Bienvenidos from the basement-office bureau of DenverBroncos.com, where I find myself decamped in order to meet a deadline on a game-program feature for the Chargers game, compose my as-promised response to numerous blog comments and write another blog entry about this morning’s heavily-attended kickoff event at the Broncos Boys and Girls Club.
Which brings me to one of the stars of the morning, Domonique Foxworth, and his little blog-based salvo …
As for my Blog Master, it’s not no stinkin’ Andrew Mason. I’m in direct competition with Andrew Mason. My blog is consistently better than his blog. I get more attention and I give more quality insight, so I wouldn’t dare let Andrew Mason be the one who transcribes my blog.
Oh, Foxie, Foxie, Foxie (or is it “Foxy,” perhaps?) … where do I begin …
Better? Well, you have your moments, my friend. Your work is decent, but it would be nice if you actually wrote the thing instead of dictating it.
Having someone else transcribe … that’s poseur blogging. I know you’re better than that. I know you’ve got it in you. If Jack Nasty can write his stuff, so can you. No hiding behind a “Blog Master” over here, my friend; this blog here is all me … right down to the occasional late-night ramblings from the comfort of home.
But in general, I’ll give you a free pass on that one, Foxie. I’ve heard many worse insults tossed my way.
Seriously, I enjoy the blog. It’s a different perspective, one we haven’t seen too often in recent NFL annals.
And by the way, Anonymous, you call me a “hack.” We hacks wear that term with pride. It’s like being a geek in middle or high school. What the rest of the world saw as an insult, we viewed as a compliment. Hacks tell you what’s going on with your favorite teams, and geeks run the world. Some of us are lucky enough to be both.
Now back to the place where the blogger actually writes his own content, and some of your comments from recent days …
Andrew, could you explain the rule on losing those extra downs just because you might attempt a field goal on a down that precedes 4th down? I’m thinking you ought to be able to use those extra three downs, even if you miss the field goal.
Wormyblackburny addressed this, but I’ll add a few words.
Even though you turn it over on a missed field goal, going for the kick prior to first down provides insurance in case something goes wrong — a bad snap, a lousy hold, that sort of thing. If Todd Sauerbrun can’t handle the snap from Mike Leach, then all he has to do is fall on it at the 13-yard-line. No problem — you lose eight yards, but you still have the chance to attempt a 31-yarder.
Remember back in the 2002 wild-card game between the Giants and 49ers when Trey Junkin misfired the snap? The Giants sure would have loved to have more time and another down for that second chance.
I still remember the first time I saw a coach use that strategy — Joe Gibbs for the Redskins in a 1988 game at Veterans Stadium. With one down to spare and 11 seconds remaining, he took it a step further — he went for a fake field goal to try and create better field position for Chip Lohmiller, who was a somewhat inconsistent rookie at the time. The fake failed, but Lohmiller hit the 44-yarder anyway and Washington won 20-19. Eagles coach Buddy Ryan was angry about that, but he had it coming; he called a fake punt with a 27-0 lead on Tampa Bay in that year’s season opener, proving that you don’t mess with karma.
Anyways, what do you think about this constant signing and waiving of Stephen Alexander and Chad Mustard? Furthermore, Daniel Graham has obviously been great but Scheffler was clearly one of Cutler’s favorite targets last year and he hasn’t caught a pass this year. As far as I remember, he hasn’t even been targeted. What do you think about the tight end production in the passing game?
First, on the Alexander/Mustard issue, it’s all about needs at that moment. Alexander was going to be inactive anyway, and Mustard provides a relief option at both tackle and tight end. (Even though he moved to tackle in the preseason, he still saw some goal-line tight-end work at Dallas, lining up as an eligible receiver, a la Dwayne Carswell in 2005 at Jacksonville.) As Mike Shanahan alluded on Monday, releasing Mustard on Monday and hoping he’ll still be around if needed in the future is kind of problematic; versatility is valued and someone might scoop him up in the interim. It’s the chance you take. But both Mustard and Alexander get a full week’s pay, so everyone’s happy in that regard, although S.A. certainly wants to be out there on the field.
With Scheffler, he just isn’t seeing the field that often. He’s still not quite back to 100 percent with that foot. Nate Jackson has been the No. 2 tight end for the balance of the year, and he brings quite a bit to the table; he’s a pretty decent pass-catcher (although he hasn’t had many chances there), and his blocking has improved immeasurably from when he first moved to tight end back in 2005. With his wideout background, he also provides a relief option at the slot if Brandon Stokley needs a breather or gets hurt.
Graham, meanwhile, has flourished as a blocker the past two weeks. As Shanahan said Monday:
“He dominated the line of scrimmage and gave us 60 minutes of unbelievable football. That was one of the best tight end demonstrations I’ve seen in a long time. Even though he only had one catch, you talk about a guy that is very impressive.”
What the Broncos are doing right now at tight end seems to be working, particularly in the running game. And with Stokley providing some key receptions from the slot — and a willingness to go across the middle — you don’t necessarily need your tight ends to be able to catch passes by the gross; you need them to block, and it’s in growing as a blocker where Scheffler might have been most damaged by the loss of work in OTAs and training camp.
What do you think about the progress of the draft picks on DL? I think they are getting better all the time. We have our hardest part of the season coming up here, but the Indy game really sticks out. Do you think Payton is going to be able to attack out D like others (with the pass)?
On the draft picks … We’ll probably get our first look at Tim Crowder this week; he said he should be ready to go for the Jaguars. But as for the other two … outstanding. Marcus Thomas’ big play on Sunday was a case of right place, right time … but he still has to possess the awareness to make the play on the ball as he did. And Jarvis Moss seems to have fully recovered from the preseason knee sprain, since the hitch in his gallop from the August games appears to be gone. They both seem to push each other, as well. What’s impressed me most about Thomas is how he hasn’t lost the chip on his shoulder from last year at Florida and the pre-draft buildup; he plays every day as though he has something to prove to the coaches, the fans, the world at large. His growth also accelerated once he shook the rust that went along with missing the last couple of months in 2006.
As for the season … consider that four of the Broncos’ next six opponents are 2-0 (Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Detroit), and neither Jacksonville nor San Diego has had a losing season since 2004. It’s too early to make a final judgment on these teams for this year, but the Broncos’ schedule looks much tougher now than it did back in August, with Green Bay, Detroit and December opponent Houston all looking much better than many expected.
And as for Peyton Manning and the Colts … let’s just say I really liked what the Titans did on Sunday, even in defeat. Pressure, pressure and, when that’s done, a little bit of pressure. Their offensive line did absorb a drastic change late in the offseason.
I think the Broncos should make the same tribute stickers they wear on the back of their helmets available to us Broncos Fans. On top of that all proceeds should go to the foundation created in his name. I know I would buy a few. One for the car, motorcycle, and replica helmet sitting on my desk in my office. What do you think?
That’s a brilliant idea. Not only should there be stickers that are full-sized, but also miniaturized, so fans who have and collect mini helmets can also purchase the stickers for placement on their helmets.
(Rich) Gannon mentioned during the broadcast that Lane Kiffin had sought out Coach Shanahan and asked if he had any advice for a young coach entering his first season, and Shanahan told him, ‘Yes, don’t be seen with me.’ Apparently, Kiffin laughed and Shanahan said, ‘No really, don’t be seen with me.’ Any insight on this interaction? Sounds like a priceless moment in Broncos-Raiders rivalry history!
I wish I’d heard that on the telecast … I must have been writing my own blog entry or something. I can’t verify it, though.
Hey Mas! How was it during that storm delay? Did it every look like the game would be called? I was watching at a buddy of mine’s house on the NFL Ticket. I went to check on the Chiefs game and turned back to see that the game was suspended. I had just got a nice Ribeye steak and a bowl of cocktail shrimp ready to finish watching the game. I thought they were done for the day but was happy when they started back up 24 minutes later. Tell your thoughts on the day Mas. If you have time.
To be honest, I wouldn’t mind a delay every game. Most gamedays I’m writing non-stop from about 10 minutes to kickoff until just after the final gun, since I also post a quick recap over on the main site which goes up anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes after the final gun, depending on the game. (If it’s a blowout, it’s a few seconds; in a close game where I have about four versions of the story written depending on the result, it’s a few minutes.) When we get to the final quarter and my fingers are flying at a supersonic pace, instant-replay delays and stoppages for incomplete passes become my best friends.
The second-quarter pause also gave me the chance to retreat to the press room for some ice cream … probably not a good thing. It’s no wonder we get fat in the job; there’s free food everywhere, and coming from a coupon-clipping household, I was taught not to eschew a free meal.
And last, but not least, the obligatory soccer talk, from lomaxgr:
MASONNNNNNN – Oh my, I use to love you, but a City fan?!?!?!? I live in Manchester, England and am i die hard Red, but i live 10 mins drive from both the City of Manchester Stadium and The Theatre of Dreams (Old Trafford), so plenty of my friends are blue. Jokes aside, I’m glad to see you’re a ’soccer’ (I can’t say it properly, doesn’t sound right) fan, thats two things we have in common! Ignore the troller, everyone else knows how hard you work and we all fully appreciate it. I work for my University’s paper doing the American Sports section, and that is stressful enough. Keep up the good work, and be a turncoat and turn red, you know you want to!
I forgive you for being a United fan — although our clashes are good versus evil. There’s a reason why you guys are the Red Devils.
I can’t turn now; I’m too deep in blue. I’m not a turncoat … I’m stuck with City now, but unlike most of my blue brethren, I don’t hate your side. (On the other hand, I flat-out despise Chelsea.) The genesis of all this came in my youth. In a series of sentences and sentence fragments, here goes …
My mother was born in Yorkshire and remains a subject of the Queen to this day, emigrating to the U.S. after marrying my American serviceman father on New Year’s Eve 1966 … I watched the ’86 World Cup on television because local cable picked up the Spanish-language feed and was transfixed by Gary Lineker’s play … Always followed the standings from England when I was a kid; the St. Petersburg Times published them once a week and I checked them every time they ran … Grandpa used to bring me the Shoot! annuals, game programs and other trinkets when he visited every few years … On the field, I played some fullback and some sweeper.
All the while, the first/second/third/fourth divisions, and their later re-named incarnations, remained somewhat foreign to me; I knew of the teams and some of their players, but little more, since I couldn’t watch them regularly.
Then came the Internet and the rise of digital cable.
All of a sudden, I could read about what was going on. The Fox Sports affiliates over here began airing packages and games. That brings me to the end of the 1995-96 season, when City went down from the Premiership after drawing 2-2 with Liverpool. I read the stories on the game, saw the pictures of the depressed, crestfallen faces of the fans sitting at Maine Road and found a chord struck in my heart.
“City will break your heart,” I would be told some time later. I shrugged. I’m an Atlanta Braves fan; I know all about having your hopes rise to the heavens like a helium balloon only to be punctured by a passing nail falling from an airplane.
I was hooked. And as the song says, “it’s too late to turn back now.”
Fortune and Lord willing, I’ll be visiting England next year, either in mid-February before the Scouting Combine or in the weeks after the draft and before the start of organized team activities. I think we need to get all the British Broncos fans together to talk football — American and world — and share tales of Broncodom. (And since Foxworth is an actual English native, not just the American-born scion of deep roots from the Mother Country, perhaps he can join us and we’ll have dueling blogs.)
But know this … you and all your fellow Broncos fans overseas are just as important to the team’s cause as those who’ve been coming to games in Denver for decades, and maybe even more important, since people like you ensure that “Broncos Country” is a globe-spanning territory.
Thanks for the kind words, and if that sports section of yours is on-line, I’d love a link to be able to check it out.
Wow. Time to get to the game-program stuff … which, like the blog, I write myself. Until the next entry, vaya con Dios.
Tags: Cornerbacks, Daniel Graham, Domonique Foxworth, Jarvis Moss, Marcus Thomas, Nate Jackson, Offense, Self-Indulgence, Stephen Alexander, Stuff That's Totally Irrelevant, Tight ends, Tony Scheffler