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View Full Version : Breaking Down The Broncos, Part I - Shanny's Offense (Bills Fan Blog)



Skinny
09-04-2007, 08:59 PM
By Brian Galliford
Tue Sep 04, 2007

If there's any intriguing story at the quarterback position in the entire NFL, in my opinion, it's the story of Jay Cutler. Just entering his second NFL season, Cutler was drafted by Denver last season despite the team's relative success with Jake Plummer at the helm. Then Denver started the 2006 season going 7-4 and were right in the middle of the playoff chase; despite that success, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan made the perplexing decision to bench Plummer in favor of his prize rookie. The result: big plays for Denver's offense, big plays for opposing defenses, a 2-3 finish and a whiff on the 2006 playoffs. But many feel that this move is beneficial for Denver in the long run.

In fact, while we're on it, many feel that Cutler is ready for a break-out, explosive season. I ask you: when did he prove he's ready to do this? He's played five professional football games; you can't base a potential breakout season on talent alone. But it's definitely possible - and the reason is the talent surrounding Cutler.

Cutler Is Good, But He's Also Flawed
In his five starts last season, Cutler proved that he has the physical tools to not just be an adequate starter, but to be one of the best quarterbacks in the entire league. In due time. For now, he's still got loads to learn. Particularly on protecting the football, as Mile High Report pointed out in this July article breaking down Denver's quarterbacks:

Cutler is still a quarterback that has started only 5 games in his professional career. Like any young quarterback, Cutler has tremendous confidence that can, at times, get him into a bit of trouble. Though I never blame the results of a football game on a singular play, the two pick-6's Cutler threw, one against Seattle, the other against San Francisco, definitely went a long way towards losing those two football games, turning a possible 11-5 season into a 9-7 season. Such are the growing pains of a rookie quarterback, and in my opinion better last year than this year. Hopefully Cutler learned that he doesn't have to make the big play every time, learned that he can take a sack, or better yet throw the ball into the 15th row.
Eventually, Cutler will learn to protect the football - and when he does, Denver will once again have a ridiculously explosive offense. But as it pertains to this weekend's matchup, Cutler is just as inexperienced now as he was last year - he'll be making his sixth professional start this Sunday. For this week, it doesn't matter how good Cutler could be - his youth is something that we need to take advantage of.

Run Game, Misdirection Built to Protect Cutler
If Shanahan is anything, he's smart - he knows that his quarterback has virtually unlimited talent; he also knows that he has to keep the pressure off Cutler as he continues to mature in the offense. Hence the signings of Travis Henry and Daniel Graham to boost a run game that was a shadow of its usual self last season. Cutler has great weapons - a run game that provokes envy in virtually every other offensive huddle, an explosive deep threat in Javon Walker and a host of backs, tight ends and receivers who can make plays everywhere else. Shanahan hopes to use the run game, play-action and misdirection in his offense to make things easier for Cutler - all while keeping defenses guessing.

But there are issues cropping up. Henry and his backup, Mike Bell, have been dinged up all throughout pre-season. Henry will play in this game, but his injury history has followed him to Denver, and his lack of playing time this past month could hinder his production slightly. Making matters worse, Denver's O-Line is slightly banged up as well, with starting guard Ben Hamilton slotted to miss the game; little-known Chris Myers will fill in for him at left guard (where he started all pre-season). Denver's offense is close to full strength, but they're not quite there - it remains to be seen how much additional pressure will be placed on Cutler's shoulders as a result.

Making This a One-Man Show
Want to shut down Denver's offense? The formula is simple: score points quickly and contain the run game. This Bills defense isn't good enough to completely shut down Travis Henry, so expect big chunks of yards occasionally for the former Bill. But if the Bills can score quickly, it will immediately put Denver in catch-up mode. That equals the ball in Cutler's hands - which is exactly where we want it.

Cutler can beat the Bills. He's definitely good enough to do that. But a dominant Denver run game, and a functional play-action as a result, will beat the Bills. Make Cutler beat you, and you give yourself the best chance to win. Blitz packages, crowd noise and playing from behind would eat away Cutler's chances of making big plays. It may be easier said than done, but this formula for success is simple. Because one fact remains: Cutler's not there yet.

http://www.buffalorumblings.com/story/2007/9/4/201251/3322

Jaded
09-04-2007, 09:45 PM
...so I thought I'd post this in a thread that relates to it.

Scouts Inc scouting report of Jay Cutler:


Comment:
Cutler started the final five games of his rookie season in 2006 and is clearly the future of the Denver organization at the quarterback position. There is a lot to like physically about Cutler. He has plenty of size and strength with a big body that can take a pounding, which he proved over and over in college at Vanderbilt. His toughness should not be questioned. He should continue to add bulk and strength but already has plenty to offer in this area. He is an above-average athlete who can elude the rush and make plays with his feet but is not exceptional in terms of foot quickness and speed. His arm is extremely impressive and he has proven early in his career that he is capable of making any throw asked of him. He can fit the ball into a very tight window, drill the deep out, or throw with power when rolling in either direction. Cutler is already a very good deep passer and certainly should continue to improve. He has a swagger and quiet confidence in his ability that should eventually translate into fine leadership qualities. He is cool and calm, and displayed good poise and awareness in the pocket for a young player. As you would expect from a rookie, Cutler turned the ball over more than any coach would like. He threw some ill-advised passes and held the ball too long at times in the pocket, which resulted in sacks and fumbles. He still needs work with his coverage reads and progressions, and Cutler has forced some throws and can be overly aggressive at times. His footwork could also use improvement, as he cannot get away with muscling passes off his back foot in this league, even with his outstanding arm strength. Cutler showed a lot in his brief time as the starter last season but that appears to be just the tip of the iceberg. Cutler has the makeup to develop into an upper-tier starting quarterback, and his intelligence combined with an offseason spent preparing as the starter will surely yield benefits..


