Mitch Berger…he’s got a “good personality”

Sometimes the hot girl at the bar is only hot because she's wearing a lot of makeup and the lights are dimmed low.  And while she looks great now, you find out later it was all show, and perhaps you just had a little too much to drink.

Her friend, on the other hand, is only slightly above-average.  She falls into the "good personality" category.  But you know she's the kind of girl you could bring home to momma. 

Which one should you choose?  

Neither.  This isn't about you.  It's about the Denver Broncos.

And they did NOT choose the hot girl.

They chose Mitch Berger.

You know the backstory.  When the Broncos signed Mitch Berger three weeks ago, it caused quite a stir in Broncos Country. The Broncos were 6-0.  But the dirty little secret was that their punt-coverage unit was horrible.  Not because the coverage was bad, but because Brett Kern was out-kicking the coverage.

Denver has dropped three straight games since the signing of Berger.  But I wouldn't exactly say he's to blame.  As Lindsay Jones points out today in her article from the Denver Post:

Berger's gross punting average in the past three games is several yards shorter than Kern's — 39.7, compared with 46.1 for Kern — but the average net distance when returns are factored in has been slightly better (36.5 to 34.5). Berger also has put only one punt in the end zone in three games.

It turns out the girl with the personality may have actually helped the Broncos, after all.

Of course, some at MHR were against the move.  And they will continue to be.  Some of us were for it.  The day the move was made, John Bena had this to say:

For many of us, both on this site and on MHR Radio, we've been discussing the concerns in the punting game. After the Broncos beat the Bengals in Week 1, the team spent the off day working out punters. I wrote that Kern's ineffectiveness was costing the Broncos - at times 10 yards per punt - compared to some of the better punters in the NFL. That's a first down each change of possession - when you have a defense playing the way Denver's is right now, well, that's a HUGE deal.

Several days later, I wrote a statistical piece as to why the move was made, making the case for Berger based on his ability to limit the amount of opportunities the other team had on punt return:

In the punting game, putting your opponent in their red zone and limiting return opportunities are the most important factors in winning. In fact, the two most important positive relationships between winning and punting are the percentage of your punts that you put inside the 20 and the percentage of punts not returned. Again, don't let your opponent have the opportunity to have opportunity!

And finally, here is a quote from Berger himself before they face the Charger this Sunday (again courtesy of the Lindsay Jones story you can find here).   Either he reads Mile High Report or he's a punter who understands what helps teams win games:

"You just want to hit balls accurate and high and give your guys as much time to cover as you can," Berger said. "Hopefully you get some fair catches where (Sproles) doesn't have a chance at all. You want to put the ball in the part of the field where he has the least options possible."

The girl with personality is also well-spoken, which is another plus.  Mother will certainly like that.

Admittedly, the debate isn't over.  If the Broncos drop another 2 games in a row, the "curse of Kern" talk will again surface. However, Berger is doing his job, even though on TV, he's not got the "big leg" that the casual fan mistakenly associates with winning games.   It's about limiting the ability of the other team to get return yards.

Broncos fans, let's not think we need to go back to the hot girl again because we're a little bored.  It looks way too needy.  And you simply don't need her anyway.  She's high maintenance and out-kicks your coverage.

Go Broncos!!

I’m glad we had this talk.  Now, vaya con Dios, Brah.

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