The Defense is Back, Peyton’s Arm and Midseason NFL Awards

But first… I must apologize for no write-up last week. I managed to set aside some time to start writing my ode to Shanahan and soon stepped back to notice that’s exactly what it was going to be… in fact, it probably could be held against me in a court of law if I break the restraining order. Again. So, I’ll refrain and move on and let Terrell Davis speak for me with, “He’s the Vince Lombardi of Denver”.

And as the Broncos go, so does this crappy-blog, so let’s rebound with some football talk after a great win against the greatest and tannest coach (No, you don’t count, Mike Tomlin) there has ever been.

The Defense is Back?

It never left. While certainly impacted by the absence of key players like Woodyard and Miller, people simply have unrealistic expectations of all things defense and have turned facets of that aspect of the game into complete hyperbole.

Pass rush is a massive area of hyperbole. “We have no pass rush! Where’s the pressue?!” is what guys say when pressure doesn’t work. In this game, RGIII was sacked or under duress on over 42% of his throws, which is a fantastic amount. In the much maligned “pressure-lacking” Cowboys game, Romo was sacked or under duress on nearly twice that… but the pressure didn’t work and Romo managed to not only extend the play but his receivers similarly converted.

Zone defenses routinely get comments like “Guys are wide open! Where’s the coverage?!” which sometimes is indicative of zone coverages. In a zone defense, defensive backs are playing the Quarterback (and his eyes) first, then the receiver and finally the ball. In man coverage, defensive backs are playing the receiver (in bump, corners will key receiver and quarterback if they’re using their read steps), and then the ball. Yes, zones have seams where it appears no defender is near. Unfortunately, defenses are limited to 11 players who cannot make contact after 5 yards (*unless you’re playing against the Broncos, then prison rules apply), and those openings happen.

Most importantly, the NFL does not function on a round-robin basis. Every team’s perception, production and results are all quite literally a product of their competition. Our defense’s best results have come against the Giants, Raiders, Jaguars and Redskins, while their worst performances came against the two best opponents they’ve faced—the Cowboys and Colts… is anyone surprised?

To exemplify this a little further, the Denver Broncos are scoring 43 points a game. Does that mean every team we’ve faced has a terrible defense? Not even close. Even factoring in the public sodomy inflicted by the Broncos, the Colts (#8), Ravens (#11) and Raiders (#12) are top half scoring defenses.

The Broncos are the best team in the league and everyone knows it. Professionals rarely lay down and die. These are proud men with chips on their shoulder who don’t like being told they’re inferior. Because of this, the Broncos need to be prepared for EVERY team’s best shot. Offensively and defensively. A huge part of being ready to combat this is found in…

Peyton’s Arm

Everyone is noticing that the Broncos are not attacking down the field with much regularity. So why?

On Sunday, Peyton Manning was 1-of-8 for 16 yards with two interceptions on 15+ yard downfield passes. Further, four of Manning’s six interceptions this year were on deep throws.

Nerve damage? Ankle injury? Overblown?

I decided to take a closer look at this, specifically in the Washington game to try and answer those questions.

Interception 1 – Short throw, Deangelo Hall just beat up Demaryius and took the ball away for a quick 6 pts.
Interception 2 – Man coverage with two deep safeties (each playing a “deep half”). Peyton tries to look off the right hash safety by using Decker streaking down the sideline and then throws to Welker down the middle. Safety isn’t fooled, ball is a little short which permits the defender to tip it and the safety makes the pick.
Interception 3 – Peyton finds Demaryius in single coverage, pass a little underthrown and picked by Deangelo Hall.

Underthrows?!

Let’s clarify something. Demaryius Thomas is still the engine that drives the receiving group. He’s the Broncos’ playmaker. When Peyton sees him single covered, he throws it there. While two passes were slightly underthrown—and are likely a byproduct of discomfort stepping into his throws with the ankle injury—Deangelo Hall simply outperformed Demaryius Thomas for two of those interceptions. Granted, the other was a slightly poor decision… but even Vishnu got duped by Ravana.

