Happy Friday, friends. Can I talk frankly? Yes, I think I can. Since I started my football writing “career” back in 2008, I’ve always been kind of a loose cannon. I’ve mostly avoided agreeing to put myself in any boxes, rather than to generally say that I’ll have something written on this day or that day. A lot of times, if I have something due on Friday at noon, I’ll have no idea what I want to write about when I’m driving home after work on Thursday afternoon. I just like to let stuff go from my mind to my fingers to the screen. It’s kind of like being a 30-something dude who lives with his parents and won't date a chick for longer than three months because he doesn’t want to grow up.
Well, I went and agreed to produce a recurring feature on Fridays as part of our game lead-up package, which is going to be just outstanding, even if it isn't scantastic. I don’t have a fitting gluttony reference for it yet, so I’m just going to call it Opposition Research, because that's what it is. Basically, I plan to watch some recent video of the upcoming opponent, take some notes, and then talk about some non-obvious things that I saw, particularly stuff that you can't get just by looking over a couple box scores. Then, I’ll talk about what the Broncos can do to be successful in light of those observations. Pretty straightforward, right? Here goes, as we break down Tranny Nation after the jump.
Happy Saturday, friends. I have a few thoughts on the Broncos' roster, and then some thoughts for some potential pickups from the rest of the NFL.
1. I am only really surprised that Kyle McCarthy and Jeremy Jarmon were cut. Perrish Cox earned the axe by playing poorly in the preseason, and from the rest, only David Anderson was mildly surprising. The waiving of McCarthy seems to be a function of a decision that Quinton Carter can do everything that Kyle can do, and that you really only need two box safeties. Jarmon’s athleticism impressed me, and I’m sad to see him go.
2. I’d like to see Eron Riley, Eric Olsen, Jeremy Beal, Jeremiah Johnson, and McCarthy on the Practice Squad. None of the rest of the eligible guys have really showed me much. That’s 4 offensive players and 1 defender, so I’d want to find three other defenders around the NFL. (Jarmon isn’t eligible, because he was on Washington’s 53-man roster for most of the 2009 and 2010 seasons.)
3. I'm slightly concerned about carrying just three RBs, and obviously no backup offensive lineman is worth a damn at this point, including Russ Hochstein. On defense, I'm not freaking out about any position except CB. I'd definitely like to see somebody better than Chris Harris come along, and I would also be amenable to an upgrade over Mitch Unrein (sorry, TJ) and/or Ryan McBean at DT. There are some good players available at both CB and DT, as we'll discuss below.
I think that predicting specific sports outcomes is a useless filler exercise, and I say that as a guy who does a good amount of forecasting in my day job. As a controller, a revenue forecast helps you work back to figuring out the costs of the inputs needed to make the forecasted revenue, and it can/should illuminate opportunities to achieve cost savings. It’s a value-adding exercise, and like painting a ship, it never really stops.
Predicting the outcomes of games, or the record of a football team in August really adds no operational value to anything. Once the actual event happens, the prediction work that you did becomes entirely useless; nobody would ever refer back to it for any reason, so why would you have it in your archive?
There’s been a lot of talking lately about what the Broncos’ record will be this season, and I don’t really want to speculate on that specifically. Having seen two preseason games, though, I am ready to say that I think this looks like the best Broncos team since at least 2005, and I’m ready to discuss the reasons why I think that.
Happy Friday, friends. With Game 2 of the preseason happening tomorrow night, I decided to share some thoughts on what I’ll be looking for in the game. I think we learned some stuff in Game 1, at least at a cursory level, and that we’ll have a good opportunity to learn and evaluate more tomorrow.
1. Does personnel grouping on offense still seem to follow the QB? Last week, Kyle Orton played with a lot of 21 and 22 personnel, while Tim Tebow had a lot of 11 personnel, and Brady Quinn had a lot of 12 personnel. It will be interesting to see if those concepts continue.
The implications are that when Orton is on the field, the offensive staff sees itself as a running/play action operation, and that to some extent, Quinn follows that. Tebow’s typical package places more of a premium on spreading out the defense with the formation, ostensibly to create running lanes for Tebow, and angles for the kinds of throws that he makes the best.
Tebow has a different skill-set than Orton or Quinn, so it’s no surprise that they’d have different play-calling. I wonder if this recent media push to claim that Quinn is #2 stems from thinking within the coaching staff that any in-game change at the position is best handled by a player who is more well-suited to running the same game plan as the starter. In that case, I could still see Tebow getting some snaps in games using specialty packages, even as the nominal #3 QB, while Quinn sits behind Orton, waiting for an injury or ineffectiveness in a game.
Happy Tuesday, friends. As expected, I had a crazy two-wedding weekend, and it just ended around midnight Tuesday morning. I caught the garter at the Cleveland wedding, because I catch a disproportionate number of garters at weddings, and I now have a Cleveland Browns garter on my man-cave bulletin board, next to the other two I’ve gotten in recent years. People sure love their football.
Logistically speaking, I watched the Thursday night game live and participated in the Chewing the Fat discussion that you read a couple days ago. That ended around midnight ET, and I had to be up 4.5 hours later for a 6 AM flight on Friday morning. There was another early morning flight Saturday morning, hustling to get to the second wedding, a drunk/disheveled wakeup in a hotel Sunday, marked by explaining why my drunk friend got mad and punched the glass out of a picture that was in a room under my name and credit card (accident, of course!), followed by recovery, and then an opening-to-closing visit to Cedar Point amusement park on Monday. It was a really good weekend.
It seems to be sucking all of the oxygen out of the room lately, so I decided to weigh in on the Broncos' QB situation. Another voice in the crowd sounds off, right? So why even bother to do it? I’m doing it because this is IAOFM, and we’re here to produce the best Broncos content in the world. We’re not going to beat other sites on quantity, but we’ll crush them on quality every day. Today is Friday, so here goes.
I have some thoughts about this whole holistic Orton-Tebow discussion that I’m simply going to lay out by number and discuss. From the department of analysis in the face of sucky journalism:
1. Quarterback competitions are stupid, and this is not a quarterback competition that's going on in Denver. There’s an old football adage that if you have two QBs, you have no QB. Inept teams allow themselves to be in this situation, and I don’t think for a second that this football management team in Denver is inept.
A team’s direction at the QB position is a key organizational decision. It’s not something that should be left to who looks better in practice, or in some preseason games. To do that is to idiotically behave as if there is nothing more riding on the decision than a subjective value judgment of on-field aesthetics, or some stats on a piece of paper. There’s simply a lot more to the decision than that.
Happy Friday, friends. We’re now a couple days into the free agency and trading period, and the Broncos haven’t done too much yet, except sign their own draft picks, trade Jabar Gaffney, and haggle with the Dolphins about the price for Kyle Orton. I’ve observed some angst about the pace of things in our comment threads and on Twitter, and I wanted to address that today.
I think most of us would agree that Defensive Tackle is the primary need area for the Broncos, and the good news is that not very much has happened there yet. It seems that the market for that position group is waiting for a big deal to pave the way for others to come, but the only two major agreements among the “big defensive linemen” group were with Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen - both going to Washington - and neither was an outlandishly-priced contract for their production. It’s interesting with so many Eric Weddle Specials flying around, how none have hit this cohort.
To start out, I want to talk about “big defensive linemen” briefly, and what I mean by that. Simply, I mean that there are certain players who can play DT in an even front and DE in an odd front (especially one-gap versions) interchangeably. These tend to be guys who are in the 6-2 or 6-3, and 285-300 pound size range. Taller guys tend to specialize as DEs in 2-gap odd fronts, and stouter ones tend to strictly be Nose Tackles.
I’m the kind of guy who has a large social circle that’s comprised of a roughly equal number of men and women. It’s a function of being a fraternity man, and also of relentlessly attending various networking events in the Cleveland area. I like to attend every event that I’m invited to, if possible, and when I’m there, I maximize the social opportunity. All the people I know tend to overlap in various ways, because Cleveland isn’t a very big city when you filter it down to young professional types. There are probably less than 500 or so who fit a similar profile to me. (I’d define that roughly as unmarried, younger than 40, college-educated, active, extroverted, and possessing a white collar job with an income above the median, mainly in the downtown Cleveland area.)
I realize that not everybody socializes like I do, but try to picture this. You have two friends of roughly equal stature in your loyalty hierarchy, one man and one woman. (I can think of a few of you who’d accuse me of making a political statement if I made it two people of the same gender. Yawn…)
The man and the woman (let’s call them Tom and Mary) become involved, and eventually, you and your significant other hang out with them a lot. They become your go-to friends, and you even go on vacation together. It’s funny how these things work, but the chemistry is just there, and it’s a really value-adding relationship. This goes on for years, and everything is great.
I can’t believe these greedy, ungrateful players! They’re just willfully holding this thing up. The owners have given them a great proposal, and these guys say they need more time. Why can’t they read 500 pages in an hour? Is it because most of them can’t read? I’m not saying, I’m just saying… Have you ever read their twits on that Twitter thing? Umm… hello? English class… you should try it sometime. And some of them even use profanity. Don’t they know that their most important purpose in life is being role models to children? They should be talking about Jesus and tax breaks and preventing Muslims from opening mosques or gays from getting married. You know, positive stuff that promotes a stronger America, where everybody who deserves it can enjoy apple pie, and watch football, and those who don’t should just work harder, and maybe it happens for them next year.
Look, the owners have worked hard to create a product that people want to see, and these players should be happy just to get to attach themselves to the genius of these 32 American heroes and benefit from it. I don’t have a pension, and neither does anybody I know. Why should these guys get one? This is America, and we’ve all unanimously decided to accept a lower quality of life than our parents had. That’s democracy, and the majority rules. It’s the greatest country in the world, and these players don’t understand that. They should call me when they get serious about capitalism, democracy, and the Constitution. Let’s practice – We hold these truths to be self-evident, that employees should be happy to have jobs, and should thank the benevolent job creators for their generosity. Four score and seven years ago, the young NFL almost folded, but thanks to the white protestant tenacity of men like George Halas, Curly Lambeau, and Ronald Reagan, it grew and thrived, and now these guys that couldn’t get a job in my family’s snack bar want to make millions of dollars off of the sweat of those visionary entrepreneurs and their heirs. John Quincy Adams and our other Founding Fathers would roll over in their graves, because those people clearly don't know the Constitution.
Happy Tuesday, friends. I have fairly limited writing time today, so I am going to write something that is the length of a standard blog post. There has been some hand-wringing the last couple days about the CBA negotiations, despite the fact that nothing seems to be likely to hold up progress on a deal.
Doug shared a link in today’s Lard indicating that teams are already advising players to show up on Friday and Saturday, which is the surest sign yet that a deal is inevitable, and will happen very soon. Yet, for some reason, on Sirius XM NFL Radio, the topic of the last couple days has relentlessly been something like What If Vincent Jackson/Logan Mankins/Osi Umenyiora blow(s) up the deal for reasons of personal gain?
It’s making some people nervous, along with reports that the players are still trying to get more money from the owners, to wit, the $320 million of foregone benefits from 2010. Given that there are still so many owner fanboys (that article endlessly cracks me up, so I keep linking it) out there, many of whom have a skewed perception of how negotiations work, with the problem being exacerbated by NFL reporters who really are missing and misunderstanding a lot, I decided that I’d address this with a few thoughts.