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View Full Version : What About the Line of Scrimmage . . . Disaster?



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01-01-2008, 03:17 PM
The controversy and main concerns regarding what must be done with the
Denver Broncos seems to center on the lines, on both sides of the ball. It
seems disaster has struck, and nothing exists there except problems. But is
it as bad as some have it? Allow me the luxury of breaking it down for my
feeble attempt at analysis.


OFFENSIVE LINE

Lepsis' retirement would appear to leave a big hole. How that is filled will
depend considerably on Ryan Harris. According to scouting reports, Harris is
exceptionally quick and "rarely gets beat to the outside." However, he is also
regarded as not having great upper body strength, so I hope he reviews his
scouting reports, takes them to heart, and adds 10-15 pounds up there.

However, Lepsis isn't overly strong, either, and it showed sometimes when he
was caught by surprise with a bull rush, yet in his prime he was regarded as
one of the better LTs. Harris is still a little bigger than Lepsis, so if Harris
can bulk up a bit the position may eventually be even more solid than when
Lepsis manned it.

The return of Nalen and Hamilton would indeed buoy the O-line, although I look
at Hamilton as a backup if he does return. Kuper will excel at that position,
if he doesn't shift to LT, IMO. He has quick feet and exceptional upper body
strength for his size, which at 305 is bigger than they are used to there.
Kuper struggled early against quick moves in pass protection, but he improved
considerably in that as the season wore on. However, it was not easy to bull
rush him, which was Hamilton's weakness at 283. The point is, Kuper will
improve in his areas of weakness, whereas Hamilton is as good as he is going
to get, which bodes for a significantly greater upside for Kuper.

Meyers looks like a keeper for the future at center, although he appears to
have a long way to go. If Nalen can return for one season, that will give
Meyers another year's development.

Holland, I believe, is better than he appeared to play this year. His problem
was, with first-year players (at their positions) on either side of him, he
was on an island and lacked the help he would have had with experienced
players there. I believe, then, that position is fine for now.

Pears at RT worries me. Many times, he was just flat "owned" on that side.
Maybe he will develop there, but I don't know. It would seem the Broncos might
do well to watch the free agent market closely for a good RT.

This shapes up to be a good offensive line for the future, especially if Nalen
and Hamilton return, which will make them deep. Again, they probably need to
upgrade at RT, then they should be a good unit to support the run and protect
Cutler. If that happens, with the skill people the Broncos have, the offense
will be one for opposing defenses to fear.



DEFENSIVE LINE

I do not believe the DL is in bad shape as some surmise. The Broncso are
loaded at DE, especially if Ekuban can return from his injury . . . which is
up in the air, given the nature of the injury and Ekuban's age. However, if he
can indeed return, he is very strong against the run, which is essentially what
is needed at LDE. He is also a decent pass rusher when others with that ability
are present on the line. And we musn't forget Crowder, who mirrors
Ekuban in size, and showed considerable ability at his position.

This is where Dumervil and Moss come in. I would like to see the Broncos go
into a variation of the 3-4 in some passing situations to allow Dumervil and
Moss to be on the field at the same time without sending Ekuban to the bench,
unless it is to replace him with Crowder, or vice versa. With the development
of Thomas, that may give the Broncos a very strong pass rush.

Of course, Thomas is at DT, where the Broncos badly need help. Thomas is the
only DT of starting quality there. McKinley would likely make a good backup,
but he should not be starting. The Broncos had it right in wanting to put some
beef in there, but that beef needs to be able to move. Adams was a perfect fit,
five years ago. Getting rid of Warren, in my opinion, is in the running for the
gaff of the season. I was not a big fan of Warren's toward the end, but he was
better than anyone else the Broncos had there (which obviously was not very
good.)

This is where the Broncos need to bring in a couple good, big, strong, mean
defensive tackles. Until then, the DEs will not realize their true pass rushing
talents, opposing running backs will maintain a special appreciation for the
Broncos, and the linebackers and secondary will continue to struggle at times
because they have to pick up where the DL left off, which will be way too
early.

Indeed, there is a lot more talent at LB and in the secondary than many people
realize. If DT is stocked with some truly good players, people will be amazed
at how the back seven have improved.


SUMMARY

Doom and gloom has seemed the theme among the media for the Broncos. They
are going to need a major overhaul, seemingly according to the majority of them.
I don't think so. The Broncos have talent galore in the offensive skill positions
and defensive backfield. Linebacker is solid, it would appear, provided Winborn
keeps coming on as he has . . . although they could probably use a bit more
quality depth there.

Therefore, where the Broncos need to shore up is in one right offensive tackle
and two defensive tackles. (Hopefully, they won't have to go outside to replace
Lepsis.) Put some true quality in those positions, and we will see an entirely
different team next year.

No, I am not willing to put my money where my mouth is. :coffee:

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Bronco9798
01-01-2008, 03:39 PM
Nice article and write up. I disagree we are loaded at DE. Moss is an unproven project with a small frame and Ekuban isn't exactly a Pro Bowl type DE. Doom is the best DE we have, he's only one. I just don't see us being "loaded".

