Happy Thanksgiving, Broncos fans! I'd just like to take a moment to selfishly give some IAOFM-related thanks - I'm thankful that TJ came up with the idea to pursue this project, that Doc was all for it from Day 1, and that Ted rounded out our writing crew back in January. I'm thankful to be able to legitimately call Ted, Doc and TJ my friends, guys that I can talk to daily about life just as much as football. I'm thankful that my great pal David was willing to usher us four noobs into the world of running a website, especially when he's so busy with a demanding day job, a young family, and a humongous site of his own.
Of course, I'm thankful that all of you choose to spend so much of your valuable time reading our work and sharing your opinions and reactions, even when we don't see eye-to-eye on things. It's your readership that makes this all worthwhile, and we appreciate each and every one of you. So, on behalf of the five of us, I'd like to wish all of you a wonderful holiday - enjoy the great eats and football, and please drive safely.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Just some quick math to clean up Kyle Orton's contract info (not because you care, but because I'm a little OCD about making sure I get this right) - Denver paid him a $1.5M roster bonus at the end of July, and 11/17 of his $7.379M salary works out to $4,774,647.06 - so Denver has paid Kyle $6,274,647.06 and $2,604,352.94 remains. Should Chicago or KC claim him, the Broncos will be off the hook for that latter amount, Kyle gets to play rather than sit behind Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn, and perhaps he gets to go back to the playoffs with the Bears. It's a win/win for everyone, unless of course he comes back to Denver and beats the Broncos with either team. Remember how dramatic it appeared a Cutler/Orton or Cutler/Tebow might be? Well, Tebow/Orton is even better - at least as far as Denver fans are concerned.
Jeff Darlington lays out the list of teams that could put in a claim for Kyle, including perhaps Atlanta to block Chicago from getting him. Andrew Mason and Jeff Legwold detail Orton's release and his rough season, while Lindsay Jones tracks the muddled outcome of the Jay Cutler trade, which essentially netted Denver Robert Ayers and parts of Demaryius Thomas, Tebow and Eric Decker. Meanwhile, Dave Krieger thinks the whole thing seems a little fishy and wonders why Denver didn't cut Orton loose weeks ago. Well for one, what if the team had instead gone 1-4 with Tebow? And, prior to the injuries to Cutler and Matt Cassel, they were probably certain that no team would put in a claim for Kyle, and they'd be left holding the bag on his remaining salary. So as usual, it's all about the Benjamins.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! In his latest mailbag, Mike Klis again makes the case for Denver to draft Baylor's Robert Griffin III, claiming that Griffin can thrive on the same running plays that Tim Tebow does but is also pass better. He also suggests that the key to improving Tebow's accuracy is in sharpening his footwork, rather than his long and slow throwing motion. Klis isn't so sure that Tim tends to throw catchable passes, and that instead his delivery may hide the ball from receivers' eyes, he throws a "heavy" ball, and his passes often rise or dive in the air.
Klis believes Wesley Woodyard's role in the NFL will continue to be as a nickel linebacker who can fill in as an occasional starter but isn't bulky enough to play on first and second down regularly. He also foresees the Broncos trying to re-sign both Brodrick Bunkley and Marcus Thomas, who are currently playing on one-year deals, although no negotiations have begun with either player. At the safety position, Klis thinks it's realistic to imagine both Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter starting next season.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! The AFC West games went about as expected, as the Raiders defeated the Vikings 27-21 and the Chargers lost to the Bears 31-20. Oakland is now 6-4 and a game up on the 5-5 Broncos, who are now one game ahead of San Diego. Denver remains a half-game ahead of the Chiefs, who face the daunting task of playing at Foxboro tonight with Tyler Palko starting for them at QB. Carson Palmer threw and ran for a score, while Michael Bush racked up 129 total yards and a TD for Oakland. Christian Ponder rallied Minnesota back from a 27-7 hole with two TD passes but was also picked off three times.
Meanwhile, Jay Cutler got a measure of revenge on the Chargers and his old nemesis Phil Rivers, but the satisfaction was shortlived and overshadowed by the fact that Cutler broke his right thumb late in yesterday's game, will have surgery to repair it, and will not be playing when the Bears come to town on December 11. It'll still be a big QB homecoming, just not for the Broncos - they'll instead be facing Cutler's backup, former CSU Ram Caleb Hanie. So, all Tim Tebow will have to do that day is outscore Devin Hester. Piece of cake, right? Matt Bowen breaks down the Bears' victory, plus he considers the Bears' plight without Cutler.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Yesterday we covered the crucial Chargers/Bears game, so today let's take a quick peek at the game with the most immediate impact on Denver's season: Raiders/Vikings. An Oakland loss would drop them to 5-5 and into a first-place tie ZOMG with the Broncos, and they will be without several key players in RB Darren McFadden, WR Jacoby Ford and CB Chris Johnson, while three others are listed as questionable but expected to play: K Sebastian Janikowski, DT Richard Seymour and S Michael Huff.
As Jerry McDonald stresses, Oakland's first priority will be keeping pass rusher extraordinaire Jared Allen away from Carson Palmer, who will benefit from the absence of starters CB Antoine Winfield and S Husain Abdullah from Minnesota's secondary. The Vikings have struggled to put points on the board all year, but they also also lost to Detroit and Green Bay by just nine combined points, while Adrian Peterson has 11 TDs and nearly 1,000 yards from scrimmage; so you never know. Either way, how great/wild/unimaginable is it that we're talking about the Broncos potentially ending the day today in first place in the division?
