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Old 09-21-2009, 09:03 AM   #1
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Alright, I have 2 weeks of film on every team in the league and feel confident in assessing exactly where DEN stands from an individual and NFL perspective to the level of play.

Let's start on Offense:

1. DEN can run the ball still, but certainly looks better running zone plays than a lot of the new running scheme McDaniels brought with him. The running backs are all quite capable except Jordan who still misses opportunities.

2. The OL has been brilliant again in protection, despite completely changing most of what they do. Orton has been taking a lot of 5 and 7 step drops and has plenty of time. Orton also has been able to avoid several sacks because the rest of the OL has held when a single defender has gotten through.

3. The passing offense is really off. I mean, no one is making the same reads on coverages and the WR's have not been getting open well enough. Orton will get a lot of the blame, but the WR's need the lions share. ANY WR should get open after 4-5 seconds of protection, but DEN's WR's are really struggling. I seriously think McD needs to simplify the passing packages, especially the hot reads, until this group gets it. It looks ugly because no one is on the same page. (Marshall gets a lot of blame for this being out of camp!).

4. Overall, this is a potent offense despite being off in the passing game to start the year. This is NOT just a DEN problem either. A lot of teams are struggling with their passing game timing, including the PATS without McD. Their offense has looked less than average through 2 contests. It should keep getting better over time, but they need to make it simpler in the short run.

DEFENSE:

1. The front seven has so much more gap discipline this year, it makes it look like they are playing better. It is amazing what a HUGE difference that makes. In fact, they are winning at the POA much more than last year, but still not enough to shut down solid running teams. The run defense is predicated on inside/outside principles and they have effectively closed route 1 up the middle consistently. I would expect teams to start running outside more and trying to loosen that up. Then, we will truly see where the run defense stands.

2. Pass rush is much better, but still dependent on Elvis. CLE did a much better job handling DEN's blitz schemes than CIN did, but Elvis took St. Clair to school. He did not do much versus Joe Thomas though and DEN got little pressure outside that. In fact, Quinn left a lot of yards on the field like Orton did in week one and 2.

3. Secondary is hot and cold still. Several glaring blown coverages versus both Ohio teams, yet they were very stout in the red zone and did not give up a homerun TD. That in and of itself is a HUGE improvement. They are supporting the run and blitzing better than the last 2 years, but they are showing signs of vulnerability when their coverage disguises are not working.

4. Overall, I would say this unit has played better than the sum of its parts to this point. That is the sign of excellent coaching, and even better execution of the scheme by the players. The players on defense have responded MUCH better than the players on offense to the new changes. However, that is par for the course for the whole NFL at this point. The teams who are having huge offensive success are the talented offenses from the past, minus NE. Almost all of the offenses that have changed significantly have been wildly inconsistent.

ST's:

1. Doing MUCH better on coverage units. They kept Joshua Cribbs under wraps and that is saying something.

2. Prater: Did not play the wind well at all yesterday and it cost DEN 6 points. However, it is better to miss those and learn now, than miss and lose later.

3. Punting was pretty good overall and allowed coverage units to get to Cribbs yesterday.

4. Returns still need work and to be much more consistent.


Overall, DEN looks like a middle of the pack team right now. They are behind on offense and ahead on defense. That can carry a team for 3-4 weeks at the beginning of the season. Remember, DEN has had to do that under Shanahan several times until the offense started to click.

That is how I see it to this point. 2 solid games of film to look to evaluate and two weeks worth of every NFL game except tonights game reviewed. DEN has a legit chance to win this division if they can limit the Chargers big plays by their WR's. OAK and KC are better than most thought preseason as well, but their upside is much less than DEN right now.

Last edited by Mediator12; 09-21-2009 at 09:09 AM..
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:06 AM   #2
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Great read. Thanks Med!
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:07 AM   #3
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Great analysis!
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:19 AM   #4
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3. The passing offense is really off. I mean, no one is making the same reads on coverages and the WR's have not been getting open well enough. Orton will get a lot of the blame, but the WR's need the lions share. ANY WR should get open after 4-5 seconds of protection, but DEN's WR's are really struggling. I seriously think McD needs to simplify the passing packages, especially the hot reads, until this group gets it. It looks ugly because no one is on the same page. (Marshall gets a lot of blame for this being out of camp!).
That one doesn't make much sense to me. Orton has consistently been afraid of trying to hit people in 1 on 1 and because he holds the ball for so long people are being covered in the routes they use. You will notice we have not been using double moves nearly as much which is the only routes you really need a long time to develope. We are using a lot of simple one cut routes and when running those the QB has to get the ball out to the WR right after the cut when the WR has a step or two, if you wait too long the CB can catch up.

We saw Royal run a good double move yesterday and get open and Orton got the ball there, when Marshall got on the field Orton also seemed comfortable giving him the ball in situations when Marshall can screen the defender.

I am still surprised we are not using the tight ends more, a lot of the passing we are doing is going to the sideline and especially yesterday when we saw a lot of safeties in the box and in man cover it would have been obvious to challenge down the middle.

I thought the WRs looked pretty good yesterday expect for Royal who was pretty much a non-factor, I hope that he gets to run more double moves which he is good at and where his quickness will be able to get him open.

The zone blocking is looking good and both Buckhalter and Moreno are good at seeing the lanes and hitting them with conviction, I love how there is no dancing, if nothing is open then you just lower the pads and hit the defender and get a couple. That is the kind of no-nonsense we need.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:21 AM   #5
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I like that you managed to both temper over enthusiasm and leave room for optimism. Nicely balanced.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:28 AM   #6
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That was the biggest issue I had yesterday: The receivers. They didn't recognize the blitz. I didn't even see a hot read. They didn't come back to the QB when plays broke down. They obviously are not synched up with the QB given how many passes landed on empty grass. The only one doing his job right now is Stokely.

But I also still get the impression that McD is tryiing to impose an offense on players whether they fit that concept or not, instead of adapting his concept to the players he has. There's a lot of awkwardness coming out of the O on the field. Very little synchronization or fluidity.

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Old 09-21-2009, 09:28 AM   #7
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Nice post Med.

I too hope they start attacking the middle of the field more. Especially if teams play us like Cleveland did by bring the safety down in the box. It would be interesting to see them run Scheffler up the seam early in the game to establish the deep middle of the field. This may help to get the run game going a bit earlier than they did yesterday.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:30 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by gyldenlove View Post
That one doesn't make much sense to me. Orton has consistently been afraid of trying to hit people in 1 on 1 and because he holds the ball for so long people are being covered in the routes they use. You will notice we have not been using double moves nearly as much which is the only routes you really need a long time to develope. We are using a lot of simple one cut routes and when running those the QB has to get the ball out to the WR right after the cut when the WR has a step or two, if you wait too long the CB can catch up.

We saw Royal run a good double move yesterday and get open and Orton got the ball there, when Marshall got on the field Orton also seemed comfortable giving him the ball in situations when Marshall can screen the defender.

I am still surprised we are not using the tight ends more, a lot of the passing we are doing is going to the sideline and especially yesterday when we saw a lot of safeties in the box and in man cover it would have been obvious to challenge down the middle.

I thought the WRs looked pretty good yesterday expect for Royal who was pretty much a non-factor, I hope that he gets to run more double moves which he is good at and where his quickness will be able to get him open.

The zone blocking is looking good and both Buckhalter and Moreno are good at seeing the lanes and hitting them with conviction, I love how there is no dancing, if nothing is open then you just lower the pads and hit the defender and get a couple. That is the kind of no-nonsense we need.
Orton is not going to force balls into 1 on 1 coverage if there is no seperation, even if it is man coverage with their back turned. That is what was the problem in the first half yesterday. CLE played tight coverage and the WR's, outside of Stokely, failed to read the safeties in order to compensate. More than once, Royal ran into a double team instead of away from it.

As far as the routes are concerned, the WR's are not getting initial seperation enough to have the ball thrown early and on time. Plus, they are not breaking off their routes where the QB expects them to be. Now, that could be an either/or thing, however the QB is throwing the ball to where the coverage has not been. It is hard to call that the fault of the QB, unlike Romo last night who threw the ball twice to where the coverage was and the WR broke to where it was not.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:32 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Rohirrim View Post
That was the biggest issue I had yesterday: The receivers. They didn't recognize the blitz. I didn't even see a hot read. They didn't come back to the QB when plays broke down. They obviously are not synched up with the QB given how many passes landed on empty grass. The only one doing his job right now is Stokely.
Yep, I hope it's a point of emphasis this week in practice.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:33 AM   #10
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Just a note that I saw during the games, two of the sacks that Doom had, Ayers was about a step and a half behind him. If Elvis doesn't seal the deal, I think Ayers picks up those sacks or at least hits the QB and forces a pass into coverage.

It was pleasantly surprising to see him working into some of the nickel defenses, and also being effective. Granted, I only noticed him two or three plays and I was watching from a sports bar.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:37 AM   #11
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spdirty says its all Orton's fault all the time.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:39 AM   #12
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I like and agree with most of this review. It is a very good breakdown.

The passing game is the fault of the QB though. Our receivers will never match what they did with Cutler while they play with Orton. You can take that two ways though. Cutler would still throw to them with a guy or two on them and they had a ton of catches that way but it also resulted in some bad stuff.

Orton is only throwing it to wide open guys and when he doesn't, the passes don't usually work. He isn't very accurate and doesn't use the zip to get it by defenders.

Our reveivers are playing just as they always have. Another thing is all receivers are seeing more coverage when Marshall is sitting. I hope he can work out whatever problems he is having now(don't know what made him sit yesterday) so he can get out there.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mediator12 View Post
Orton is not going to force balls into 1 on 1 coverage if there is no seperation, even if it is man coverage with their back turned. That is what was the problem in the first half yesterday. CLE played tight coverage and the WR's, outside of Stokely, failed to read the safeties in order to compensate. More than once, Royal ran into a double team instead of away from it.

As far as the routes are concerned, the WR's are not getting initial seperation enough to have the ball thrown early and on time. Plus, they are not breaking off their routes where the QB expects them to be. Now, that could be an either/or thing, however the QB is throwing the ball to where the coverage has not been. It is hard to call that the fault of the QB, unlike Romo last night who threw the ball twice to where the coverage was and the WR broke to where it was not.
Royal looks lost this year, I think Marshall is playing on talent right now, once he understands the system he should be dominant again.

Plus Orton is not taking chances with the ball, it is almost like McDaniels will take out a fingernail for each INT, so instead of taking a chance he throws it away and lives to fight another day. This may hurt more when we get behind against the better teams but it has worked so far.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:43 AM   #14
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Just a note that I saw during the games, two of the sacks that Doom had, Ayers was about a step and a half behind him. If Elvis doesn't seal the deal, I think Ayers picks up those sacks or at least hits the QB and forces a pass into coverage.

It was pleasantly surprising to see him working into some of the nickel defenses, and also being effective. Granted, I only noticed him two or three plays and I was watching from a sports bar.
I noticed that too. I thought Ayers had a good game.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:43 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by jhns View Post
I like and agree with most of this review. It is a very good breakdown.

The passing game is the fault of the QB though. Our receivers will never match what they did with Cutler while they play with Orton. You can take that two ways though. Cutler would still throw to them with a guy or two on them and they had a ton of catches that way but it also resulted in some bad stuff.

Orton is only throwing it to wide open guys and when he doesn't, the passes don't usually work. He isn't very accurate and doesn't use the zip to get it by defenders.

Our reveivers are playing just as they always have. Another thing is all receivers are seeing more coverage when Marshall is sitting. I hope he can work out whatever problems he is having now(don't know what made him sit yesterday) so he can get out there.
OUr receviers didn't get open much yesterday. But hey, its all Orton's fault.

Nevermind that the receivers aren't finding the holes in the zones and cant get separation on Man coverage.

Its all Orton's fault.

Nevermind that I see other teams receivers getting wide open all over the place.

Its all Orton's fault.

You are such a tool.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:44 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpc View Post
Just a note that I saw during the games, two of the sacks that Doom had, Ayers was about a step and a half behind him. If Elvis doesn't seal the deal, I think Ayers picks up those sacks or at least hits the QB and forces a pass into coverage.

It was pleasantly surprising to see him working into some of the nickel defenses, and also being effective. Granted, I only noticed him two or three plays and I was watching from a sports bar.
I saw the same, and was doubly impressed because is looked like he was going up against Joe Thomas at the time and not looking too bad.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:46 AM   #17
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OUr receviers didn't get open much yesterday. But hey, its all Orton's fault.

Nevermind that the receivers aren't finding the holes in the zones and cant get separation on Man coverage.

Its all Orton's fault.

Nevermind that I see other teams receivers getting wide open all over the place.

Its all Orton's fault.

You are such a tool.
Did I hurt your feelings with what I said? I'm sorry if I did, that wasn't my intention.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:48 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by jhns View Post
I like and agree with most of this review. It is a very good breakdown.

The passing game is the fault of the QB though. Our receivers will never match what they did with Cutler while they play with Orton. You can take that two ways though. Cutler would still throw to them with a guy or two on them and they had a ton of catches that way but it also resulted in some bad stuff.

Orton is only throwing it to wide open guys and when he doesn't, the passes don't usually work. He isn't very accurate and doesn't use the zip to get it by defenders.

Our reveivers are playing just as they always have. Another thing is all receivers are seeing more coverage when Marshall is sitting. I hope he can work out whatever problems he is having now(don't know what made him sit yesterday) so he can get out there.

I will say this again, when your WR's misread coverage and run into double coverage instead of away from it, that is the WR's fault. When the QB reads where the safeties and other defenders are and consistently throws away from that, that is the WR's fault. Orton did not throw one ball into double coverage that was not wide open anyway.

I like that. He kept it simple and secure. By the second half, DEN made the proper adjustments and were much more succesful after the WR's realized the actual coverages they were facing. When they did, the offense was much more effective. The only times they were not was when they blew hot reads on blitzes.
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:09 AM   #19
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I will say this again, when your WR's misread coverage and run into double coverage instead of away from it, that is the WR's fault. When the QB reads where the safeties and other defenders are and consistently throws away from that, that is the WR's fault. Orton did not throw one ball into double coverage that was not wide open anyway.

I like that. He kept it simple and secure. By the second half, DEN made the proper adjustments and were much more succesful after the WR's realized the actual coverages they were facing. When they did, the offense was much more effective. The only times they were not was when they blew hot reads on blitzes.
Yeah, I'm not saying it is ortons fault in the sense that he made bad reads. He made some good ones as you say. I was saying our receivers did that all of last year but jay throws into coverage even when the receivers went into coverage or were jsut covered the entire time. That is a good and very bad part of Jays game. He had the ability to make it work but it also caused a lot of bad.

The only thing I was trying to say is our receivers won't match their stats from last year because orton doesn't throw to them in these situations that Cutler used to. They were never wide open every play. I guess when I said it is ortons fault it kind of throws it off. It is ortons fault but it is a good thing if you don't want him throwing into coverage.

I will say this one other way to make sure guys like rock chalk understand and don't have to get so upset. Our receivers won't look as good as last year because they were targeted even when they were covered with Jay. That gave them better stats than if they were only targeted when they were wide open. This means our passing game will never look as good in the stats but the fewer bad plays could be very good for the team. Orton won't give our receivers as many chances as Jay did. This will be ok as long as our defense stays good. We are a ball control offense now.

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Old 09-21-2009, 10:12 AM   #20
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Quote:
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I will say this again, when your WR's misread coverage and run into double coverage instead of away from it, that is the WR's fault. When the QB reads where the safeties and other defenders are and consistently throws away from that, that is the WR's fault. Orton did not throw one ball into double coverage that was not wide open anyway.

I like that. He kept it simple and secure. By the second half, DEN made the proper adjustments and were much more succesful after the WR's realized the actual coverages they were facing. When they did, the offense was much more effective. The only times they were not was when they blew hot reads on blitzes.
In at least 3 situations yesterday when Orton threw the ball away he had a tight end wide open in a check down position. In each situation Orton was locked into a target on one side who never got open and instead of going through his progressions he ended up throwing the ball away.

It is not Ortons fault that people are not getting open on simple routes down field, but he is not very good at scanning the field for another target, he seems to lock on and throw the ball away more than looking for his hot read or check down option.
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:47 AM   #21
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I disagree with your O analysis in that the pocket protection has been brilliant. Orton has been under heavy pressure on about 70% of his dropbacks. He has about 2 seconds to get rid of the ball or move most of the time. He's been taking long dropbacks and that's part of the problem. However, that does sucker teams into screen plays. They haven't done well with the spread O, without some extra protect from the TE's chipping.

I'd like to see the 'new' run blocking scheme work better, because that way you avoid retaliation like Shaun Rodgers did against Moreno with the facemask. Rodgers was pissed because he got cutblocked and the next chance he got he tried to twist Moreno's head off his shoulders.

I agree the passing O was out of sync and the WR's were not reading right. Orton was throwing the ball away a lot when he did have time. The WR's had their backs to the LOS too much, way too much actually.

D, I agree there was some glaring blown coverages, but I was heartened to see the quick adjustments. They're dependent on Elvis right now, absolutely, but I was heartened to see Ayers step up some when Haggans went down. I'm heartened to see the rookies Phonz and McBath play well also. It was interesting to see a lot of rookies and second teamers on D during CLE's last two drives. It was smart of McNolan to do that.

ST's, it was good to see the Phonz smoothly field the punts and get some yards. It's good to have a lot of competent returners. McKinley can also return, he's a good rookie also. I agree, the coverage teams were tasked stop Cribbs, and they did it. I liked also how the returners picked right up after Royal was gassed.
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:53 AM   #22
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Med,

Have you watched specific players? Seems to me that Ryan Harris is getting beat moreso than last year. Wonder if his back is bothering him more than we know?
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:07 AM   #23
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I saw the same, and was doubly impressed because is looked like he was going up against Joe Thomas at the time and not looking too bad.
And Joe Thomas held in on 3 consecutive plays, 2 of which were the Dumervil back-to-back sacks.

The one thing I noticed specifically on those plays was that Ayers didn't try a swim or a spin or anything to get around Thomas after he got stood up and held but he did keep pushing Thomas back towards Quinn.

Guy needs a bit more coaching up and he should be OK towards the second half of the season.
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:09 AM   #24
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as usual Med makes a great post! Thanks man.

Good to see some level headedness around here!
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:26 AM   #25
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That one doesn't make much sense to me. Orton has consistently been afraid of trying to hit people in 1 on 1 and because he holds the ball for so long people are being covered in the routes they use. You will notice we have not been using double moves nearly as much which is the only routes you really need a long time to develope. We are using a lot of simple one cut routes and when running those the QB has to get the ball out to the WR right after the cut when the WR has a step or two, if you wait too long the CB can catch up.

We saw Royal run a good double move yesterday and get open and Orton got the ball there, when Marshall got on the field Orton also seemed comfortable giving him the ball in situations when Marshall can screen the defender.

I am still surprised we are not using the tight ends more, a lot of the passing we are doing is going to the sideline and especially yesterday when we saw a lot of safeties in the box and in man cover it would have been obvious to challenge down the middle.

I thought the WRs looked pretty good yesterday expect for Royal who was pretty much a non-factor, I hope that he gets to run more double moves which he is good at and where his quickness will be able to get him open.

The zone blocking is looking good and both Buckhalter and Moreno are good at seeing the lanes and hitting them with conviction, I love how there is no dancing, if nothing is open then you just lower the pads and hit the defender and get a couple. That is the kind of no-nonsense we need.

Orton missed a couple of big plays... BUT he hasn't thrown an INT yet.

It's encouraging that a lot of the incompletions Orton is throwing are on misreads on the option and timing routes, because A. Orton will get better as he learns the system, and B. Some of them could very well be the receivers fault.
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