Diagnosing a forest by a single tree Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! If the past week and change are any indication, this Denver offseason is going to be all about overarching themes and discovering the Broncos' fatal flaws.

This is the John Clayton style of analysis, where every week's games show a leaguewide trend, and everything has great meaning about the state of the NFL. If Peyton Manning and Tom Brady win big games on the same Sunday, it means the NFL is all about veteran quarterbacks. Those same elder statesmen bow out prior to the SB, and in Mike Klis's world, this means older quarterbacks can't win championships anymore.

It's sort of like visiting your doctor with a single stomachache and having her tell you a drastic dietary change is in order.

Every play, every game, and every season is a referendum on something - former college coaches, bye weeks, home games, left- or right-handedness, age, height, and the winning percentage of your center.

It will apparently be so regarding the 2012 Broncos - Jeff Legwold writes today that the team didn't have enough talent, and that their inability to run the ball against Baltimore says something larger about the team.

Never mind that Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno - who were both having fine seasons - were unavailable in the second half against the Ravens. That the team couldn't run the ball down Baltimore's throats on 3rd-and-5 and 3rd-and-7 doesn't need to indicate anything about talent. That they weren't overly successful in their strategy of running on all ten of the downs where they faced one or two yards to gain needn't indicate the team draft a big running back in April.

In this instance, having your best two running backs sidelined is just some bad luck, and that's the way it goes. The playcalling didn't help either, and it's a fool's errand to determine which factor loomed larger. Even worse is to suggest the Broncos must make some sort of change to how they structure their roster in reaction.

The 2012 Broncos were not a perfect team, and many things went wrong two Saturdays ago. But their flaws (none of them major, mind you) should be viewed over the course of their 17-game season, and prescribing a plan of action for the offseason based upon the diagnosis of one double-overtime game would be an enormous mistake.


Baltimore will retain Jim Caldwell as its OC next year, while Juan Castillo will coordinate the running game.

Mike McCoy fired Norv Turner's strength and conditioning staff and has mostly overhauled the offensive staff as well.

Incredibly, the Harbaugh brothers have combined to make the playoffs in all seven NFL seasons they've coached.

While the recent coaching carousel was none too kind to minority coaches, this will be the seventh straight SB featuring a team led by a minority head coach or GM.

Tim Brown is going all black helicopter over the Raiders' SB loss to the Bucs, suggesting that Bill Callahan intentionally sabotaged the team's chances by changing the offensive game plan two days prior to the game. Never mind that Rich Gannon was the league's MVP that year...


Chase Stuart says Joe Flacco has been an exceptional QB over the past two postseasons, but he's been middling at best during the rest of his career, so let's not call him 'elite' just yet.

Bucky Brooks discusses the keys to victory for San Francisco and Baltimore in New Orleans.

Since most of us are likely not in the mood to celebrate Ray Lewis's career over the next two weeks, perhaps we can instead be happy for the great Ed Reed having made it to his first Super Bowl.

Les Carpenter explores the rollercoaster relationship between Roger Goodell and the City of New Orleans.

Will Leitch expects we'll all settle on one unproven explanation for the Manti Te'o debacle and move on; Deadspin collated the tweets of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo and Lennay Kekua.

Christmas Ape interprets PK's MMQB for the rest of us.

Senior Bowl

From the Senior Bowl, the Footballguys report on the North team's practice and wideouts, while Andrew Mason and Tony Pauline share notes on the South squad's practice.

Jene Bramel ponders the relevance of the game, what with so many top prospects not playing in it.

Mike Mayock thinks there will be three or four quarterbacks taken in the first round come April.

The Honey Badger is hoping to speak with teams this week and give them a sense he's growing up a bit.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

The Lard