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G_Money
01-25-2008, 11:00 AM
As I watched the field of contenders in the AFC playoffs, I noticed that all were built with a certain mold in mind.

Jacksonville has a ferocious defense and a hard-hitting running game. They always have - it's Del Rio's style.

The Patriots have a similarly ferocious defense and a ton of offensive firepower to boot. Defense has always been a trademark of Bill B, and he added offense after coming up just short against Indy last season using a bunch of wide-outs he picked up off the scrap heap.

San Diego was built through the draft with - again - a very good defense and a talented run game, trying not to rely too hard on Rivers and his 1 TE / 1 WR pass setup.

Indianapolis created a juggernaut offense, perfectly suited for the indoor track they play on, and spent years tweaking their defense to get it fast and aggressive enough to defeat New England.

They are built around team philosophies, around each front office's vision of what a championship team should look like. Whether they go offense-first or defense-first, the blueprint is tried and true, and the successes have been there for each system.

Mike Shanahan, coach for life, has also demonstrated he has a vision of what a championship team should look like - one that is also proven to work.

So if we want to know what Mike believes will get it done with the Broncos, all we have to do is look back to the past and determine how far away we are from the Shanahan Blueprint For Success.

First on offense:

1) Running the ball. For all that he's a West Coast guru, Mike Shanahan believes in a great running game leading to championships. "You win when you can run the ball and stop the run" is one of his mottos. He is justifiably proud of their consistent top-5 finishes in rush offense. The Broncos have been slipping here in recent years, both at RB and FB. When you look at what we had during 96-98 and what we have now, the differences are startling.

RB 96-98: Terrell Davis, HOF candidate

now: RBBC, with Travis Henry, Selvin Young and Andre Hall all competing for the top spot

FB 96-98: Aaron Craver (96) and Howard Griffith (97 and 98). Griffith was a Pro-Bowl level candidate.

now: Converted RBs Sapp and Bell.

This is a deficiency that should be cleared up soon if the Broncos want to return to the top. Their offense functions with almost any running back, but it would excel with an improvement to the RB and FB positions. Shanahan also likes to throw the ball to the RB, but Selvin Young proved this year he can catch it out of the backfield and do something with it, so the current team at least matches up with the championship-level ones in that regard.

2) He loves the pass-catching tight end. Shanahan's version of a 3 wide set is 2 wide receivers and a tight-end. Our 3rd wideout functions as our 4th in reality. Here at least we have someone who can catch the ball.

TE 96-98: Shannon Sharpe, HOF candidate, averaged 70+ catches and nearly 1000 yards those 3 years

Now: Tony Scheffler, had 49 catches for 549 yards in '07.

Scheffler is no Sharpe, but he fits the bill of a big pass-catcher across the middle and a great safety valve for a QB. Shannon had to work on his blocking early in his career so that he could stay on the field more, and Scheffler has the same issue. Hopefully he puts the amount of work into it that Shannon did, but until then our slot WR and our TE will be a combo 3rd receiver.

3) Two wides who are mirrors of each other. Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey were both strong enough and fast enough to do whatever they wanted, and were immaculate route runners with terrific hands. Both men could be either the possession guy or the deep guy and that allowed Shanahan to tweak the offense as he chose, without the defenders being able to key on one guy always running the curl or the post and the other guy always running the fly. It made the offense more deceptive and harder to defend.

96-98: Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey (Anthony Miller in '96, but we're ignoring him right now).

Now: Brandon Marshall and Brandon Stokley.

Marshall can go deep, go across the middle, has very good hands and is a burden to bring down. He's one-half of the equation. A healthy and productive Javon Walker would fill the Eddie Mac side of it...but he has been neither this past year, and may not be here in the future. Stokley signed and will be here, but Shanahan's preference is for him to play the slot (making up the difference between Sharpe's production at TE and Scheffler's), be in on fewer plays and thereby stay healthier, so we're looking for Marshall's mirror, whether in Walker or some other wideout.

4) A pair of Pro-Bowl OTs, with a Pro-Bowl C anchor for the line. Shanahan has taken his zone-blocking philosophy and turned it into an art, but sometimes he needs better performers to maximize his art. He brought in Zimmerman and Jones to protect both sides of his HOF QB, and drafted a perennial Pro-Bowl center to handle the middle. The guards were good but interchangable. Once the middle was secure and the ends were large protective cushions, Elway flourished more than he ever had before.

96-98: Zimmerman and Jones at the Tackles (both Pro-Bowlers, Zimm a HOFer) and Nalen (Pro-Bowler and ROFer) at center making the calls.

Now: No LT, inexperienced RT options in Harris, Pears and Kuper, with potentially Nalen's last year at center and no blue-chip replacement ready (Hamilton's a question mark due to the concussion issue). The guards may be the best part of the line, opposite of the SB years.

This right here is a huge responsibility to fill. Both the LT and RT slots are up for grabs, and the center position is manned by a guy wtih a torn bicep, backed up by a guy who missed a year with a concussion, and with the only other true center on the depth chart being merely adequate at best (Myers). A free-agent LT would go a huge way toward helping the confusion, but March and April will tell us where we're at with improving the line's performance from last season. And I'll say this: until we properly address the OL issues, we will never be an elite team. There are too many good defenses above us in the AFC for us to get by with mediocre line play.

5) A QB who can make all the throws, is tough as nails, is looked to as an unquestioned on-the-field leader and who comes with some swagger. Elway walked like John Wayne. His team-mates watched the things he did in awe, and his legend sustained them no matter what the scoreboard said. The defense played harder even when he struggled for the first 58 minutes of the game, knowing "If we can keep it to one score, John'll win this thing for us." He threw the ball harder than any QB I've ever seen, so much so that they had to increase the speed of the football-throwing machines in training camp to get the wide receivers used to catching that hard a ball.

96-98: #7

Now: #6

Cutler has the swagger, he has the arm, he's definitely tough, and leadership will come. Shanahan picked a pocket-passing cerebral guy without an arm or a heart for his first replacement of the Great One, and a scrambling mad-cap maverick with the same lack of arm and heart for his second one. Cutler has more arm than either, and skills both inside and outside the pocket. You can't gift someone with greatness, though - he'll have to find that himself. Jeff George had all the right tools, except for the one between his ears and the beating thing in his ribcage. I don't believe Cutler is a George, but the feeling out time is over. It's Cutler's team now. Rod Smith will be gone, Nalen has a foot out the door, Lepsis has retired and Hamilton's an unknown. No one else has been around the Broncos offense any longer than Cutler - so it's all gonna be on him now. At least we seem to have gotten this most-tricky of pieces in place for the next championship run.

6) SCORE. Those teams were 4th, 2nd, and 1st in scoring offense. They were top 5 in *both* rushing and passing TDs every year. They put the ball in the end zone. All the rest of this stuff doesn't matter if you don't get points from it (as our record showed this year. A top 10 running game, a 3500 yard passer and a 100-catch receiver don't mean anything if you're kicking field goals from the 2 all the time). Shanahan prides himself on an efficient offense. He loves the word efficient. It means "no wasted effort." If we go 70 yards down the field then there had better be 7 on the board when we're through.

96-98: Awesome.

Now: Mediocre. This is the single biggest contribution that coaching makes for this offense (besides the run scheme). It doesn't matter what your talent level is or how perfectly they match up against the other team if you do not take advantage of your strengths and their weaknesses by putting points on the board. Those teams never let the opposition "hang around." This team is infamous for it. Part of it's youth, which takes care of itself as the years pass, and part of it is play-calling. If Shanahan wants back his SB teams, this is a problem he needs to address by looking in the mirror. Perhaps the departure of Heimerdinger is the start of it. My fingers are crossed.

G_Money
01-25-2008, 11:00 AM
For the defense:

1) Heavy hitters. People may not really remember, but the Broncos defense was intimidating. All their linebackers could hit, Atwater was a roving nightmare for any would-be pass-catchers. It was a fast defense, and that speed would chase down plays on the back-side as well as filling the momentary gaps with alacrity. Cadrez doesn't get his fair share of the credit for the jobs those teams did at breaking plays up at the point of attack.