MHCBill
01-01-2008, 03:57 PM
We are not loaded at DE.

Very nice write-up if you're looking through orange tinted shades.

Ekuban is at best an average DE, and that was before the injury.

Moss is unproven, Doom is a pass rush specialist, Crowder has the best chance to become an every-down lineman yet it's too early to tell, Engleberger is a nice back-up.

We can't fix both lines in one year, so I propose that we let Peterson and Crowder become our starting DE's and add one or two DT's from the draft to pair up with Thomas. Sure we'll still have growing pains next year up the middle with a rookie and a 2nd year player, but we need to sacrifice another season to get the team rebuilt. It will help the DT's too if we start Peterson and Crowder at ends because they have much more size than Doom or Moss.

Patience is what we need. We're not use to it as Bronco fans, but we are still another year or two away, assuming we continue to draft well and at the right free agents.

gobroncsnv
01-01-2008, 10:57 PM
We DO have to royally work on our point of attack on BOTH sides of the ball, starting on the DT spot(s). This above all...

Dean
01-01-2008, 11:22 PM
If we re-sign Ekuban them I feel we can get by at DE. Ekuban and Peterson/McKinley are run stoppers, Dumervil and Moss as pass rushers, and Crowder can do some of both. Marcus Thomas could be a 3 technique D-tackle with McKinley as a back-up. However we have absolutely no nose tackles on the entire team and we need a minimum of 2.

To control the line of scrimmage we must look at our LBs and safeties. I am not sold on our OLBs. We need a Will LB like a junkie needs a fix. If John Lynch retires we need a 'knock your head off and laugh' LB (excuse me safety) to replace him to keep receivers and Rbs from being too secure.

Offensively, we need both a right and a left tackle. Maybe Kuper and Harris can handle it and maybe not. I haven't seen either of them there to know. My bet is that we need at the minimum one right tackle. We also need Dan Graham to heal up to protect our tackles in the event we have difficulty filling those spots with quality people.

frenchfan
01-02-2008, 04:52 AM
What about safeties?

Sorry guys, I don't have too many informations about that position here in france...

What do you think about? DO we need to improve there (considering that Lynch could retire. And even if he doesn't, he wouldn't be the same player he was... Don't get me wrong, he's still a good player and a leader. But will he have all the physical and health? That's my concern).

I agree about O-Line... IMO, we need to fix RT and may be add even more depth...
D-Line is more suspect IMO (but I could be wrong... LOL). I don't think our LB had a great year... We need to improve here a bit there too...

My summary :
Our priority is D and O-Line.
We must continue to develop our Special teams too (but IMO, ST were better in the end of the season)... Go on working!
Top priority is about D IMO... We have given too many yards and points.
ABout O, if we can protect a bit more Jay and open holes for RB like we usually did, we have a lot of talent (WR, TE, and even good -not great/franchise- RB)...

topscribe
01-02-2008, 12:24 PM
What about safeties?

Sorry guys, I don't have too many informations about that position here in france...

What do you think about? DO we need to improve there (considering that Lynch could retire. And even if he doesn't, he wouldn't be the same player he was... Don't get me wrong, he's still a good player and a leader. But will he have all the physical and health? That's my concern).

I agree about O-Line... IMO, we need to fix RT and may be add even more depth...
D-Line is more suspect IMO (but I could be wrong... LOL). I don't think our LB had a great year... We need to improve here a bit there too...

My summary :
Our priority is D and O-Line.
We must continue to develop our Special teams too (but IMO, ST were better in the end of the season)... Go on working!
Top priority is about D IMO... We have given too many yards and points.
ABout O, if we can protect a bit more Jay and open holes for RB like we usually did, we have a lot of talent (WR, TE, and even good -not great/franchise- RB)...

The San Diego Chargers are a good example of the value of a good front
seven. They have a decent secondary, but not all-pros by any stretch, at
least on their own merits. But they often come out looking like all-pros
because of the intense heat those guys can apply up front.

The Broncos, on the other hand, do have all-pros back there who have
been burned more than once because they have to cheat up to stop the
RBs as the RBs carve through the front seven like a hot knife through
butter, and the QB has time to stop for lunch on passing plays.

I don't believe the thoughts of the staff should even stray toward any other
position until they have fortified the DT posiition.

IMHO.

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Broncolingus
01-02-2008, 12:29 PM
Denver does not have the personnel currently on the roster (healthy or no) on both lines to compete in the postseason and against the more physical teams of the league...

If you want 8-8 seasons with possibly a road wild card a$$ whoopin, then continue to plug the personnel we have now...

New faces (i.e...not currently on the roster) will be required if Denver wants to go beyond that...

BigDaddyBronco
01-02-2008, 12:46 PM
Denver does not have the personnel currently on the roster (healthy or no) on both lines to compete in the postseason and against the more physical teams of the league...

If you want 8-8 seasons with possibly a road wild card a$$ whoopin, then continue to plug the personnel we have now...

New faces (i.e...not currently on the roster) will be required if Denver wants to go beyond that...

