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12-11-2012 08:05 AM

Coveting the NE game plan
 
THAT'S HOW IT'S DONE

I really hate New England. But last night they accomplished what the Broncos are struggling mightily to get in place, a solid game plan right out of the gates. Put up 3 TD's in 3 drives, and the game is practically in the bag.

I've discussed this aspect before. The offensive game simplified comes in 2 sections: 1) the scripted game plan you practice during the week, and 2) the adjusted game plan you build as the game goes on.
The scripted game plan is your first 1 to 3 or 4 drives. After that, it's all up in the air.

Peyton has obviously taken care of #2. But McCoy, Fox, and Manning have all struggled to take care of #1.

For reference, these are Denver's last 9 games
OAK - TD, FG, FG
Tampa - TD, Punt, Punt
KC - Punt, FG (miss), INT
SD - Punt, INT, FG (miss)
Car - Punt, Punt, TD
CIN - FG, Punt, TD
NO - Punt, TD, Fumble
SD - Punt, Punt, Punt
NE - Fumble, Punt, TD

And here's NE's last 9.
HOU - TD, TD, TD
MIA - TD, FG (miss), INT
Jets - Punt, FG (miss), TD
Colts - Punt, TD, TD
BUF - FG, TD, TD
STL - TD, TD, TD
Jets - Punt, TD, TD
Sea - Punt, TD, TD
Den - Punt, TD, TD

You can scan the lists and see how much better NE has done. But let's score these for argument's sake. TD = 2, FG (made or missed) = 1, anything else = 0
Over the last 9 games (since we last played one another).
Denver = 17 points
NE = 39 points

The one good thing about Denver's list is that the best game is our most recent, where the first 3 drives were all scoring drives. I would only question whether this is an anomaly, a product of how bad the Raiders are, or are we finally improving? Obviously, Baltimore will be a much better test of improvement.

None of this should be a surprise. Denver has made a name for themselves this year as a 2nd half team. But coming into the playoffs, this is no longer a fun fact overshadowed by a bunch of W's. It makes me nervous, and I see it as our biggest, glaring weakness.

For the first time in many weeks, I am wondering, do we have what it takes?
What's the problem?

HAT 12-11-2012 08:49 AM

There is no "problem".

NE has their roster & coaching philosophy....Denver has theirs.

All that matters is W's and in that they are equal. Sure, NE beat Denver H2H in Foxboro but that was forever ago.

TonyR 12-11-2012 08:53 AM

Good post, jerseyguy. I've been noting slow starts as a concern of mine for a few weeks now (although as you noted it wasn't as much of a problem against Oakland). You can't start slow against the elite teams as our 3 losses have shown. You get down 2 scores to the Pats, for example, and you're in big trouble.

fontaine 12-11-2012 08:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jerseyguy4 (Post 3751063)
For reference, these are Denver's last 9 games
OAK - TD, FG, FG
Tampa - TD, Punt, Punt
KC - Punt, FG (miss), INT
SD - Punt, INT, FG (miss)
Car - Punt, Punt, TD
CIN - FG, Punt, TD
NO - Punt, TD, Fumble
SD - Punt, Punt, Punt
NE - Fumble, Punt, TD

I would only question whether this is an anomaly, a product of how bad the Raiders are, or are we finally improving? Obviously, Baltimore will be a much better test of improvement.


For the first time in many weeks, I am wondering, do we have what it takes?
What's the problem?

There's a whole range of issues that have prevented the team firing on all cylinders in the first half. Take the games in batches:

1. Individual mistakes from WRs/TEs: SD first game/CIN/CAR
- Drops have cost us on 2nd/third downs from our wideouts. There have been plenty of occasions where those guys have been in the right place to make a play but drop the pass on 3rd downs which just results in a punt. Or like against NE the WRs fumbling after the catch.

2. Changes to defensive gameplans: TB/OAK:
- Both of these defenses changed their front 7 looks dramatically. TB went with a very vanilla front 7 4-3 look without changing formations, shifts, and looks and just lined up early to try and outplay our OL one on one. They also went very conservative with two deep safeties which limited the big play opportunities and asked their LBers to play their zone drops very well (which they did - see David's interception). OAK completely shifted their front 7 with overloaded blitzes, delayed blitzes and slot blitzes. The offense wasn't prepared to handle this. Eventually the O adjusts in the 2nd half and starts sustaining longer drives.

3. QB/RB/OL errors: KC/SD 2nd game/TB
- Manning doesn't make very many mistakes but the one thing he has been guilty of is trying to throw the ball into very tight coverage, or dropping it in over a defender in zone and behind the safeties. When it works (Joel Dressen TD against Oakland first game) it looks great. When it doesn't you end up with an ugly int against TB where David had a perfect zone drop. Against KC it was the same thing where Manning had no business throwing to Decker deep when he over/under double coverage and that ended up in an int as well.
- Our running game just isn't a homerun threat. Watch the OAK game again and in the first half count how many times we see 6 men in the box. Against that look with two deep safeties, Manning rightly calls run but none of our backs have shown any homerun ability. McGahee has a long run of 31 and Moreno 18. That's pathetic when most of the times our run game see less defenders in the box early and our wideouts do such a good job of blocking.
- OL still makes individual mistakes in allowing unblocked sacks and tackles for a loss.

TonyR 12-11-2012 08:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HAT (Post 3751084)
There is no "problem".

If you start slow, make mistakes, and fail in the red zone in the playoffs you're probably going home. These are issues this team has had and really needs to clean up. We've gotten away with it against the mostly mediocre-at-best schedule we've faced the last 8 weeks. Baltimore on the road will be a good test for this team to see if they're ready for prime time.

enjolras 12-11-2012 09:28 AM

I think it's fascinating that you believe Peyton isn't involved in the scripted plan, but is somehow fully in control of the adjustments.

12-11-2012 09:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fontaine (Post 3751088)
There's a whole range of issues that have prevented the team firing on all cylinders in the first half. Take the games in batches:

1. Individual mistakes from WRs/TEs: SD first game/CIN/CAR
- Drops have cost us on 2nd/third downs from our wideouts. There have been plenty of occasions where those guys have been in the right place to make a play but drop the pass on 3rd downs which just results in a punt. Or like against NE the WRs fumbling after the catch.

2. Changes to defensive gameplans: TB/OAK:
- Both of these defenses changed their front 7 looks dramatically. TB went with a very vanilla front 7 4-3 look without changing formations, shifts, and looks and just lined up early to try and outplay our OL one on one. They also went very conservative with two deep safeties which limited the big play opportunities and asked their LBers to play their zone drops very well (which they did - see David's interception). OAK completely shifted their front 7 with overloaded blitzes, delayed blitzes and slot blitzes. The offense wasn't prepared to handle this. Eventually the O adjusts in the 2nd half and starts sustaining longer drives.

3. QB/RB/OL errors: KC/SD 2nd game/TB
- Manning doesn't make very many mistakes but the one thing he has been guilty of is trying to throw the ball into very tight coverage, or dropping it in over a defender in zone and behind the safeties. When it works (Joel Dressen TD against Oakland first game) it looks great. When it doesn't you end up with an ugly int against TB where David had a perfect zone drop. Against KC it was the same thing where Manning had no business throwing to Decker deep when he over/under double coverage and that ended up in an int as well.
- Our running game just isn't a homerun threat. Watch the OAK game again and in the first half count how many times we see 6 men in the box. Against that look with two deep safeties, Manning rightly calls run but none of our backs have shown any homerun ability. McGahee has a long run of 31 and Moreno 18. That's pathetic when most of the times our run game see less defenders in the box early and our wideouts do such a good job of blocking.
- OL still makes individual mistakes in allowing unblocked sacks and tackles for a loss.

Great break-out. I think your biggest point, is that the problem isn't any 1 thing holding us back. It's a myriad of issues and the timing with which they occur.

When you look at it like this, all seems very correctable, with the exception of the run game. If we struggle going into the playoffs, this is most likely the lynchpin.

