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Old 05-31-2009, 02:56 PM   #1
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http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_12486993
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Broncos become (slow) believers
New offense one tough lesson
By Mike Klis
The Denver Post


Josh McDaniels' new offense has been difficult to learn, but the players are singing its praises now that they've assimilated it.


Before the Broncos' new offense is presented on the field through shotgun deliveries and crisscrossing patterns, it is contained by a four-walled room of desks, PowerPoints and three-ring binders.

For most of the offseason, Broncos players have viewed the new playbook as a seventh-grader would trigonometry.

"The most difficult thing for me is learning the different terminology," veteran receiver Brandon Stokley said. "With all the concussions I've had, it doesn't get any easier for me."

"It's one of the most difficult offenses I've been in," veteran center Casey Wiegmann said. "Just because there's so much verbiage."


.................................................. .........................................

In those three previous seasons, New England averaged 370.8 yards and 28.8 points per game. In that same span, the Broncos — who were transitioning between a quarterback who is now retired (Jake Plummer) and a kid gunslinger who has since been traded (Jay Cutler) — averaged 350.5 yards and a mere 21.0 points.

Broncos players pay enough attention to grasp the success McDaniels had with the Patriots. And they have spent enough time on the field in minicamps and ongoing passing camps to see how sophisticated diagrams and complicated linguistics can translate to a new set of downs and more touchdowns.

"What I like about it," Stokley said, "is the way we do things to get people open."

It is an offense that comes with high-scoring potential, and a steep learning curve.


Kyle Orton, who is competing with Chris Simms to become the Broncos' starting quarterback, may have said it best when he inferred difficulty helps create productivity.

"They're two of the same," Orton said. "It's a complicated system. But it's one that causes a lot of confusion on the other side of the ball. So, once you understand it, it puts all the confusion on the defense."

McDaniels liked that answer. When he was first hired, there was sentiment he should leave the offense alone. Instead of having 40 players adjust to a new system, let one coach adjust to the old system.

The Broncos, after all, ranked No. 2 in the NFL last year in total offense. But the darker side to the Broncos' offense last season was they finished 16th in scoring. The Patriots, with a quarterback who hadn't started a game since high school, were No. 8 in points. The previous year, with Tom Brady, the Patriots set the all-time NFL scoring record.

McDaniels understands his system pushes his players to the football equivalent of honors classes. But why settle for paper airplanes when you can build rockets?

"That's why the smart player is what we're after," McDaniels said. "We want players who can think and adjust and learn different things. We put things in every morning and expect them to come out here and run it exactly as we talked about. Our guys are doing a better job each day of running it the way we want it run without having five days to get ready to do it."

During the season, players don't get the game plan until Wednesday morning. They better know every play and every assignment by practice that afternoon.

"You don't give them four days notice," McDaniels said. "So that's what we made passing camp like. Passing camp is no different than the season for us."

.................................................. .......................................
It's a system built on the quarterback usually operating from the shotgun.

"There's certain things we can do from a protection standpoint that we can't do under center," McDaniels said. "So we use it for that reason. I think it helps the quarterback in terms of his vision, his identification of what's going on. And really what we've learned the last two or three years and expanded on this spring, we can run basically our whole offense from the shotgun. If we want to. We won't do that but we can."

From the shotgun, the quarterback will usually watch a minimum of three receivers cut off the other's heels. The receivers will alternate screening for each other. The tailback and tight end will scoot through their share of checkdown routes.

The quarterback will almost always will have at least one receiver open for a 5-yard gain. Complete enough 5-yarders and eventually the defense, through frustration, will allow the 20-yard seam routes.

"We have so many weapons, and you don't know where anyone is going to line up," tight end Tony Scheffler said. "I think it's going to be like someone who owns a lot of classic cars. You get to go out to your garage and pick one out each day. As a skill-position guy, you have to look at it that you don't know when you're next chance is going to be so you've got to make a play when the ball comes to you."

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Old 05-31-2009, 03:11 PM   #2
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I thought something that was in Urban's Meyer's handbook was really interesting - When you introduce new things, you turn pro's into rookies.

That's what we have this year. A team full of rookies.
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Old 05-31-2009, 03:44 PM   #3
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I can't help it, thinking of Tim Tebow when reading about all of the shotgun formations and smarts. I think he would be a perfect fit in this system.
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Old 05-31-2009, 03:47 PM   #4
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I thought something that was in Urban's Meyer's handbook was really interesting - When you introduce new things, you turn pro's into rookies.

That's what we have this year. A team full of rookies.
Sometimes, you have to tear things apart to build it back together stronger than ever...
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Old 05-31-2009, 03:49 PM   #5
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I can't help it, thinking of Tim Tebow when reading about all of the shotgun formations and smarts. I think he would be a perfect fit in this system.
Yes he would. I remember advocating for Meyer as coach back when all this started and being told the spread would never work in the pros. Now we have an offense introducing aspects of the spread.

Tebow would be a great fit.
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Old 05-31-2009, 04:08 PM   #6
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Yes he would. I remember advocating for Meyer as coach back when all this started and being told the spread would never work in the pros. Now we have an offense introducing aspects of the spread.

Tebow would be a great fit.
You deserve major props for that as well--Great call. This article actually has me excited--
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Old 05-31-2009, 04:11 PM   #7
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You deserve major props for that as well--Great call. This article actually has me excited--
this is what we have been telling all you cutler lover/mcdaniels haters for awhile now. give it some time, he brings a ton of great stuff to the table, stuff that may not even work with cutler as the QB (short passes/checkdowns etc)
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Old 05-31-2009, 04:37 PM   #8
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echoing what someone said on another thread, I love when these steak-heads make it seem like they're learning how to perform surgery.
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Old 05-31-2009, 04:40 PM   #9
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Sometimes, you have to tear things apart to build it back together stronger than ever...
Yup instead of trying to facelift the outside and ignore the crack in the foudation.

"Look a new roof (D-Cord)"

"Ya but the footer is crack and the home is shifting"

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The reason McDaniels brought in guys like Jordan & Gaffney is they know the verbage, routes and flow of the offense.

This is again why I feel that McDaniels was interested in trading for Cassel. It would have made the transition so much easier for the other players.

It wasn't about talent or skills in the Cassel vs Cutler trade. It was abouting plugging in a guy that knows the system.
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Old 05-31-2009, 04:44 PM   #10
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So, when do we start cheating?
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Old 05-31-2009, 04:47 PM   #11
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echoing what someone said on another thread, I love when these steak-heads make it seem like they're learning how to perform surgery.
terminology=memorizing It's about memorizing what term goes with where you line up and what you do.

Most of us would get it faster then these dumb jocks but we can't run a 4.4 and bench press 225 pounds 30 times.

They do make to much of it. It ain't rocket science.
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Old 05-31-2009, 04:50 PM   #12
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terminology=memorizing It's about memorizing what term goes with where you line up and what you do.

Most of us would get it faster then these dumb jocks but we can't run a 4.4 and bench press 225 pounds 30 times.

They do make to much of it. It ain't rocket science.
exactly. People are making this out like you need PHD to run this offense, that just BS. It about understanding the terminology, and communicating it to 10 other guys in the huddle. There is nothing special about any football system any more, it about execution and that dependent on the players not the coaches.
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Old 05-31-2009, 05:02 PM   #13
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exactly. People are making this out like you need PHD to run this offense, that just BS. It about understanding the terminology, and communicating it to 10 other guys in the huddle. There is nothing special about any football system any more, it about execution and that dependent on the players not the coaches.
And this is why we will fail.... Brandon Marshall is an idiot.
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Old 05-31-2009, 05:04 PM   #14
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I am waiting till the 8th game to see how things go. Untill then it's all fluff. Mcdaniels needs to make the playoffs to keep his job, why else would you make the change unless you plan to get better.
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Old 05-31-2009, 05:07 PM   #15
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Most of us would get it faster then these dumb jocks but we can't run a 4.4 and bench press 225 pounds 30 times.
no doubt, otherwise I would be out there!

the whole "woah is me, I'm getting paid a million dollars to learn 500 plays and their associations" thing bothers me sometimes. Its nothing a little bit of mental gymnastics and practice reps won't take of.

That said, I hope these guys are bright enough to pull it off with success this year.
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Old 05-31-2009, 11:27 PM   #16
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I am waiting till the 8th game to see how things go. Untill then it's all fluff. Mcdaniels needs to make the playoffs to keep his job, why else would you make the change unless you plan to get better.
Wrong, we could go 4 -12 this year and as long as the team is playing stronger smarter more competitive football toward the end than at the beginning, then McD gets at least two more seasons to get back to the playoffs.

Bowlen isn't an idiot, these many sweeping changes takes time to gel, and the moment Bowlen himself took over the Cutler saga and punted his sorry ass to Chicago , McD got an official three year 'SHOW ME' ticket.

Bowlen knows we have probably the brightest young mind in football as a Head coach now, he is also a rookie head coach and for all his enthusiasm and smarts he will make certain rookie mistakes along the way and this is a Herculean task anyway you slice it. Made even more so by the antics of that pouty immature PRICK ****ler.

If we get lucky with 50% of these draft picks, UDFAs and FAs, as well as with the injury bug this year, its conceivable we could make the playoffs. But looking for steady progress toward the last half to quarter of the year will keep Bowlen happy and McD secure in his job for as long as that progress continues.

The one wild card is because McD is such a focused, detail-oriented and hands on coach, and with good assistants around him, plus the obvious extra discipline and sense of urgency he has instilled in this team, I wouldn't be surprised at all of if we surprise all the doom and gloomers out there even this year.
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Old 05-31-2009, 11:41 PM   #17
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I am waiting till the 8th game to see how things go. Untill then it's all fluff. Mcdaniels needs to make the playoffs to keep his job, why else would you make the change unless you plan to get better.
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Old 05-31-2009, 11:44 PM   #18
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Just curious. Does anyone know whether any other team in the NFL has tried to install the New England offense from the ground up?

I would have thought that Crenell and Mangini had installed it, but both were defensive coaches, and neither team ran the New England system on O.

Notre Dame obviously runs it, but that's a college program, so it doesn't count.

I know that we tried to run parts of it last season, but it's not like we had installed the entire offense. I think Carolina runs something similar, but I'm not certain about that.

Anyway, I just thought it was curious that other teams emulate the 3-4 and some of the New England stuff on defense, but no one has tried to replicate the offense. I'm mainly asking because I was wondering what kind of track record other teams had running it, if at all.
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Old 06-01-2009, 12:11 AM   #19
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Anyway, I just thought it was curious that other teams emulate the 3-4 and some of the New England stuff on defense, but no one has tried to replicate the offense. I'm mainly asking because I was wondering what kind of track record other teams had running it, if at all.
Jesus. We are crediting NE with the 3-4 now?
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Old 06-01-2009, 12:53 AM   #20
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Just curious. Does anyone know whether any other team in the NFL has tried to install the New England offense from the ground up?

I would have thought that Crenell and Mangini had installed it, but both were defensive coaches, and neither team ran the New England system on O.

Notre Dame obviously runs it, but that's a college program, so it doesn't count.

I know that we tried to run parts of it last season, but it's not like we had installed the entire offense. I think Carolina runs something similar, but I'm not certain about that.

Anyway, I just thought it was curious that other teams emulate the 3-4 and some of the New England stuff on defense, but no one has tried to replicate the offense. I'm mainly asking because I was wondering what kind of track record other teams had running it, if at all.
Well the record setting offense that has been all the talk of the last few years has only really come around recently. Our ZBS from the late 90's took the better part of a decade before it became really common even in small doses. The NE offense has been copied a bit obviously but a full installation hasn't occurred anywhere else. It's pretty new to the pro game and we're the first team to get a New England offensive coach that knows it so we're getting in on the ground floor here.
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Old 06-01-2009, 01:01 AM   #21
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I am waiting till the 8th game to see how things go. Untill then it's all fluff. Mcdaniels needs to make the playoffs to keep his job, why else would you make the change unless you plan to get better.
IMO there is no way that he doesn't keep his job. I'd even go so far as to say that he could miss the play-offs next year and not be fired (of course he'd be in a world of trouble); but this year he's safe imho.

"The most difficult thing for me is learning the different terminology," veteran receiver Brandon Stokley said. "With all the concussions I've had, it doesn't get any easier for me."



Gotta love Stokley
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Old 06-01-2009, 03:57 AM   #22
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Just curious. Does anyone know whether any other team in the NFL has tried to install the New England offense from the ground up?

I would have thought that Crenell and Mangini had installed it, but both were defensive coaches, and neither team ran the New England system on O.

Notre Dame obviously runs it, but that's a college program, so it doesn't count.

I know that we tried to run parts of it last season, but it's not like we had installed the entire offense. I think Carolina runs something similar, but I'm not certain about that.

Anyway, I just thought it was curious that other teams emulate the 3-4 and some of the New England stuff on defense, but no one has tried to replicate the offense. I'm mainly asking because I was wondering what kind of track record other teams had running it, if at all.
1. McDaniels effected some pretty massive changes to what the Pats do on offense post-Wies, and what ND runs, while somewhat similar, isn't the same kind of offensive scheme.

Urban Meyer's system (and the flexibility with which he can tailor it to his personnel's strengths) is a more accurate collegiate comparison I would say.

2. Yep, a team has tried to copy it. The 2008 Denver Broncos. They had great success from a yardage standpoint, but couldn't see the same red zone success the Pats have had under McDaniels. Your call on whether that offense was a success or a failure I guess (depends if you like a lot of yards or a lot of points).
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Old 06-01-2009, 04:55 AM   #23
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Mcdaniels needs to make the playoffs to keep his job, why else would you make the change unless you plan to get better.
Even as a McDaniels doubter, I agree with several of the above posters that he gets at least two, probably three years to show any kind of success. There would have to be a monumental collapse for him to lose his job this year. 1-15 with bottom 5 deffense and bottom 10 offense might do it, but much better than that (which the team should easily accomplish) and he gets at least another year. Even for two, McDaniels would really have to screw the pooch after Cutler's departure. For a two year showing I would say less than 6 wins combined and defense not showing any significant signs of progress would do it.

All this is a good thing actually, even for those who doubt McDaniels. Expecting to see verifiable results in the first year would only lead to a coaching carousel, which is the last thing we want or need. Imagine this scenario, McDaniels has a 5-11 season with slight improvement on the deffensive side of the ball. Bowlen says not good enough and brings in another guy. New Coach X actually fixes the D-line, but the O side of the ball is in trouble, neither Orton nor Moreno worked out, Marshall finally makes a mistake that gets him suspended for a season, and Stokely retires. New Coach X goes 4-14 in 2010, and Bowlen repeats the process. Where does it end? Unless McDaniels proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is completely incompetent, he will, and more importantly SHOULD, get at least two, probably three years.

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Old 06-01-2009, 06:23 AM   #24
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I'm sorry, but this article reminds me of another article a few years ago, at roughly the same time. That article spoke about how the Broncos were learning the new 2-gap defense system.

I was pushing for Urban Meyer as well. Tebow is going to be a NFL quarterback that makes a huge difference.

And when you give weapons away, you make it harder, not easier to have a better offensive system.
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Old 06-01-2009, 07:07 AM   #25
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Are people honestly suggesting Tim Tebow would be a good qb for us?



please, enough of the Tebow talk
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