Chewing the Fat: Preseason - Broncos @ Cowboys

The IAOFM staff will be discussing and analyzing every Broncos game this year, and we'll present each of those conversations the day following the game.


TJ - I'm prepping my formations chart. Interestingly enough, I never used the 23 personnel package with the Broncos last year on the chart! Haha now it will be common

Ted - So I'm dating a new girl lately, and I schooled her on the not bothering me during Broncos games rule.  She seems to get it, thankfully.

Doug - Ted, a little early to be making that claim, no? I mean, they haven't even kicked off yet...

Ted - Well, yeah... that's a point, Doug.  We'll see how it plays

Doug - So, what's noteworthy on the Cowboys? And best, realistic case tonight? Orton and Tebow both play well, defense rushes the passer all night?

Ted - I think Dallas is overhyped, as usual, being the Cowboys.  They have a rookie at RT, just like the Broncos so that portends to be interesting.  They also have a new defensive scheme with Rob Ryan, so it'll be interesting to see if they run any blitzes

Doc - I wouldn't mind a nice performance from Quinn, either

Ted - To me, this game is a good test of physicality up front on both sides of the ball.  Dallas is big and powerful in their staffing plan, and I'd like to see the Broncos hold their own physically. I'd like to see how Beadles and Walton hold up inside against Jay Ratliff.  He's kind of a rare quickness-dependent NT, so I'd like to see some success there.

Doc - Who's on Franklin tonight, Ted?

Ted - Should mostly be Anthony Spencer from LOLB. The LDE is Marcus Spears, and he's a solid player too

Doc - Good tests for the OL. Nice

Ted - Yeah, Clady has handled Ware in the past, but that's a good test of his abilities

TJ - Would like to see if Joe Mays can play MLB as well. I'm cautiously hopeful.

Ted - Yeah, good call TJ

Doug - I said realistic, guys. Haha jk

Doc - Good to see Miller/Doom getting some real game experience - very interested to see what happens there.

1st Quarter

TJ - Griese calling the game on our end with Dave Logan on TV. Griese is actually a really good color guy on radio

Ted - Yeah, we're going have some huckleberries from Dallas. Bill Jones and Babe Laufenberg - what a combo. "It's good to be back.  Back to football."  Did Goodell think of that slogan himself? That's pretty damn spiffy marketing

Broncos receive opening kickoff. On 3rd and 6, Orton completes 29-yard pass to Eric Decker

Doc - Now, gotta like that

Ted - That was a nice route by Decker. Good adjustment to a not-great throw too

Denver gains 36 yards on five straight rushing plays

TJ - Not bad, J.D. Walton thus far

Ted - Agreed, TJ. I like that run from nickel offense.  That's why Moreno was drafted.

TJ - Moreno is quicker. He just made a play like he did in college on that spin

Doc - Sweet run! The blocking is really looking good

TJ - Damn it Franklin, you have to get there! You have to seal!

Ted - He didn't seal, but Moreno made a good run, and didn't go right down, like the DP guys have been claiming

TJ - Next play too, Ted

Ted - Yeah, bad blocking there

Doug - Total whiff by Franklin

Doc - Missed assignment

Ted - He's got to get his helmet into Spears' left thigh. It's tough, but it's the job

Denver's drive stalls after reaching 1st-and-goal from the 1, and they settle for a 24-yard FG from Matt Prater

TJ - Oh here we go. The Tebow folks will say Orton can't get TDs!

Ted - Tebow sure would have had one there with his feet

TJ - Yeah, that's true

Ted - Big picture, I was pleased with the offensive line play (excepting the rookie) and the running back play.  Decker gets a gold star too

Doug - I do have to say it, that was just like last year. Pretty good down the field, then can't punch it in

Doc - And a stupid penalty in the best territory, just like last year

Ted - Yep, I'm avoiding alarmist feelings for now

TJ - I just marked down more 21 and 22 personnel groupings in one drive herethan I did the entire season with McD!