The fact remains, Peyton Manning is the league’s…

Most Valuable Player – Peyton Manning
See above. Despite a multitude of neck surgeries and a newly nagging ankle injury, Peyton has transcended the sport in 2013. In 8 games, Peyton Manning is responsible for 30 Broncos touchdowns. For further context, Peyton will break his own Denver Broncos franchise passing record before December arrives.

Offensive Player of the Year – Calvin Johnson
Despite missing a game and dealing with a nagging injury, Calvin leads the league in receiving by nearly one-hundred yards and is only trailing Wes Welker’s TD lead by two.

Defensive Player of the Year – Robert Mathis
Also a game behind (though due to the “Bye”), Robert leads the league in sacking the QB, on pace for over 26 sacks. The record belongs to Strahan with 22.5. It will not last to 2014.

Midway All-Pros Adjusted to the Modern Game—“First Team; Second Team”

Offense (11-personnel, 3 receiver sets):

QB- Peyton Manning; Drew Brees
WR- Calvin Johnson, AJ Green, Wes Welker; Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Jordy Nelson
RB- LeSean McCoy; Jamaal Charles
TE- Jimmy Graham; Vernon Davis
OT- Andre Whitworth, Sebastian Vollmer; Joe Thomas, Trent Williams
OG- Marshal Yanda, Louis Vasquez; Evan Mathis, David DeCastro
C- Alex Mack; Manny Ramirez

Defense (Nickel package, Pass-Rushing OLBs measured against DE’s):

DE/PR OLB- Robert Mathis, Robert Quinn; Justin Houston, Mario Williams
UT/5 Tech- Jason Hatcher; JJ Watt
NT- Dontari Poe; Damon Harrison
OLB- Lavonte David, Alec Ogletree; Danny Trevathan, Vontaze Burfict
ILB- Sean Lee; Kiko Alonso
CB- Patrick Peterson, Richard Sherman, Alterraun Verner; Aqib Talib, Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, Deangelo Hall
FS- Earl Thomas; Eric Reid
SS- Kam Chancellor; Eric Berry

Free Money (LOL at that title, right?!?  Please put your money in a Spider Index instead. Your kids deserve an education)

Atlanta +7
Dallas -10.5
Chargers -1
Ravens -2.5
Green Bay -10.5
Some big spreads, but some big mismatches

Cumulative Record: 13-16 (Nice rebound last posting, let down by two ATS stalwarts: Denver and New England)

That’s Good Broncos:

The Reckoning of Irsay

Peyton Manning reflects on how this big of a douche-bag managed to become so successful

Another week in the books, and another win.  Oh the humanity… winning by only double-digits… fortunately, we got to see the surreal sense of entitlement apparently rampant in a large segment of Bronco fans as they booed their undefeated, historically-potent team as they head into the half.  As if that wasn’t enough to piss Peyton off, the media decided to pile on, questioning his manhood in not diving on fumbled snaps… because that’s what exactly what we need–to risk our GOAT QB in a double-digit win to try and beat the spread.

…but it doesn’t end there!  Shooter McGavin Jim Irsay just couldn’t help himself and had to
tug on Superman’s cape.

Fox came to Manning’s defense and replied by calling Irsay’s comments “inappropriate” when all he should have said was, “Thanks again.”

Meanwhile, Manning had a much more private reaction and just smiled and thought, “See you Sunday night.”

The Jaguars

My intention was not to waste any time covering this subject, but quite a few people posed some very good questions regarding the game–specifically the defense (If your question isn’t answered here, it’s either in the Q/A section below or wasn’t worth my goddamn time so leave me alone)–so let’s get started.

Issues (“issues” because “problems” don’t exist in a 16 point victory) began on offense when Peyton started taking shots from the Jaguars front four.  Speaking of, maybe with the sprain you’ll have some time to pay attention now, Orlando Franklin.

Hey @OFranklin74, Babin’s been cheap shotting QBs all season. Please cut him whenever possible.

— Patrick Turley (@patrickturley) October 13, 2013

Of course, a few minutes into the first quarter and Babin went low on Manning.  That was the first time I crapped my pants.  Seeing Manning walk to the locker room only had me further soil myself.

The pressure applied by Jacksonville’s front four early (pervasive defensive philosophy: “Hit him early, he’ll give it to you late”) placed the offense behind schedule.  An offense behind schedule placed the defense in a bind because of…

The Gameplan

Raise your hand if you predicted a 2 point game into half.  No?  Well, neither did the Broncos.  The defense came prepared to play to protect a lead and work clock with a big mix of zone (further, as a HEAVY man coverage team, this also functions as an opportunity to evaluate players’ zone coverage skills in a live setting, exhibition elements on a bigger stage) coverages.  Truth be told, this issue wasn’t that big of a deal, you make adjustments and go execute, but compounding the problem lay the primary issue with the defense: injuries and suspension.

Wesley Woodyard may have become our defensive MVP.  Controversial with Miller’s dominance rushing the passer, but looking at what Wesley has done statistically as a starter under Del Rio is nothing shy of remarkable and near godlike when you consider his intangibles.  Further, with Miller out, we managed to at least adequately fill the void with Nate Irving on base downs and Shaun Phillips rushing in the nickel.  With Wesley out, all hell broke loose.  That sounds like an exaggeration until you see the facts: we played defense with ONE linebacker more often than not.  Danny Trevathan rang in a whopping 73 defensive snaps in all the dime looks (Dime: 6 defensive backs).  To provide some context, that’s more than EVERY OTHER linebacker on the team COMBINED (Lenon-38, Irving-30, Robinson-3).

The lack of Wesley was most apparent over the middle where the Denver Broncos were eviscerated by the slant.  Blackman alone racked up approximately half of his production on this one pass pattern.  By design, a corner can only hope to get an early slant break and, GENERALLY, the linebacker should be there to lower the boom and break up the pass with the big hit.  Trevathan continues to play admirably, but we simply had no presence over the middle without Wesley.

With Miller gone, Wolfe has been forced to rush the passer more from the outside when he’s more of an inline penetrator on a 3-technique than a dip-your-shoulder-and-beat-him-outside defensive end.  With Ayers also out, Wolfe was placed into assuming this less effective role on a full-time basis notching 58-snaps at defensive end.  Too many to provide fresh pass-rush and in the wrong spot to be optimally effective.

Champ returned straight to his LCB as explained several weeks ago, and after missing over a month of football, produced a mixed bag, as expected, getting tested often–several pass breakups but more completions. I expect this performance to improve dramatically from here out, and if there’s one valuable takeaway from this game concerning Bailey, he’s healthy and a true warrior amassing more playing time than ANY other defensive back.

Let’s test Duke for color-blindness.  No chance he hit more Jaguars than Broncos.

Let’s give some measure of credit where credit is due, Blackman looks like a fine, young player when he’s not too busy drunk driving and getting kicked off the sideline.

Cliffs and Context

Despite working “behind schedule”, out of position, treating the game like a Bye-week with dinged up players, AND placed in bad positions by the offense: THE DEFENSE ONLY GAVE UP 12 POINTS.  JESUS, SHUT UP.

Truly, the game and the fan reaction can be summed up expertly here.

Battling a Luck Dragon

Oh, be quiet, it even looks AND sounds like him.

The Colts are an incredibly competent team in nearly every phase of the game–you can’t hold a Chargers loss against them, the Chargers (and the Cowboys) are as hot and cold as they come, and they were hot.  Fortunately for Denver, the Colts have a significant identity crisis where they actually believe they’re a “run-first” team.  They have a respectable defense creating as many turnovers (7 INT, 3 FR) as Denver (9 INT, 1 FR), that has similarly sacked the QB as many times as the Broncos (17.0).  Of course, the difference defensively comes from their pass-rushing monster Robert Mathis who is currently on pace to break the sack record, and ours… well…

Welcome Back Von

I spent a lot of time trying to find an intimidating picture of Miller, but apparently it doesn’t exist.  Yet.

Not only do the Broncos get one of the best defenders in the league back, but a “rising tide lifts all boats” and here’s how:

Von’s return allows every other player to adjust to favorable match-ups they excel in.  For example, Wolfe can bounce back inside to more favorable match-ups on pass-rushing downs, either Shaun Phillips or Ayers are likely to get isolated on a guard or tight end and Von’s gonna Von.

