Happy Friday, friends. I have some thoughts about the hiring of Andy Reid by the Kansas City Chiefs. The more I think about it, the more deeply ambivalent I become about the move. It affects us directly as Broncos fans, though, so let’s give it a think.
First off, the talent pool in Kansas City is atrocious, and it’s poorly fitted to the kinds of schematic approaches that Reid has historically favored.
In terms of the offensive skill positions, the only players that Kansas City can even consider to be real keepers are Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki, and Moeaki is overrated. Dexter McCluster is a useful guy as a matchup problem, and he’ll be in his last year of his rookie deal. Jonathan Baldwin looks like a giant bust, not that I am surprised.
The Chiefs have no QB and no speed at WR, and Reid likes to go deep with speed guys as much as any coach in the NFL. There are a few guys with some promise on the offensive line, but as a group, today, they’re not good. If Juan Castillo becomes the OL coach, I see a couple of them (Rodney Hudson, Donald Stephenson) not being great scheme fits, because Castillo has tended to favor larger players, and asked them to do a lot more drive blocking than zone blocking.
Mike Klis participated in some mailbaggery today for the DP, and was asked the following question:
I have followed Peyton Manning closely since his freshman year at Tennessee. Against Cleveland was the first time in Peyton's career he has ever worn a glove. Is this a result of his nerve injury and inability to grip the ball in cold weather? As an aside, notice how even with a new offense, he doesn't need a play-calling cheat sheet on his wrist. A testament to his unparalleled football acumen, something even Brady can't claim.
--Rodney, Asheville, N.C
Klis went on to answer this dude, and I don't want to quote him directly that much, because the DP has a history of being overzealous about Fair Use, to the point where you paste any of their content, they now give you this as an added bonus:
Read more:Broncos Mailbag: Peyton Manning's glove and why it's so important - The Denver Posthttp://www.denverpost.com/broncosmailbag/ci_22296666/broncos-mailbag-peyton-mannings-glove-and-why-its#ixzz2GqhZBw8m
Thanks for that, guys. To paraphrase, here's the gist of Klis's answer:
Happy New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, friends. Since it’s also Black Monday, and there have been a lot of firings today, the speculation has started to ramp up regarding who will be getting specific jobs in specific places.
That has led to speculation that Mike McCoy and/or Jack Del Rio will be getting head coaching positions, and it follows that Broncos fans want to speculate on who’d replace them.
One thing I want to say here is let’s just chill for a hot minute. There’s no guarantee that a team will want to hire either coach, and further, they may not want to take a bad job if one is offered. Remember, the fact that either coach may not be able to start work until February 4th is working in favor of the Broncos. A hiring team is going to have to really want McCoy or Del Rio to sacrifice having their guy in place for a lot of key offseason work-ups.
T.J. Quinn, a former baseball beat writer, and one of the two key reporters on the BALCO case and other baseball PED matters, has decided not to vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
But too often, I've seen writers use their votes as a way to punish or reward players, and I don't think journalists should be in that position. I don't see voting for the Hall of Fame as the equivalent of a political reporter voting for a candidate; it's more like a political reporter serving in the Electoral College. I liked having that power, but I just can't justify it.
This is a really prominent and respected guy, doing a really unusual thing, and he's doing it for extraordinarily sensible reasons. I'm shocked, and I commend Mr. Quinn.
Happy Thursday, friends. I happened to notice in the Lard the other day that Jeff Legwold had written a stupid article for the Denver Post. Shocker, I know.
TJ told me recently that Leggy is like 5 foot 4, so every time I think of him now, I picture a Hobbit. And really, how can a dude who is that short have a nickname like Leggy? Shouldn’t it be Stumpy or something?
We ponder only the most important questions at IAOFM. You’re welcome.
This is the article that I’m referring to, and it’s the one in which Jacob Tamme is shouted out by Peyton Manning as a key to the Broncos offense. There are two things that I find completely silly about it, and if you follow me over the jump, I’ll tell you what they are.
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!!
To answer some questions that were in the comments of today's Lard, the Broncos play a hybrid defense, which is more akin to a 3-4 than it is to a true 4-3. You can think of it as a 3.5-3.5 if you’d like. The discussion was around whether the Broncos have featured an adequate interior pass rush from its defensive tackles, and whether the scheme actually calls for them to really rush the passer.
The Broncos use three 300-pounders on their base defensive line, in Derek Wolfe, Kevin Vickerson, and Justin Bannan. That’s why I say it’s more like a 3-4 than it is like a 4-3, because in the base running scheme, the defense is asking those three players to two-gap, and to effectively control six of the eight gaps. That’s a challenging task, and the front three for the Broncos has been consistently up to the task this year.
The two edges are manned by SLB Von Miller and open-side DE Elvis Dumervil (or Robert Ayers). Eight gaps are accounted for by five players, and that allows the ILBs (two from among Wesley Woodyard, Keith Brooking, D.J. Williams, and Danny Trevathan) to read the run play, and flow to the action. It also allows them to briefly maintain their initial depth, and avoid biting on play action.
Happy Tuesday, friends. Assuming the Broncos can take care of business against Cleveland and Kansas City in the next couple weeks, it’s looking like the Patriots will be in line to make a trip to SAF@MH in the divisional round of the playoffs. I thought it might be fun to think through some ideas for defending them, the next time they play the Broncos.
First of all, I’ve been advocating playing straight-up Cover 2 against New England, and hoping to get some stops. After Sunday night’s 49ers-Patriots game, not so much. If anybody could be successful playing zone, the 49ers would have been the team. They did play pretty well in man-to-man, though, and that tells me it can be done. Let’s start this exercise with that thought - that good man-to-man coverage can be effective.
The Patriots are difficult because both their talent and their scheme are outstanding. The parts fit well together, and Tom Brady always has somewhere to go with the ball quickly if he gets blitzed. Let’s say that blitzing very often is a bad idea, based on the evidence.
Happy Friday, friends. We got a question about the productivity of Elvis Dumervil from a reader the other day, and along with Doc, I am coming off the other edge to help answer it. It’s hard to contain a rush that’s coming off of both sides.
Doc took the position that Elvis has fine numbers, and I agree with him completely. I’m going to come from the schematic angle, and talk about how team strategy is directly feeding into his numbers, and the tactics he’s employing.
If I use the term Wide-9, what does that mean to you? Over the last couple of years, NFL talking heads have decided that it was a scheme that was being employed in Philadelphia. In the true sense of the term, Wide-9 simply means that a defensive player is aligned on the outside shoulder of a second TE, if there were one. He’s very far outside the offensive tackle.
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: