The Dude’s Mail Revue: Flipping tackles, a lockout guide, and Evil Elway

Fat Man writer 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 tie the room together?  Or say what you'd like about the tenets of national socialism?

Drop TJ a question:

(NOTE: Marmots were harmed in the writing of this Revue)

TJ, since the Broncos are hell bent on dropping Ryan Harris and going with rookie Orlando Franklin at right tackle, why not flip our tackles so our best lineman, Ryan Clady, is protecting Tebow’s blind side?

--Antonio Boselli,  Jacksonville, Florida

Antonio: It’s a common thought with left-handed quarterbacks.  On the surface, it sounds like a good idea.  It’s the wrong move, however.  There are several reasons why:  First, because there are simply more quarterbacks who throw right-handed, the game has evolved so that a team’s best pass rusher is generally rushing from the right end in order to increase the chances of a strip sack and a turnover.  Thus, by moving Orlando Franklin to left tackle, you’d be putting him up against players like Jared Allen each week.  Second, if Tebow gets hurt, do you flip the tackles again?  It’s not likely.  It’s better to let a guy play the position to which he is accustomed.  For Clady, that’s left tackle.  Finally, you’re assuming that Tebow is the starter.  While I agree that it’s likely, I don’t think you can assume Tebow will be the starter given what the Broncos have been saying about Kyle Orton (I won’t be surprised to see him moved even now) and Brady Quinn.

There’s another way to think about this which blows the idea of switching Clady out of the water.  In today’s NFL, if you have a weakness on your line, the opposition will exploit it, no matter the location. If you are weak at the guard and center positions, the double-A-gap blitz wreaks havoc like an Al Davis lawsuit threat.  If you are weak at tackle and guard, an overload blitz is a little slice of heaven.  A few times a game, flipping defensive ends breeds mayhem.  Simply put, you'd better be strong across the line.  If Orlando Franklin is not the answer at right tackle, look for the Broncos to go back to Zane Beadles and put Franklin at guard.

TJ, what the hell was Ray Lewis thinking when he said that the crime rate would go up in this country if the lockout went a whole year?
--Adam Jones, Cincinnati, Ohio

Adam: It was a bit dramatic, wasn’t it?  One imagines Lewis knows he can’t sell as much Old Spice without the season to draw people to the fantastic array of shower gels and deodorants (personally I’m an Axe Dark Temptation guy—once you go dark, you never go bark).

Lewis basically told Sal Paolantonio that without football, bad things would happen.  Maybe he’d see dead people or something, who knows.  It was an interesting quote, I guess.  However, more interesting is the reason why Lewis thought the crime rate would increase:

There's too many people that live through us, people live through us. Yeah, walk in the streets, the way I walk the streets, and I'm not talking about the people you see all the time...There's nothing else to do, Sal.

Lewis is delusional.  He’s suffering from they’ll-miss-me-if-I’m-gone syndrome, which you see a lot in some people.  You know of whom I speak.  Think about the guy at work who is always getting pissed off and hinting that he’s about to quit.  In his mind, he actually he’s so important the company couldn’t replace him.  However, if he ever left, they’d find someone within a few weeks.

I suppose Lewis could be right.   Americans really could be so out of touch with reality that they actually derive their emotional well-being from the results of a football game over which they have no control.  Although childish and rather apelike, it would give merit to the whole bread and circuses stereotype (or in Spain, bread and bulls).  If that’s the case, I welcome the new and improved Rapture coming to a theater near you in October.

I have a little more faith in people than Lewis, though.  Sure, there will probably be a group of idiots that would use a lockout as an excuse to transform themselves into Raiders fans.  Yet I suspect most will simply put their time to good use.

If you’re looking for some good ideas on what to do during an extended lockout, here are ten I just came up with as I was pondering how to use a lockout to project all the angers of my past failures on my coworkers:

  1. Drink copious amounts of Red Bull and then try to set the Guinness world record for sit-ups in an hour.
  2. Read Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations so you can stop thinking the term “invisible hand” is a reference to masturbation.
  3. Watch The Big Lebowski while drinking a white Russian.
  4. Go bowling.  If you pull your groin, go golfing.
  5. Begin training for your MMA career.  If you pull your groin, start a fight club at your local senior center.  
  6. Take a Raiders fan shark diving.  Depending on your mood, either turn off his air tanks or tell him, “I think I read that you’re supposed to float on the surface and act like a seal.”
  7. Finally go up to that girl and ask her out.   If she tells you “no,” remember, she’s probably a Raiders fan who has chlamydia.  Offer to take her shark diving.
  8. Go on the internet and leave so many nasty and anonymous message-board comments that the next morning, you have an intense urge to live under a bridge.
  9. Think of how many lawyers it takes to screw (you) in a light bulb.  Then enroll in law school.
  10. Try to calculate the net present value of Roger Goodell’s future salary over a 10-year period and compare it with yours.   Your discount rate?   Crap.

