PFF's Ben Stockwell writes in great depth today about Von Miller's remarkable pass rush skills. From his piece:
What Miller achieved this year was simply astonishing — to be that prolific, show such improvement in one facet of his skills as a pass rusher, and be so close to perfectly balanced as a pass rusher. Miller got pressure inside of opposing pass protectors as often as anyone, and got pressure outside of pass protectors as often as anyone. Combine that with an ability to just drive straight through a pass rusher on a bullrush (1 Sk, 1 Ht, 6 Hu) when needed, and the energy and awareness to clean up plays when the pocket breaks (12 pressures including four sacks in clean up and pursuit) and you have nothing short of the ideal pass rusher. I’m not sure how you improve on what Miller did this season, and his biggest challenge is doing it with even more expected from him, and without Elvis Dumervil on the other side. The fascinating battle will be whether his opponents can focus one (or two) men in on him, or whether the role in which the Broncos deploy him will allow him to continue to cause mayhem against a plethora of blockers.
Denver Post reporter Jeff Legwold has not been a fan of Darrelle-Revis-to-Denver speculation, not one bit. You may recall this nugget from two weeks ago...
Enough already....the Broncos are NOT interested in trading for Darrelle Revis. $9 million cap hit for a player coming off ACL surgery.— Jeff Legwold(@Jeff_Legwold) March 5, 2013
...which was followed a few minutes later by this:
Manning to Broncos...more coming on Espn— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 19, 2012
Well, of course you do. In honor of one of the Broncos' greatest off-field moments, let's take a trip down memory lane:
By now, you know the hideously grotesque details.
The 2012 Denver Broncos--who had effectively ruptured the spleen of their opponents on eleven straight occasions--were 41 seconds away from hosting its first AFC Championship since 2005.
Their opponents, the Baltimore Ravens--a team featuring more centenarians than the Sardinian Blue Zone--were coming off just six days of rest; they'd just played through almost four quarters of penis-shriveling cold at an altitude of five thousand, two hundred, and eighty feet; they stupidly had no timeouts; the noise of the Denver crowd was so loud it was rumored to have shattered the eardrums of the rotund (meaning a lot of inner-ear fat) Peter King.
Before the Broncos' epic meltdown last week, there were two interviews that, in retrospect, foreshadowed the chess match between Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell--a chess match that, at least early in the game, Caldwell pressed his unforseen advantage.
The first was an interview with Joe Flacco on the Dan Patrick show, in which Flacco asserted that the key to a Ravens victory would be establishing the run. While that's not exactly a news flash--we all knew the Ravens wanted to run the ball--it confirmed again in the minds of fans and likely the Broncos coaches the perception that the Ravens were going to give the Broncos a healthy dose of Ray Rice and rookie sensation Bernard Pierce.
And why wouldn't they? The dirtly little secret that emerged from watching film of the first matchup between the teams was that the Ravens, after stumbling on their first three drives, experienced a brief window in which they were indeed running the ball well against Denver. In a series of three consecutive plays in the second quarter, the Ravens ripped off runs of four, fourteen, and fifteen yards. The drive stalled on a penalty, or it's likely the Ravens would have scored. After that, the running game was generally abandoned by the Ravens because the Broncos got up in the game by two scores.
After Ronnie Hillman coughed up the ball during the first quarter of the regular season finale against Kansas City, the Broncos played a series in relative chaos. Peyton Manning took a rare delay of game penalty; three snaps later, Ryan Clady jumped to a false start.
The result? A three-and-out, the first of just two on the day for Denver.
As has usually been the case this season, their struggles didn’t endure. The Broncos marched down the field like the champion team they want to be, pausing only briefly between possessions during the Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas highlight show.
It was also time to stop the Chiefs before they could gain any momentum. What happens here is part of that; great plays often come from great fundamentals applied with great effort.
Happy New Year, friends. As we finish up our third regular season of operation, it occurs to me that we had a pretty good year of advancing football knowledge, and of getting stuff right. In my Navy days, we’d have an annual performance evaluation, and a key part of the process was what’s called the brag sheet. The sailor being graded would list his/her accomplishments during the year, so that the evaluator wouldn’t forget anything, and could consider everything the sailor thought should be appraised.
We believe in accountability here at IAOFM, and when we get something wrong, we readily admit it. When we get things right, though, it seems appropriate to be proud of that, and to make sure that those successes make it into our assessment, such as it is.
This is our 2012 brag sheet. It's like the "best of" articles that other blogs are running, but it's different in our IAOFM way. I’m writing it, because I have no pretense of false humility, and we all know that. When we kick ass, I’ll say it, and when we fall short, I’ll be just as quick to admit it. In general, I’m just as humble as my record says I should be.
We believe that we’ve been the best source of Broncos information and analysis anywhere, and we hope you agree. These are in no particular order, and in fact, I kind of spaced them out haphazardly, so that you'd read the whole thing. Check it out, look back at the year of IAOFM with us, and tell a friend.
I’ve been an unabashed supporter of Derek Wolfe for quite some time now - I like his game. It might be easy to forget that I’ve also listed the concerns that I’ve had with his play, starting prior to the draft:
The first problem that I noticed with Wolfe was that oddly, despite his substantial college production and decent test times, he looked somewhat slower in the drills. He lacks some of the lower body development that I thought I’d see, based on the games I'd watched. Explosion, particularly on his first step, seemingly isn’t his forte, which is odd. I’ve seen him blow past an OL player, and I’ve seen him pretty much standing still when they got their hands into him, and I’m not sure which is the real Wolfe - probably both of them. He has several decent pass-rushing moves, including a nice rip move, and that’s not common among college players, but he also forgets how to use his hands and arms on other plays. That was true in the few games that I saw him - hardly enough for a full scouting report, but it matched well enough to those I have.
He cannot smoothly handle a double team and will often end up on the ground when faced with those - you can help him out schematically in degree, but that’s a problem at the next level. It’s back to his lack of good lower body strength and a resulting inability to anchor: his balance and ability to use leverage also play into that.
I’ve seen evidence of those pre-draft concerns at times this year, but I’ve also seen them diminishing.
Happy Monday, friends. Since tomorrow is Christmas, and I'll be busy celebrating the birth of the homie Jesus (or something), I've been slaving over a hot Game Rewind so I can break you off a little something for today. In honor of the Broncos retaking the NFL lead in team sacks, I decided to look at each one of their six from yesterday, to see what we can glean from them.
Interestingly, all six sacks occurred in the second half, and in general, there's a reason for that. When teams get down multiple scores in the second halves of games, they tend to forget about running the ball. That allows the defense to simply play the pass, and guys who would normally read run-to-pass are able to focus on either coverage or blitzing. Tactically, the stuff the Broncos did Sunday isn't seen too much outside of third-and-long, when the Broncos don't have a big lead. Let's look at those tactics to gain understanding of how each sack worked.
After the jump, we'll get screenshot-happy. Ready.... BEGIN!!
Today, I want to briefly look at a play from the Raiders game that went for good yardage, and talk about why it worked. I'm going to try to start doing this at least every week to stimulate thought and discussion.
The situation in last Thursday's game that we're covering is a 1st-and-10 from the Denver 36, right after the Broncos have received a third-quarter punt. The score is 23-7: