View Full Version : Woody: Josh McDaniels the reason for the season?

09-09-2010, 01:29 PM

From Woody's Mailbag:

After watching the Broncos-Steelers game the other night, during which Robert Ayers recorded a surprising two sacks and had another taken away by a penalty, I began to wonder about the 3-4 system being the reason for Elvis Dumervil's enormous success last year.

Is it possible that the Broncos' scheme is designed to lock up all the blockers in order to free up the weakside outside linebacker (Dumervil or Ayers) to make the play? Obviously Elvis is very talented, but maybe the system has something to do with it too?

— Jordan Harp, Washington, D.C.

Jordan: The 3-4 system is constructed so that the nose tackle and at least one defensive end are responsible for run-stop and stuffing the middle. Since former defensive coordinator Joel Collier introduced the 3-4 to the Broncos in the mid-1970s, the idea was for the outside linebackers to support the run, rush the passer and help in pass defense.

Randy Gradishar led the Broncos in tackles every year (and was the first, and maybe the only NFL player, to record 100 tackles in 10 straight years — some of those during a 14-game schedule. Yet, he is still not in the Hall of Fame.).

In this system, the weakside backer is a pass rusher, and rarely is asked to do much in pass defense. "We don't ask them to do something (back-pedal) that they really don't do," Josh McDaniels told me last year about the switch for both Dumervil and Ayers.

Ayers was a down end, just as Elvis was, and Ayers' adjustment last year to linebacker was extremely difficult. That's why he wasn't much of a force (one fumble return for a touchdown). This year he has gotten more comfortable with the position, run support and the pass rush.

There is one problem with your statement. Ayers is a strongside backer, and Elvis was the weakside backer. (Jarvis Moss is playing backup on both sides.) The scheme is, as you said, designed to lock up the blockers.

What I'm certain you'll see is that Ayers will line up on the line of scrimmage on certain downs, and the blitz, under Don "Wink" Martindale, will come from both sides, the strong safety and the cornerbacks. The Broncos' defense has been mostly vanilla, without whipped cream or a strawberry, in the exhibition games.

Ayers is improving, and should have, oh, a half-dozen sacks this year. You must remember that Elvis had 12 1/2 sacks as a full-time, true defensive end in 2007 (but fell to five in 2008). I think the system works well for Dumervil, but his size (5-foot-10) and speed really help him because he can stay low, and he can whip in from the outside.

Ayers is taller and not as quick. It's a shame that Dumervil will be out for the entire season, but I think McDaniels was more concerned about Elvis returning to full strength next season, rather than risking four games this year, especially given the long-term investment the Broncos now have in him. (I don't think insurance figured in the issue, although I'm honestly not sure on this specific contract if the Broncos recoup money from the insurance if Elvis doesn't play this year).

What does a season-ending injury like LenDale White's do to his suspension? Does he get to serve the suspension on IR or is it still there if he gets a chance to come back?


Bronco Boy
09-09-2010, 01:34 PM
Oh, so you tickle our balls with the Ayers story and then make us click the link to find out about Lendale? I see how this works.

bronco militia
09-09-2010, 01:56 PM
probably not....

Doom was pretty good in the 4-3 as a DE

09-09-2010, 01:58 PM
I enjoyed the ball tickling, but I certainly hope Ayers can tally more than 6 sacks and a hell of a lot more pressures.

Atwater His Ass
09-09-2010, 03:39 PM
probably not....

Doom was pretty good in the 4-3 as a DE

Rushing the passer yes. He was destoryed playing the run.

Love him in the 3-4 though.

09-09-2010, 06:05 PM
I certainly hope Ayers can tally more than 6 sacks and a hell of a lot more pressures.

I am with you on that.

If Week 3 of the preseason against the Steelers was any indicator whatsoever, I expect a lot of blitzing this season.

The defense during the game was anything but vanilla.

Cox was sent on a blitz on the first defensive play of the game. Jarvis Moss was looking lost on in regards as to whether to rush or cover the speedster Mike Wallace.

The apparent error took the Steelers into Denver territory, as Wallace wound up being an easy target for Ben.

It seemed like one blitz after another, and when the defense did not Blitz such as the play on the 1st and 10 at red zone, Broncos still stacked 6 players on the line. Ben threw the ball away despite having time in the pocket because he expected a blitz.

The line was stacked with players the entire drive. On 3rd down inside the red zone, when Mewelde Moore came out of the backfield, Wesley Woodyard who was stacked on the line, stayed true to his man as Ben attempted to go to him for the first down.

Dixons INT came off of having six guys stacked on the line, while only sending 5. The pressure on Dixons initial drive was not as substantial as it was against Ben.

I also noticed Cox talking smack to Wallace after slinging him out of bounds on a six yard gain. This was just two plays before Dennis Dixon had the Woodyard laid on him. What a hit...

Ayers after having a sack erased by a penalty earlier in the game, came in on a 4 man rush and easily beat the RT with a fantastic Michael Jackson looking spin move for the sack.

The sack took the Steelers out of the red zone, set up the INT on the next play Andre Goodman on 2nd and 19 took 77 yards for the pick six with 11 seconds left in the half.

Mario Haggan starts off the second half with a blitz right up the gut that wraps up the RB behind the line of scrimmage.

Watching six defenders stacked on the line and having over 600 pounds drop back into coverage in the form of Justin Bannan and Ryan McBean on the second play of the second half was even more interesting... I think.

Is this how they plan to getting Ayers more attempts at getting sacks? Bannan actually looked pretty good in coverage on that play.

Flozell Adams got away with a sick hold on Marcus Thomas, who was actually jerked back from behind from making the sack on Dixon who wound up tearing a 29 yard run out of the play. WOW another hold ref's seemed to notice this one on the the LG this time.

I love watching 8 defenders stacked on the line. Ayers gets his second sack on the Steelers 4th and one attempt for a loss of six.

Joe Mays got a sack on Byron Leftwich after the six man rush.

What I just got done watching was 3/4's of the first 3/4's of Week 3 of the preseason that was anything but vanilla. That was well worth watching again.

After watching how the defense had completely stifled the Steelers rushing attack while the starters where out there, for the life of me I don't get the fear factor revolving around the Jaguars rushing offense, this defensive line is stout.