So, you remember a few weeks ago when I wrote that the Broncos should draft Vontaze Burfict?
Forgive me for taking crazy pills; thank the football gods for creating the NFL combine.
Not only should the Broncos not draft this guy, neither should any other team.
He started the week by blaming his coaches at Arizona State for his past troubles. Then he spouted off that he was the best linebacker in the draft. When it came time to show what he could do physically, he was (thus far) the biggest disappointment of the combine.
(Note: This is the third part in
an Epic a mini ten-part series on the Worst Moves of 2011; we'll also be doing a ten-part mini on the Ten Best Moves of 2011. If you want to see #10: Trading Jabar Gaffney, click here; #9: The Duke Takes on Twitter, click here.)
As Tom Nalen said earlier in the week, it's all Josh McDaniels' fault.
Last time we hooked up, dear readers, I pointed out John Elway's mishaps into social media. I speculated that because of the previous regime, one in which Josh McDaniels went all WW2 propaganda on everyone (loose lips sink ships, y'all), the Denver Broncos were set on making 2011 one in which there were multiple points of contact, interviews were as easy to come by as substance abuse in Oakland, and the organization was open and transparent as a Knowshown Moreno personalized license plate.
(Note: This is the second in
an Epic a mini ten-part series on the Worst Moves of 2011; We'll also be doing a ten-part mini on the Ten Best Moves of 2011. If you want to see #10: Trading Jabar Gaffney, click here.)
Social media--it's all the rage. Like a moth to a flame (or an illiterate with an eye piercing to a bag of K2), corporations are flinging themselves headlong into the space with little thought of the results of their actions. The recent McDonald's Chicken McNuggets Twitter disaster is just one example.
The Denver Broncos' foray into social media, while not a meltdown of epic proportions, was certainly fraught with its share of missteps. And that's why John Elway's venture into Twitter is #9 on our list of the Ten Worst Moves of 2011.
After the regime of Josh McDaniels, in which nothing was given, contact was limited to only one Napoleonic figure, and misinformation was as highly prized as the real McCoy, the Broncos felt like social media was an opportunity to reconnect with fans and present a kinder, gentler organization. In fact, Jim Saccomano, Vice President of
Kool-Aid Public Relations, tweeted in September of 2011: "Level of availability to press by coach Fox, John Elway, and personnel people unmatched in recent Denver seasons."
That sounds downright neighborly. And you can hardly blame the Broncos. McDaniels might have been headed down the path of Scott Pioli for all we know, and with Brian Xanders so afraid to express his desire to draft Clay Matthews, he might have gone into a shell.
1. Giants fans were fooled by randomness. The Giants had three fumbles - one was negated by penalty, and they recovered the other two. As we all know, fumbling is not random, but fumble recovery is. If any of those fumbles goes the other direction, the Patriots win this game. History's winners write the narrative, however, so all you need to know is that Eli Manning is a winner and so is Tom Coughlin. And technically, that's true.
2. Field position matters. The starting field position for the Giants yesterday was 25-yard line. The average for the Patriots was the 16-yard line. That eight yards may not seem like a lot, and it is a small sample size, but from an Expected Points Value (EPV), it's meaningful. The difference in EPV from the two numbers is 3.87 points alone in a game that ended 21-17. No, it's not direct causation, just another way of saying where you start your drive matters--a lot.
3. Gunslingers are still important. Watching Manning and Brady sling the ball all over the field in multiple wide receiver sets while progressing through two and three reads in the pocket was impressive, and it demonstrates again the importance of having a quarterback who can make like Devo--that is to say, whip it. Did I mention Tim Tebow? Do I have to?
One gap or two?
Now that the Broncos have hired Jack Del Rio as their defensive coordinator, will they continue to run the aggressive one-gap 4-3 that Dennis Allen favored, or the rumored and virtually extinct two-gap version?
In order to get an idea, I went to the tape of twelve of the Jacksonville Jaguars' games over the last two years. That's because Mel Tucker, the Jags' defensive coordinator, had been rumored to be contemplating a switch to a two-gap system, but it never happened under Del Rio's leadership. And despite articles claiming that Tucker and Del Rio were running a 4-3 two-gap system in Jacksonville, I never saw it.
Play after play, game after game, when the Jags weren't in nickel or dime facing three- and four-wide receiver sets, they played a standard one gap 4-3. They often favored the 4-3 Over. For a review of both the 4-3 Over and the 4-3 Under, you can click our Fat Camp feature on them from earlier in the season.
(Note: This is the first part in a
Epic mini ten-part series on the Worst Moves of 2011; We'll also be doing a ten-part mini on the Ten Best Moves of 2011)
When John Elway and John Fox entered the 2011 season, one thing stood out above all others, and it had nothing to do with Tim Tebow.
The Broncos had a glut at the wide receiver position. Coming back were All-Pro Brandon "The Pretzel" Lloyd, jackknife Eddie Royal, Jabar "Steadyhands" Gaffney, and a whole host of hotshot whippersnappers like Eric "GQ" Decker, Demaryius "MiniTron" Thomas, Matthew "Don't call me Matt" Willis. Add in a hyped-up tight end class from the 2011 Draft and the Broncos had a problem.
Too many hands and not enough balls (yeah, I just wrote that).
At the same time, the Broncos had potential holes on the defensive line. Compounding the problem was the 2011 Draft, in which, for the second straight year, the Broncos completely ignored the defensive tackle.
Today's press conference was pretty much what we expected--full of positive energy and questions about the future of Tim Tebow.
Elway made about as much of a commitment to Tebow as he probably could. Getting right to the heart of the issue, Elway said: "Tim's earned the right to be the starting quarterback going into camp next year."
Elway later say he "hoped" Tebow was going to be the franchise guy. He also said the Broncos would bring in other quarterbacks (he implied through free agency) to compete for the job. I liked his answer to the question about whether free agents would come here with Tebowmania: "If he's afraid to come in and compete for that job, maybe he's not the right guy."
I wish the beat writers had asked specific questions about the style of offense the Broncos would be running in the future, but the Broncos' draft and free-agent pickups will speak louder than anything they could have said today.
Elway probably did what any of us would have done in the same situation--dip your toe into the Tebow waters as far as you can while keeping your options open as you try to improve at every position. It sure makes for an interesting offseason of speculation.
In the real world, Goliath wins--a lot.
Goliath Tom Brady tonight almost threw for as many touchdowns (6) as David Tim Tebow had completions (9).
Tebow threw for 136 yards. I guess that's 316 just written another way.
If we take 136 at face value, this from 1 Corinthians 13:6: "Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in truth."
In today's NFL, the truth is Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the New England Patriots.
Many Broncos fans will rejoiceth in the fact that the Broncos even made the playoffs to begin with. If you like to think of the Broncos as a small-college football team happy enough to make a bowl game, then clap your hands. If you're into winning championships, set your sights higher and save the rah-rah chants for the tourists.
The rumors of the fall of Tim Tebow have been greatly exaggerated.
In one of the biggest upset victories in Broncos history, Tebow did exactly what John Elway would have done--he pulled the trigger.
The game was electric; the pace was deadly; the results were amazing.
1998 never looked so good.
The defense was bend but don't break. The offense was breakout.
Bring on the Patriots. Stranger things have happened.
Today, I'm only giving Postives and nothing more. It's a playoff win, man! Let it rip! This one is for the readers. Give us your thoughts on the first Broncos playoff win in six years!!!!!
John Elway said he was willing to risk his Broncos legacy with a turn on the dance floor as Executive Vice President.
His headband and leotard were predominately orange, his leg warmers and wrist bands blue; he was ready to strut his stuff.
His decision to unload his previous dance partner, Kyle Orton, after Week 7 saved the Broncos $2.6 million.
Today that decision didn't matter much. The Broncos limped into the playoffs despite Elway's move.
In the street (and on the turf) a pitiful b-boy battle ensued between Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton. It was marked by some really bad quarterback play. Kyle Orton hardly mattered. Tim Tebow mattered even less. In the end, however, it was an attempted headspin by the Oakland Raiders that won the day for the crew from Denver. As it turns out, Hue Jackson's trade for Carson Palmer was one of the worst in history, not the best. Palmer slipped badly on the linoleum.
Welcome to the real dance, Broncos fans--the NFL playoffs. I guess we should be glad the Broncos fell backwards based on the third tiebreaker. Somehow, right now, that's not comforting. Perhaps the Steelers will lose their starting running back, starting QB, and, just perhaps, their first wide receiver. Then we can get excited.