I thought the use of the 30 front last week was garbage, and the Broncos got away from it quickly. Today, however, it worked very well, and they used it a lot. On the one hand the Broncos have the wrong kind of personnel for a 3-4 look. The linebackers and Elvis Dumervil are smaller than you'd like for it, and Dewayne Robertson is not really a NT, which is why we got him for a bag of footballs from the Jets. On the other hand, it's undoubtedly easier to find 4 good LBs on the Broncos than it is to find 4 good D-Linemen.
For one thing, Dumervil seems to be back. He dominated Jeremy Trueblood today. The LBs and Safeties also tackled much better today. The soundness of the defense and the patience of the offense combined to win today. I'm very pleased with what I saw.
As always, this is based 100% on games I watched....
1. Javon Walker looks finished. He got no separation all game long. Another former Bronco, Ashley Lelie, appears to be Oakland's best WR on a play-to-play basis.
2. JaMarcus Russell has serious accuracy issues at this point. I didn't see anything in his mechanics which led me to believe that there was a problem, but he's missing his targets a lot. Interestingly, the training wheels are being taken off a little bit for him lately, and it remains to be seen how he handles that going forward.
3. Jason Peters is supposed to be a big star at LT for Buffalo, but I don't see it this season. He's been getting beat by pass rushers, and he had a particularly long day matched up against Derrick Burgess.
I'm still in the process of watching every game in its entirety (Directv's Short Cuts is well worth the 99 bucks.) For now, some notes on things I already saw and thought.
OK, the Chargers got jobbed on the fumble call. No argument there, but if they had won on that play, it would have been because of a fluky, untouched fumble. In other words, it would not have indicated any semblance of Chargers superiority. Instead of losing on a weird fluky play, they didn't lose on another weird fluky play. By the way, the Champ Bailey play in the 1st quarter was not as clear to me as it was to Randy Cross. I thought that was very close.
The sequence following the fumble was really compelling. The key play-call to securing the win was the draw to Selvin Young on 3rd and Goal from the 10. Watching it, I thought it was brilliant, because I'd rather have one shot to score on 4th down, and leave 24 seconds on the clock, than I would take 2 shots into the end zone from the 10, with a minute to go. I think the probabilities are better, given the abysmal defense seen from both teams today. The call on 4th down was very smart, but really, par for the course of the game.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting that Lane Kiffin is expected to be fired as soon as Monday, regardless of the outcome of today's game in Kansas City. This would be a really sad day to be a Raiders fan, as I believe Kiffin to be the best coach they've had since Jon Gruden. They're still losing, but the direction of the team looked much better last season than it had since at least the Gruden days.
MHR Regulars are familiar with my "respect" for the insight and analysis of SI's Peter King. Today, in his weekly Monday Morning QB column, he took the cake, and we can at least be happy that he wasn't directly slighting any Broncos in doing so.
The premise of his stupid article (he's relentlesslt consistent!) was that the suits at the NFL learned a lesson yesterday with Tom Brady's injury, that they shouldn't ever consider lengthening the regular season, because players get hurt. Where to begin with this bit of foolishness?
As a subscriber to Directv's Sunday Ticket package, I've had the chance to watch a lot of games today. The only ones I didn't watch any of were Buffalo-Seattle and San Francisco-Arizona. Observations on the other games follow.
It's well known (on this site at least) that the Broncos have both the most wins, and the highest degree of consistency in the last 30 years. Following them, in terms of average wins, are Pittsburgh, Miami, San Francisco, and Dallas. These teams all have a program, and it's the biggest reason for the sustained success.
I've always believed in the concept of a program, and I was reading Mike Lombardi the other day when he criticized Washington's lack of one. I liken the idea to a college football program, where a coach gets hired, and it's expected that he'll be there for a long time. He recruits and hires assistants, based upon specific overarching philosophies. If you think of a school like Penn State, they've been doing the same things for decades under Joe Paterno. When a kid commits to play there, he knows who the coaches will be, he knows how the schemes will look, and he knows Penn State will be competitive annually, and consistently bring in more good talent. The relentless consistency of the program is what breeds the consistency of the win-loss record.
Nationalfootballpost.com is a relatively new site which I really like, and find myself looking at on a daily basis now. Mike Lombardi (who also writes for SI,) Andrew Brandt, and Matt Bowen are the key players. Lombardi analyzes blurbs of beat writer articles each morning (Diner News) and talks about selected topics and mailbag inquiries at night (Tavern Talk.) Brandt deals with the business end of the NFL, and Bowen writes a weekly feature about NFL schemes, which is pretty in-depth and very worthwhile. They also have guest writers a lot, usually people you wouldn't think of, who end up adding value. A recent example was former NBA head coach Eric Musselman. There's a feature about making your woman love the NFL today.
My man Joe Biden shouted out his friend Floyd Little in his speech at Mile High a few minutes ago. We try to keep things apolitical here, but I love this guy, and wanted him to be the President of the United States at the beginning of all of this. He's such a true regular guy. I hope that his shout-out raises some awareness of Floyd, a day after the seniors' committee snubbed him and Randy Gradishar again.
By the way, I was unaware of much detail of Floyd's career until Firstfan sent me a copy of Floyd's book. If anybody would like to read it, I'll pass it on to you. It's very worthwhile, and informative.