This Season (2005)-
Ok, you might not believe it, but if you even asked Athena (who has been sitting beside me listening to me try to coach the team/coaches through the television) the Broncos would be 8-0 right now!
First, check my post (if you haven’t) about last season and you’ll see some of my concerns for this season. I noticed that the team has worked out, or at least been working on, most of their major problems. Here’s my breakdown of this season and I’ll do the negative first this time.Some Cons:
My biggest concern of the season was, and still is, the play/play calling of the offense. While we are miles from the repetitive mess of last season, we’re still not there yet. There is still too much reliance on running up the middle or faking it for the boot. Still too many dumb plays called, like the fade (which miraculously has actually worked a couple times this year) and the quick throw to a receiver at the line of scrimmage.
Our red zone performance could still use a little more improvement, even though it is vastly better than last year.
I’ve seen many terrible 3rd down plays called! (Wonder why we have one of the worst 3rd down conversion percentages in the league?) A couple games back we called a play on important 3rd downs, 2 different times, that made me want to tear my hair. We split Bell out as a wide receiver and made him the primary target. I don’t mind trick plays (in fact I love them!) but that was just retarded, and even more so to try it again when it failed the first time.
Bell has to get himself conditioned to be able to play a whole game if we needed him. At this point, he’s weaker than Portis was. He only has enough gas to get about 15 carries a game, after that he gets tired and slows down. This is one of my biggest problems as I REALLY like Bell! I’ve been trying to yell through the TV. (doesn’t work that well) for the coaches to give Bell more touches since week 1! He is electric to watch (when he’s not tired yet) and he makes defenses change their whole play/demeanor when he’s on the field. Everyone has to try keeping an extra watch on him and that means less attention to receivers, play-action, boots, and misdirection of all kinds, which can then be run much more easily and effectively. When Bell is running his best he’s that Barry Sanders/Terrell Davis type back that I really want to see and enjoy having on our team!
Some of it was Anderson not running hard enough (maybe getting back up to speed from missing last season), some of it Bell not being able to handle a larger load, and some of it the play calls, but he was getting over 2/3s of the carries and only averaging about 3.5 yards per carry for the first 5 or 6 games.
Of course, blowing week 1 was a con and a shocker. I cannot believe how we folded over for that one.
I have been none to happy with the officiating in a few of the games this season. I think the refs deserved as much of the credit for the Giants comeback as any of the Giants did.
I don’t like our lack of urgency I see on the field too often (mostly offense). Too many times the Broncos have come out swinging and gotten up early on the opponent, only to have to cling to the lead through the second half because the offense (rarely defense) falls asleep.
Champ Bailey needs to quit getting his ass handed to him then calling injury. Either heal up and be ready to go or sit the bench! I HATE Terrell Owens and I wanted nothing more than to see him shutdown and shut-up for a game! Stupid Bailey let him make the play to get the Eagles back in the game last Sunday!
All the DBs need to quit f*cking looking at the pursuit of the QB! The Broncos D line and blitzers have hurried and hit opposing QBs repeatedly, but there’s always one joker who has to fall asleep on his man and let him open at the last second before the sack!
Ashley Lelie needs to get it back together! No more dropped passes (hell Jake’s confidence doesn’t need that shit)! I want to see him get more aggressive than his name sounds when that ball is up in the air!
The usual stupid penalties that need to be eliminated to be a post-season contender.
Where is Rice? Why the f*ck did anyone think that Watts or Adams is a better number 3 receiver than Jerry Rice. Even if Rice rarely makes a catch, he’s still more useful than either of those two. Number 1, is the leadership and confidence a player of his standing can bring. Number 2, he makes defenders pay attention to him which no one gives a shit about Adams or Watts stepping on the field. Number 3, he probably has forgotten more about conditioning and playing the game than either of the two options we went with, combined. Yes, I know we lose a special teams player, but since when has our special teams been anything even close to special!
Lastly, Jake Plummer has to find that winning confidence and keep it up. He could also do an even better job at knowing when to maybe use his legs for yardage instead of just buying time. And stop throwing those weak floaters over the middle that are suicide for a receiver to make the play on! (Except for the Putz, as I enjoy watching his dopey ass get pounded!)Some Pros:
Jake Plummer is playing (not great) but more up to his potential than any time so far. He’s limited his INTs and is throwing with a little more accuracy and confidence in general. He is using his head better this year too (knowing when to throw or take the sack, when to run for yards, and cutting down the number of general f*ck-ups.)
No defense yet has found a way to even come close to containing Tatum Bell. He has ripped off phenomenal runs in almost every game so far, (sometimes more than 1 a game)! He’s electric and great at running to the outside and running screens, especially. He’s also tough enough to run up the middle, but best done as a counter or a delayed draw to spread the D.
Mike Anderson has taken his role of wearing the D down, seriously the last 2 games. If he runs strong and wears them out just a little, Bell can come in and blow them out of the water. He has to run hard and get close to 5 yards a carry to make the one-two punch successful.
Rod Smith is the go-to-guy when you need a catch! Another quality year from our old, un-drafted wide receiver.
The offensive line has been rejuvenated this year with the better play calls and quality backs running the ball. We just need to keep using their strengths even more and stretch the field when we run.
The play calling (while not up to where it should be yet) has stepped up dramatically from last season.
While the D line hasn’t got the sack numbers they could/should yet, they have been playing great! Teams haven’t been able to run for much and QBs have been harassed all game long! I think the sacks will come; we just need to keep doing what we’re doing there. I think we had a D line that played above it’s potential last season, so I didn’t mind that we only kept Pryce.
The blitzes this season have been welcome! The defense is playing so well that we can afford to blitz nearly every down, and many times more than one player.
The DBs have played fairly well, especially considering the youth of our players and the injuries so far. Williams and Foxworth are coming along nicely for rookies. John Lynch is playing his usual solid defense and the linebackers are too.
Our fullback, Johnson, is playing great! Several key first downs and TD receptions to accompany his good blocking.
I have seen several games where the officiating was up to par. Keep that up, Refs, because I HATE when they try to play the game instead of letting the players play.Summary:
Overall I really don’t think we learned these lessons fast or well enough to even have the record we do. I don’t think there was a game we played well enough to really win, except maybe the last one against the Eagles where we reestablished dominance in the 4th quarter and, as Tom pointed out, set a record for 300-yard passer and 2 100-yard rushers. I hope the Broncos can get firing on all cylinders here and go into the playoffs with some momentum. I hate to waste all the potential to be the best team in the NFL because of a few fairly, easily correctable things. Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best! (I say Broncos vs. Colts for AFC championship this time, if the Broncos go into the post season with momentum.) ;)