The Dude’s Mail Revue: The Cutler, the coordinator, and the Paradise City

Dude's Mail Revue 400x145

Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions and gets your opinion about the state of the Denver Broncos.

You wanna roll your way into the semis?

Drop TJ a question:

(NOTE: No marmots were harmed in the writing of this revue)

TJ, I'm laughing all the way to the NFC Championship game,  while the Broncos are saddled with the #2 draft pick.  Thanks, Broncos fans, for giving us the franchise quarterback we needed here in Chicago.  I noticed your silly post the other day on Cutler.  Do you really believe that garbage?  Rick Reilly is a complete hack as are you.  Both of you obviously have had a problem with Jay Cutler from day one.  And even if that stuff is true, who really cares, idiot?   Since when does listening to John Elway mean jack?  You're just jealous we're heading to the Super Bowl, while you're stuck with a guy who still can't even take a snap from center and spends more time with the bible than he does his playbook.

--CutlerBearsFan, Aurora, Colorado 

CBF:  Wow.  That's some pretty aggressive stuff, but I suspect you're like most Bears fans--more like Brian Urlacher and less like Lance Briggs.  In other words, you only play rough when someone's not standing in front of you.  Congrats on your tough win against the only team in NFL history to make the playoffs with a 7-9 record.  The pride you must feel in beating the Seahawks--a team the 4-12 Broncos pasted--can only be matched by the sheer volatility of your emotional wellbeing after each Cutler throw.  I don't know if you've ever danced with the devil by the pale moonlight, but you're about find out the devil is looking for a soul (and a double chin) to steal this weekend.  

Since Cutler has been with the Bears, he's thrown 9 interceptions in 4 games against the Packers.  It's clear the Packers' defenders are doing something right--you know, like dropping into their zone coverage and letting Cutler's inaccuracy do the work for them.  As they say, you live by the overinflated arm and you die by the overinflated arm.

I know that most Bears fans consider Soldier Field a distinct advantage, and most of the time it is (grass relents in January in favor of Mike Martz's ego).  However, you're playing the Packers, man.  They invented cold.  Bears fans just invented talking about the cold.  They don't call it the Windy City for nothing.  The hot air which Bears fans have exhausted in defending Jeff George's doppelganger could power enough wind turbines to really make a dent in this global warming crisis. 

You're correct about my feelings for Cutler.  I didn't like him much when the Broncos drafted him, and I'm not so keen on him now.  Jake Plummer shows more leadership in a single game of handball than Cutler does during an entire football season.  That's why I keep a cat box spraypainted with the name "Cutler," and change it as infrequently as possible.

You had to bring up Tebow, didn't you?  Perhaps I'll do what Tebow would do and turn the other cheek.  

Okay, I was lying.  Go suck down Lake Michigan.

Dude, what the heck is a 3-technique?  What is a 5-technique?  I hear this term all the time when it comes to the draft.  I thought I would ask you since I knew you wouldn't make fun of me for being a stupid fan.  The way they talk about it, it's like the guy has to have some special skill.

--Martin Dale, Englewood, Colorado

Martin:  I would never think of poking fun at you.  In fact, to the contrary, let's make fun of others.  Usually the term is thrown around by mock drafters as a way to sound smarter than the average fan.  Let's face it, if you're the kind of guy who is going to take the time to develop mock draft after mock draft and post it on the internet, you're going to need to try and separate yourself from all of the noise.  At last count, I think there were 1,553,230 1,553,231 mock drafts out there.  So one of the things you can do is use a bunch of terminology to sound more intelligent than you actually are.  For example, you could say something like, "If the Broncos wanted to trade down in the first round they could pick up Marcell Dareus, who would be projected as a gap-penetrating 3-technique in John Fox's 4-3 defense.  This would allow them to fill a need while at the same time pick up an additional draft pick."  See what you did there?  You just sounded like Mel Kiper or even Mike Mayock!  Perhaps it's time you use some hair gel, little buckaroo.

Sure, you could have simply said that Dareus would be a good fit for the Broncos at one of their defensive tackle positions because of his quickness and ability to knife through the offensive line.  But why make something sound simple when you can use specialized terminology in order to give the appearance of credibility?  Lawyers and investment firms have been doing it for years.  There's no reason why you shouldn't use the same tricks.  Go on, get down with your bad self.  Bring out all the terminology you can.  In fact, you may want to start every morning with the phrase, "outside rush linebacker."

The direct answer to your question, however, is that the word "technique" is what's throwing off your technique.  It simply describes where a defensive player lines up.  That's it, Martin.  Here's a diagram for assistance that has been widely circulated:


Notice that a pure 3-4 nose tackle (I'm feeling smarter already), one that lines up directly over center, would be playing a 0-technique.  You can see for yourself where the 3- and 5-technique defenders would align.  This doesn't mean we're finished sounding smart, however.  If we want to sound even more like Mayock we'd start talking about 2-gap responsibilities versus 1 gap.  But you get the drift.  Don't let the draft pundits--or even some guy on a message board--trip you up with these "technique" terms.

I saw Hue Jackson's press conference the other day, dude, and I'm telling you the guy is going to take the Raiders to the next level.  The AFC West is ours for the taking.   The Chiefs are reeling from their playoff loss.   The Chargers are coached by Norv Turner.  And the Broncos are going to need two years to clean up after Josh McDaniels.  Mark it, dude.  The Raiders win the AFC West and go 12-4 next year.

--Silent Chucky, Las Vegas, Nevada

SC: Well, Jackson did have this to say at his press conference the other day:

This is what I am looking for: when the other team comes to the stadium they are worried about us hitting them when they get off the bus.

I'm going to assume Jackson  meant on the field, but it is the Raiders after all.  Who knows?  Richard Seymour could be hiding in the tunnel ready to sucker punch Ryan Clady.  Tommy Kelly could bite JD Walton in the shoulder while he's carrying his duffle back to the locker room.  That's why I've heard John Fox is going to require all Broncos players to get a tetanus shot before each Oakland game next year.  The tetanus vaccine is good with one shot, you say?  Again, it's the Raiders.  Better be safe and double up.

Give me a break, SC.  Hue Jackson will be filing a grievance against Al Davis in another 24 months, just like they all do.  Yes, it may very well take the Broncos 24 months to get their house in order, but the Raiders' gig is a perpetual cleanup on aisle "Al."

Tom Cable, Jon Gruden, Lane Kiffin, Mike Shanahan, Art Shell--the list goes on and on.  Al Davis takes it literally when someone says it's a player's league.

By the way, my favorite quote from Davis the other day was this one:

I said that he [Jason Campbell] reminds me of Jim Plunkett, at this particular phase in his career. I said it then and I believe it now but I also believe that Jim Plunkett was one of the truly great players of our time; won two Super Bowls and has never gotten the acclaim he desires or deserves..he did as much in pro football as John Elway did, who it took 15 years to win a Super Bowl...

I think I'm following Al's logic.  Jason Campbell = Jim Plunkett = John Elway.  Good enough for me! 

Sounds like Jason Campbell is your guy.  Carry on, my wayward son.  There'll be draft picks when you are done.  

I agree with you about the Chargers and Chiefs, though.  It's refreshing  to know that in this world of darkness and despair (silver and black), that we have found some common ground.  I'm glad we had this talk.

TJ, give John Elway a chance.  I know you've been critical of Ellis and Xanders, but you need to let The Duke show us what he can do.  He's a Broncos legend.  In a few years, we could be looking at a front office legend also.  By the way, I love your Really, Really Blind Side videos.  They are a complete riot!

--Orange and Blue Balls, Trinidad, Colorado

OB:  What's with all of the nicknames in today's Revue?  People are going to start thinking I'm making this stuff up.  

Well, on the Elway front, I can't say I know he'll be a dud;  I can't say I know he'll be great.  What I do admire about him, however, is that he's going to give it one hell of a go.  I can't fault him for that.  Sometimes, you throw a guy into the deep end (hopefully with more than a speedo) and see what happens.  Pat Bowlen pushed John right off the diving board.  We'll see if he drowns in about 36 months.  During that 36 months, just enjoy the ride.

Of course, Matt Millen had passion too (and a hankerin' for homophobic slurs).  If only he wasn't fixated on the wide receiver position, perhaps he would have gone on to lead the Lions to silver and blue greatness.

My biggest criticism about Elway is that he kept Xanders, but I can go another six words without getting too upset.   

The Xanders Way
There once was a guy named Brian--
A soldier who did no cryin'.
He woke up one day.
Hillis was away.
While McD was simply lyin'.

Xanders still hasn't answered any questions about his role in the McDaniels era. I doubt he ever will.    

Move, on, Dude, you might say.  Just get over it.  I'm trying, my friends.  I'm trying to pretend like the guy who is currently running the Broncos' draft is the horrible victim of a Josh McDaniels-led science experiment that blew up homeroom.  I want to believe that under that gruff pool-cleaning exterior lies the heart of a champion and the mind of Bill Walsh.  The next time I see a falling star, I'll wish it so.

TJ, who do you want for defensive coordinator now that Sean McDermott went to the Panthers?

--Broke Cornerback Mountain, Greeley, Colorado

BCM:  Clever on the name, hoss.  I can tell you that whoever they hire, I just want aggression.  Hue Jackson said he wants the Raiders to bully their opponent.  I'll go a step further.  I want the Broncos to get medieval--back when schoolyard bullies used a pike.  And at the end of that pike, I'd be charmed to see the quarterback's head.  

The Broncos were going to hire Jim Mora, Jr, but that's a faded memory now.  I know Ted Bartlett said just the other day that he would have been fine with the choice.  Ted, Doug, Doc, and I were discussing this and I think, from a schematic point of view, Ted is absolutely right.  Mora would have been fine in Denver.  If you remember his 49ers defenses from 1999-2003, they were actually quite prolific in their ability to zone blitz out of the 4-3.  I would not have minded that style coming to Denver.

My gripe with Mora is simply that on the volatility index, he scores a 110%.  The Broncos have had enough drama in the last 24 months.  I wouldn't want to see more of it the next time.  You've probably seen the infamous Doug Gottlieb interview with Mora.  And you probably remember Mora "joking" about his dream job while still coaching the Falcons.  And perhaps you've even seen this amusing footage of him going off on his kicker when he was coaching the Seahawks (forward to 0:25 in that clip).  But you may not be aware that he also likes to whine.  In 2003, when Brian Billick and the Ravens threw down 44 points on the 49ers, Mora complained relentlessly after the game that Billick was running up the score, saying that Billick shouldn't have been throwing the ball late in the game.

As to whom they should hire, I simply have no clue.  The fact that Mora didn't take the job leads me to speculate that Fox (like Andy Reid) probably wants to have his hands a little deeper into the defense than he's letting on in his press conferences.  Mora said neither the Eagles nor the Broncos were good fits.  Translation:  John Fox and Andy Reid weren't going to give me free rein.

And now, in honor of Fat Man bringing on our good friend Ted Bartlett this week (and I rarely break out this song)...

Unrelated 80's Glam Rock Bit

Artist: Guns N' Roses

Song: Paradise City

Year: 1987

Best Existential Lyric: "So far far awaaaaay."


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

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