One word at heart of Patriots’ pace Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! From a league-wide view, rather than a Broncos perspective, there was one facet of Sunday's loss to the Patriots that stood out: the pace with which New England's offense operated.

The haters will always call him a cheater, but the reality is that Bill Belichick always finds an edge. It's ironic that he's considered to be arrogant, with the truth being that Belichick is forever on a knowledge quest, and never do his actions suggest that he thinks he's figured everything out.

It's why he's constantly evolving, and why his Patriots have reflected so many different philosophies despite having the same superstar quarterback for the past 12 seasons.

We are all aware of the Hoodie's meetings of the mind with Urban Meyer, and with former Belichick assistant Nick Saban.

But it's another star college coach whose sharing of knowledge has helped the 2012 Pats pick up their offensive pace: Oregon's Chip Kelly.

Inspired by Kelly, New England began last year to install one-word play calls, allowing Tom Brady & Co. to get to the line and snap the ball before defenses are even in their stances. One word that expresses everything: formation, blocking, routes, snap counts, and more.

As Greg Bedard notes in his fascinating article, Cam Newton was made something of a laughingstock leading up to the 2011 Draft (probably right here in the Lard) when Jon Gruden asked him to name a play call, and all the prospect provided was a number. That moment appeared at the time to confirm biases that said the transfer was lacking in football intelligence, and was unprepared for the NFL.

Instead, Newton was introducing us to a way of the future in the NFL, where the extensive verbiage of a Mike Shanahan play call is eschewed for simpler, time-saving calls that allow a QB to get to the line with enough left on the play clock for him to decipher what the defense is doing, and to change the play, if necessary.

Or, in the case of Brady and the Pats, to run a normal offensive play (not a traditional quick-snap) before the defense is even ready to go.


Here's video of John Fox's Monday presser; Fox wouldn't say whether the team will consider replacing Joe Mays in the starting lineup, and he claims the team is very close to what he envisions.

Because we're talking about the Patriots, Belichick, and a system that was installed last season, but perhaps not perfected before Sunday, it's hard to imagine that Denver has to expect other teams to try to beat them in same the manner that New England did on Sunday. But we're going to hear/read that going forward. (Math lesson of the day - 67 in three quarters is exactly the same as 89 in four quarters.)

But a big problem for Denver, regardless of opponent, is their struggles in getting off the field on third down, especially third and long.

Andrew Mason grades the team's Sunday performance and offers some interesting numbers from the game and Denver's season.

Although the play of Joe Mays has us appreciating D.J. Williams more by the week, Mike Klis's suggestion that D.J. is the team's best all-around linebacker is ludicrous. Von Miller is their best player on defense, and at some point in the next couple years, he may mean more to them than Peyton Manning.

We'll agree with Legwold when he says the Broncos' late comeback attempts have not been about opponents easing off the pedal, and that Denver's mistakes are correctable.

Legwold says the Broncos can't afford another slow start against the Chargers, who have been knocking teams backward early on in games.

Charles Pierce wants to join others in making grand pronouncements for what Sunday means for Manning's time in Denver, but it was just one game, and the fifth of his Broncos career.


Kubes & Co. held on for a 23-17 victory over the Jets last night, advancing their record to a perfect 5-0 in a game that was much closer than anyone had expected. The Texans lost LB Brian Cushing to what appears a torn ACL on a questionable-at-best block by Jets T Matt Slauson, who rolled into the back of Cushing's legs away from the play. Incidentally, Slauson was highly critical of what he perceived as dirty play from Ndamukong Suh last year.

Terrell Owens took to Twitter to solicit a job from the receiver-short Jets, who Mike Tanier calls an attention-seeking, dysfunctional group that doesn't act like a team.

The Chargers are expecting to avoid a blackout for next Monday's game against the Broncos, and are hopeful that LT Jared Gaither, who strained his groin at the end of Sunday night's game, will be okay to start on Monday.

KC is likely to start Brady Quinn due to Matt Cassel's concussion. Sam Mellinger says Chiefs fans on Sunday were more cheering Quinn's arrival on the field than Cassel's injury; Eric Winston is standing by his words, if clarifying them a bit. But Jason Whitlock calls Winston a hypocrite who's already signed up for a violent game, and says that the Chief's comments are distracting from the real story - that Scott Pioli deserves to be fired.

Cincy RB Bernard Scott and Cards RB Ryan Williams are done for the season; Indy placed former Bronco Seth Olsen on IR with the option to return later; Packers RB Cedric Benson will be out up to eight weeks with a Lisfranc injury; Tennessee will be without Jake Locker this week, and RB Javon Ringer for 4-6 weeks; Bears WR Alshon Jeffery has a broken hand that won't require surgery; one Giants safety - Tyler Sash - is back from an Adderall-induced suspension, and another one - Will Hill - has been suspended for the same; longtime Patriots RB Kevin Faulk will announce his retirement today.

Because his team lost on Sunday, it's getting lost in the shuffle that Andy Reid made a pair of ballsy fourth-down calls. Of course, he also wasted a couple of timeouts that could have really helped his team's cause.


Cam Newton's dad says the QB has never handled losing well, and that he's trying to help his son overcome that problem.

After three straight SB wins and a 15-6 record so far this season, Chase Stuart says the NFC is the dominant conference after a lengthy AFC run. Plus, he shows that the betting lines in Vegas aren't quite as accurate in predicting NFL outcomes as most people think.

Pat Kirwan says that by running the ball out of the no-huddle, the Patriots are again ahead of the curve, and in Seattle's Bruce Irvin, he sees this year's version of Von Miller.

From Christmas Ape, Sunday's top moments and a translation of PK's MMQB; 


A Bears fan who had traveled to Jacksonville to see his team play in person for the first time, was murdered in cold blood on Saturday night by a man who slashed his throat in a restaurant. Apparently, the victim was making small talk with the suspect's wife while they were all waiting for a table. What a horrifying story; our thoughts go out to the victim's family and friends.

It was apparently crawl-worthy at the Worldwide Leader that Teebs's one pass attempt was dropped by rookie Stephen Hill.

Bucky Brooks says WVU's Geno Smith proved against Texas that he is indeed an elite QB prospect.

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

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