Second Helpings

Don’t Cry For Me, Kansas City

Usually I spend each Monday analyzing some aspect of the previous day's game--a formation, a player, or a play.

Yet, today I'm compelled to discuss something that has received a lot of attention over the past 16 hours.  Why did Todd Haley neglect the time-honored tradition of coaches shaking hands after yesterday's game?  There are likely many reasons (aside from getting out-coached), but the main one is that Haley didn't like the fact that the Broncos left their starters in the game for all 4 quarters.  As we learn from this article from Gregg Rosenthal at Pro Football Talk: 

Haley apparently was not pleased with how Josh McDaniels handled a big lead in Denver's 49-29 victory over the Chiefs.  The Broncos were still throwing plenty, max protecting, and blitzing on defense with a comfortable fourth-quarter lead.

Haley's response?  Instead of shaking McDaniels' hand after the game, the Chiefs' coach pointed his finger at him and turned his back.

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A Second Helping of…Bad starts

Note: Each Monday we take a look at a player the Broncos used in a new, creative, or interesting way from the previous day’s game.  This week we’re getting a second plate of not a player, but how bad starts have affected Kyle Orton’s stats.

One criticism I’ve leveled at Kyle Orton is that his statistics have been very hollow this year. The general argument I’ve made is that of course Orton is going to compile some big numbers, because he’s been playing from behind so much—essentially the defense softens and plays a deep cover-4 zone.

While I still feel that the statement is true, I want to say it’s a needless criticism at best.  Why?

Because the guy has had no choice.

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A Second Helping of…Momentum

Note: Each Monday we take a look at a player the Broncos used in a new, creative, or interesting way from the previous day’s game.  This week we’re getting a second plate of not a player, but how momentum affected the Broncos yesterday.

If you’ve ever played any sport at even the lowest of competitive levels, you’ve felt the power of momentum.

When the sea of momentum changes against you, it’s palpable;  you feel it throughout your body.  Suddenly, there goes your mind.

Once your mind goes, strange things happen—records are even set in the process.

After reviewing the first three drives on tape last night, I kept returning to this concept of momentum—not on purpose, mind you.  I kept wanting to blame specific players.  I kept wanting to blame Josh McDaniels.  But I kept coming back to momentum.

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A Second Helping of…Strength of schedule

Note: Each Monday we take a look at a player the Broncos used in a new, creative, or interesting way in the previous day’s game.  This week we’re getting a second plate of not a player, but the Broncos’ Strength of Schedule.

Hope is not enough.

This time, though, it might be, Broncos fans—especially after the Broncos just finished the most carnal part of their schedule.

Allow me to explain myself—without writing the word “carnal” again.

Everything is going to rest on the two games the Broncos play against the Kansas City Chiefs.

While you might have already guessed this by looking at the AFC West standings,  I wanted to confirm your suspicions through more than just the prism of a 2-game deficit.

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A Second Helping of…Kyle Orton

Note: Each Monday we take a look at a player the Broncos used in a new, creative, or interesting way in the previous day’s game.  This week we’re getting a second plate of Kyle Orton.

After a game like yesterday, it’s difficult to find anything creative or interesting.  The Ravens shook their tail feathers in the faces of the Broncos all day. 

So when in doubt on whom to focus on today, I decided to go with the guy who threw for 300 yards. 

It’s not Orton’s specific stats that I want to focus on (we’ll get to that in a moment).  It’s something specific he’s doing in the pocket this year that all of the so-called elite quarterbacks do in this league.  On a weekly basis, you’ll see Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees do it.  Ben Roethlisberger (when he’s not spending time in Georgia college towns) probably does it best in the league.

Just what do they do that is so elite?

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A Second Helping of…Eddie Royal

Over the past offseason, Josh McDaniels admitted to several coaching mistakes he made in his first season.

One of his biggest regrets?  Not utilizing Eddie Royal’s unique skills.

Broncos fans were told to expect something different in 2010.  McDaniels committed Royal to the slot-receiver spot, which would allow him more immediate separation off the line of scrimmage.  This additional space would allow Royal to utilize his superior quickness and get into his routes before a defender had time to jam him.

Royal, for his part, committed himself to getting stronger in the offseason.

Yesterday, against the Titans, we were able to see how it all came together.

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A Second Helping of…Brian Dawkins & Mario Haggan

Note: Each Monday we take a look at a player the Broncos used in a new, creative, or interesting way in the previous day’s game.  This week we’re getting a second plate of Brian Dawkins and Mario Haggan.

The Broncos knew if they had any chance to win yesterday’s game, they needed to limit Dallas Clark’s opportunities.  In their previous meeting, Clark had chewed up Denver’s nickel coverage and linebacker Wesley Woodyard for two touchdowns.  And with Pierre Garcon out of the lineup, they figured Clark would be as popular as ever. 

Would the Broncos play man coverage on Clark?  Would they put Champ Bailey on him?  Would they risk another linebacker fiasco like they had in the previous meeting?

The answer wasn’t long in coming.  On the third play from scrimmage, Dallas Clark found himself looking across from Mario Haggan, who was lined up to his outside shoulder.  I’m quite sure he was licking his chops.  He’d run a quick inside slant route and make quick work of a slower linebacker—as he always did.  Separating from linebackers was his specialty.

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A Second Helping Of…Demaryius Thomas

Note: Commenting has been turned back on!

Each week we’ll bring you an extra look at a player the Broncos used in a creative or interesting way during the previous game.  This week, we’re getting a 2nd plate of Demaryius Thomas.

Sometimes you have to take pleasure in your own fatuity, inanity, and outright asininity, even while trying to hide it from the world with multi-syllabic adverbs.  As Grandpappy used to say to me, “Son, you’re just plumb stupid, so face up to it.”

As I admitted yesterday, I was not a fan of the Broncos drafting Demaryius Thomas in the 2010 Draft.  I thought the Broncos had other more pressing needs.  I had been advocating that they take Mike Iupati or Maurkice Pouncey.  Even as other Broncos fans began to warm up to the 6-3, 230 lb. wideout from Georgia Tech, I sat back and proclaimed that he couldn’t run routes.  Even as reports out of training camp had Thomas dominating in drills, I said he was simply a big guy who could only run fast. 

Color me crazy.  I was way off base.

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A Second Helping of…Tim Tebow

*Note* We had a bit of a glitch with this one, so I’m placing this post above Lard to make sure folks don’t miss it - Doug

Each week we’ll bring you an extra look at a player the Broncos used in a creative or interesting way during the previous game.  This week, we’re getting a 2nd plate of Tim Tebow.

After the 2010 Draft, everyone suspected it was coming.  Josh McDaniels was going to use Tim Tebow in some sort of fancy Wild Horses package.  He had months of scheming and dreaming.  Jack Del Rio and the Jaguars read the papers, too.  So they spent part of their week preparing for Tebow.

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