Dear Jeff Legwold,
I understand that you’re in a tough position at the Denver Post, considering that you’re supposed to be their “analyst,” and that you’re so obviously ill-equipped to analyze football. It’s not really your fault, because you’re a reporter, and your employer is asking you to be something other than what you are.
As Doug Lee tweeted today, your assertion that Norv Turner could be coming to Denver to be the offensive coordinator is patently ridiculous. We don’t think you made the idea up; rather, we suspect that somebody who doesn’t know what they’re talking about told you that it may happen.
You told Doug that because Mike McCoy once worked for Dan Henning, who worked for Joe Gibbs, who worked for Don Coryell, the Broncos were already using some “principles” of the Air Coryell structure. I’m here to tell you that Henning’s influence on the Broncos passing scheme is minimal, at best. I didn’t consult a Rolodex to know this; I know it by watching games, and knowing what I’m talking about, because I’ve been studying technical football for a very long time.
Do you know how sometimes people say a football team isn’t built to play from behind? The 2011 Broncos were such a team, and the 2012 Texans and Vikings seem to be also. Teams which rely heavily on their running game, and which lack the ability to complete passes downfield in obvious passing situations tend to fit this description.
Although the Broncos have only really had one comeback win this year (the first Chargers game), they showed a good ability to put up points quickly in the second half of games, in the losses to Atlanta, Houston, and New England. I feel pretty good about their ability to play from behind, if necessary.
Do you know what I feel great about? The Broncos' ability to play from ahead. I was listening to Pat Shumur talk on Sirius last week, and he mentioned something about the Broncos that I’ve also made note of during the 2012 season. That is, when the game gets one dimensional, such as in a second half, with the Broncos holding a lead of two or more, the pass rush becomes dominant, and next to unstoppable.
Earlier today, Doug lauded Bill O'Brien's stated dedication to all that is good and right about college athletics, apple pie, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but me, being me, I'm going to have to take a moment to suggest that it had a wee bit to do with his $18.4 million buyout with Penn State.
You see, even if some crazy owner wanted to pay that buyout on O'Brien's behalf (which would be absolutely insane), the story wouldn't be over. Since they'd be paying O'Brien's debt to Penn State, that would be ordinary income for him, and he'd have tax liability for it, even though it passed through his bank account instantaneously (if at all).
If somebody pays you $18.4 million, and you never see a dollar of that in cash, it gets to be hard to come up with the $7.3 million (39.6%) you'll owe Uncle Sam. Of course, last week/year, the bill only would have been $6.4 million (35%). So fans who really wanted O'Brien can blame Barack Obama if they want. In any case, there's no way O'Brien could even pay the tax on the buyout, even if a team was willing to drop all that cash, which is extremely unlikely.
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.