Happy Tuesday, friends. It’s been five days since the last Broncos victory, so I decided not to rehash it, since it’s been done to death at this point. I have been working on a short (for me) essay about pass protection, and I decided to make it longer and more detailed and give that to you today. Friday, it’ll be back to Digesting the Chargers, and we should be on the regular schedule from here on out. Ready… BEGIN!!!
1. Once, when I was three years old, I woke my mother up from a nap. A man was breaking into the house downstairs, I told her. He was tall and had dark hair, and was coming in through the window in the living room. I was telling my mom about this guy in vivid detail, and like any mom, she got scared. I had three younger siblings who were all also having a nap at the time, so my mother went and frantically made sure that they were safe. Then she locked us all in one room and called the cops.
As it turned out, that was an early indication of the kind of storyteller I was to become. It was like little Eddie Murphy telling the joke about the monkey kicking the lion in the ding-ding. We are all uniquely ourselves, and our character starts getting revealed at a young age. I wasn’t lying, of course; I had just thought up some cool fiction and was sharing it with my mom. She was not as impressed as I thought she’d be, and on the rare occasion I’ve ever heard her tell that story, the context is how hard it was to raise four little kids at once, and tangentially, that I had a hellion moment here and there. (Both are fair points, of course.)
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest mailbag, Mike Klis again makes the case for Denver to draft Baylor's Robert Griffin III, claiming that Griffin can thrive on the same running plays that Tim Tebow does but is also pass better. He also suggests that the key to improving Tebow's accuracy is in sharpening his footwork, rather than his long and slow throwing motion. Klis isn't so sure that Tim tends to throw catchable passes, and that instead his delivery may hide the ball from receivers' eyes, he throws a "heavy" ball, and his passes often rise or dive in the air.
Klis believes Wesley Woodyard's role in the NFL will continue to be as a nickel linebacker who can fill in as an occasional starter but isn't bulky enough to play on first and second down regularly. He also foresees the Broncos trying to re-sign both Brodrick Bunkley and Marcus Thomas, who are currently playing on one-year deals, although no negotiations have begun with either player. At the safety position, Klis thinks it's realistic to imagine both Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter starting next season.
Denver's December 4, Week 13 game at Minnesota has been flexed from a 4:05pm ET game on CBS to a 1pm ET game on FOX instead; the Broncos/Vikings matchup swaps spots with Ravens/Browns. The NFL has also spared us the pain of having to see Curtis Painter and the Colts get whipped by the Patriots on SNF, instead swapping the game out for the potential shootout between the Lions and Saints in New Orleans.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The AFC West games went about as expected, as the Raiders defeated the Vikings 27-21 and the Chargers lost to the Bears 31-20. Oakland is now 6-4 and a game up on the 5-5 Broncos, who are now one game ahead of San Diego. Denver remains a half-game ahead of the Chiefs, who face the daunting task of playing at Foxboro tonight with Tyler Palko starting for them at QB. Carson Palmer threw and ran for a score, while Michael Bush racked up 129 total yards and a TD for Oakland. Christian Ponder rallied Minnesota back from a 27-7 hole with two TD passes but was also picked off three times.
Meanwhile, Jay Cutler got a measure of revenge on the Chargers and his old nemesis Phil Rivers, but the satisfaction was shortlived and overshadowed by the fact that Cutler broke his right thumb late in yesterday's game, will have surgery to repair it, and will not be playing when the Bears come to town on December 11. It'll still be a big QB homecoming, just not for the Broncos - they'll instead be facing Cutler's backup, former CSU Ram Caleb Hanie. So, all Tim Tebow will have to do that day is outscore Devin Hester. Piece of cake, right? Matt Bowen breaks down the Bears' victory, plus he considers the Bears' plight without Cutler.
Enjoy the games, and Go
I'll disperse with the trivialities today and just say that Doug Lee is within one game of Mike Silver.
Will I see an elephant fly?