The pass rush, currently a very respectable 9th in the league, just took a quantum leap forward.  Teams will be forced to fan protect (1-on-1′s) which also means that whenever Wesley blitzes, he’s going to get a clear lane up the middle against a running back–detailed explanation given here (ignore the Tebow talk and replace Carter with Duke, Elvis with Phillips, Thomas with Wolfe and Bunkley with Jackson), which interestingly enough was before the signing of Del Rio and has been HEAVILY implemented ever since.  There isn’t a back in the league that can match Wesley’s intensity.

Combine this with the return of Wesley and Ayers AND the return of aggressive, physical coverage, and australopithecus Luck is DOA.

So, after six weeks of getting by without him, how will the Broncos use Miller?

I would expect the Broncos to leave Irving in situational run-defense packages and for Miller to hit the field everywhere else as an OLB or DE.  Not only has Irving done well in that capacity, this will allow Von to dive back into the speed of the game within his optimal niche and permit enough rest for him to beast anyone who tries to line up against him.

Offense

Irsay handled this.  Thanks again, bro.

Q/A

Are the Chiefs considered a real threat now or paper tigers yet to play a legit team?

Both.  Andy Reid is an incredible coach that has a talented football team playing mistake free football, but it’s… different.  Teams can’t prepare for 2013 Andy Reid because he’s approaching both sides of the ball in ways he never has before.   For the first time in his career, Andy is running the football.

It will be unfortunate for Denver that the Chiefs will come to Mile High off the Bye with an extra week to prepare, but not unfortunate enough.

I think a topic that should be touched on briefly depending on Walton’s condition and health. Could he be put back in as the starter or do you just roll with Manram?

While valuable to every unit and overall team function, no unit is more dependent on COHESION than the offensive line.  Walton’s return will be a massive boon for depth on a crippled unit, but as we saw with Chris Kuper’s patient wait, you don’t disrupt cohesion unless necessary and Manny is playing admirably.  Of course, if his snap issues continue (something that’s been apparent since week 1), a change may be necessitated.

What are they going to do on the OL? move Vasquez over?

This was the solution on Sunday (Vasquez to RT and Kuper in at RG) when Franklin went down with injury, and, to be TOTALLY honest, it was more effective.  Of course, that needs to be qualified two-fold by stating that at that point, our run-pass ratio was much more even and the Jaguars were playing the run playing from behind.  I highly doubt Winston Justice can play as competently, and this line-up is what I’m expecting until Franklin returns, likely after the Bye.

When I type in ‘Jim Irsay’ in my google queue, why is one of the autofill options ‘Jim Irsay Douche’?

Easy.  Next question.

If you’re game planning for the Chiefs, how do you counter their edge rushers and front 4? Who do you target on their defense?

The answer to both questions is “the screen game”.  Kansas City is one of the few defenses more aggressive than Denver’s.  Slow down the pass rush with screens, draws, and the running game (now that Terrell Davis has been sneaking into games wearing Knowshon’s jersey), and play small ball.  Passes will be LARGELY screens or quick shotgun/3-step drops.  Don’t let them have shots at Manning and when it’s time to go deep, the play action will be there.

Free Money (Please don’t check my cumulative record, I’m clearly an imbecile)

COWBOYS +2.5 (this has to be a mistake, right?!)
49ers -4
Atlanta -7
Broncos -6.5
Patriots -4
Cumulative: 10-14. 2-6 last week is as embarrassing as ATS picks can get.

That’s Good Broncos

If you’re not eagerly awaiting these each week, you’re doing it wrong:

Bye Week #1

The Aftermath

Julius Thomas and Chris Clark delivered as promised while Peyton Manning delivered as promised usual.

Wesley Woodyard hasn’t practiced all week with a neck injury Fox swears is not significant.  Ayers hasn’t practiced all week with a shoulder injury Fox swears is not significant.  Chris Harris got into some limited work Thursday with a concussion Fox swears is not significant.

…fortunate timing for the Broncos to hit their first of two Bye weeks.

Still, the defense got beat up last week.

Bad.

Romo scrambled through arm tackles of the pass-rush and routinely hit receivers to move the chains against nearly impossible odds.  Defensive backs were regularly in position to make a play on the ball and were simply out-executed by Cowboy receivers and tight ends.

Is the Defense Secretly Terrible?

Not even close.  Here’s a beaten-up by nagging injury and suspensions unit that is hungry to come out swinging and show the world they can stop someone.  And as we saw earlier in the season, they can.

At will.

Here’s some blurry-as-shit sample screen shots from a play I totally cherry-picked to support my point of how close the defense was routinely and there’s nothing you can do to refute it because I don’t even check my comments section:

^ early big 3rd and 10, pocket crushed and multiple Broncos close on Romo

^ Bronco fans breathe a sigh of relief as this drive is about to come to a close

^ despite the ridiculous pressure, first sack eluded

^ now Wolfe can’t bring him down for a second sack eluded

^ here’s Romo staring down the shot from the 3rd Bronco to make contact with him and delivering a ridiculous 3rd down strike.

Champ is a first-ballot Hall of Famer because he MAKES those plays.  Von is one of the best current defenders in football because he MAKES those plays (Assuming he wasn’t avoiding drug tests because of PEDs).

Injuries

Wesley, Harris, Ayers: three key players out of practice or limited with injury.  Three key players, three young guys looking to make the most of their opportunities, three key players with a lot of pride in contract years.

If they’re cleared, they’ll play.  They’ll rest on Monday.  And Ayers just has to be SALIVATING over their tackle situation with Monroe shipped to the Ravens and Joeckel done for the year.

Demaryius Smash

The Broncos LOVE Demaryius Thomas down the left sideline.  Manning’s stat line targeting him outside of the left hash is 12-for-13 for 232 yards and a touchdown. Compound that with abysmal safety play over the top?

Good luck, Alan Ball.

While that remains my favorite match-up, these Jaguars simply don’t have the speed or talent to match-up with any of the Broncos skill positions.

Oh Paul, I’m So Sorry You Signed There, But It Was Your Choice

What do you call one guy making plays on a terrible football team?  A millionaire.  He’s still a multi-multi-millionaire.  Don’t cry for him.

Julius is coming off some epic abuse of a better, faster Penn State linebacker.   I’m sitting here debating on whether or not I should parlay this into a Sandusky joke.  Am I better than that?

The Passion of the Chad

So the defense will eviscerate the Jaguars hapless offense.  In three starts, Gabbert threw one touchdown to a Jaguar (blown assignment on the coverage), and three touchdowns to opposing defenses.  Unfortunately, the worst quarterback the league has ever seen Blaine won’t be playing.

In his stead, the pretty-good-for-a-backup Henne will take the field.  They’ll try to run the football to play keep away from Manning, the healthy-enough Wesley Woodyard lead defense will crush the attempts and force them into 3rd and longs where Chad Henne will try to bubble screen all day (Seriously, be on the lookout for this.  It’s like watching that shit offense McDaniels installed here all over again) and fail.

Fortunately for Chad, he too will ascend after his crucifixion.  While we can obviously expect the score to be so lopsided the Jaguars start throwing regularly in hopes of a Christ-like miracle, we can also expect guys that don’t sniff the field to get some live looks this week.  Both are a recipe for some moderate Henne success.

I expect approximately 20 mostly-garbage-time points from Jacksonville.

Trap Game?

I hated the Jaguars for over a decade after the 1996 playoff upset.  Imagine how Elway feels.

I still hate my last employer and I wasn’t even fired let alone had an entire community turn on me and walk me to the door.  Imagine how Del Rio feels.

I still want to bury my old rivals.  Imagine how Peyton Manning (a guy who had minimal qualms about hanging 41 points on his brother) feels.

Mental Exercise

Close your eyes and picture this (well you can’t close your eyes and read, but you get what I’m going for, right?): 3rd and 10, Denver up by 7, Brady has the ball and is lined up, and he’s staring down a 5 man rush made up of Von, Wolfe, Malik, Ayers and Phillips.

How many of you smiled?  If you didn’t I’ve got some bad news: you’re a filthy Pats fan.

Around the League:

Only Brandon would knowingly incur a fine to raise awareness for his made-up mental disorder.

Is it just me or is NBC getting a little too cheeky with their coverage?

Jimmy Graham is pretty amazing.  Vanilla-chocolate swirl ice cream is pretty amazing.  …Coincidence?

Hester sure looks like a douche for yelling at Gould in the midst of such a shitty performance.

Now that the Colts don’t have to pretend Dwight Freeney is a good player, Mathis is going off in those favorable match-up pass rush opportunities.  With 9.5 sacks through 5 games, Mathis is on pace for a 30.5 sack season.  Plan for week 7 @ Indy?  Max Protect!

The Streak

So Peyton threw his first pick thanks to glare from the terrible stadium position in Dallas… in the middle of ANOTHER FIVE TOUCHDOWN FUCKING GAME.  But MOST importantly, here’s Wile E. Coyote Peyton Manning fooling everyone because, lol, Peyton can’t run.

**If anyone is competent enough with photoshop to put Peyton on a tricycle or a Big Wheel as he casually cruises that score in for 6, please contact me**

Free Money (…and by free, I mean you’re losing with the vig):

Green Bay -3
Detroit -2.5
Houston -7.5
NYJets -1.5
Cincinnati -6.5
New Orleans +2.5
Dallas -5.5
Colts -1.5

Cumulative: 8-8. Pretty awesome that I can peg each aspect of this except for the part that makes money.

That’s Good Broncos

Is it just me or is he just getting better EVERY week?

And because LeSean McCoy’s a dick (scoreboard, douche)

Hurry, hurry at the Death Star


Because it couldn’t happen to a better guy.

Another week, another swift ass-kicking as Duke met Riley and made Harriet Tubman proud, while Peyton slayed the Nemean lion while it handed him free product placement.  I can’t follow that, so diving in…

The Denver Defense

At the beginning of the game, the defense has to be prepared for the opposing offense to do anything: they need a multi-purpose tool.  As defenses take away what offenses want to do from what they need to do–whether by clock, points, or field position–, the defense can adjust to use a more specialized tool (which is where Denver’s emphasis on versatile players has paid massive dividends), or in this case a more effective pressure substitution package as the run threat is minimized by clock and scoreboard.  Denver will have problems when someone can take what they WANT to do, and score consistently.  That being said, the defense has been well rounded and good enough to have those options eliminated by half.

Against a mobile quarterback prone to tuck it and run like Vick, the four to five players rushing the passer have to engage their opposing blocker and maintain gap-discipline and containment as they rush the passer.  While Vick managed to exploit a man-to-man lack of a quarterback spy for a few third down scrambles, ultimately, he was hurried, hit or sacked on the vast majority of his dropbacks (exceptional against a football team that holds the entire game) and finished the game watching Nick Foles play from the bench.  Mission accomplished.

Interestingly enough, Denver was bailed out early by a big drop by Brent Celek that would’ve placed the Eagles on the 5-yard line.  On this play, Denver was in a cover 2 and Vick and Celek nearly-connected in what is known as its “seam”.  Literally impossible to defend without drastically increasing the depth of your inside linebacker’s coverage drop.  I wanted to emphasize this particular play because it directly leads into Monte Kiffin, father of both the Tampa 2 and a terrible football coach (Jim Mora Sr offers his knowing sympathies).

Why the Dallas Cowboys will be walking funny on Monday

Click for zoomed-out spoiler to Sunday’s game

While Monte birthed the Tampa 2 from his own oaky birth canal, Tony Dungy promptly fell in love with it, courted it and spent his head coaching career with it.  Under Dungy, Peyton spent the vast majority of his own career practicing against the Tampa 2 on a near daily basis.  Recall the Brent Celek example and expect a big day from Julius Thomas as Peyton abuses the seam and the side line (both deep and between the corner and safety). While I expect Dallas to pose the greatest threat Denver has faced this season, there are no breaks on the rape train.

…but, but, but Demarcus Ware vs Chris Clark

How could Chris Clark possibly match-up with one of the best pass rushers there has ever been in Demarcus Ware?  By minimizing the job.

