The Dude’s Mail Revue: Ankle bracelets, Atwater’s greatest hits, and the Halloween frights

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Fat Man blogger TJ "The Dude" Johnson posts The Dude's Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions about the state of the Denver Broncos. Got a titillating question? Put a dollar bill into the Dude's G-String and he might answer your question--after bowling practice.

Hahahahaha, TJ. Last weekend was the greatest single weekend of my life. They removed my electronic ankle bracelet on Saturday, and then on Sunday, my Raiders lit up the Donks for 59 points. Me and my girl just ate so much pizza we let our guts hang out and didn't leave the couch. Who'd want to? You could go another 50 years and not see that again. The Broncos will never live that loss down. You guys are lucky Tom Cable held back in the 4th quarter or we would have been talking the all-time record. Do me a favor and tell us how good we look from the bottom of the division after we catch the Chiefs in a few weeks. See you later, sucker! --Raider Mike, Oak-Town, California

Mike: Congrats on the successful completion of your house arrest--a right of passage for every Raiders fan. They really should make the ankle bracelet available in the gift shop at all Raiders home games. Raiders fans could make a fashion statement and reduce crime at the same time--you know, like killing two Raiders with one stone (as big a rock as you can find, please).

Regarding the game, what can I say? The Raiders won fair and square. As granddaddy used to say, "The sun even shines on a dog's ass now and again." It shone all right, to the tune of 59 points. 50 years, though? Come on, now. It happened just last year when the Patriots beat the Titans 59-0. You might have been intoxicated (pre-bracelet) when it happened, but you can find out more here, big boy.

The loss will be forgotten by kickoff on Sunday, I promise you that. That's because I'm proclaiming Sunday to be "Shorn Scrotum Sunday" for the Broncos. It's me, my Eddie Royal jersey, and nada más. Nothing starts a winning streak like a nice cool breeze down south. Tom Cable ought to know a little about this. He´s almost shorn his entire head and he usually has it firmly planted right up his whoopie cakes.

What kind of girl do you have, man? She can't be very special with a gut like that. I hope the two of you don´t have a waterbed. That´s a scary image for all Broncos fans. And yes, we will see you again. Only next time, we´re going to put such a hurt on the Raiders, the Black Hole will be empty by halftime.

TJ, I was hoping that the 49ers would start Alex Smith at quarterback when we face them in London. It would have been good for our turnover margin. What should we expect with Troy Smith? --DJ, Mobile, Alabama

DJ: I don´t like facing the unknown. Who knows what Smith will bring to the table? Smith was a Heisman Trophy winner in 2006. That year, current Broncos backup quarterback Brady Quinn finished 3rd. The rap on Smith is that he only stands six feet tall and does not possess a strong arm.

However, if Broncos fans think this is going to be a blowout because Smith is the quarterback, they are mistaken. Smith can make plays, even if it´s only with his feet. The Broncos always seem to struggle against a guy who can scramble from the pocket. Remember last week's blowout? The Broncos had the Raiders stopped cold on 3rd-and-10 on the first drive of the game until Jason Campbell scrambled for a first down. It's this scrambling ability that made Mike Singletary call on Smith for this game. The Broncos won't have much tape on him. There's probably more tape of Smith on YouTube than there is for the Broncos to find when Smith was with the Ravens early in his career.

The Broncos should handle Smith the way you do any 3rd-string quarterback. Blitz the bloody mary out of him. Give the English their money's worth.

Hey, Dude. I haven't heard your take on the NFL's new push towards fining and suspending defensive players for aggressive hits. Personally, I think the league is filled with a bunch of sissies now. Troy, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Troy: I don't think it will change the product on the field that much. In other words, fans won't stop watching America's most profitable game because of the new enforcement. I think more interesting is what my buddy Doug Lee brought up before, which is that the NFL is simply hypocritical. While advocating a 18-game season, in which players will certainly take more abuse and subject themselves to more potential concussions, they also suddenly jump to the offensive at enforcing egregious hits.

How about we keep the current format and still enforce the rules? I agree with what Bob Costas also said earlier in the week, which is that the NFL owners are partly doing this so that they won't face a class-action lawsuit from players down the road with respect to health issues.

Your question got me to thinking about one Bronco in particular--Steve Atwater. Would such an enforcement have hurt Atwater's game? I think not. Check out this video of some of Atwater's greatest hits (the Okoye hit is included).

Notice that Atwater was as sound a tackler as you would ever find.  If this video doesn't pump you up as a Broncos fan, you should probably defect to the Raiders. It reminds you of just how great Atwater was, and furthermore, how tackling ought to be taught.

TJ, in your gut reactions, you talk sometimes about Orton's reads before the snap. How are you able to tell if the cornerback is really playing zone like you say and that Kyle is making good or bad reads? --Brady, Denver, Colorado

Brady: I just guess, man. And I drink like a fish. And whatever comes out, I just try and make it sound smart. After all, it worked for years for Joe Namath, didn't it? The truth is that during the game, in real-time, it's sometimes a little difficult. But you can get a clue very quickly by simply watching both corners. If the cornerback is pressed up to the line of scrimmage and he's directly facing the wide receiver, you can bet you are looking at man coverage. At the snap of the ball, you'll see the corner try and jam the receiver and then do something that most fans don't realize. He'll try and force the receiver to the sideline--for obvious reasons. It creates less space for the receiver; the sideline becomes almost like another defender. If the corner is playing off the receiver 5 to 10 yards, and you notice that he's facing towards the defense at a 45-degree angle, he's likely playing zone coverage. His goal is to force the receiver inside towards the other zone defenders. He probably has outside-middle zone responsibility--perfect for squatting at the sticks on comeback routes.

Often the corners will feign one of these coverages early in the snap count, and then right at the snap of the ball, reveal his true coverage responsibility. That's why Orton gets paid the big bucks. He's got to figure out what the corner is feigning and what he's really doing. As a fan, it's hard to see the safeties with the angle we have on TV, but Orton can tell a lot from reading them as well. When I criticize Orton, it's usually when the corner is clearly in zone coverage for the whole pre-snap read,and yet, he locks into his receiver and fires at the stick anyway. He doesn't do it a lot, so you know. But when he does, the results can be damaging, as we saw early in the game against the Raiders.

Dude, what are you going to be for Halloween this year? --Eric J., Riverton, Wyoming

Eric: At first, I was going to smear a lot of makeup on my face and go out in the worst drag possible. But Raiders fans always beat me to the punch--or the heels, if you will. My second choice was to dress up as the lion from the Wizard of Oz, but then I realized that Norv Turner and the Chargers do that every season. Finally, I thought I'd desecrate and stereotype some Native Americans by dressing up as an Indian with a silly bow and arrow. But of course, it occurred to me that's big in Kansas City. So I'll probably go with my old standby costume--Kip Winger. And now, in honor of our English brethren and the Broncos kicking arse in London...

Unrelated Glam-Rock Bit This Week's Glam-Rock 80's Song/Video: Still of the Night (1987)

Artist: Whitesnake

Why It's So Bad It's Good: 1) Tawny Kitaen (when she was still hot) ; 2) David Coverdale, man; 3) Fog; 4) Snakes (white, of course); 5) Playing guitar with a violin bow

Best Existential Lyric: "I just wanna make love to you, feel your body heat..."

If you like to see The Dude slack off 24/7, you can always find him on Facebook and Twitter. Or you can email him at: He assumes you are following It’s All Over, Fat Man! on Facebook and Twitter, but if you are not, that's nihilistic.

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

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