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Woody's Mailbag: Can hurry-up help?
Woody's Mailbag: Can hurry-up help?
Laine from Gunnison asks Woody why the Broncos don't use the hurry-up offense
By Woody Paige
The Denver Post
Posted: 11/05/2009 01:00:00 AM MST
1.) This is what I'm talking about! The Denver defense was put all out-of-kilter by the hurry-up offense of the Ravens. Especially in Denver, where our guys are used to the elevation, why are the Broncos not using the hurry-up to fatigue opposing defenses? -- Laine Ludwig, Gunnison
Laine: I totally agree. You guys in Gunnison are smarter than we in Denver are. As I've mentioned before, a couple of days before training camp, I met alone with Josh McDaniels in his office for about three hours, and we covered a lot of subjects. I asked at one point if he had studied the effects of the altitude in Denver and how to take advantage of it.
He said they always talked about it when he was in New England and his staff had done some research since he got to the Broncos. I asked specifically about the no-huddle, hurry-up offense, which I thought Mike Shanahan didn't utilize as he should have. I quote Josh: "We will be using it. I don't know how often, but it's something we will be working on and planning to have available. If we don't use it by the third game of the season, you can rip me."
Consider yourself ripped, Josh.
What I think, Laine, is that the Broncos have decided they want to shorten the game. They don't care to go three-and-out and put even more pressure on this very good defense. They're certainly not going to use the hurry-up unless they get behind and usually only in the two-minute offense. I think it's a mistake not to bring it out more at home because visiting teams will be worn down by the fourth quarter. But I'm in no position to bring the axe down because the Broncos have won six of seven doing it Josh's way.
The no-huddle, hurry-up
Kyle Orton signals before the snap in the second half vs. the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009. (Joe Amon, The Denver Post)always has worked for Indianapolis, but it was a disaster this year for Buffalo (unlike when the Bills introduced it to the NFL). Don't count on fast-break football to be a serious part of the Broncos' system, though. The Broncos have so many different offensive packages and run players in and out. One of the advantages of the hurry-up is that you get defenses in a situation where they can't change players. But if the offense brings in players, the defense is allowed to, also. If the Broncos struggle against Pittsburgh in the first half, maybe Josh will go to the Gunnison Giddyup.
2.) The Broncos' coach doesn't look like much of a genius now after he let Brett Kern go. Kern punted four times on Sunday in the Titans' win over the Jaguars for a 43.3 average, with three kicks downed inside the 20 and a long of 55. Mitch Berger punted eight times against the Ravens for average of 36.3, with three inside the 20 and long of 53. To this Toledo Rocket fan, it leaves me wondering ... why was Kern let go? -- Max Gerber, Toledo, Ohio
Max: How's that college football team that beat CU? How are the Mudhens and Jamie Farr? Anyway, the Broncos believed that Kern's punts were too low and too returnable. And the TD return in San Diego put them over the top. He had good distance, but lousy net average. Kern can punt. I do think that the Broncos were close to getting out of Berger what they wanted.
His net average was good, and there were no long returns. I'll bet you this: Berger's numbers will be up on Monday night. As you know, he had big numbers for CU. One of the best punters the Broncos ever had was Bucky Dilts. He always punted only 40 yards, but nobody ever returned them. The Broncos would like to get 40-41 out of Berger with no deposit, no return. But I feel your pain.
3.) Why don't the Broncos use the quarterback sneak more often? They have a top-notch offensive line, but for some reason we can't pound it in there for a yard or less. They used it San Diego and got like 4 yards. Don't you think that would be the way to go until we figure out what's wrong with our short-yardage running game? -- David Wiley, Glendale, Colo.
David: I actually miss the quarterback draw more. That used to be such a weapon for the Broncos. And you may not remember the naked bootleg Craig Morton used to run. Actually, "run" is too strong a word. Stroll, perhaps? I think the naked bootleg would be more effective for Orton. He's not a powerful guy to be quarterback sneaking. That's more for a Big Ben Roethlisberger. And, truthfully, the Broncos still are more of a finesse line inside. I think (and I've gotten a lot of emails on this) that Peyton Hillis is still the right runner in short-yardage situations.
4.) Hello from Alaska. Most of the attention focused on the Broncos' coaching staff has been about the new additions (McDaniels, Nolan, etc.). I am curious as to how the Mike Shanahan holdovers are doing in the new regime. Any hint that they'll be jumping ship when their former captain gets a new gig after the regular season? Or, are they willing to follow McD wherever he'll take them? -- David Woodley, Anchorage, Alaska
David: First, Guatemala, next, Alaska. You people should get a life. I loved you when you played quarterback for the Dolphins. Really good question, David. Haven't thought it about . . . Now I have. I believe it's quite possible that Rick Dennison, Bobby Turner and Keith Burns would join Shanahan. He was loyal to them, and them to him. Dennison lost his title when Josh came in, and he probably would join Mike as a coordinator or assistant head coach. Bobby worked for Mike for 14 seasons, and I think he would make the move.
Keith Burns is ready to be the (head) special teams coach. Rich Tuten, the strength and conditioning coach, might also follow. Ed Donatell has worked for both Mike (in the 1990s) and Josh this year, but if Shanahan would make him the defensive coordinator (as he was in Green Bay from 2000-03), he would do it. I'm relatively certainly Mike Nolan will be back. I don't think anybody is ready to give him another head coaching job right away, unless the Broncos win the Super Bowl. Wayne Nunnely (defensive line coach) may deserve a bump. There it is.
5.) Hi Woody. Bronco fans haven't seen much (if any?) of Spencer Larson. What exactly happened to him and has Brian Griese's dog been questioned? -- Steve Leavitt, Leesburg, Va.
Steve: Spencer fell down and hurt his shoulder in the locker room before the first game against the Bengals. That's not the way to start the season. I asked in the press box on Sunday in Baltimore if there had been a Larson sighting in the game. He played on special teams and made one big crunch tackle. Griese's dog had nothing to do with this injury, according to witnesses. Curiosity killed the cat, but there were the usual suspects. Have you thought about moving to Guatemala or Alaska, or Gunnison?