using instant replay for challenges 32% of the time.   While throwing those red (or sometimes pink) flags are good exercise for the rotator cuff, they don't often result in overturning a call on the field.  

Perhaps if they struck a Raiders fan they would be of more use.
 
Given the long odds of overturning a call, I thought I would throw my own challenge flag on six comments I've heard in the media over the last week.  While the odds of me changing your mind might be long, someone's got to try it.  And I've only to convince you on two of these challenges to beat the league average.
 
So let's hit the jump, and don't let these flags put your eye out.

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Why Draft Tebow? Lips Like Sugar? Or for the shotgun/spread?

It took a few days, but I'm done grieving.  Like a Raiders fan after another 4-12 season, I'm back for more.  

You see, I've come to accept that Tim Tebow will be the quarterback of the Denver Broncos.  

It may not be at the start of training camp.  And it may not be in 2010.  But it's coming.   And much sooner than you think.

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Karl Marx hates return specialists, so let’s draft one

If you care about god, country, and apple pie, you should care about one thing in this year's NFL draft.

You better pray the Denver Broncos draft a return specialist.
 
You see, the NFL, just like any profession has evolved to the point of labor specialization.   While Karl Marx wasn't a big fan of specialization (he thought it turned workers into machines), it turns out that Vince Wilfork doesn't make a very good place kicker.  And Matt Prater isn't much of a strong safety.   Different guys have different skill sets and they specialize in specific situational football.  Of course, I'm telling you what you already know.
 
It seems, however, when it comes to kick and punt specialists, we tend to think anyone can do it.  We throw a 3rd string running back into the mix.  If that doesn't work, let's see what happens if we throw our fullback out there.  Or if that doesn't work, we can simply take a wide receiver and have them double as a return specialist.   We saw the Broncos try this with Eddie Royal last year, and the results were rather mixed.  While he did have some electrifying returns, his overall return numbers were average. Moreover, his receiving game suffered.  Concussions and touches aside, the wear and grind of returning did not help Eddie Royal the receiver.

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The Dude’s Mail Sack: Draft Sean Weatherspoon because he likes Van Halen!

Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions about the state of the Denver Broncos. Got a titillating question? Put a dollar bill into the Dude’s G-String and he might answer it—after bowling practice.

TJ, how you like me now?  
 
--B Marsh, South Beach, Florida (kickin' it, I would add)
 
B Marsh:  Felicidades, my man.  I can't blame you for cashing in.  If any of us were in your position, we would have done the same thing.  Well, I'm not sure if I would have punted the football in practice like that.  And I'm guessing Rod Smith never tried it, but perhaps you were just showing McDaniels the "versatility" he likes by demonstrating you had a bigger leg than Mitch Berger.  
 
But seriously, congrats.  The common fan just doesn't have the capacity or appreciation for how you played this out.  It was clever, and I for one, love a good actor.  Bravo.  Don't let any fan tell you otherwise.  I expect--following your leadership--we'll see our fair share of preschool teachers pulling up lame with hamstring injuries next month in the hopes they can hold out for contract extensions from other preschools.  You've set the bar pretty high, though.  And I commend you for it.
 
I give you my word that I simply will  not stand idly by and watch Broncos fans take shots at you as you walk out the door.  If I see someone doing it, I'm going to take their arm and shove it right through a television screen in your honor. 
 
You are now the highest paid wide receiver in the history of the NFL.  I think you ought to treat yourself to some McDonald's.  
 
You are now richer than Jerry Rice.  But at least he has golf to fall back on.

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The Dude’s Mail Sack: ┬íViva Los Broncos!

Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions about the state of the Denver Broncos. Got a titillating question? Put a dollar bill into the Dude’s G-String and he might answer it—after bowling practice.

Dear Thaddeus Jarlath Johnson,
 
I just felt I should warn you that I plan on dominating the MHR Draftivus contest with my most recent theoretical work, based on the writings of Von Nuemann and Morgenstern. Your little MHR game should make for a simple test case for proving some of my more advanced game theory equations, and I just felt that I should mention this, since there will be no reason for anyone else to enter the contest once my entry has been submitted. My calculations will be so awesomely accurate that they will eliminate the possibility that anyone could even come in second. It will be too awe-inspiring.
 
