Happy Game Day, friends. I know I haven’t posted much lately, but I seem to have reached the busy season at my day job, and being buried is the price of being in the senior position I’m in. As I was discussing today with our HR director, anybody who thinks you can “have it all” is delusional. I’ll try to write more in the coming weeks, particularly as games give me material.
Today I want to offer my own useless take on the season to come. Actually, I suspect that the use I find for it will be to come back and brag on it at year-end, if my prognosticatin’ is anywhere as good as last year’s was. Since two AFC teams kick off the season tonight, here’s the AFC picture as I see it. I’ll hit you with the NFC tomorrow, and then some playoff predictions on Saturday.
I don’t have all the time in the world to devote to this, but it’s better than ESPN’s collaborative blog-a-thon, because at the end of mine, there are 256 wins and 256 losses. (Only a wanker would forecast ties before the season even starts.) Of course, for an accounting guy like me, the debits have to equal the credits.
Happy Saturday, friends. In the wake of the Broncos' roster transactions from today, I looked at Twitter to get the pulse of Broncos Country. What I mostly saw was some misplaced freakouts happening. I thought I'd quickly talk you off the ledge if you're super-worried. Alternatively, if you think you know better than Johns Fox and Elway, I thought I'd let you know that you don't. All is well, Broncos fans.
I love the word kerfluffle and used it at work yesterday to describe, well, a kerfluffle. I saw a lot of this when word came out that dime-a-dozen fifth-round WR Tavarres King had been waived. How can you not have backups for the outside WRs, went the wailing.
Happy Tuesday, friends. On Monday afternoon, Tim Ryan and Pat Kirwan visited Broncos training camp, and held a very interesting four-hour show from Dove Valley. There were a number of insights and opinions presented, and as usual, practically everybody they spoke to was much more forthcoming than they tend to be with the beat people.
I've seen (heard?) this time and time again with Tim and Pat at many team visits, where coaches and GMs consider them to be real football people who can participate in real football discussions. Because of that, their annual visit to Dove Valley is must-listen stuff. For those who didn't, I took some notes.
A lot is being made the last couple days of the Broncos’ adoption of the “pistol offense.” There’s a big mistake being made with most of it – they’re confusing the use of an alignment with the adoption of an offensive scheme.
Cecil Lammey (predictably) seems like he get this, calling it the pistol formation. Most of the Twitterverse and DP-verse seems to be making more of it than what is there.
For those who don’t know what is meant by pistol alignment, it simply is a half-measure between a QB taking a snap under center, and from the traditional shotgun. Where the shotgun has the QB seven yards deep with a running back to either side, the pistol has the QB at four yards' depth, with the RB 3-4 yards behind him.
Happy Friday, friends. I wanted to try to engage today on a difficult topic that we’ve tended not to shy away from at IAOFM, and that’s race and racism. I’m specifically going to apply it to the Riley Cooper situation, obviously, because that’s what’s going on right now.
I say this topic is difficult because I think, in advance, that my take on the Cooper situation, and on the nature of using hateful words isn’t going to be fully satisfying to much of anybody. This take is honest, though, and I think (and hope), logical, so here goes.
Happy Tuesday, friends. As promised in my last article, today, I want to propose a proposition. I think that it’s high time that people stop acting like there are only two kinds of defense being played in the NFL, and that we come up with a better way to identify them.
You’ll recall that last Tuesday, I made the case that the base personnel grouping (3-4 or 4-3) was not only not determinative of the character of a defense, it’s actually only barely relevant to the discussion. It doesn’t necessarily contain any indication of tactical approach, so saying that a team runs a 3-4 defense means almost nothing, yet that's all you get from the football commentariat. This injustice will not stand, man!
On offense, at least, the traditionally recognized groupings speak to tactical approaches. When somebody says that a team runs a West Coast offense, you tend to think of horizontal passing, and timing routes, and a running game that sets up that kind of passing. The basic principles are mostly common within the group. That isn’t the case for a “3-4 defense” or a “4-3 defense,” not at all.
Happy Friday, friends. Today, I’m going to continue our look back at Broncos schemes through history. On Tuesday, Doug sent a link to my offense article to Neil Payne at PFR.
Neil and I disagree on what the sweet spot is for identifying a scheme; he wants to group together as many as possible to evaluate splits, which is what you’d expect from a stats guy.
As I mentioned in the offense article, I am fine with that conceptually, up to a point, but you eventually start grouping schemes that are really dissimilar together. Neil said he wanted to fit the Manning Offense into either Erhardt-Perkins, West Coast, or Air Coryell, and that he felt like Air Coryell is the closest fit.
Monday Tuesday, friends. Pro Football Reference is doing something interesting, in trying to identify the offensive and defensive schemes that each team has employed throughout their histories.
I’m a bit of a scheme guy, as most of you know, so I thought I’d try to help them, and also provide an interesting read for our IAOFM readers. Since I only go back to January of 1987 as a Broncos fan, I can’t help beyond that, but if any of our longtime fans have any ideas, let’s load up the comments, and the PFR guys can possibly benefit from that too.
The first thing I’d like to say is that it’s difficult for anybody to really find the sweet spot in classifying an offensive or defensive scheme. You can get pretty exact with it, and make the case that one West Coast Offense is dramatically different from another. The risk there is that you lose the ability to make the assumption that a pool of West Coast Offenses is fairly homogeneous.
Happy Sunday, friends. Since we’re approaching training camp, it seems like a good time to start prospectively discussing some 2013 Denver Broncos football. What do you think about that?
It’s really been since draft season since we had much substantive football material to talk about, and I’ve decided to reconvene the conversation at IAOFM by writing what is hopefully a thought-provoking article.
The case has been made by some people that the Broncos have the best overall 1-53 talent in the NFL. I agree with those people, and I don’t see an area of the team that is below-average. You have to line up on Sunday and do it, but this team is capable of winning the Super Bowl in 2013. There are (and can be) no expectation management efforts going on for this edition of the Broncos.
Happy Monday, friends. I hope everybody had a nice holiday weekend. I spent the time in Los Angeles, visiting my brother and his family, and during my travels, I saw where Doug linked a Mark Kiszla article about Foxball possibly leading to John Fox getting fired after 2013.
That spurred an interesting discussion in the Lard comments, and it got me to thinking about the nature of football coaching. It’s a 4.5-hour drive from LA to Yuma, Arizona, and that’s a lot of thinking time.
What I’d like to explore today are the various parts of the job description of an NFL head coach. Once we identify them, I then want to try to get at the question of which parts are most important. If we’re fairly judging a coach, having an idea of that in place is crucial.