Ted - Yeah, he didn't like 2 backs worth a damn TJ. I personally prefer 11 as a base personnel grouping

Dallas comes back with a 10-play possession which nets them a field goal

TJ - Von Miller took on the block, just needs to finish the tackle

Ted - I like the way Miller dropped into his zone there.  He looked smooth

Doc - He spent his sophomore year in college solely in coverage. He's got some skills

Doug - Ah, arm tackles! The hallmark of every Broncos D

Ted - Yeah, stop me if you've seen that one before. Mays got too deep and then missed

Doug - I know you guys like him, and that mine is the untrained view, but i'm really skeptical of a guy like Mays stepping in and becoming a passable Mike

Ted - He hasn't looked too good so far today, Doug

TJ - Well, he does already cover better than DJ, haha. Which ain't hard

Ted - AYERS. He's looked terrific so far here. It's hard to remember that he's wearing #91

TJ - Yes! Overload blitz!!!! That is what I'm talking 'bout! Yeah, that is exactly Dennis Allen!!

Ted - Mays had great man coverage on Witten there

Doc - Mays has stepped up a lot in coverage this camp. Dawk still is a force

Ted - Yep...I like Goodman and Bailey in off coverage there, just jumping the route. Huh. That FG looked wide left to me. The second time I watched it, it looked wide left as well

Doug - You know, that looks like Rich Karlis' kick to win The Drive game, which we KNOW was good hahaha

Cassius Vaughn takes the following kickoff out to the 14-yard line

Ted - Dumbass play, Vaughn

Doc - Yes, it was. Trying to do too much

Ted - I think the premium on kickoffs might be good hands and good judgment, rather than outstanding speed, with this rule change

Tim Tebow takes over for Orton at QB, gains one first down on a completion to WR David Anderson and another on a pass interference call on an intercepted pass before punting the ball away

TJ - They like the 13 personnel package with Tebow as QB vs. Orton, I'm seeing. Got to be quicker - lucky to get the PI call

Doug - PI or not, that was a DUMB throw

Ted - Yeah that was really lucky.  Late down the middle

Doug - Trying to do too much is not the way for him to prove himself worthy of starting

Ted - Well, that was a lot of ugly, from taking the snap on. Julius Thomas missed the hell out of his block, too

Doc - We just saw why Fox said that learning to block on an NFL level is one of the toughest things in the league

Ted - And we've learned that the #2 OL isn't nearly as good as the #1 OL in the running game

2nd Quarter

Denver punts twice due to a penalty

Ted - Who the hell is 43? Got it...Deron Mayo - good coverage two punts in a row

Doc - Nice - the announcers fooled me - expected a Broncos penalty. Very good coverage. He's fast.

Dallas gains 33 yards before punting away to Denver

TJ - Doc, it looks like on 2nd team, Marcus Thomas switches from UT to NT. But he was in there at UT on first team, as we'd expected

Doc - Good catch, TJ. He's so versatile

TJ - They should let Von continue to play

Ted - Good pressure from the DL there - Harvey and Vickerson, especially

Doc - Nice coverage, Cassius Vaughn

TJ - White DB alert!!!!!! White DB alert!!!

Doug - Wait, we have one?! Oh, McCarthy. Yeah but he's a safety that doesn't count. Only white corners are special.

Ted - I didn't see who filled there, 40-something, but it was a great fill. Oh, Braxton Kelley - good play on second down by him

Denver takes over at their own 10-yard line. Tebow completes a 43-yard pass to Matthew Willis, and the Broncos eventually settle for another FG from Prater to make the score 6-3 in their favor

TJ - Clearly, they favor the 3 wides with Tebow - because he is the 2nd RB. Nice pass, Tebow. Really nice

Ted - That's the underrated thing of Tebow.  He's always thrown a catchable and accurate deep ball, going back to Florida

Doug - Nice adjustment from Willis, it was a bit behind him

Ted - He just made me look smart with that screen, too. No panic whatsoever, inviting the rush

Doc - Very nice. Lance Ball made a nice play, too

TJ - He's settling down I think, seems less jumpy now

Ted - Yep, I agree TJ. I think LenDale White can be the 3rd RB if he stays healthy.  He's very talented. That was a pretty decent throw on the slant there, low and inside like you want it.

