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Old 11-16-2009, 03:04 AM   #1
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Default Krieger: "D" leads downfall

Krieger: "D" leads downfall


By Dave Krieger
Denver Post Columnist
Posted: 11/16/2009 01:00:00 AM MST



LANDOVER, Md. The mystique is gone. Now what?

For the third consecutive week, the Broncos' defense was trampled Sunday. But this time it was trampled by the Washington Redskins, whose offense would have to improve to be labeled ordinary.

The Broncos' strength has become their weakness. Suddenly, they can't stop anybody.

After chalking up defensive deterioration the previous two weeks to the quality of opposition, they have run out of excuses. Their new-look defense has been exposed. Now, they either find a way to fix it or complete yet another late-season collapse.

The trend is not their friend. Over their nine games, these are the point totals they have surrendered, in order: 7, 6, 3, 10, 17, 23, 30, 28 and 27.

It is now fair to ask whether they got it done early with smoke and mirrors, whether a new coordinator, new scheme and lots of new players just confused people for a while.

During their 6-0 start, the Broncos did not surrender 100 rushing yards once. In the past three games, all losses, they have surrendered 125, 173 and, Sunday, a season-high 174. That was a season-high for the Redskins too.

"As it gets later in the season, teams that run the ball win," veteran cornerback Ty Law said. "And we have to stop that, somehow, some way.

"Any good football team and every great team that I've ever been a part of, we ran the ball in late November and December, and we were able to stop the run. That's something that we're missing right now these last few games. You can't give up 100-plus yards to rushers and expect to win. It just doesn't happen."

Just as troubling, the Broncos have gone from a great second-half team to a lousy one. Having outscored teams after intermission 76-10 in their first six games, they have been outscored 58-14 in the second half over the last three.

In short, the Broncos' defense has morphed from stout to soft without even a rest stop at mediocre.

For the past three weeks, opponents have forced the Broncos into their nickel defense by deploying three-receiver sets. Then they've run the ball out of those sets, consistently winning the battle at the line of scrimmage.

"When we go to our nickel, our three defensive linemen that are in the game in our base defense are still in there," coach Josh McDaniels said. "So, whether it's base or nickel or whatever it may be, we've got to do a better job of not giving up the line of scrimmage the way we did.

"Anytime you give up 150-some yards rushing, it's going to be hard for you to get off the field. They were in a lot of third-and-shorts during the course of the game, and I think that was really predicated on the fact that they could run the ball."

Frankly, the recent deterioration is less surprising than the excellence of the first six weeks. Coming into the season, the defensive line was the Broncos' weakest link from a personnel standpoint. There is not a single blue-chipper there. Suddenly, Le Kevin Smith, Ronald Fields and Kenny Peterson look like the reserves they were prior to this season.

"We've just got to be more physical," veteran defensive end Vonnie Holliday said. "Teams have seen us now. We're not surprising anybody. We've got to be more physical and we've got to play with better technique."

There will be those who blame Sunday's loss on the collapse of the offense after Kyle Orton went out at halftime. They will obviously have a point. Having thrown two NFL passes since 2006, Chris Simms was obviously rusty when he began the second half.

Had the Broncos continued to score the way they did in the first half, when Orton got his wish to throw the deep ball and turned two of them into touchdowns, they might have disguised their defensive deterioration. But that wouldn't have changed it.

This is a pattern the franchise has seen before. The Denver defense was on a record-setting pace through six games of the 2006 season. By the end of the season, the defense was in tatters and defensive coordinator Larry Coyer was shown the door.

You can win for a while in the NFL based on clever schemes and the element of surprise. But eventually, when opponents have enough game tape to look at, you have to win by lining up and beating your opponent at the point of attack. For three weeks now, the Broncos' defense has lost that battle.

Last week, safety Brian Dawkins said the defense knew what had to be corrected and was working on it. After Sunday's loss, you have to wonder if recognizing the problem is enough.

There is no magic bullet. There are no Pro Bowl defensive linemen walking through that door. The Broncos are free falling, with no soft landing in sight.




http://www.denverpost.com/premium/broncos/ci_13796524
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Old 11-16-2009, 03:28 AM   #2
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You can win for a while in the NFL based on clever schemes and the element of surprise. But eventually, when opponents have enough game tape to look at, you have to win by lining up and beating your opponent at the point of attack. For three weeks now, the Broncos' defense has lost that battle.