No way. Doug spends a grand total of three minutes per week picking these games. If only my brain worked so fast.
You may not like his take on Tebow, but all he does is win (pick 'em) games.
I apologize in advance for not getting to the probability and Baxter's locks. There are several reasons for this. Some could be true. First, I can't get in touch with Baxter this morning. When I left him last night he was dancing on top of a table and mumbling something about goldfish. Second, I really wanted to bask in the glory of Doug Lee. Third, now that the Broncos' game is over for the week, I don't care so much about the probabilities of the other games. And finally, I woke up about thirty minutes ago and didn't have time.
Enjoy the games today, everyone.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Yesterday we covered the crucial Chargers/Bears game, so today let's take a quick peek at the game with the most immediate impact on Denver's season: Raiders/Vikings. An Oakland loss would drop them to 5-5 and into a first-place tie ZOMG with the Broncos, and they will be without several key players in RB Darren McFadden, WR Jacoby Ford and CB Chris Johnson, while three others are listed as questionable but expected to play: K Sebastian Janikowski, DT Richard Seymour and S Michael Huff.
As Jerry McDonald stresses, Oakland's first priority will be keeping pass rusher extraordinaire Jared Allen away from Carson Palmer, who will benefit from the absence of starters CB Antoine Winfield and S Husain Abdullah from Minnesota's secondary. The Vikings have struggled to put points on the board all year, but they also also lost to Detroit and Green Bay by just nine combined points, while Adrian Peterson has 11 TDs and nearly 1,000 yards from scrimmage; so you never know. Either way, how great/wild/unimaginable is it that we're talking about the Broncos potentially ending the day today in first place in the division?
I suppose that each week, at least a simple statement is warranted on the OL. Before the KC game, they had exactly eight regular season games together under their belts - one half of a single season. Many of the best lines in football have been together for several years, so when I talk about the fact that every player has visibly improved, it’s more than just a good sign. It fits with the other facts about the line. Denver’s OL has the signs of it turning into being a serious group. The run-heavy offense seems to excite and fit the players, although there’s been an emotional factor at work. But four of the five starters have been improving both statistically and on film, and when the Broncos look at their OL this offseason, I tend to doubt that there will be any major surprises. I don’t see them making many changes, but that, like all specifics, should wait for after the season.
They took the beating they received in Week 1 from the Raiders quite personally, and everyone got to see the outcome of that one when they played again in Oakland. I like seeing a team that feels like it has something to prove: It almost always shows. It wins games, too. John Elway called the OL ‘unsung heroes’ last week - I guess he isn’t a Fat Man convert yet. We’ll work on him: around IAOFM, the OL sings the body electric, as Ray Bradbury once wrote: there’s an electrifying current of strength coming from these young men. They’ve bought into the offense, and Tebow has bought into them - he trusts his guys, and they earn it. Just ask the Jets.
Good Morning (barely), Broncos fans! If there's one game for Denver fans to narrow in on tomorrow, it's the Chargers at Bears at 415pm ET. Denver heads to San Diego next Sunday (Week 12) and hosts Jay Cutler & Co two weeks after that. So aside from scouting Denver's future opponents, a Bears victory would put San Diego a full game behind the Broncos in the AFC West standings and give Denver the opportunity to go up two games on Phil Rivers and the Bolts with a win next week.
PFF's Rodney Hart is interested to see how the Chargers' offensive tackles fare against pass rusher Julius Peppers, which of course will suggest how they'll contain (or not) Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. Looks like a brutal pair of Sundays for Marcus McNeil/Brandyn Dombrowski and Jeromey Clary. Vincent Jackson also draws some tough assignments, as he'll be up against Bears CB Charles Tillman on Sunday and Champ Bailey a week later. Finally, Hart is interested to see how San Diego manages Devin Hester and the Bears' kick return game; as we all recall not so fondly, Hester torched Denver in the teams' last meeting to the tune of two TDs - one on a punt and the other on a kickoff.