Dude, I’m not of the opinion that the Broncos took the wrong strategy in not drafting a defensive tackle in the draft.  They played their board the way things went down.  They filled several positions of need, including linebacker, safety, and tackle.   They probably have a lot more faith in the current crop of linemen now that they are switching to a 4-3.  Broncos fans could use a little patience once and awhile.
--K. Vickerson, Englewood, Colorado

K: You raise some good points.  There’s no doubt.  The Broncos' big board didn’t have the majority of the defensive tackles ranked as high as the fans did.
One thing is certain, the Broncos showed their cards.  Talk is always cheap, but it’s even cheaper outside of draft day.  During the draft, however, it’s put up or shut up time.  The new Broncos regime told us a lot about what they think of the team with those nine draft picks.  The run on linebackers, tight ends, and safeties was a surprise.

Yet you are forgetting one thing.  The Broncos gave serious consideration about jumping back into the first round to draft Nick Fairley.   Doing so would have meant that they would have arguably landed the draft’s top pass rusher in Von Miller and best defensive tackle in Fairley.   So the faith in the current crop of linemen isn’t nearly as strong as you’re hoping.

Statistically, I know that the Broncos did the right thing by accumulating quality picks and staying true to their board.  But the Jeff Legwold-like passion I have inside me really wishes the Broncos could have nabbed both Fairley and Miller.  So if you are asking me if I’d rather have Von Miller and Nick Fairley or Miller, Orlando Franklin, Rahim Moore, and Nate Irving, I’m going with the Miller/Fairley.  Weakside linebackers, safeties, and linemen are a dime a dozen.  Nick Fairley is not.  So, as Walt Whitman (or was it Joe Ellis?) once said, I reserve the right to contradict myself.

TJ, I think we’d all have to admit that it's been so far so good for John Elway.  He’s handled the QB situation about as well as anyone could, he’s let Xanders do his job as promised, and he’s restored the integrity the Broncos were missing under McDaniels.  We should all applaud the Duke.
--Joe Saxpak, Denver, Colorado

Joe: That’s a lot of praise for a guy who is one draft into a job.  Remember, Josh McDaniels went 6-0 and people were ready to declare him master of the universe (as we all know, there’s only one He-Man).  Let’s get a few questions answered before we do the same with Elway:

  • Is Von Miller durable?
  • Can Rahim Moore cover anyone?
  • Does Orlando Franklin play too tall for his own good?
  • Is Nate Irving’s stock just a reflection of a weak linebacker class?
  • Can Quinton Carter cover anyone?
  • Will Julius Thomas be more than a basketball player?
  • Is Mike Mohamed too slow?
  • Can Virgil Green come back from injuries?
  • Is Jeremy Beal too slow and cumbersome?

Remember that there isn’t a prospect in any draft that doesn’t have downside concerns.  Even Elway himself - the highest-graded quarterback to ever be drafted - had them.  For a few years, these concerns were actually true.

Dude, do you think John Elway has a strategy as Vice President?  By this I mean, do you think he’s got an organizational strategy for what he’s going to do if things don’t work out?
--Ryan Sanders, Lakewood, Colorado

Ryan: I don’t think Elway has such a strategy.  He isn’t wired this way.  I doubt he’s ever considered what would happen if things don’t work out.  He’s already said that he doesn’t care if his record as a front-office executive could ruin his playing legacy (Dan Marino already put himself on this pedestal).  So I doubt failure has entered his mind.

It doesn’t mean you and I can’t speculate, however.  I appreciate a guy who thinks about the downside risk.  If you put yourself in Elway’s shoes and thought only about your own self-preservation (again, which I’m convinced he’s not), you’d figure you’d probably have four years to turn the organization around, maybe five, since you are John Elway after all.  You’d be sure to do the following:

  • Have a scapegoat handy if the Broncos crater in your first two seasons (Josh McDaniels, Kyle Orton, and Tim Tebow - check)
  • Have a scapegoat for a third-year collapse (Brian Xanders - check)
  • Have a scapegoat ready for if the Broncos stink in your fourth season (John Fox - check)

In year five you’d be on your own, but at that point, everyone—even Pat Bowlen—would be putting the screws to you.  You’d be so desperate, you’d probably hire back Mike Shanahan.

What you wouldn’t do would be to fire Brian Xanders immediately or get in Tim Tebow’s way.  Just in case things go bad, they would be useful sacrificial pawns for a rabid fan base. The wise courtier always knows that it’s better to talk change than make change too early in the process.  That way, you can later paint yourself as the winds of change.

Did I mention that I don’t think Elway came in with this mindset?

TJ Johnson can be reached through telegraph, ESP, Spanish interpretor, or via email: Follow him on Facebook and Twitter if you want to see him mock "the man."  He assumes you are following It’s All Over Fat Man on Facebook and Twitter, but if you are not, that’s nihilistic, man.

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

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