TJ - Griese said he though tthe throw was bad, and that he should have led him and it would have been a 1st down. Not sure I agree with that though, Griese

Ted - It could have been a yard further out in front of Willis on 3rd-and-long, sure, but process-wise, I'll take the throw he made.  It's low-risk putting the ball there, and only the WR is going to get it.  I liked his footwork and rush awareness there too

TJ - Wow, Griese just used the replay to show it. I'm still not sure that the defender still would not have tackled him, though.

Dallas has a four-and-out, ending with a sack by Kyle McCarthy and a punt to the Denver 13

Ted - Vaughn isn't doing himself any favors tonight

TJ - It's great to see a 4-3 again - I love to see my LBs with depth

Ted - I like how Braxton Kelley chop-steps his reads and fills the hole.  I'm impressed

Doc - He's been making a name for his hits, too.

TJ - Duuuuuuuuuude. Kyle MF McCarthy! They need to shut up about the "John Fox Defense." This is Dennis Allen bringing these blitzes, fools - pure New Orleans!

Ted - Yeah, Fox is inclined toward a lot of Cover-2 and Cover-3. Harvey had a good rush from RE, too.

Denver gains 21 yards before punting the ball back to Dallas

Ted - Julius Thomas threw a pretty half-hearted play-side block on 2nd down. Tebow made a hell of a throw on 3rd down there, with a nice catch by Anderson

TJ - Yeah, def, Ted - strong throw, too

Ted - It's good to see Tebow get it across his body to the right with velocity.  That's an improvement from last season

Doug - He stepped into that with a pass rush right in his face, too

Doc - He's struggled over the middle at times in camp, but that was great

Ted - I think it's got to be hard to get a rhythm in camp when you're the second or third stringer.

TJ - Well he's definitely not going to yield to Quinn without a fight, which I like to see

Doug - Well, we're outgaining them and dominating the TOP but we do have 6 penalties

Ted - Yeah, the penalties are certainly bothersome

TJ - Damn, retire Rod Smith's jersey already. I'm tired of seeing other people wearing it out there

Ted - You know, the Broncos have only retired 3 jerseys ever

TJ - Also, these calls are total crap right now - let Tebow run a 2-minute drill

Ted - I don't like this play-calling at all either

Doug - Really, what do you have to gain by going conservative here?

Ted - I'm conservative in 2-minute situations too, but I'd try to get a first down at least. I like run-pass option stuff as a conservative call to get a first down

Doc - Deron Mayo again on the st tackle - he's having a great ST game

Doc - Kevin Vickerson has had several good plays - he's making a show

Perrish Cox intercepts a Dallas pass and returns it to the 7-yard line with one minute left before halftime. After a Tebow TD run is brought back by a holding penalty, Denver settles for another FG from Prater to make the score 9-3 Broncos

TJ - Cox with an INT!

Ted - Perrish Cox has above-average starter ability

Doc - I hope he works out his legal stuff. He's a talented kid.Ugh, holding - another penalty deep in the Red Zone

Ted - Bad throw there by Tebow

TJ - Wow wait until you see this play (TJ was watching on TV, the rest online with a slight delay). I mean, just wait - it's not even describable. It's insane - not good or bad, just strange

Doc - Weird - playground ball

Ted - That was a mess, but I like not going down

Doug - Yeah i'll take it, because he didn't make a dumb throw at the end of it

Ted - I'm very encouraged by this entire first half performance.  There's nothing that I find alarming, other than some expected suckitude from the second-team OL

Doc - Well said. Several good defensive plays, a few good offensive plays and a number of good performances - Miller, Mays, Vick, etc.

Ted - I'd like to see a couple more TDs, but the defense has been solid both ways when the field got short


TJ - Quinn's starting the 2nd half - interesting move, since we were told Tebow would play the 3rd, right Doug?

Doug - Yeah, said Tebow would play through the 3rd Q

Ted - Braxton Kelley again.  I'm really liking what I see of him

Doc - He's been making a name - big hits, gained a lot of muscle, etc.

Ted - I think Tebow got plenty of snaps and showed well.  It's a good time to go to Quinn, and then let Weber play some. I'm very impressed with the play of Ayers, Harvey, and Hunter at DE tonight.  It's so nice having quality depth. 54 with a good strike there - Lee Robinson

Doc - Robinson has also had a camp - it's going to be tough to make the final cuts. I think that Robinson is at the end of his PS time

TJ - I'm glad you guys noted Ayers - he and Bunkley won't show up on the stat sheet, but I think both were stout tonight. Warren, too - it's only one game, but still.

Ted - I didn't notice Bunkley as much, but the middle has been stout with both units

Doc - Ty Warren should be a force

Doug - How many LBs is it normal to keep? The only way Kelley or Robinson really has a chance is with an injury, or Mike Mohamed not cutting it

Doc - Usually 6, I believe. Mohamed was solid as a backup to all three positions - it's going to be tough. You might see an extra LB

Ted - I say trade D.J., and start Woodyard. That's just me, though. But, his contract is really salary-heavy. I think Haggan might be the odd man out.

Doc - Miller, Irving, Mohamed, Mays, Woodyard, Kelley. I don't know about D.J. - I don't see him working out.

Doug - i think we're all hoping D.J. ends up elsewhere, but i think he'd have been gone by now. Partly because of his contract, partly because of that whole veteran respect stuff

3rd Quarter

Dallas opens the second half with the ball, moving the ball 40 yards before punting

Ted - Harvey beat that LT outside, then got held. McCarthy with some more white-boy special on the blitz

Doc - McCarthy and Vaughn have been the two most improved, although Joe Mays is on that list

Ted - They completed that 3rd down, but I like the aggressive call and coverage. More often than not, it works out

Ted - 3-man rush, soft zone...

Doug - Is Vaughn still struggling, or is that the defensive call?

Ted - Ugh - Vaughn got really flat-footed at the top of that route.  Bad form. 

Doug - Nate Jones, too...he's doing a lot of chasing

Ted - I'm the opposite of impressed with Nate Jones tonight. He's not helping himself

Doug - I don't think the numbers really favor him anyway

Ted - No, only his CB-to-S versatility would seem to, but McBath is a S-to-CB

Ted - Speaking of McBath, has anybody noticed him tonight?

Doug - Is Kyle McCarthy making the case to beat out McBath, Bruton and Jones? He's listed as 2nd string and definitely living up to it...

Ted - I haven't noticed any safeties but Dawkins and McCarthy. McCarthy has looked like a quality backup SS tonight, and he's done all the same stuff that they had Dawkins doing early as the box guy

Doug - And with Dawkins, Moore and Carter as locks...

Ted - Probably Bruton too, for special teams, that leaves McCarthy or McBath in all likelihood. And keep a 5th CB on the practice squad

Doug - Yeah we don't have that many CBs on the roster - 6 vets and 2 UDFAs

Ted - Bruton made a hell of a play there. I liked Carter in the box there too - stout tackling. I'm really excited about the way the SS is being used by Allen so far.  All 3 have been in the middle of a lot of plays now. Hunter and Harvey, nice rush again - I'm just thrilled with the play of the whole D-Line tonight

Doug - I assume the SS use is dependent upon strong CB play?

Ted - Yes, Doug.  They seem very confident in the guys they have out there.

Doug - funny, just 2 weeks ago the DTs were a horrid bunch - Vickerson, Unrein, McBean and Leonard

Ted - They did what I called for (not to toot my own horn, but whatever).  They scored three runs by hitting four doubles

Doug - Not just that, but these were really on the cheap

Ted - Yep, really low-risk, quality signings

Doug - Although i'd have to think if these guys pan out they will be PRIME candidates to get extensions, and quickly. So, they won't be bargains for long

Ted - Hey, I like extending veterans.  You're bidding against yourself

4th Quarter

Doug - I agree - it's definitely a great way to go about things, you're not committing anything in terms of guarantees to see what you've got in a 27/28 yo highly drafted player. Yet another nice throw from Brady Quinn, although he had all day.

Jeremiah Johnson scores from the Dallas 13, after the extra point Denver is up 16-10

Doug - WOW - this is what Doc's been talking about with Jeremiah Johnson - that was a burst. 

Ted - Nice blocking by the right side. #65 with a great block - Ramirez

Doug - Here it is...that was just Manny being Manny. I want Ramirez to make the roster so we can use that line at least once a week

Ted - #63 Jeff Byers was key too as the center - they moved the line

Ted - Good zone coverage, and rally to the ball by Mohamed.  I like that he was confident enough to get that depth

Doug - More good activeness from Carter

Dallas converts a short pass into a 76-yard score, but the extra-point attempt is aborted - score is tied at 16 apiece

Ted - That was the downside of blitzing.  I want to see where the FS was on replay. McBath ran himself out of the play, and Carter got blatantly held - major missed assignment for McBath. It looked like a pretty illegal pick play too, but those don't get called that often

Doug - Wait, there's no OT in preseason right?

Ted - There is, but most teams go for 2 to avoid it

Doug - Man, this makes for 2 straight games I was rooting for the Broncos' opposition. Last time it was for the draft pick, and now i'm thinking 12 minutes ahead to not having a preseason OT

Ted - Haha. I've only seen one injury in this game, to a Cowboys guy. Knock on glass, I guess

Doug - Yeah well, not too many crucial players on the field

As if on cue, Stanley Daniels goes down

Doug - Oh great, thanks Ted

Ted - There I go. Stanley Daniels, no big loss. Feel free to blame me

Doug - Haha

Ted - I'm seeing a ton of 12 personnel with Quinn, to add to TJ's observation of seemingly different base groupings with the different QBs

Doug - He's had a ton of time, and very large pockets. But he does look confident on top of it

Again on cue, Quinn has a pass knocked down at the line

Doug - Aaaaand there we go

Ted - They heated Quinn up a little bit there

Doug - This is going to become Chewing the Jinx

Ted - 60 made a hell of a drive-block there - that would be Shawn Murphy

Doug - Jeremiah Johnson's gotta be our fastest back by far, right? Or, the only fast one at all?

Ted - Yeah, I would say that's probably the case

Doug - Looks like he brings a dimension they have to keep

Ted - Really bad execution on that screen by Quinn - panicked feet like Orton

Doug - Quick on the throw too. So basically it sucked all around

Ted - He did really well on the next play though

Doug - Yeah, that was a well-designed play - 33 had no idea what to do

Ted - Orton was meh in his one drive, but Tebow and Quinn have both provided reasons to be encouraged. Late throw by Quinn outside by half-a-beat - that's 100 yards to the house by a starting CB

Quinn throws a TD pass to Eron Riley, and the Broncos go ahead 23-16 with the XP

Ted - Real good catch of a high throw by Riley

Doug - Wow nice composure on that bad snap

Ted - Yep, I agree.  Quinn has done well and looked like a quality NFL QB. I'd like to see Weber now

Doug - That was as smooth as Elway on the Drive with the ball hitting Steve Watson's hip. Totally nonchalant, no panic. What's weber's story? I know nothing more than that he's an ex-Gopher

Ted - Solid guy at Minnesota, a lot of starts, hooked up with Decker a lot.  Marginal physical skills, but smart and accurate

Doug - Jeremy Beal had a nice ST tackle there, good effort from a DE - he had to go a long way to stop that from being a TD. He sure didn't look slow there

Ted - bad gap discipline there - this 3rd-team DL is getting owned

TJ - Ted, that's what happens when Ryan McBean is in the game - no lies

Doug - i cannot believed they tendered him

Ted - LOL good call TJ.  He just held up and made the tackle on that play

Dallas scores a TD to get within one, goes for two to avoid overtime, converts and wins the game

Doug - Oh, they'd BETTER go for 2

Ted - Yeah, we can only hope. Nate Jones, unaware again. Cut this guy, please! The team did really well tonight, if you ask me.  I remember them playing Dallas in a presason game around 2008, and just getting physically manhandled. The Broncos' #1 and #2 DL and #1 OL won their battles all game

Chewing the Fat