:salute: That is why we have to draft DT's and OT's high in the draft. There is no way a good DT is going to be allowed to leave a team via FA, such as Haynesworth. The only real option to get a Pro-Bowl type player is through the draft. Look at all the playoff teams and what do they have in common. Good drafts and using FA for depth.

Bronco9798
01-02-2008, 12:48 PM
The San Diego Chargers are a good example of the value of a good front
seven. They have a decent secondary, but not all-pros by any stretch, at
least on their own merits. But they often come out looking like all-pros
because of the intense heat those guys can apply up front.

The Broncos, on the other hand, do have all-pros back there who have
been burned more than once because they have to cheat up to stop the
RBs as the RBs carve through the front seven like a hot knife through
butter, and the QB has time to stop for lunch on passing plays.


I don't believe the thoughts of the staff should even stray toward any other
position until they have fortified the DT posiition.

IMHO.

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Totally agree...

Broncolingus
01-02-2008, 12:49 PM
The San Diego Chargers are a good example of the value of a good front
seven. They have a decent secondary, but not all-pros by any stretch, at
least on their own merits. But they often come out looking like all-pros
because of the intense heat those guys can apply up front.

The Broncos, on the other hand, do have all-pros back there who have
been burned more than once because they have to cheat up to stop the
RBs as the RBs carve through the front seven like a hot knife through
butter, and the QB has time to stop for lunch on passing plays.

I don't believe the thoughts of the staff should even stray toward any other
position until they have fortified the DT posiition.

IMHO.

-----

GP...

Ditto...

shank
01-06-2008, 09:39 PM
No, I am not willing to put my money where my mouth is. :coffee:

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i'll put my money where your mouth is. as far as the lines go, i agree with you completely. my main priority this offseason is getting 2 DTs, i'm hoping one proven FA and one early draft pick. 2 dominating DTs will make every other position on the defense easier.

omac
01-07-2008, 10:44 PM
:salute: That is why we have to draft DT's and OT's high in the draft. There is no way a good DT is going to be allowed to leave a team via FA, such as Haynesworth. The only real option to get a Pro-Bowl type player is through the draft. Look at all the plyoff teams and what do they have in common. Good drafts and using FA for depth.

Or we could seriously throw a ridiculous amount of money to get Correy Williams from GB ... ridiculous as is way, way, way overpay. He might not be worth that kind of money, but he could immediately make a huge difference, whereas a rookie would need lots of time to adjust. I think that's worth it, if we could lock him up for a good amount of time. An added bonus, he already knows how to play Bates system, most likely better than anyone in the Broncos.

Besides the obvious value of his play, the younger guys will learn how to play this type of system by watching him. We mocked the Raiders for picking up Carlisle, but who's to say he hasn't had a big influence on the Raiders learning that zone-blocking that's put them ahead of the Broncos in rushing offense? That's what a veteran who knows the system can bring in.

joshxhannah
01-16-2008, 07:06 PM
Outside of Ellis and Dorsey we cant get a guy that will make an impact this year at DT. We can get a contributor, but not a stud, ala marcus thomas. So we either trade up, or use thomas+ free agency IMO. We do have a good chance at getting a STUD LB/ Saftey in rivers or Phillips. That OT from boise state could also fall to us, and could be a stud. We dont draft this high this often, it's time to hit a draft pick out of the park.

BOSSHOGG30
01-17-2008, 11:27 AM
Outside of Ellis and Dorsey we cant get a guy that will make an impact this year at DT. We can get a contributor, but not a stud, ala marcus thomas. So we either trade up, or use thomas+ free agency IMO. We do have a good chance at getting a STUD LB/ Saftey in rivers or Phillips. That OT from boise state could also fall to us, and could be a stud. We dont draft this high this often, it's time to hit a draft pick out of the park.

There are a few guys who wold make instant impact... Balmer is very good... Just as good as Ellis.

mclark
01-18-2008, 12:37 PM
Needs for starters next year:

DT - remember Gerald Warren
MLB - move DJ Williams to weakside
OLB - Webster is a backup
S - need an active physical safety who can play both the run and the pass - draft Phillips in round one

LTackle - better get a veteran in free agency such as Jordan Gross
RB - need a workhorse back to carry the load, such as Michael Turner.
--------------------

DE: we're ok, especially if Ekuban comes back
DT: thin, but can improve with free agent moves and draft
LB: need a lot of upgrading
S - Abdullah/Lynch/etc can play if we have Phillips playing next to them
CB - ok

OLine: Jordan Gross, Kuper, Nalen/Hamilton, Holland, Pears/Harris might be ok. Jordan Gross, Hamilton, Nalen, Holland, Kuper might be better.
rback: good back-ups, but need a workhorse.
recivers: pretty good if Javon stays. Need to pick up another quality receiver if Javon keeps whining and demanding to have more attention.

kicking game: Elam ok, but getting old. Punting: we need help here.
Kick return game: need some help here also

MHCBill
01-18-2008, 01:21 PM
Jordan Gross is not nearly as good a LT as he is a RT.

Food for thought.

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