THIS!
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:17 AM   #3
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We didnt apear to blitz much in this game. at least compared to other games. With QB as poor under pressure as JCampbell, we shoud of been able to turn him over a few times.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:25 AM   #4
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The Bronco defense made an average at best offense look very good. I had been saying much of the season that if Nolan was truthful, he'd say he didn't have all the pieces he'd want for this defense and they are being exposed for not having as much talent as a true great defense needs. But McDaniels only had one summer to fix a defense that was neglected for quite a few years, so can't expect such a quick fix with having to make so many changes.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:32 AM   #5
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Are we really going to blame the D for this one?

Think about it. We had the lead at the half. Skins had 5 possessions in the 2nd half and here's what happened:

Punt
Turnover on downs
Field Goal
TD
3 and out (resulted in field goal because they started the drive on our 25 yard line or so)

Looking deeper, does anyone really believe they put up more than 6 or 7 pts total in that half if the offense does ANYTHING in that half with Simms? Turnovers and 3 and outs by the offense just killed them.

Including the 1st quarter, the Broncos defense really only had two bad drives. No defense can pitch shutouts if they're out there for 45 minutes a game. Sorry.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:35 AM   #6
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The Redskins moved the ball all too well. Even if they didn't score, they helped themselves with field position since the Bronco defense couldn't stop the short passes or the run most of the 2nd half.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:36 AM   #7
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Need players.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:45 AM   #8
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the offense can't keep the defense on the field for 20+ minutes in the second half...
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beantown Bronco View Post
Are we really going to blame the D for this one?
I agree with you that the O is far more to blame than the D. But at the same time it's clear that this D isn't doing what it did the first 6 games of the season and I expected better against a decimated Skins offense.
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:27 AM   #10
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Think the Turning point was the 3 and out in the 3rd Q when the O was on the field for a whopping 1:23, because the next drive was the 7+ minute drive was where we held them to a field goal and then on comes the O with two nice Moreno runs and Sims throws the ball to Hall.

This one is a Team loss not just an O loss. And having no take aways really hurts aswell as we gave 2 away. Plus the gifts from the Kicker...when you get the ball on the 40 you gotta take advantage.
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:28 AM   #11
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I sat behind the Broncos bench during the game. It was astounding to me to see Fields on the sideline for so many snaps. We were losing the game in the second half at the POA, and Fields was off for most of the plays it seemed.
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmz313 View Post
We didnt apear to blitz much in this game. at least compared to other games. With QB as poor under pressure as JCampbell, we shoud of been able to turn him over a few times.
When we did, Campbell just dumped it off to the RB for 10 yards.
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rohirrim View Post
Need players.
You said it. And giving up our 1st round pick make me sick. Epic failure. At least when your team is losing you have a high pick to look forward to. Yeah, I know we have one, but we sure need two.
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:01 AM   #14
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The offense didn't do them any favors but by god "No more my bad make the fuggin play"
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:01 AM   #15
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I sat behind the Broncos bench during the game. It was astounding to me to see Fields on the sideline for so many snaps. We were losing the game in the second half at the POA, and Fields was off for most of the plays it seemed.
Who was in for him?
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:16 AM   #16
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The D? Seriously? Phil Simms' kid lost the game yesterday and no one else. Why is he still on this team
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:17 AM   #17
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The D? Seriously? Phil Simms' kid lost the game yesterday and no one else. Why is he still on this team
He sucked for sure but he wasn't playing defense
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:34 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Who was in for him?
The nickel package was out there for a whole load of plays yesterday. Redskins were running three receiver sets. Everytime they subbed in, Champ would turn to the bench and signal how many receivers were in. Then the necessary package would come in. They were calling running plays out of three receiver sets knowing that we would have less beef on the field up front and in the defensive backfield. We just got gashed at the POA.

This is what happens when you don't have enough talent in the front seven. You have some guys who can stop the run, and others who are great pass rushers, but very few who do both well. The teams that have had success against us this year are those who have run out of passing formations. See the first half against Dallas. They executed this perfectly. Anyway, Andra Davis, Fields, and a few others come off the field on these three receiver sets and they are the best we have at maintaining gap integrity and stopping the run. We run a 4-3 with the nickel package sometimes and these guys are not strong at the POA.
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:10 AM   #19
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Quote:
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You said it. And giving up our 1st round pick make me sick. Epic failure. At least when your team is losing you have a high pick to look forward to. Yeah, I know we have one, but we sure need two.
This is crap. Given what we're seeing with a lack of depth in the secondary (JMFW was cut, and we now have no young talent) and having 2 old starting corners, you don't think 1 or those 2 first round picks would maybe have been made for a corner anyway? Basically, we got our first round corner a year early. Nothing wrong with that.

Now - it is yet to be seen if McD and Xanders were right that Alphonso is a 1st round talent. However, that is the exact same risk with any player you draft.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:20 AM   #20
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I am sorry, but the offense is killing the Defense. We can't continually go 3 and out. Any defense that is on the field that long gets killed.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:27 AM   #21
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I am sorry, but the offense is killing the Defense. We can't continually go 3 and out. Any defense that is on the field that long gets killed.
Yea thats a given, but at a certain point the D needs to get itself off the field. Giving up drives of 9, 13 and 11 plays for 4:13, 7:15, and 6:13. At one point or another the D needs to stand up for itself.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:31 AM   #22
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Yea thats a given, but at a certain point the D needs to get itself off the field. Giving up drives of 9, 13 and 11 plays for 4:13, 7:15, and 6:13. At one point or another the D needs to stand up for itself.
4 punts forced, including a key 3 and out after Buck's fumble;
a 4th down stop; and
a 3 and out that resulted in a field goal after the Broncos turned it over on downs toward the end.

They clearly weren't perfect, but they really only had two bad drives all game IMO: the first drive and the TD drive towards the end, when the offense hung them out to dry for 3 drives in a row.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:35 AM   #23
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"As it gets later in the season, teams that run the ball win," veteran cornerback Ty Law said. "And we have to stop that, somehow, some way.

"Any good football team and every great team that I've ever been a part of, we ran the ball in late November and December, and we were able to stop the run. That's something that we're missing right now these last few games. You can't give up 100-plus yards to rushers and expect to win. It just doesn't happen."
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:40 AM   #24
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Quote:
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4 punts forced, including a key 3 and out after Buck's fumble;
a 4th down stop; and
a 3 and out that resulted in a field goal after the Broncos turned it over on downs toward the end.

They clearly weren't perfect, but they really only had two bad drives all game IMO: the first drive and the TD drive towards the end, when the offense hung them out to dry for 3 drives in a row.
I'm just throwing numbers out there...but you can't complain about how long they are on the field when they are fresh...and can't get themselves off of the field. Poor tackling.

1-10-WAS 9 (2:55) L.Betts up the middle to WAS 17 for 8 yards (B.Dawkins, A.Davis).
2-2-WAS 17 (2:20) J.Campbell pass short left to S.Moss to WAS 22 for 5 yards (A.Goodman). P14
1-10-WAS 22 (1:44) L.Betts left tackle to WAS 27 for 5 yards (V.Holliday).
2-5-WAS 27 (1:06) L.Betts up the middle to WAS 34 for 7 yards (B.Dawkins, A.Goodman). R15
1-10-WAS 34 (:30) Q.Ganther left tackle to WAS 35 for 1 yard (A.Davis, R.Fields).
2-9-WAS 35 (15:00) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass short middle to M.Kelly to DEN 47 for 18 yards (R.Hill). P16
1-10-DEN 47 (14:24) L.Betts left tackle to DEN 29 for 18 yards (T.Law). R17
1-10-DEN 29 (13:41) R.Cartwright up the middle to DEN 25 for 4 yards (L.Smith, D.Williams).
2-6-DEN 25 (13:00) R.Cartwright right end to DEN 15 for 10 yards (T.Law, B.Dawkins). R18
1-10-DEN 15 (12:15) (Shotgun) J.Campbell scrambles left end pushed ob at DEN 13 for 2 yards (W.Woodyard).
2-8-DEN 13 (12:08) L.Betts left end to DEN 13 for no gain (W.Woodyard).
3-8-DEN 13 (11:24) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass short left to R.Cartwright to DEN 12 for 1 yard (D.Williams,
V.Holliday).

This is the drive they should've gotten themselves off the field on. Punt pins them inside the 10 and they drive the length of the field for 3...and TOP is almost even at this point.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:51 AM   #25
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Looking at the TOP alone without context is misleading. It was skewed by the Broncos one insane drive at the end of the first half.

Before that drive you highlight above, the Broncos offense did absolutely nothing with the ball and threw them right out there with no rest. True, they have to make some tackles and essentially make their own luck. But they did hold them to 3 on that drive. That can't be understated.

And, even if they did force another three and out there, it's not like Simms would've done anything with it. His next three drives went INT, 3 and out, 3 and out.

There were only 2 ways the Broncos were winning this game after Orton went down: either the defense gets a pick 6 or the defense pitches a shutout. Anything less results in a loss.
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