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Old 11-20-2009, 10:18 AM   #1
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Default Examining what's wrong with Denver

By Burger Bill Williamson

How do the Denver Broncos regain their magic?

That question has been posed all week in the Rocky Mountains as the team is on the cusp of blowing a monumental lead in the AFC West.

The reeling Broncos somehow have to find the answer Sunday as they play host to San Diego in a matchup for sole possession of first place in the division. Both Denver and San Diego are 6-3. That tie seemed highly unlikely on the night of Oct. 19, when the Broncos beat the Chargers to improve to 6-0 and drop San Diego to 2-3.

However, Denver has lost three straight games, most recently at lowly Washington, since its bye. While Denver has come crashing back to earth, San Diego has won four straight games.

The Broncos have had a number of problems the past three weeks. They have looked more like the team many league observers expected them to be, with issues on both sides of the ball.

Here is a look at Denver’s problems and what it must fix to get back on the winning track:

No pressure from the defensive front: This area was considered one of Denver’s biggest question marks going into the season. Starters Kenny Peterson, Ryan McBean and Ronald Fields had two combined NFL starts prior to the season.

The group played well in the first six games but has been pushed around lately. Pittsburgh and Washington ran all over the Broncos. After the 6-0 start, the Broncos were third in the NFL in rushing yards allowed, yielding 79.7 yards per game. Now, they're 12th in the league, allowing 105.6 yards per game. According to ESPN’s Stats & Information, Denver has allowed 157.3 yards rushing, 26th in the league, over the past three games.

The problem clearly starts up front.

“It seems like it’s the group we expected it to be prior to the season,” Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. said. “That unit does not control the line of scrimmage anymore.”


Broncos DE Elvis Dumervil says the team believes it can win regardless of who is under center and that coach Josh McDaniels' message has remained the same throughout the season.

It will be interesting to see how Denver’s defense plays the run against San Diego. The Chargers had the worst rushing offense in the NFL most of the season. But LaDainian Tomlinson got going a bit Sunday against Philadelphia, rushing for 96 yards and taking the pressure off San Diego’s outstanding passing game. Denver must stop the run to keep San Diego's offense one-dimensional.

The entire defense is wearing down: The Denver defense sparked its hot start. The unit didn’t allow more than 17 points in the first six games. It was timely and punishing.

Yet, over the past three games, the defense has looked tired, and it has fallen apart late. Denver has allowed 85 points in the past three games after allowing only 66 points in the first six games. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Denver allowed 262.5 yards per game in the first six games. In the past three games, it allowed 351.7.

The change is startling.

“[We are playing] not very good team defense,” Denver coach Josh McDaniels said. ”We know that we can be successful when we play good team defense. We’ve shown that ability. We’ve done it in the past against good teams. For a number of reasons, we’ve kind of forgotten what got us to that point. We’ve got to go back to work, and we’ve got to all understand that we’re not 11 individuals out there. We’re one group that has to play our responsibility the way that it needs to be played and do our job the way that it needs to be done, and that is many times done without glory individually, but what happens is the ball ends up going back to the guy that it’s supposed to go back to and he’s there to make the tackle. If he does, then you usually play decent run defense. Once you start jumping around blocks and [are] trying to make a play here and there, it kind of spreads throughout the defense and becomes a problem.”

The longer the drives go, the worse Denver gets. According to ESPN Stats & Information, offenses were converting third downs only 26.9 percent of the time against Denver. In the past three games, offenses are converting on third down 56.5 percent of the time.

Williamson isn’t sure Denver is going to improve defensively with older players such as safety Brian Dawkins, cornerback Andre' Goodman and linebacker Andra Davis.

“It worked for a while, but the defense looks worn down and tired,” Williamson said. “Can it get better? I’m not sure because it’s not going to get any younger.”

Deep ball: The offense was, for the most part, along for the ride during Denver’s hot start. The defense was leading the way.

But the offense made it count when it needed to. Led by quarterback Kyle Orton, Denver made the right plays when it had to on offense against Dallas, New England and San Diego.

But Denver’s offense derailed in its seventh game, a 30-7 loss at Baltimore. The Ravens forced the Broncos to throw deep, which is not Orton’s strength. The Ravens played one safety and stacked the box to take away the running game and the short passing game. The Ravens kept Denver’s receivers in front of them and took away the big play. The Steelers mimicked that plan.

