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Broncos Mtnman
11-07-2008, 12:24 AM
We hear Shanahan talk about team character all the time. Usually, it sounds like some obscure reference to a “magical” element that helps average teams overcome odds that aren’t in their favor. Tonight, we got to see exactly what Shanahan means by the word, and how it can truly be the difference between winning and losing.

Just four days ago, the Denver Broncos would see some of their biggest stars go down to injury. Tonight, we would see their replacements go down as well. The running back position in particular would be hard hit when Ryan Torain went down with a knee injury that Shanahan said in his postgame press conference “didn’t look good,” and Selvin Young would go down after aggravating his groin injury, which left the running game in the hands of the team’s fullback, Peyton Hillis. In addition, Nate Webster would go down with a 2nd degree MCL tear, leaving the team with a linebacker corps that would include rookie Wesley Woodyard, Jamie Winborn and Louis Green, with spot relief from Niko Koutouvides. Compare that to the usual starters DJ Williams, Nate Webster and Boss Bailey.

Clearly, the Broncos had a lot to deal with even before the game started, and it got a lot worse with these new injuries, but that’s where the “character” Shanahan always talks about showed up and made the difference between winning tonight’s game and losing it. Rookies, injured players, a short work week, being on the road, playing from behind, overcoming a turnover, and winning in the end could not have happened without some character. I’ll say more below…..

This week’s highs and lows:


HIGHS :2thumbs:

1 – Jay Cutler. After a slow start, that included an interception when Brandon Marshall broke one way and Jay threw another, the 3rd year quarterback would enjoy a comeback that reminded me of the type of play we used to see from John Elway. The significance of his play tonight cannot be underestimated, considering he was playing with a rookie running back, who would be replaced by a rookie fullback, and the fact that Tony Sheffler was playing at about 75%.

After being down by 10 points at half time, Jay would lead the Broncos to 24 second half points, including a fourth quarter, 80 yard touchdown drive, that began with just a little over five minutes on the clock. He would throw for a personal best 447 yards (tied for third most in a game in Broncos history), three touchdowns and an interception. He would also rush for 29 yards (18 of them coming from a quarterback sneak on the game winning drive).

2 – Peyton Hillis. In my book, this guy was the MVP of the game. Sure, Jay put up some amazing stats, but the job Hillis did after Young went down was one of the reason the Broncos won tonight. Perhaps his biggest play of the game came on a fourth and one on the Broncos 45 yard line on the game winning drive. After an apparent stop by the Cleveland defense, Hillis literally carried a couple of guys with him for a two yard gain and a first down. After last week’s impressive performance as a receiver in the backfield, this guy is showing some serious character.

3 – Ryan Torain. Until he got hurt, he was showing some of the Terrell Davis-like play Shanahan said he possessed. He had 12 rushes for 68 yards and a touchdown. While it looks like he could be out again, he was playing the way Broncos fans were hoping he would. With a brace on his left arm, Torain demonstrated character.

4 – Tony Sheffler. Playing at less than 100%, #88 hauled in 4 passes for 92 yards. Tony is learning the difference between playing hurt and playing injured. Seeing him on the sidelines keeping his legs warm with the stationary bike is the type of thing you see from character guys who insist on playing, even when injured.

5 – Eddie Royal. Six catches for 164 yards and a touchdown. He had a big time play on a 93 yard touchdown catch that gave the Broncos a temporary lead. The fact that Eddie was slightly dinged up just before that play showed the character we’ve come to expect from this talented rookie. Eddie leads all rookies in the NFL with receptions (52) and yards (625).

6 – Wesley Woodyard. Filling in for DJ Williams, the rookie linebacker displayed the type of character we sometimes don’t see from multi-year veterans. He was second on the team with 10 tackles.

7 – Dre Bly. When the team needed a momentum changer, Bly led by example and caused Kellon Winslow to fumble, resulting in a timely turnover. Veterans show character by being a leader on the field. While Dre has struggled at times this season, his heads up play turned the tide in the Broncos favor.

8 – Mike Shanahan and the coaching staff. Knowing he was going into this game with only two running backs who weren’t 100%, Shanahan went ahead and put some things in the game plan in case they both went down, which they did. The plan to use Ellis, along with going with mostly a spread offense, were part of his strategy, and as it happened, was responsible for the win. This is the type of thing we used to see from Shanahan all the time. Kudos go out to him and his coaches for planning for this possibility.

LOWS :2thumbsdown:

1 – In this game, there were certainly things that would qualify as a “low,” but considering the conditions surrounding this team tonight, I don’t feel like itemizing any of them. When a team shows the kind of character the Broncos demonstrated tonight, they deserve the opportunity to enjoy it. There will be time for criticism in future games, but these guys don’t deserve any tonight.

As the Broncos face the remainder of the season, there are going to be challenges as they deal with trying to find replacements for the myriad of injuries they’ve endured. Can PJ Pope be the new starting running back after just being promoted from the practice squad? Can a struggling defense find a way to put together a squad that can keep the Broncos in the game? Did Jay Cutler finally get back in the groove?

If tonight is any indication, I have no doubt they can. After all, that’s what character can do for a team.

BMM

frenchfan
11-07-2008, 05:57 AM
If tonight is any indication, I have no doubt they can. After all, that’s what character can do for a team.
Yes we can...
:pound:

Sorry... Wrong forum... :D

Good article Mntman.

Too bad IMO that Torain was injured.
He had a good game until that play and he has shown us he could be the answer at RB.

I'm still amazed by our rookie squad... Damn, I wonder if there was a better overall draft in Broncos history?
If only we could have such a quality draft next year about :D.

Today, our Broncos play the way I would love them to play everytime : heart and guts... I don't ask them to win every game, to win every SB... I just ask them to give all they have on the field...
Then, win or loss, I'm proud of them... Today, I'm really proud and happy for our team... They prove they were not jokes.

I'm fed up with that injury bug... WTF about that?
Why are we so plag by injuries years after years?
What happens this year?

:beer:

Ziggy
11-07-2008, 10:10 AM
Good article MM. Let's not forget about a pretty nice offensive appearance for one Daniel Graham.

BroncoJoe
11-07-2008, 10:22 AM
How many times was the word "character" used?

LOL - j/k.

Nice read, mtnman.

topscribe
11-07-2008, 12:18 PM
Great read, as usual, Mtnman. Kudos!! :2thumbs:

I might add these highs:

Brandon Stokley and Daniel Graham, as senior leaders on the team, rushing up
to Brandon Marshall and preventing him from whatever he was going to do
with that glove after the TD. That showed real heads up and leadership.

Brandon Marshall for coming out of the funk in which he found himself last
week to help lead the Broncos to victory. And, as he explained in the postgame
interview what he was about to do after the TD, he teared up and had to
stop for a bit when he was talking about the Red, White, and Blue. Then he
publicly thanked Stokley and Graham for talking him out of it, saying that,
in the heat of the moment, he could have caused the team a penalty. He
showed character last night.

The offensive line for their stellar work, especially Ryan Clady and Ryan
Harris. With the opponent knowing that the Broncos' running game was
hurting big-time, that should have by all rights result in six sacks. The
Browns had one . . . and it wasn't where one of them was beaten, but an
unblocked rusher in a too-many-to-block situation.

The safeties. Yes, the safeties. Yes, they stink. But they played their
hearts out to the best of their limited abilities. They showed as much
character as anybody.

FWIW.

-----

Medford Bronco
11-07-2008, 12:33 PM
Good article MM. Let's not forget about a pretty nice offensive appearance for one Daniel Graham.


Graham reminded me of when he was a young TE with the Pats
before they got Watson and Brady used him in their Super Bowl
win over Carolina. He has talent but usually is a blocker.

It was fun to see him have that kind of game. He should be used
more IMHO

Broncos Mtnman
11-07-2008, 03:16 PM
Great read, as usual, Mtnman. Kudos!! :2thumbs:

I might add these highs:

Brandon Stokley and Daniel Graham, as senior leaders on the team, rushing up
to Brandon Marshall and preventing him from whatever he was going to do
with that glove after the TD. That showed real heads up and leadership.

Brandon Marshall for coming out of the funk in which he found himself last
week to help lead the Broncos to victory. And, as he explained in the postgame
interview what he was about to do after the TD, he teared up and had to
stop for a bit when he was talking about the Red, White, and Blue. Then he
publicly thanked Stokley and Graham for talking him out of it, saying that,
in the heat of the moment, he could have caused the team a penalty. He
showed character last night.

The offensive line for their stellar work, especially Ryan Clady and Ryan
Harris. With the opponent knowing that the Broncos' running game was
hurting big-time, that should have by all rights result in six sacks. The
Browns had one . . . and it wasn't where one of them was beaten, but an
unblocked rusher in a too-many-to-block situation.

The safeties. Yes, the safeties. Yes, they stink. But they played their
hearts out to the best of their limited abilities. They showed as much
character as anybody.

FWIW.

-----

When I put my notes together last night, I meant to include the O-line. They are clearly playing some of the best pass blocking offense we've seen around here in a long time.

I also meant to include a "Play of the game." My selection for play of the game was going to be Stokley for his head's up leadership in shutting down Marshall's planned celebration.

For what it's worth, BM's boneheaded plan would have been listed as a "low" in my report. In case you weren't aware, he had a glove made up that was half white and half black, and he planned on making some sort of statement about the election by using it when he knew all cameras would be on him.

The reason this would have been a "low" has to do with his post game comments on his plan. To quote BM, he figured he would have been fined, but felt it was worth it to make his political statement. What he failed to realize was his actions could have destroyed the TEAM's efforts by getting a 15 yard penalty on the subsequent kickoff. In other words, he only thought about how his actions would affect him and not the team.

He would further state "that's what veterans do" when giving kudos to Stokley for stopping him. Again, he seems to fail to realize, that as a third year wide receiver, HE'S A VETERAN. Stokley's actions shouldn't be that strange to him. He should have been thinking the same way.

Marshall is still "all about me" in his approach to playing, and it could bite the Broncos in the butt when they can least afford it.

GROW UP MARSHALL!!

topscribe
11-08-2008, 06:47 PM
When I put my notes together last night, I meant to include the O-line. They are clearly playing some of the best pass blocking offense we've seen around here in a long time.

I also meant to include a "Play of the game." My selection for play of the game was going to be Stokley for his head's up leadership in shutting down Marshall's planned celebration.

For what it's worth, BM's boneheaded plan would have been listed as a "low" in my report. In case you weren't aware, he had a glove made up that was half white and half black, and he planned on making some sort of statement about the election by using it when he knew all cameras would be on him.

The reason this would have been a "low" has to do with his post game comments on his plan. To quote BM, he figured he would have been fined, but felt it was worth it to make his political statement. What he failed to realize was his actions could have destroyed the TEAM's efforts by getting a 15 yard penalty on the subsequent kickoff. In other words, he only thought about how his actions would affect him and not the team.

He would further state "that's what veterans do" when giving kudos to Stokley for stopping him. Again, he seems to fail to realize, that as a third year wide receiver, HE'S A VETERAN. Stokley's actions shouldn't be that strange to him. He should have been thinking the same way.

Marshall is still "all about me" in his approach to playing, and it could bite the Broncos in the butt when they can least afford it.

GROW UP MARSHALL!!

I explained in my post that Marshall's post-game comments are the reason I
would give him a high. He said it wasn't about black and white, but about
red, blue, and white, and at that point he had to pause because he started
to tear up.

In a different interview, Marshall was asked what he attributed to his success
in the game, and the first two words out of his mouth was "Eddie Royal."

Any and all credit in all his comments were to others: Cutler, Scheffler,
Stokley, Royal.

I have to disagree, therefore, that Marshall is "all about me." I believe he
displayed bad judgment in what he was about to do after his touchdown, but
not a bad attitude.

-----

gobroncsnv
11-09-2008, 10:27 AM
I think all of us agree about the grow up part. His post-game comments were spot on, and I commend him for that, much more so than his post game comments against Miami... It's ironic how often we ask someone to just be themselves, but in Marshall's case, not so much. I just ACHE for how good this kid could be if he would get over being such a man-child.

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