Per Profootballfocus.com, 23 of 34 pass attempts were released in 2.5 seconds or less.  A dizzying rate and a near impossible task for a defender to read pass, beat his man, close and sack the QB.  The other eleven attempts are likely to all be by design–longer step drops, more elaborate developing routes–and assisted with a tight end or back.

This highlights my list of match-ups to watch.  Honorable mentions to Dez vs DRC, Wolfe/Phillips vs Doug Free and Julius Thomas vs Sean Lee (Dallas’ only hope at minimizing big plays down the seam).

The Streak

16-0.  Touchdown to interception ratio, or 2013 regular season foreshadowing?  Not only is Peyton Manning dominating at a level unparalleled in NFL history, but the ball is even looking prettier when Peyton throws it.  Frankly, his performance is only reinforcing my theory that Peyton Manning is a stem-cell Highlander.

Hurry, Hurry, Omaha, Omaha, Alpha, Alpha

What do these mean?  These are key words for offenses that can be rotated from week to week or play to play to disguise their meaning from the defense.  The actual mechanics of this are important.  The words are selected by ease of audible recognition as a response to crowd noise in opposing stadiums.

These words are far from meaningless attempts to confuse the defense, rather, vital communication to adjust to the defense–generally after Peyton makes them declare with a hard a count under center.  Recently Peyton used “Omaha” to call a hot route, while “hurry hurry” was the impending snap, letting the offense know the snap is coming on his next count.

Example of a play:

Offense lines up at the line of scrimmage.
Peyton gets under center, to get the defense to declare.
Defense declares and shows blitz.
Peyton steps away yelling “Omaha” calling for a hot route, sometimes changes players positions (moving Knowshon to the blitz, in this example).
Welker recognizes the Will backer and Strong safety showing blitz to his side and knows that means to hot route to a quick route on his side (maybe a slant or in into the vacated area).
Peyton makes more line calls and maybe a hard count.
Peyton yells “Hurry, hurry” for impending snap.
Snap on “set hut”.
3-drop step drop and while Knowshon picks up the blitz an easy completion to Welker to move the chains.

Around the League:

I like Phillip Rivers a lot better when he’s losing and throwing public temper-tantrums.

With all due respect, Mrs Thompkins, Kenbrell is a lazy name.

It was a good week to be a Peterson as Adrian reminded the Pittsburgh defense how old they were 140 different times along with 2 touchdowns and Patrick caught as many passes (2) from Bucc’s quarterbacks as the guy he was covering, Vincent Jackson.

Bill Ford’s got a lottttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt of nerve

QnA:

4 weeks in, how do you see the effectiveness of Phillips/Ayers compared to the guy they replaced in Doom?

Currently, Phillips and Ayers aren’t replacing Doom.  With the suspension to Miller, they’re filling in for both, so in terms of production, you’re asking to compare 2 apples against 1 orange.  We’ll be able to get a much clearer picture of each players’ effectiveness relative to Elvis when Miller returns and pass rushing opportunities from Phillips and Ayers are condenses and matchup exploits are schemed to Von’s strengths.  That being said, I’m absolutely impressed with Robert’s growth and performance against both the run and the pass (despite missing on his diving pick attempt in the flat on a zone-blitz and losing contain against Vick for a big conversion), and also frightfully aware that it’s a contract year. Speaking of those…

Of our UFA’s at the end if the year, who do you consider the highest priority to re-sign at this point? Lowest priority?

As much as I love DRC and Decker, resigning Wesley Woodyard must be the highest priority.  Under Del Rio, Wesley has been the stabilizing force to our linebacker corps and a primary reason for the leap in performance of both our run defense and coverage over the middle–both previously Achilles heels to the Denver defense.

The lowest priority (aside from Andre Caldwell, Quentin Jammer and other low impact players) is Mike Adams.  While he’s excelling in his more limited role as a coverage safety and band-aid for Duke, our secondary depth has made massive strides and his presence could be readily replaced.

Free Money (Just a lil bit of):

Chargers -4.5
Kansas City -2.5
Carolina -1.5
San Fran -6
Denver -7

Cumulative: 6-5 ATS

That’s Good Broncos – Best Episode Yet: