PDA

View Full Version : Defenses will have hands full this year vs. Broncos WRs



omac
09-16-2007, 11:44 PM
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/nfl/article/0,2777,DRMN_23918_5697796,00.html


Defenses will have hands full this year vs. Broncos WRs
By Jeff Legwold, Rocky Mountain News
September 13, 2007


When the Broncos take a look at their hands each week, they are happy not to have three of a kind at receiver.

They have a little of this, a little of that, and the hope for a lot of production.

"You don't want all the same kinds of guys out there," Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler said. "We've got a little bit of everything, so we can diversify on offense. Some teams have just small, quick guys, some teams have just bigger, slower guys. We've got a mixture of everything you need."

"They're each unique in what they do," assistant head coach/offense Mike Heimerdinger said. "The only similarity is, they're all three good receivers, and that's good because that gives you options."

With Rod Smith recovering from offseason left hip surgery, the Broncos have Javon Walker, Brandon Marshall and Brandon Stokley working as the top three at receiver.

The three caught 17 of Cutler's 23 completions in the Broncos' 15-14 win against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday and accounted for 236 of Cutler's 304 passing yards.

"We just go out there, make plays ...," Marshall said. "You've got big Javon Walker out there with the Mohawk going; you've got 'Stoks,' the slot machine; you've got me on the other side.

"It makes it easier if you have a lot of targets."

Certainly, the Broncos hope things turn out that way as September gives way to the march through football's later months.

In Mike Shanahan's tenure as coach, three receivers never have finished a season 1-2-3 in receptions, with a tight end routinely breaking into the top three.

The team hasn't had three receivers do that since 1988, when Vance Johnson, Mark Jackson and Ricky Nattiel went 1-2-3 for Dan Reeves and a team that finished 8-8.

"It just presents different matchup problems for defenses," Stokley said. "Everybody got a strength to offer; it's a plus for the offense, different receivers who can do different things. Usually, you have big guys or quick guys; we've got a little bit of both. Some teams have just big, rangy guys. Some teams have just the smaller, quicker guys."

Most defensive coaches start with Walker when looking at the Broncos passing game. Walker has the speed to get past a cornerback down the field and the strength to work in traffic as well.

That could be seen on a 21-yard reception in the Broncos' winning drive Sunday, when Walker took a big hit from Bills safety Donté Whitner and cornerback Terrence McGee. He briefly stayed down on the field and walked off looking a little woozy.

But Walker quickly came back into the lineup and had two receptions of 11 yards each the remainder of the drive.

"Javon can get deep and he can do what he did Sunday, which is catch it in traffic, catch it in some hard areas, break tackles and pop out of there," Heimerdinger said.

Marshall, who started games at safety and receiver during his career with Central Florida, still has some rough edges in his offensive game, but at 6-foot- 4 and 230 pounds, the Broncos believe his upside still might be greater than any player on the roster.

Scouts say when Marshall is focused, he can win matchups with power and finish plays with enough speed that the Broncos quickly scrapped a plan last year to play him some as an H-back/tight end after seeing him work at receiver.

"He runs routes fast," Heimerdinger said. "He gets out of his cuts and he's really just starting to feel good about what he's doing."

And during the offseason, when the Broncos became concerned about when Smith might be able to return, they signed Stokley to play in the slot — lining up in the formation inside the receiver and outside the tackle or tight end.

Stokley's former teammates have called him "slot machine," and he had a 1,077-yard, 10-touchdown season for the Indianapolis Colts in 2004.

"Being a slot receiver, you have to know your role," Stokley said. "Some games I might not play a lot, but you always have to be ready. You might have a chance to catch one ball in a game and that's it, but you have to do something with it. You convert that third down and keep the chains rolling. I kind of embrace that."

"In man-to-man, Stokley is always open," Cutler said.

So, they are the Broncos' three-pack, one that forces defenses to adjust to the whole field, one that gives Cutler some options.

Options they hope include keeping them all busy throughout the season.

"Not everybody is built like our guys," Heimerdinger said. "You look for that, you hope you can get it, but I think it's more important to know what they're good at and use their uniqueness to get them the ball."

Break it down

Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler's take on the team's top three receivers.

Javon Walker: Nine catches, 119 yards.

"He's the full package. He can go deep, go short, catches balls in traffic. A big-play receiver."

Brandon Marshall: Five catches, 52 yards, touchdown.

"He's obviously our big, tall guy; breaks tackles. Just get the ball in his hands and something will happen."

Brandon Stokley: Three catches, 65 yards.

"Peyton (Manning) says he's the best slot (receiver) in the NFL. And the more I watch him, the more I agree. He gets open, knows how to work the middle of the field."

DenBronx
09-17-2007, 12:05 AM
eh...we have to score tds before they can become a real threat. dont get me wrong, i love our wrs but just getting yardage alone has to stop. we dealt with the same problem last season, not scoring in the redzone. i really wish cutler would throw to marshal more though earlier on.

omac
09-17-2007, 07:29 AM
eh...we have to score tds before they can become a real threat. dont get me wrong, i love our wrs but just getting yardage alone has to stop. we dealt with the same problem last season, not scoring in the redzone. i really wish cutler would throw to marshal more though earlier on.

I think that will come. Jay's shown that he can find the endzone, and he always has. It would've been another TD if not for the penalty. What I like more is how much more poised Jay is, and how much less mistakes he's been making.

We got Travis Henry, and we got Cecil Sapp to power through the endzone. Selvin Young has also shown that he doesn't shy away from contact.

On throwing to Marshall more ... well, I guess it's because Javon gets first dibs on passes. Marshall and Stokley still get a good share. :cheers:

Sponsored Links