However, this seems to be a part of Fox's gameplan. The pound pound pound for 0 to 3 yards early, which have routinely opened up to 5+ yards later in the game. Nonetheless, it's sometimes cringe worthy to watch the early handoffs, fully expecting a stop +/- a yard of the LOS

12-11-2012 09:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by enjolras (Post 3751112)
I think it's fascinating that you believe Peyton isn't involved in the scripted plan, but is somehow fully in control of the adjustments.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jerseyguy4
...But McCoy, Fox, and Manning have all struggled to take care of (the scripted plan)

??

I wouldn't think he's "fully" in control. But I doubt Fox has much time for it during a game. McCoy obviously has to be playing his part, but yes, I think Peyton is the one making mostly making the final decisions.

12-11-2012 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jerseyguy4 (Post 3751115)

However, this seems to be a part of Fox's gameplan. The pound pound pound for 0 to 3 yards early, which have routinely opened up to 5+ yards later in the game. Nonetheless, it's sometimes cringe worthy to watch the early handoffs, fully expecting a stop +/- a yard of the LOS

That is also the other teams gameplan by playing 5 and 6 in the box allowing small runs. Lack of speed to the outside allows them to play those guys up the middle knowing they won't give up a big play to the outside. This strategy also means Denver has to go 10 plays or more to score a TD without a drive killing penalty or 3rd down drop.

HAT 12-11-2012 11:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TonyR (Post 3751089)
If you start slow, make mistakes, and fail in the red zone in the playoffs you're probably going home. These are issues this team has had and really needs to clean up. We've gotten away with it against the mostly mediocre-at-best schedule we've faced the last 8 weeks. Baltimore on the road will be a good test for this team to see if they're ready for prime time.

Of course...But that's not what I meant by no "problem".

Denver certainly has issues and any team can always play better.

But in the context of the OP...Comparing NE's first 3 drive logs to Denver's is pointless. They have a different roster, different roster, different opponents in different weeks. Going up 21-0 isn't the only way to win football games.

It's nice but so is ball control, solid defense and feeling your opponent out / setting them up for 2H adjustments.

BigPlayShay 12-11-2012 11:57 AM

Quote:

HOU - TD, TD, TD
This would look a whole lot different if #25 would have just fell on the freaking football after Ridley's fumble.

Are New England's gameplans all that superior, or are they just fantastic at capitalizing on every opportunity? I'd say the Broncos have had just as good of gameplans, but have not capitalized on every opportunity.

12-11-2012 01:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HAT (Post 3751209)
But in the context of the OP...Comparing NE's first 3 drive logs to Denver's is pointless. They have a different roster, different roster, different opponents in different weeks.

Going up 21-0 isn't the only way to win football games.

Another way is to go down 24-0 and come back with 35 points in the 2nd half, but I'd rather not try that every week. ;)
Quote:

It's nice but so is ball control, solid defense and feeling your opponent out / setting them up for 2H adjustments.
Every team needs an edge. Coming out sharp and scoring is a darn good one. Peyton Manning is here now, and starting out strong should be an expectation. Occasionally, this team is going to have to win a shootout. A shootout is certainly a possibility against NE, and I don't want to see this team start out 21-0 if it does.

broncosteven 12-11-2012 01:56 PM

McCoy in his tenure here has always been more of a reactionary game caller than an attacker. I think as the year has gone on they have been slowly getting better, if not for some bad turnovers in a couple games this year we would have had more early success.

I am just grateful that our staff can make the right adjustments at the half and do it consistently.

cmhargrove 12-11-2012 02:26 PM

I think that we may be overthinking this a bit.

We have had less than one year to build a "Manning Offense." In many ways, Peyton still has a bunch of hand-me-down players that we have had to make work. Elway has done an incredible job of rebuilding both sides of this team, but it might take another year or two to build an offensive roster as talented as NE.

I don't even think our gameplan is a bad one, we just need a few more talented pieces. Trade a second rounder for LeSean McCoy (pipe dream), get a speedy young slot receiver who can beat out Stokely, and maybe another H-back stud for the receiving TE role. We would be deadly.

rbackfactory80 12-11-2012 02:56 PM

Wait until Gronk comes back.

ZONA 12-11-2012 03:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rbackfactory80 (Post 3751302)
Wait until Gronk comes back.

I'm sure they are looking forward to getting him back but all that means is that somebody else is NOT going to get the touches that he is going to take back. When they had both TE's healthy, that meant Lloyd was not getting touches and Welker was being ignored at the beginning of the season also.


I do think NE had a solid game plan but I think a little too much credit going their way. I know they had to execute and they played well but cmon guys, the Texans stank up the joint. I mean, for real, on the goal line they had NOBODY even covering the TE who was out wide all by himself, not a single defender within 10 yards. I mean hey, NE is good but if you're simply going to just give away TD's, anybody could have scored on the Texans there.

DBroncos4life 12-11-2012 04:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rbackfactory80 (Post 3751302)
Wait until Gronk comes back.

Yeah with Gronk NE first three drives against the Texans looks like this:

TD,TD,TD instead of:
TD, TD,TD

rbackfactory80 12-11-2012 04:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DBroncos4life (Post 3751318)
Yeah with Gronk NE first three drives against the Texans looks like this:

TD,TD,TD instead of:
TD, TD,TD

Yeah, if you don't think he makes a difference you are dumber than I thought.

How about the next 3 punts forced by the Texans D. Probably add another score in there somewhere.

rbackfactory80 12-11-2012 04:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ZONA (Post 3751306)
I'm sure they are looking forward to getting him back but all that means is that somebody else is NOT going to get the touches that he is going to take back. When they had both TE's healthy, that meant Lloyd was not getting touches and Welker was being ignored at the beginning of the season also.


I do think NE had a solid game plan but I think a little too much credit going their way. I know they had to execute and they played well but cmon guys, the Texans stank up the joint. I mean, for real, on the goal line they had NOBODY even covering the TE who was out wide all by himself, not a single defender within 10 yards. I mean hey, NE is good but if you're simply going to just give away TD's, anybody could have scored on the Texans there.

Him and Hernandez are a nightmare. Then add the rest of that crew. We were fortunate enough to play them when Hernandez was out last game.

DBroncos4life 12-11-2012 05:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rbackfactory80 (Post 3751331)
Yeah, if you don't think he makes a difference you are dumber than I thought.

How about the next 3 punts forced by the Texans D. Probably add another score in there somewhere.

Hilarious! Seriously? Of course I think he makes a difference. Didn't you see my space after one of the commas? Sorry this year has been rough on you. Maybe someday you will get a little humor back in your life :wave:

12-11-2012 05:29 PM

Thanks for breaking down like that.

I've been trying to make it clear to people, that this is a product of what McDaniels started in Denver when he started scripting plays here.

He's brought that over to NE and it was evolved with their "one word" no huddle and that's what leads them to their blazing fast starts.

Scripting obviously started with Shanahan but that was only for like 9-12 plays. McDaniels had turned that into like 3-4 drives or almost the whole 1st qtr+.

Just a little Denver history.

And I'm not sure if McCoy has the creativity to script anything.

12-11-2012 05:30 PM

McCoy sucks, therefore hoping for a great gameplan from the first snap is futile.

12-11-2012 05:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Action (Post 3751374)
Thanks for breaking down like that.

I've been trying to make it clear to people, that this is a product of what McDaniels started in Denver when he started scripting plays here.

He's brought that over to NE and it was evolved with their "one word" no huddle and that's what leads them to their blazing fast starts.

Scripting obviously started with Shanahan but that was only for like 9-12 plays. McDaniels had turned that into like 3-4 drives or almost the whole 1st qtr+.

Just a little Denver history.

And I'm not sure if McCoy has the creativity to script anything.

Get off McDaniels' nutsack already...

12-11-2012 05:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Agamemnon (Post 3751378)
Get off McDaniels' nutsack already...

Whoa wait, so I'm on his nutsack when I give him credit where credit is due, but what does that make you guys that talk about him all season when he struggles?

DBroncos4life 12-11-2012 05:36 PM

True story, McD hired McCoy.


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