Good Morning, Broncos fans! As we all continue to ponder what went wrong for Denver last Saturday, it makes sense to think about which of the team's general shortcomings contributed to the loss.
Jeff Legwold suggests that the team's strength of schedule, turnovers, and the injury to Willis McGahee were overarching reasons for the Broncos not playing tomorrow.
We'll agree that McGahee would have made a big difference, especially since the Broncos ran the ball all ten times they faced one or two yards to gain on Saturday, but so would Knowshon Moreno have. Not having their two best backs available perhaps should have changed the team's strategy or Peyton Manning's decisions at the line in short yardage. Whether John Fox, Mike McCoy, or Manning is more to blame there, we'll unfortunately never know.
As for the strength of schedule issue, we're not buying that. Beating up the Saints, Panthers, and Ravens were all impressive wins, and the Broncos entered Saturday's game clicking on all cylinders.
Unfortunately, the officiating didn't exactly help, especially on two of Denver's turnovers, which were questionable at best (the pick-six, and the non-tuck-rule fumble). It's strange that Legwold cites the team's regular-season fumble woes as a red flag, since that didn't really come into play on Saturday. Manning only fumbled three times in 17 games, and again, it's not clear that Saturday's should have counted as one.
As TJ had suggested leading up to the game, a whole bunch of randomness could lead to a Denver loss. Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened.
Are there overarching themes, or season-long flaws that contributed to it? Of course, but not the three reasons Legwold cited.
If we want to talk about long-term issues that helped lead to Saturday, we're going with the lack of a serious pass rush outside of Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, John Fox's decision-making, the poor health of Chris Kuper, and Matt Prater's inconsistency.
Everything else, was just s@#% that happened, like Champ Bailey and Rahim Moore having a bad day, Manning missing a few big throws he normally makes, and the officiating.
Mike Klis is a bit confused by the Greg Knapp hiring, because he seems to think "the" West Coast offense is a monolithic scheme, and Knapp isn't coming to run the offense anyway. All quarterbacks need great footwork, timing, accuracy, mechanics, decision-making skills, awareness, and ability to read coverages to maximize their talents, regardless of scheme. As it is, Knapp's most important job figures to be grooming Brock Osweiler to become a great quarterback by developing all of those traits.
Shannon Sharpe thinks John Fox shouldn't have called for a kneeldown on Saturday, while Trent Dilfer says it was the correct decision. Jeff Legwold seems to agree with Shannon, or at least his friends do, but a gold star to you if you can understand the reasoning.
Leading Niners receiver Michael Crabtree is under investigation for a sexual assault alleged to have occurred last weekend in San Francisco.
The LOLJets named former Seahawks exec John Idzik their new GM, while Marty Mornhinweg will run their offense.
Chicago's Marc Trestman hired Mel Tucker away from Jacksonville to run his defense, and former Jets QB coach Matt Cavanaugh to coach quarterbacks. You know, because Cavanaugh had so much success with Buttfumble and the Ultimate Teammate™.
Lynn Zinser recaps the year's head coaching turnover, which favored offensive coaches and white guys. For its part, the NFL acknowledges there needs appears to be a need to tweak the Rooney Rule in some manner.
Stuart thinks (and we agree with this) the problem is that the assistant level, where minorities are losing out to unsuccessful assistants like Cavanaugh and Brian Schottenheimer.
Likewise, Jason Krebs wonders why the same people keep getting hired in the NFL despite their failures, and he reminds us that not every coach's resume is as impressive as his reputation would suggest.
Manti Te'o sat with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap, claiming he didn't fully believe that Lennay Kekua didn't exist until Wednesday's Deadspin report. Whenever he found out about the hoax, if that's what happened, he's got a lot of explaining to do for having perpetuated the story in the press. Meanwhile, ESPN is reporting that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo confessed in December to being behind the hoax.
Lance Armstrong left plenty of questions unanswered in his purported tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, and his critics remain nonplussed.