96-98 hitters: Romo, Atwater, Crockett (yes, he hit hard), Trevor Pryce, Neil Smith, Alfred Williams. We had hard hitters on the line, in the LB core and in the defensive backfield. And the guys who didn't hit quite as hard could definitely tackle.

Now: Lynch. Lynch hits hard. So does DJ at times. Bailey's a sure tackler. But we need some more punch on this defense.

2) Press, man corners. Ray Crockett was terminally under-rated. He had a great ability to punch wideouts at the line of scrimmage and run with them as well. He was an aggressive ball-hawk - sometimes too aggressive - but I was never that worried that he didn't know how to make an open field tackle or that he was giving a lesser WR too much of a cushion. If we're going to bring the blitz then we need corners who can cover. No Tampa Two style CBs who need the safety help all the time because they get beat too much. Cover corners (and cover safeties) are a necessity if you're going to blitz a lot. Zone-blitzing only works for so long.

DBs 96-98: Crockett and Gordon, Braxton and Atwater. They'd get beat, but not often enough to hurt us.

Now: Champ and Bly do their jobs admirably. Lynch is all but done, Hamza has never been, and Ferguson dug his own grave and lied down in it last year. We need some new safeties who can defend the pass *and* stop the run.

3) Blitzing style. Other offenses played back on their heels against us, because we let loose the dogs of war. For this you need cover corners, strong, fast ends who can anchor against the run and still get to the passer, and DTs who can get up the field while doing the same. You need LBs who can both cover and blitz (so that the offense doesn't have a "Designated Sacker" to defend against) and at least one safety who's a terror.

96-98: You know who.

Now: Lynch hits hard but can't cover any more, so he's more one-dimensional in both blitzing and run support. Our current LB core is fast (Winborn/Webster/Williams) and a couple of them are decent in coverage - they just need to be used more in the blitz game. Our tackles are better up-the-field guys than stand-around guys, and our ends (Dumervil and Moss) should be able to bring pressure - it's the run game that they're more suspect in. And Champ and Dre WANT us to pressure the QB so they can pad the stat sheet with INTs. We're actually not that far off here, which makes me wonder why we weren't blitzing at all last year...

4) Turnover margin. Shanny can't stand fumbling, he can't abide stupid interceptions, and he needs his DBs to make the interceptions when they're available. Both the SB winning teams had top-5 turnover ratios, with the offense holding onto it and the defense doing at least an adequate (#10-#15) job of taking it away. This isn't a personnel package as much as it is a philosophy.

5) Stopping the run. This one is the most deceiving. The 96-98 Broncos look great against the run, but that's partly because Elway, TD and the offense had 21 points on the board before the 1st quarter was over, and teams were giving up their running attack midway through the second. The Broncos offense was simple: Score every possession of the 1st half, and spend the second half grinding clock with TD while unleashing the hounds on defense. But the defense can't be allowing 17 play drives like the ones to Jacksonville this year if we're gonna make this work. It doesn't do any good to score a TD in 3 minutes if the opposition gets it back in a 9 minute drive going the other way. So those 3rd downs need to turn into 4th downs, and that's where the run-stopping comes in.

Sadly, I have no idea how our personnel shapes up for this. It was obviously abysmal last year, but how much of that was inappropriate scheme and player combinations? I think we need better LBs and a better scheme for sure, but the DT failures from last year can't all be scheme either...right? I expect this to be the most crucial point of emphasis for the upcoming season: How do we stop the run?

6) Scoring defense. This is what Shanahan means when he says, "We have a philosophy of defense around here." All of the above are part of it, but the thing he cares most about is that the other team comes away with 3 or zero points and we get 7s on our trips down the field. The Super Bowl teams were top 10 in scoring defense and top two in scoring differential (what we score vs. what they score). Every field goal our opponents kicked was a victory for us, because our offense doesn't settle for mere field goals. TD was taking entire 4th quarters off because our leads were so huge. A juggernaut offense can quickly overwhelm the opposition's game plan, simply by doing what they do: score. The defense's job in a total scheme like our SB teams ran is just to keep the other guy out of the end zone long enough to make him one-dimensional.