I hope I have saved your membership a lot of hard work and toil with this announcement.
 
Sincerely
J.F.Nash, Princeton, N.J.

 

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The Dude’s Mail Sack: Jason Elam is Bon Jovi

Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions about the state of the Denver Broncos. Got a titillating question? Put a dollar bill into the Dude’s G-String and he might answer it—after bowling practice.

Heya, TJ, I'm the biggest fan you've ever seen down here! I'm almost coming undone with excitement for this upcoming season.  I wonder sometimes if you are giving away too much critical information in your mail sack. Couldn't some other team use your sack to their advantage?  I'd certainly use your sack if I thought it useful.  Have you ever heard of another team getting unintended Broncos data from your sack and using it?
 
--Jenna J., BraSwell, Georgia

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A stop watch, a scale, and a prayer - drafting a running back

Give me a running back with the power of Walter Payton and the speed of Eric Dickerson.  Now you've got a guy who can take you to the promised land.  But, unfortunately, a guy like that only comes along every 50 years.   And we've already seen in our lifetime a guy named Bo Jackson.

--TJ Johnson
 
In the last several weeks, I've become MHR's version of a big-bad-bangin'-cold bucket of water.  I've compared the draft to a crapshoot. I've compared it to blackjack.  I've even railed against drafting the most talented wide receiver this year, Dez Bryant, because he was late for practice, games, and most recently, forgot his cleats for his pro day. It's gotten to the point where I am sure that Jeremy Bolander, E.J. Ruiz, and Sayre Bedinger would rather me retreat to my statistical cave and churn out a few more articles on Expected Points Value.  In NFL fandom (not to be confused with fandago, hombre), the NFL draft has become second fiddle to only Tom Brady's girlfriend/fiancé/wife and the annual Oakland Raiders coaching change.  Better to leave the draft analysis to the professionals...and Mel Kiper, Jr.

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The NFL Draft: A little less crapshoot, a little more blackjack

Several weeks ago, I compared the draft to a crapshoot, in which luck was as important as skill in determining success in the NFL draft.  While I still believe this to be the case, I also believe there are teams that do gamble better than others. So maybe I should change my analogy to Blackjack.  Even though you might demonstrate more skill than the other guys, it doesn't necessarily mean you're going to win.

Part of this change in perspective is due to a recent study by Pro Football Weekly (PFW).  In their 2010 Draft Guide, the magazine took at look at each team's drafts during the 5-year period of 2004-2008.  It looked at several benchmarks for success, but the benchmark that was the most interesting and useful was each team's breakdown for all 7 rounds of the draft in the following 3 categories:

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The Dude’s Mail Sack: A cage match between Jarvis Moss and Marcus Nash!

Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions about the state of the Denver Broncos. Got a titillating question? Put a dollar bill into the Dude’s G-String and he might answer it—after bowling practice.

TJ, I know I said last week that I thought Kyle Orton's neckbeard was sexy, but that's until we signed Brady Quinn. He's absolutely dreamy.  Have you seen his pecks?  His biceps?  Everyone wants to know, is he going to start in 2010?

--Charlie, Colorado Springs, Colorado

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Draft Dez Bryant - only if you’re playing Monopoly

"The process was really thorough. We took our time. It was important for me to get the right fit for our football team."

--Matt Millen, Former General Manager, Detroit Lions

Matt McGuire, over at Walter Football, is probably best known for his mock drafts.  But it's his blog that I enjoy more. Recently, he had a blog entry entitled, NFL Draft Picks Are Business Investments.   He wrote something that I think deserves a lot more attention:

If I gave you $4 million to invest, would you invest that money into a company that didn't care very much about what they were doing? Would you be confident about investing in a business that didn't care about customer service, their product, employee relations, employee performance and leadership?

I doubt you would - you might as well throw the $4 million into a fire.

But what if this company had a lot of upside? Would you still be willing to lose the $4 million if you could get a large return in a couple years? It's a massive risk.

How can a company that doesn't care become profitable? It's almost impossible for that to happen.

So why should we evaluate NFL Draft prospects any differently? In translation: How can an NFL player be successful if he has a very mediocre work ethic, doesn't love the game, doesn't take the process seriously, and is immature?

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