Good Morning (barely), Broncos fans! If there's one game for Denver fans to narrow in on tomorrow, it's the Chargers at Bears at 415pm ET. Denver heads to San Diego next Sunday (Week 12) and hosts Jay Cutler & Co two weeks after that. So aside from scouting Denver's future opponents, a Bears victory would put San Diego a full game behind the Broncos in the AFC West standings and give Denver the opportunity to go up two games on Phil Rivers and the Bolts with a win next week.
PFF's Rodney Hart is interested to see how the Chargers' offensive tackles fare against pass rusher Julius Peppers, which of course will suggest how they'll contain (or not) Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. Looks like a brutal pair of Sundays for Marcus McNeil/Brandyn Dombrowski and Jeromey Clary. Vincent Jackson also draws some tough assignments, as he'll be up against Bears CB Charles Tillman on Sunday and Champ Bailey a week later. Finally, Hart is interested to see how San Diego manages Devin Hester and the Bears' kick return game; as we all recall not so fondly, Hester torched Denver in the teams' last meeting to the tune of two TDs - one on a punt and the other on a kickoff.
Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Hard to believe it, but after beating the tired and bumbling Jets 17-13 (box score), the Denver Broncos are 5-5 and a half-game behind the Raiders for first place in the AFC West, pending this weekend's games. That makes three straight wins and four out of five, and the formula remains the same: dominant play from Von Miller and timely, fortuitous plays on both defense and special teams.
I mean, how else do you win a game in which your offense generates 10 points, 229 net yards (134 before the 95-yard game-winning drive), 4.1 yards per play, 11 first downs, nine pass completions, eight possessions of three plays or fewer, and eight punts? At this point, maybe it's just best not to ask why, and roll with it. Because
Andrew Lady Luck is most definitely on Denver's side right now, and you're not supposed to look John Elway in the mouth or you may find that lady is really Sexy Rexy singing, right? BTW, you know who else was on the Broncos' side last night? The NFL schedulers, who did the Jets (SNF game followed by a Thursday game at altitude) like they did the Chargers (three games in 11 days).
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Greg Cosell was likely speculating when he suggested during his weekly podcast with Doug Farrar that Rex Ryan's Jets might keep nine men in the box and run Cover-0 with Darrelle Revis and OctoDad. Because as Ryan Wilson pointed out in a post yesterday, Sexy Rexy's book Coaching Football's 46 Defense has an entire chapter devoted to defending the option, and as part of the lead-in to the chapter, he writes:
As a DC, you should avoid rigging a "special" defensive plan versus the option. Every defensive scheme can be manipulated to meet the demands of stopping an explosive option attack. Generally, it is a bad idea and an unsound premise to structure a special defense for the option. With the 46 pressure defense, you don't need a special plan or a gimmick, you only need practice at the sound strategies available inside the package...The 46 allows you to plan various strategies to attack the option. These looks are accomplished through varying the individual responsibilities of your perimeter and second-level players...Just as the DE can be assigned different responsiblities, so can the free safety and linebacker.
I think you get the picture, but if not then sign into your Amazon account, click on Search inside this book, submit option and you'll find that Rexy devotes more than eight pages to the weakside option. Hopefully Mike McCoy or one of his assistants brushed up on this chapter, because frankly they'll need some creative wrinkles to outscheme a guy who literally wrote a book on defense. Either that, or they'll need to have superior personnel or out-execute the Jets defense, which is tied with Denver for eighth-best in terms of yards per rush allowed. Which one do you think the Broncos are counting on accomplishing?
Good Morning, Broncos fans! As Ted pointed out yesterday, Tim Tebow and the Broncos continue to affirm inclinations all over Broncos Country - so much so that Confirmation Bias Week has stretched for over a month now, and there's no sign of it ending anytime soon. It's been a perfect recipe, as the Broncos are 3-1 with Tebow as their starting QB thus far, and he's been exceptional running the ball while rather inept at throwing the ball during that stretch. So, Tim's "just a winner" who will obviously continue to do so, and work so hard that he'll become a 60% passer someday - because all of this winning will buy him the time to do so. A reader even wrote something to the effect of, "Tebow is already almost a 50% passer" last week in our comment section. Of course, the other side of the debate (since there are only two, right?) is that Tim is so far from being a legitimate NFL thrower of the football that the Broncos, John Elway and John Fox aren't long enough time or political capital (yes, even Elway) to wait for that to happen.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! PFF's John Breitenbach analyzes the Jets' loss to the Patriots Sunday night, and he says NJ played quite well at times but blew their opportunities with poor special teams play and turnovers. They allowed 4.5 sacks to Shanny favorite and Denver son Andre Carter, with Mark Sanchez deserving plenty of blame for holding the ball too long. We'll see how that works out against Von Miller.
Meanwhile, Breitenbach has plenty of praise for Jets NT Sione Pouha, whom he says is always involved in running plays and "occupies double teams but gets off blocks and makes tackles too." He then goes on to list the virtues of Jets C Nick Mangold, comparing him to ex-Broncos C Chris Myers, who has excelled with the Texans after Shanny & Co. sent him to Kubes in a rare sign-and-trade deal. Finally, Breitenbach writes that Jets S Eric Smith had a rough day trying to cover Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker, and that his tackles in the run game all came downfield. Hopefully there'll be more of that come Thursday...