We have a ways to go yet.

But that's not too much to ask for, is it?

Shanahan essentially "fired" Bates because he wanted someone who "understood our defensive philosophy better." In the last two years he's added the franchise QB, the TE and WR he lacked, and a DL full of athletic pass-rushers. Stopping the run and revving up the running game should be the next two priorities.

We'll know by May if the plan is a redux of the mid 90s or some new plan entirely. I don't expect us to go off the rails - Shanahan has laid enough track behind him to know where he wants it to go. Bates was an aberration, Shanahan letting a resume talk him into trying a defensive philosophy he didn't agree with. That lasted about 5 games.

Looking at the lists, though, our personnel deficiencies in certain areas become blatantly apparent.

Knowing what Shanahan's Championship Blueprint looks like, and how well it has worked when all the pieces are there, he has to see the same things...right?

~G

BigDaddyBronco
01-25-2008, 11:28 AM
Two high level questions...

1) Will Shanny's offensive philosophy from 97/98 work with the good defenses of today? Is the lack of red-zone success indicative of the rest of the NFL catching up to Shanny's philosophy or is it lack of talent.
2) Does Shanny have a detailed philosophy on defense or does he just want a defense to keep points of the board and get off the field so his offense can get back out there. The reason I ask this is that Bates style was so different than the defensive success in the pass that his hire didn't make any sense to me. Was Shanny grasping at straws and thinking that it was time for a philosophical change, or did Bates snow over Shanny in the interview.

G_Money
01-25-2008, 11:53 AM
Hmmm...good questions. :)

1) Shanahan's offense was run to perfection by a HOF QB with a HOF RB, Pro Bowl FB, HOF TE, HOF WR, Pro Bowl other WR, Pro Bowl RT, HOF LT, and a HOF C.

Right now we have a Pro Bowl QB and two Pro Bowl WRs (one of whom is a slot WR). Our injured Pro Bowl WR and composite TE could improve things, but we may be a little talent deficient. Here's to an OL/blocking upgrade and at least one more weapon added to the O. When Shanahan has weapons, he's a genius. When he doesn't, he's a bit less than that - but the same can be said of every coach. The Colts, Jags, Pats, etc aren't winning with scrubs. They've got studs, and we need more of our own studs to compete with them.

But I don't think the ZB scheme is played out for the running attack, or teams would be going away from it instead of flocking to it. And Cutler made the most of the weapons he was given in the passing game. Marshall abused people, Stokley was great when healthy, Scheff did well and Young was good out of the backfield. We just need more of that, and more diversified play-calls. We used to go deep, go short, run the draw occasionally, screen the backs, move the pocket...now we seem to draw up 5 plays and rotate them. I don't know if Mike doesn't have the packages to run the plays he wants to or if he's forgotten how to use that huge, giant playbook of his. For now I'm going with, "We need more playmakers and Dinger was holding us up." That's subject to change if the next guy doesn't do any better than we have the last couple of years.

2) You'll never hear it said, but IMO Bates was Bowlen's guy. Mike wanted to kick Coyer to the curb, and Bowlen came back with, "Well, he runs the D you like, and if that's not working then bring me the best of a different system that WILL work. No more re-treads."

So Shanny went out, got Bates, hated his philosophy, and in his year-end conference said little things like, "I wanted to go back to the philosophy that has worked around here" and "We need to stop the run, and have done it successfully in the past" and "After 5 games it was obvious that scheme wasn't working so we changed some things." Shanahan never bought in to Bates's scheme. So now he's going with a coach who's known for blitzing, as both Coyer and Bates are gone after not utilizing the blitz.

I expect to run-blitz, pass-blitz, zone-blitz and occasionally pull back into an 8-man zone just to change things up next year. We'll see once training camp gets here.

Hopefully this season convinced Mike that a new coat of paint won't cover up the deficiencies any longer. More talent, better coaching on both sides of the ball, please. I have some tapes from the mid-90s if he needs to borrow them...

~G

BroncoJoe
01-25-2008, 11:53 AM
Great posts, ~G.

Of course, I didn't read them but can assume based on your past posts that they were excellent.

BigDaddyBronco
01-25-2008, 11:56 AM
Hmmm...good questions. :)

2) You'll never hear it said, but IMO Bates was Bowlen's guy. Mike wanted to kick Coyer to the curb, and Bowlen came back with, "Well, he runs the D you like, and if that's not working then bring me the best of a different system that WILL work. No more re-treads."

~G
I was thinking the same thing, but you just never hear anything from Bowlen on football decisions so it's hard to say.

Agree with your perceptions though.

G_Money
01-25-2008, 11:59 AM
Great posts, ~G.

Of course, I didn't read them but can assume based on your past posts that they were excellent.

People should never let me write "Articles" without column inch or word limits.

They drag on fooooorreeeeevvveeeeerrr.... :coffee:

~G

Traveler
01-25-2008, 04:12 PM
Nice write-up G. Just one correction. Correct me if I'm wrong, but, Shanny only acquired Jones. Phillips traded for Zimmerman.

Great read nonetheless...Bravo!

Broncospsycho77
01-25-2008, 04:36 PM
G--

I'm publishing this somewhere. If it doesn't have your name on it, then don't worry about it.

Basically, I'm at a full agreement on the key element: it is more than essential to stick to a philosophy, any philosophy, and tweak it year after year, rather than dumping it each year and building from the ground up, especially in defense. We need the consistency from the head coach and staff to instill confidence into the system of the young team. Right now, that wasn't happening, obviously shown when our staff hit the road after this season, so hopefully we can set something up.

Systems like the ones in Indy, New England, and even Baltimore (before everyone turned old) were products of fine tweaking year after year; a new face here, a position change there... we haven't had that chance with the rotating door of both coaches and pickups from every team's scrap heap.

Speaking of that, I agree with the fact that we need some kind of big guy/big name on D. A line of basically second teamers may help find a budding star for the future in one of them, but that still leaves the other 3 guys sucking it up, and our defense as a whole hurts from lack of a hitter or someone to fear. Get us at least a B-level star to chase the passer or running back down.

dogfish
01-25-2008, 09:33 PM
excellent analysis, both insightful and well-written. . . there are several points i want to make in response, and not all of them connect neatly to each other, so forgive me if i start rambling. . . :laugh:


your point about system is very well taken-- the steelers under cowher would be another good example, or the eagles over the past decade or so. . . on the flip side, you have franchises like oakland and arizona (traditionally-- i think whiz may change things around)-- they lack identity or direction, and as a result they struggle to find consistency or put cohesive teams together from year to year. . .

it's often been debated (both here and back on the Bmania board) whether shanahan has "lost his touch," so to speak, and i have seen many accusations that the ZBS doesn't work any more, shanahan's offensive system is outdated, etc etc. . . i have used your exact same argument that the ZBS is gaining in popularity around the league, and no one ever has much of an answer for it-- furthermore, it cracks me up that people say our offensive scheme is "outdated" when the west coast offense is the single most popular and widespread offensive scheme in pro football. . . :lol:

not that shanahan's playcalling should be exempt from criticism, but my opinion is that quite clearly personnel is the primary place where we're falling short (and of course shenanigans gets a large share of the blame there as well, but that is in some ways an argument for another thread). . . to me, it seems obvious that a string of especially bad drafts is the root of most of our current problems. . . in particular, we just took too many players lacking the proper attitude/mentality necessary to succeed at this level. . .

our super bowl teams were built largely around tough, hard-working guys-- oh, we had some elite athletes with players like elway and zimm, (who of course were just as tough), but most of the core guys were solid-but-unspectacular athletes that relied on smarts, technique and determination as much as their raw physical gifts. . . rod, eddie mac, nails, TD, griffith-- the list goes on. . .

unfortunately, i think shanahan got seduced by raw talent too many times during that stretch of bad drafting, and took guys with questionable heart based on their ability-- deltha o'neal, foster, lilly, tater, etc. . . measurables aside, none of them had any guts. . . then it became a vicious cycle, as the failure of too many draft picks forced us to over-extend ourselves in free agency, and we compounded the problem by making too many bad decisions there. . . shenanigans has always been a horrible bargain hunter, and how many times has he turned a blind eye to character flaws in hopes of scoring a bargain? dale carter, darryll gardener and clarett come immediately to mind-- and travis henry and javon walker look like they may be getting added to that list soon, although they aren't the unmitigated disasters that some of the others were. . . we wasted more time and money on guys like quitterson and lional dalton, and most recently sam adams, jimmy kennedy and simeon rice. . .

it also hasn't helped that the franchise has had an unusal run of bad luck the past few years. . . the deaths of darrent williams and damien nash are obviously on a different level due to their tragic nature, but from a football sense the loss of a high number of guys who were still in their prime to career-ending type injuries has hurt just as bad. . . courtney brown was no suprise to anyone, and TD may have been inevitable given the pounding he took, but you don't expect to lose mobley AND wilson to the same type of injury. . . throw in sam brandon as well (not a starter, but anyone who compares what TEs did to us this past year as compared to '05 and '06 can see the impact), and we lost a projected starter in holdman before he ever really suited up for us-- and the jury is still out on ben hamilton. . . of course every franchise has to deal with injuries, but we've had exceptional bad luck recently IMO. . . not an excuse, but it does make it a lot harder to get past the personnel blunders when guys that you did hit with get permanently sidelined. . .

you can't do anything about the injuries but move on, but the bad decision-making can be remedied, and it has to start with the draft. . . i think we can pretty much all agree that the past two have been better, or at least that the '06 was outstanding. . . we need to continue in that vein, looking for guys like marshall and dumervil-- guys who are FOOTBALL PLAYERS, not just ATHLETES. . . our recent teams haven't had enough grit-- we've become too much of a finesse team. . . not that i don't value speed and athleticism-- i have little desire to be a hulking, three-yards-up-the-middle team that can't run past the 3rd quarter-- but you need to have some balance. . . our super bowl squads may have been a bit undersized, but they were'nt afraid to play physical football. . . we had some nasty dudes like stink, nalen, atwater and romanowski, and even our skill position guys were hard-nosed players like easy ed and TD. . . i agree completely with your contention that we need some of that attitude back-- IMO, on the offensive line as well as on D. . . i love marshall's aggressiveness, both running and blocking. . . i like DJ, but it would be nice to have more of an enforcer type playing MIKE. . . even more so, i'd like some OLs who fill finish their blocks and bury their guy in the dirt-- i think kuper may have a bit of that nasty streak, and i hope we go after some more linemen that have it-- i'm sick of being a little pansy team that constantly gets pushed around in the trenches! that's no way to win football games. . . while i wouldn't mind getting bigger, to me it mostly comes down to attitude. . .


looking forward, i get a bit conflicted. . . we were at our best when we were a top OFFENSIVE team, but i don't think "defense wins championships" became a cliche by accident. . . over the course of the salary ca era (and particularly this century, as some hold-over stars from the previous era have retired), the majority of the super bowl winners have been built around solid defense and efficient, ball-control offense. . . the rams and colts are the only teams to win with high-powered, flashy offenses, and even they had fast, aggressive defenses that could create turnovers. . . controlling the clock is still fundamental football, and the quick-strike offenses have largely been failures in the playoffs-- the chiefs and packers of a few years back could ring up points, but they'd give up just as many, and mike martz wasted some truly brilliant offenses by almost completely neglecting defense and special teams. . . even the colts never won anything until they spend some resources on defense, and a huge part of their success was manning's realization that he could work the short passing game and take what the defense gave him rather than constantly looking to attack down the field (that, and having a decent defense that took away some of that pressure to score every time they had the ball). . .

the pats and steelers won with offenses that were more efficient than explosive, and neither of them had a randy moss type of premier wide receiver. . . and the ravens barely even FIELDED an offense! it was just grind the clock with jamal lewis and wait for the D to set them up with a short field. . . it seems that the trend is starting to shift a little more towards wide-open offenses, but you still have to be able to control the TOP with your O, stop the run, and get after the QB on 3rd downs. . .

i have to admit, my own inclination is to invest the resources necessary to build an elite D, but we may be closer on the other side of the ball. . . a tough, active DT would make an immeasurbale difference on our defense-- IMO, that's the domino that will make the rest fall into place. . . a DT who can command double teams will free the rest of the talent on the line to make plays (especially if we go to an aggresive scheme that will let them get after it), and improved D-line play can hide a lot of warts in the back seven, which we have plenty of right now. . .

i've seen you mention several times that you'd like to see more of a blitzing D, and i'm in full agreement-- i'd rather take the chance and bring pressure than sit back and let them pick you apart. . . i think the most frustrating game i've ever watched was the monday nighter where gannon completed 20-some passes ina row, and ray rhodes refused to blitz him-- i was ready to smash my TV. . . :mad: with the cover corners we have, take some chances! sure you'll get beat some times, but you'll also make some plays. . .

people back on the mania board constantly griped about the way we blitzed in '05, but i was all for it. . . it's easy to second-guess after the stealers picked us apart, but without that attacking D we would have never been there in the first place-- people were quick to forget the way we put guys like brady and mcnabb on their asses with the blitz. . . that's not to say that i loved the all-or-nothing approach with the way we brought zero blitzes all the time-- i'd rather see it get mixed up so you're less predictable-- but it killed me the way people crucified coyer after the season for his blitzes. . . how the hell else was he supposed to get a pass rush with that line??


so in conclusion, i very much think that this team needs to focus on adding toughness in the trenches going forward. . . a better running back, a solid (doesn't have to be elite) WR to complement marshall, and a younger, faster LB and safety or two would all be a big help. . . but a stud DT and a mauler OT who can keep cutler upright and move the pile in the running game are absolute NECESSITIES, IMO. . . without those, i don't see us going anywhere. . .

my ideal scenario would be to prioritize corey williams in free agency, allowing us to fill that hole with an immediate contributor and then try to take advantage of the depth and quality at OT, RB and LB in this year's draft. . . we'll see, though. . . i think ignoring the lines has been shanahan's major sin since the supre bowl years, so i'm not especially confident that he's really committed to getting it fixed-- i'll keep my fingers crossed, though. . .

sorry for posting a small novel in your thread, but it's ultimately your fault for writing such a thought-provoking article. . . . :lol:

Dreadnought
01-26-2008, 10:28 AM
Great analysis all around, great input from G-Money, BDB, and Dogfish. Enlightening and entertaining stuff. I like long posts if and only if they are worth my time reading, and these were!

mclark
01-27-2008, 06:15 PM
Very good thread. Great insights, G.

I think our aggressiveness on both offense and defense need to be racheted up. I think that's why Bates is gone. His defense played passive, thinking too much. You want your quarterback thinking -- but your defensive linemen should be playing with quickness and instincts -- and penetrating.

We need to be aggressive in the red zone. This means rolling out, and using the pass-run option.

Yes, a turnover in the red zone can be devastating. But if you are an attacking offense, you can make up for a turnover here and there.

Settling for field goals is a recipe for trouble.

We need better players in both the offensive and defensive lines. We also need better linebackers, and a better running back.

Watchthemiddle
01-27-2008, 06:21 PM
Very good thread. Great insights, G.

I think our aggressiveness on both offense and defense need to be racheted up. I think that's why Bates is gone. His defense played passive, thinking too much. You want your quarterback thinking -- but your defensive linemen should be playing with quickness and instincts -- and penetrating.

We need to be aggressive in the red zone. This means rolling out, and using the pass-run option.

Yes, a turnover in the red zone can be devastating. But if you are an attacking offense, you can make up for a turnover here and there.

Settling for field goals is a recipe for trouble.

We need better players in both the offensive and defensive lines. We also need better linebackers, and a better running back.

Good post, and a turnover in the red zone by our offense isn't devastating if our defense devastates opposing offenses.

Something we have clearly lacked for many years.

Lonestar
01-28-2008, 12:13 AM
I also believe that Bates was not mikeys first choice.. He was given the authority to get the players he wanted or we would have never drafted 3 of 4 on the DL last year.. I can assure you it would not have happened unless he had some juice from above mikeys head.

I also believe that having Slowik in between bates and the players was mikeys way of undercutting bates.. Mikey may have had him shoved down his throat but he was not going to allow him to be effective.. The players were either to stupid to buy into his scheme or had someone whispering in their ears to give it time. Slowik had been hired as DC when Bates came on to the scene.. It does not take a brains surgeon to make this connection..

topscribe
01-28-2008, 11:41 AM
I also believe that Bates was not mikeys first choice.. He was given the authority to get the players he wanted or we would have never drafted 3 of 4 on the DL last year.. I can assure you it would not have happened unless he had some juice from above mikeys head.

I also believe that having Slowik in between bates and the players was mikeys way of undercutting bates.. Mikey may have had him shoved down his throat but he was not going to allow him to be effective.. The players were either to stupid to buy into his scheme or had someone whispering in their ears to give it time. Slowik had been hired as DC when Bates came on to the scene.. It does not take a brains surgeon to make this connection..

Am I understanding right, that you are implying sabotage on Shanny's part?

I don't know what the underlying plots entailed, but I rest assured that
Shanny would not sabotage a coach at the expense of the team.

-----

Lonestar
01-28-2008, 01:58 PM
Am I understanding right, that you are implying sabotage on Shanny's part?

I don't know what the underlying plots entailed, but I rest assured that
Shanny would not sabotage a coach at the expense of the team.

-----



I think bates was forced into the system and mikey went along far enough to almost make it work..

TOP you know that mikey would have NEVER draft 3 DL guys in on draft that is so out of character for him 75% of his choice to DL. There is NO FAN that would have put any money on that scenario even with good odds.

3 dB's or LBs maybe but NEVER DL.. Last time he drafted a decent DL guy on the first day was 1998..

dogfish
01-28-2008, 02:05 PM
Am I understanding right, that you are implying sabotage on Shanny's part?

I don't know what the underlying plots entailed, but I rest assured that
Shanny would not sabotage a coach at the expense of the team.

-----


shhhh. . . .


don't tell anyone, but the aliens at roswell were controlling his brain. . . . ;)

Lonestar
01-28-2008, 02:20 PM
shhhh. . . .


don't tell anyone, but the aliens at roswell were controlling his brain. . . . ;)

this sounds like a personal attack to me..

:salute:

I only drive through there a few times a year..

dogfish
01-28-2008, 02:22 PM
this sounds like a personal attack to me..

:salute:

I only drive through there a few times a year..

uh-oh, they may have gotten to you also! :shocked:

Lonestar
01-28-2008, 02:24 PM
uh-oh, they may have gotten to you also! :shocked:


you have to admit that mikey was totally out of character last year in the draft that was not mikey pulling the name out of the hats.

Do do do do do do, all you want maybe mikey was in Roswell just before the draft.. Someone else was making those picks..

dogfish
01-28-2008, 02:26 PM
you have to admit that mikey was totally out of character last year in the draft that was not mikey pulling the name out of the hats.

Do do do do do do, all you want maybe mikey was in Roswell just before the draft.. Someone else was making those picks..


i'm a long way from convinced, but i'm HOPING that he's seen the error of his ways. . . .

Lonestar
01-28-2008, 02:30 PM
i'm a long way from convinced, but i'm HOPING that he's seen the error of his ways. . . .

I think mikey had big help from Dinger in 2006 and Pat told mikey to give Bates what he wanted in 2007.

To go from such lousy picks the past decade to to really good drafts is a HUGE leap of faith if you think mikey made those picks..

DenverBronkHoes
01-29-2008, 11:56 AM
wow

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