In the first half against Washington, Orton had success throwing deep before he hurt his ankle.


Knowshon Moreno had his best game of the season against Washington, gaining 97 yards on 18 carries.“Still, I don’t see that happening on a regular basis,” Williamson said. “Without the deep ball being a constant threat, this offense gets limited.”

For Denver to get more success on offense, it will have to run the ball better. Rookie Knowshon Moreno broke out of a slump with 97 yards against the Redskins. His improved play has to continue. If the Broncos aren’t going to be able to throw deep, they will at least have to complement the short passing game with a legitimate running game.

Special teams: One of the nagging problems of the Mike Shanahan era in Denver was poor special-teams play. Under McDaniels, special-teams play improved early in the season.

However, it has been an issue recently.

Against San Diego and Baltimore, Denver allowed a punt and kickoff return for a score. Against Washington, the Redskins got back into the game with a touchdown on a fake field goal.

These are the types of problems that can kill a team. With problems finding their identity on offense and defense, Denver can’t afford to deal with major failures on special teams. This should be a fairly easy problem to remedy. And it has to be solved. Giving away points on special teams is a sure way to lose games.

All of these issues need to clear up immediately. McDaniels knows his team can execute. Still, the past three weeks are clearly poking holes into Denver’s legitimacy.

“I am not sure where the psyche of our team is,” McDaniels said. ”I know where I’m at. We need to get better. We need to play better. We can coach better. We’re 6-3. We’re playing San Diego, who is also 6-3. It’s a huge division game at home. I don’t know why we wouldn’t like to be in this situation.

"I wish we had won the last three games. I think everybody in this building does, but we didn’t, and there are reasons why we didn’t. We’ve got to go fix the problems and play good football from here on out, starting with this week against a great team coming from San Diego in our division.”

Asked if he thinks Denver can regain its early-season form, Williamson was noncommittal.

“I really don’t know about this team,” Williamson said. “I didn’t expect them to start 6-0 and when they did I was impressed. But they have not looked like they can be a winning team in the past three weeks. They’re a very hard team to read. But they better get it together soon, or they are going to be in trouble. It has to start now against San Diego.”

http://espn.go.com/blog/afcwest/post...ng-with-denver
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:29 AM   #2
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Denver has allowed 157.3 yards rushing, 26th in the league, over the past three games.

Denver has allowed 85 points in the past three games after allowing only 66 points in the first six games.

Denver allowed 262.5 yards per game in the first six games. In the past three games, it allowed 351.7.

...offenses were converting third downs only 26.9 percent of the time against Denver. In the past three games, offenses are converting on third down 56.5 percent of the time.
Ouch.
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:34 AM   #3
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What's comical to me is the way the media would not be printing any of this stuff had Orton not gone down with the injury and the Broncos ended up winning that game.....even if all of those bad defensive stats remained. They'd be 7-2, with a good hold on the division and the #2 seed and that's what the uninformed media would focus on.
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:46 AM   #4
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Go back to the mustard and brown!

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Old 11-20-2009, 11:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Beantown Bronco View Post
What's comical to me is the way the media would not be printing any of this stuff had Orton not gone down with the injury and the Broncos ended up winning that game.....even if all of those bad defensive stats remained. They'd be 7-2, with a good hold on the division and the #2 seed and that's what the uninformed media would focus on.
What's comical is we did lose that game. Washington is just plain bad. Something needs to change and fast. If San Diego can successfully run on us it will point to bad things as their like 30th in the league in rushing.
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Old 11-20-2009, 12:13 PM   #6
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Burger Bill didn't do much to highlight the lack of a ball-control offense (Time of Possession) an scoring offense.

We have put too much pressure on our defense lately.

If we could find a way to get a couple more TD's each game, our defense would look awesome again. Too much Berger, not enough Knowshon and his pelvic thrusts in the endzone.
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:46 PM   #7
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One of the problem Denver is facing now has to do with the Defense getting worn down. Several NFL Network and ESPN Analyst have alluded to this very fact. Its obvious the offense not being able to move the ball consistently and score enouth points to take pressure off the defense is finally starting to reveal itself. Even Brain "Dawkins is starting show a little wear as well.

Although the Defense was playing lights out the first six weeks, the Broncos defensive line isn't exactly 4 players in their 20's...but in their 30's, and sooner or later if the defense is constantly out on the field b/c the Offense can't move the ball; those 30 something year old legs start to wear down.

As a result, teams are starting to run on Denver's defense and an already worn down veteran Bronco defense can't get off the field and the situation only worsens as the season wears on. In a nutshell.....thats whats wrong with Denver at this stage in the season.
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:54 PM   #8
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How about "Josh McD"....not knowing how to "adjust" after teams have figured out his game plan.

Last edited by Sassy; 11-20-2009 at 05:04 PM..
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Beantown Bronco View Post
What's comical to me is the way the media would not be printing any of this stuff had Orton not gone down with the injury and the Broncos ended up winning that game.....even if all of those bad defensive stats remained. They'd be 7-2, with a good hold on the division and the #2 seed and that's what the uninformed media would focus on.
Which is exactly why the intelligent football fan draws his own conclusions.

Regardless of if the media prints an article like this or not, these issues still exist. The problem is most people can't see past the scoreboard and cannot develop an independent opinion based on the actual play of the game.

The defense is playing similiar to the 2005 defense. Hot start, cold finish. The main problem has always been the front 7 and in particular the DL. You just can't maintain a high level of play for an entire season when the talent you have at the position just isn't all that great.

This is all just compounded by the fact that Orton is nothing special and Simms is backup quality. This team will continue to struggle until it gets a competant QB.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:02 PM   #10
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Which is exactly why the intelligent football fan draws his own conclusions.

Regardless of if the media prints an article like this or not, these issues still exist. The problem is most people can't see past the scoreboard and cannot develop an independent opinion based on the actual play of the game.

The defense is playing similiar to the 2005 defense. Hot start, cold finish. The main problem has always been the front 7 and in particular the DL. You just can't maintain a high level of play for an entire season when the talent you have at the position just isn't all that great.

This is all just compounded by the fact that Orton is nothing special and Simms is backup quality. This team will continue to struggle until it gets a competant QB.
rep
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:46 PM   #11
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How about "Josh McD"....not knowing how to "adjust" after teams have figured out his game plan.
Well, that might be it. On the other hand, maybe there is only so much adjusting that can be done with the talent at hand?
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:09 PM   #12
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Denver’s offense derailed in its seventh game, a 30-7 loss at Baltimore. The Ravens forced the Broncos to throw deep, which is not Orton’s strength. The Ravens played one safety and stacked the box to take away the running game and the short passing game. The Ravens kept Denver’s receivers in front of them and took away the big play. The Steelers mimicked that plan.


If they don't start throwing it deep more often it's going to be more of the same
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:18 PM   #13
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Denver’s offense derailed in its seventh game, a 30-7 loss at Baltimore. The Ravens forced the Broncos to throw deep, which is not Orton’s strength. The Ravens played one safety and stacked the box to take away the running game and the short passing game. The Ravens kept Denver’s receivers in front of them and took away the big play. The Steelers mimicked that plan.


If they don't start throwing it deep more often it's going to be more of the same
There was an article on ESPN or Yahoo, were they quoted a NFL defense coordinator that stated that teams wanted to Orton to prove he could beat them deep, because they didn't think he could on regular basis. Like I been posting, all the scheme advantage is gone and now it depends on talent.
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:31 PM   #14
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There was an article on ESPN or Yahoo, were they quoted a NFL defense coordinator that stated that teams wanted to Orton to prove he could beat them deep, because they didn't think he could on regular basis. Like I been posting, all the scheme advantage is gone and now it depends on talent.
well he's got plenty around him, I know he hit a couple in Washington but they were wide open now let's see if he can do it with a defender on the wr
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:44 PM   #15
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Well, that might be it. On the other hand, maybe there is only so much adjusting that can be done with the talent at hand?
That could be true as well.
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:28 PM   #16
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Orton can throw deep enough IMO. Perhaps not 40 yard frozen rope type of passes. But Marshall can go up for some well placed rainbows. We also need to get Hillis back in there to smash it up in there. wear down the opposing Defense so something is there in the 4th Qtr.

You could tell that McD had Orton on a short leash at the start. I don't blame him. get some confidence, play it close to the vest and win some close mistake free football. And It seemed as if the more Orton went without a INT, the more conservative he was to keep this going.

But things started gumming up. Good teams started squatting on the short game. And the three INT's sort of broke the ice IMO.

The game against Washington had some bright spots in the first half. Orton/McD were willing to open it up. Had he not got injured, I believe we would have won walking away.

Now we have two tough games within days of each other while dealing with this QB situation. Couldn't have happened at a worse time.

The next two games could get real ugly. But after that I think we'll get back on track. Can we overcome this bad luck in timing... we'll see.

I really hope Simms is ready if need be.

Go Broncos!
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Old 11-20-2009, 08:41 PM   #17
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The title says "examining what's wrong with Denver". Well what's wrong is that the team is making too many mental mistakes and it's costing them games. We've seen more turnovers by our offense and our defense has given up too many big plays. I don't think it has anything to do with wearing down. Farve is the oldest fart in this league and I don't see him wearing down. Stop making F'n mistakes Broncos and you will start winning again, it's as simple as that.
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:28 PM   #18
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We got Mcbean back and I think he was one of our reasons for Our RD being way better this year .
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:53 PM   #19
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I agree. We're still so paper thin at depth
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Old 11-21-2009, 09:22 AM   #20
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I think McD's lack of commitment to the run game vs. Washington cost us the game. I thikkng more runs earlier wouldve helped simms settle in.

Overall though the PA pass was a good call but Orton failed to execute and make a positive play
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:43 AM   #21
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Well, that might be it. On the other hand, maybe there is only so much adjusting that can be done with the talent at hand?
No doubt a better qb would solve most of our problems but, I really have my doubts BM Stokes Shef are the right fit for this dink offense. I think we need more speed on offense. I really think McD will overhaul the O in 2010.
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:17 AM   #22
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We're probably just shooting our wad in the 1st half. We need to spot the other team 10 points. We win those games.
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Old 11-21-2009, 05:41 PM   #23
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Orton can throw deep enough IMO. Perhaps not 40 yard frozen rope type of passes. But Marshall can go up for some well placed rainbows. We also need to get Hillis back in there to smash it up in there. wear down the opposing Defense so something is there in the 4th Qtr.

You could tell that McD had Orton on a short leash at the start. I don't blame him. get some confidence, play it close to the vest and win some close mistake free football. And It seemed as if the more Orton went without a INT, the more conservative he was to keep this going.

But things started gumming up. Good teams started squatting on the short game. And the three INT's sort of broke the ice IMO.

The game against Washington had some bright spots in the first half. Orton/McD were willing to open it up. Had he not got injured, I believe we would have won walking away.

Now we have two tough games within days of each other while dealing with this QB situation. Couldn't have happened at a worse time.

The next two games could get real ugly. But after that I think we'll get back on track. Can we overcome this bad luck in timing... we'll see.

I really hope Simms is ready if need be.

Go Broncos!
the offense was already bogging down in the second quarter
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Old 11-21-2009, 07:15 PM   #24
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Which is exactly why the intelligent football fan draws his own conclusions.

Regardless of if the media prints an article like this or not, these issues still exist. The problem is most people can't see past the scoreboard and cannot develop an independent opinion based on the actual play of the game.

The defense is playing similiar to the 2005 defense. Hot start, cold finish. The main problem has always been the front 7 and in particular the DL. You just can't maintain a high level of play for an entire season when the talent you have at the position just isn't all that great.

This is all just compounded by the fact that Orton is nothing special and Simms is backup quality. This team will continue to struggle until it gets a competant QB.
Well, with the yes men and sheep that comprise this message board firmly implanted in the "yaaay!" camp, if you approach a conversation with what they perceive as "booo!", then they'll get whipped up into a frenzy, light a bunch of torches, storm your house on the hill and burn it down with you in it.

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Old 11-21-2009, 07:56 PM   #25
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Well, with the yes men and sheep that comprise this message board firmly implanted in the "yaaay!" camp, if you approach a conversation with what they perceive as "booo!", then they'll get whipped up into a frenzy, light a bunch of torches, storm your house on the hill and burn it down with you in it.
Havent you got a soccer thread to post in somewhere?
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