There ya go, Brian Galliford!


Sorry if it's already been posted....

Skinny
09-04-2007, 10:01 PM
Thanks for the read Link!

If it has been posted, i can't remember. :crazy:

I agree with the report personally. Especially this comment!


He has a swagger and quiet confidence in his ability that should eventually translate into fine leadership qualities. He is cool and calm, and displayed good poise and awareness in the pocket for a young player.

Good to see someone else sees his demeanour for what it is.

Jaded
09-04-2007, 10:01 PM
Brandon Marshall:


Comment:
Marshall played in 15 games as a rookie in 2006 but came up with only 20 catches. He is still learning the intricacies of the position and how to read coverages and adjust his routes on the move. He has excellent size and above-average speed, agility and quickness. He is more of a possession receiver than a vertical threat but has the ability to get downfield and out-jump a lot of defensive backs to make the catch. He has soft, natural hands that can reach out and pluck the ball away from his body and can reach over the top of defenders to catch in traffic. He struggles a bit on double cuts and hard cuts as he really has to gear down and come under control before planting and driving out of the break, and he struggles to gain much separation. He is a willing blocker but lacks the confidence and savvy to sustain blocks for any length of time. Marshall is could struggle to get much playing time in 2007 with the receiving corps the Broncos have..


Domenik Hixon:

Comment:
Hixon missed the entire 2006 season (his rookie year) due to a serious foot injury, but is expected to be back at full strength this season and the injury should not have any long term effects. Hixon has very good size and strength for the position and will be a contributor on special teams on coverage teams and as a potential returner. He is a very hard worker and very intelligent. He shows grit with his blocking and willingness to go over the middle. His redshirt year should prove beneficial and he should quickly adapt to the Broncos' offensive system. Hixon was a safety for much of his college career and is still a bit of a work in progress as a wideout. His routes need some work, as do his hands. He is a bit of a straight-line athlete who takes a little while to build to full speed, but his long speed is ample. This is a player who should make an impact for the Broncos in 2007 out of the slot and on special teams..

Jaded
09-04-2007, 10:04 PM
Thanks for the read Link!

If it has been posted, i can't remember. :crazy:

I agree with the report personally. Especially this comment!



Good to see someone else sees his demeanour for what it is.


Sorry to highjack your thread, skinny, I just don't know how to start my own. :dur:...

Skinny
09-04-2007, 10:07 PM
Sorry to highjack your thread, skinny, I just don't know how to start my own. :dur:...No problem dude.

At the main page "Broncos Talk"...top left a little square says "new thread" Click that. And do whatcha been doing

Title will be the title of your thread.

SBboundBRONCOS
09-05-2007, 01:27 AM
good stuff like usual skinny

im very impressed, did you say that came from the bills fan board, if so they are pretty classy, at least that poster and pretty good at diagnosing a team

i agreed with them on a lot but i love the way Jay conducts himself, it will only help him, and it already has, those late 4th quarter drives were mighty impressive for a guy with his experience and i think that once cutler is great people will look back at those and be amazed

Skinny
09-05-2007, 05:25 AM
good stuff like usual skinny

im very impressed, did you say that came from the bills fan board, if so they are pretty classy, at least that poster and pretty good at diagnosing a team

i agreed with them on a lot but i love the way Jay conducts himself, it will only help him, and it already has, those late 4th quarter drives were mighty impressive for a guy with his experience and i think that once cutler is great people will look back at those and be amazedYeah, it's froom a Bills fans blog. Part 2 is do out some time, not sure excactly. Soon as it is ( i imagine it will be on the defense) i'l post it.

He did a pretty nice, honest job at looking at the offense if you ask me too.

Fan in Exile
09-05-2007, 07:56 AM
I wasn't terribly impressed by the article. He starts of with the comments on a breakout year, and how Cutler hasn't proven anything. I don't think he understands that a breakout year is the year when you show first show something. If you're already proven then by definition it isn't a break out year. Unfortunately since the article started that way the other comments weren't going to impress me either.

Next, I think he overplays Cutler's inexperience. To make the comment, "Cutler is just as inexperienced now as he was last year," is such a fan comment to make. He is completely disregarding the entire off-season. He also disregards the fact that now he has Shanahan's ofense designed for him and not the one designed for Plummer. Sure last year we had a lot of play action but that was with Jake. Now Jay has had an offseason to go over the plays that Shanny wants to use with him.

I'm not saying that Cutler is going to go out and put the team on his back and win the game, but give him credit for what he has done.

Sure Graham and Henry were brought in to help the run game no doubt about that. But they are both going to be catching some balls as well. Henry is great at picking up blitzers. They'll be a huge boost to the passing game as well. Even if the O becomes one dimensional Cutler will have plenty of help.

At the same time Shanahan isn't going to give up on the run as easily as this guy seems to think. It would take more than a 14 point lead, in the first 3/4 of the game, to make them go completely one dimensional, I just don't see that happening.

For them to stop Denver's O really lies in how their defensive line does. They have to tackle much better than they did last year. They have to make use of their speed. They aren't big enough to give Denver's O-line problems like Dallas did did. But if they use speed to get behind the line of scrimmage and pressure Cutler, and keep Henry from cutting back then they have a chance.

TXBRONC
09-05-2007, 07:00 PM
Really good stuff Skinny and Link.

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