Shallow Thoughts & Nearsighted Observations

Happy Tuesday, friends, and welcome to another edition of Shallow Thoughts & Nearsighted Observations.  Is anybody else feeling like they could get used to feeling like this on a Tuesday?  It's great to be 5-0, isn't it?  Maybe Mark Kiszla is right, and we should all join him in welcoming Kyle Orton to Denver, since MHR is clearly bringing up the rear, there.  Y'all know how skeptical I have been. Despite our ongoing skepticism, and community-wide propensity for all things negative, we press on.  Ready..... BEGIN!!!!

1.  Speaking of my skepticism, I was pretty high on this team, heading into the first game.

This is an 11-5 football team, and it's one that is only going to improve as it adds more quality talent in the next few years.  I put my money where my mouth is too, donating $11 to the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure, on John Bena's wife's behalf.  Please do the same thing, if you can, by donating $1 for every win you think the Broncos will get this season.  Things have to break right for that to happen, sure, but I think they will.  Forget last season, this is a totally different thing. 

Well, that caused a stir.  John Bena took a beating on Twitter about it, and even my brother Chris thought I was about 4 games too generous.  At this point, I am frankly wondering if I shorted the Susan G Komen outfit by a buck or two.  One mea culpa though. 

By the way, the Broncos five losses are to the Patriots, Giants, and Raiders at home, and the Chargers and Eagles on the road.  I know a lot of people will groan at the thought of losing to Oakland at home, but let's face it, the Broncos annually lose a game they have no business losing, and I had a feeling that that would be the one.  I think they can beat Baltimore and Pittsburgh, because they protect the QB, and will be strong defensively against the run.  It's about matchups, in those cases.  Really, I believe that the Broncos can beat any team on their schedule if they execute, and consistently do the things you need to do to win football games.

I had the Broncos going to 4-0, (in case anybody claims nobody did), before losing both (Sunday) to the Patriots and next Monday night to the Chargers.   They beat the Patriots, and I am pretty sure they'll beat the Chargers too, to move to 6-0.   I also don't think there is any way they lose to the Raiders, with the consistent preparation and focus they've shown, and Oakland's extreme awfulness.  So, even the most optimistic reasonable guy you know may have been underselling this team. 

I am not much of a stats guy, but are you ready for an unbelievable one?  In five weeks, the Broncos have made zero personnel moves.  For all you hear about how much "turmoil" surrounded this team in the offseason, there has been absolutely none in the regular season.  Of course, having had no major injuries helps, but it's really indicative of the quality of the team's personnel plan.  There was no area where the staff thought incorrectly that the personnel would be good enough.  It's good enough everywhere.

There is a lot of reason to really like this team.  When the score was 10-0 in the first quarter, my father (Ed) called me, like he does when things aren't going that well for the Broncos.  This is the conversation,  practically word-for-word.

Ed:  What's going on with your boys?

Ted:  (A little annoyed.) Nothing, they had a good drive, but missed a field goal, and then they fumbled.  Then they held the Patriots to a field goal despite really favorable field position.  I'm not worried about it yet.  These things happen.

Ed:  I don't know...

Ted:  This team has shown an ability to be resilient, and make adjustments.  I think they'll hang in there, and be okay.  (More annoyed, because the commercial was ending, and the game was restarting.)  They just (bleeped) up a couple times, it's not the end of the world.

Ed:  We'll see....

Ted:  Yes, we will.  I have to go, so I can pay attention.

Ed:  Okay, when you write your analysis, you should mention that your expert father thinks they played like (bleep) because of those ugly uniforms.

Like me, my father is a former United States sailor (a Chief Nuke Machinist Mate), and we tend to employ some sailors' vocabulary when we speak.  (In the interest of authenticity, I thought everybody should know that.) 

I think back to the last few years, and there is a striking difference with this team.  I think of 2005, and the Broncos hardly ever trailed in that season.  Jake Plummer was made to play low-risk football, the defense was solid, and the Broncos ran the ball very well.  If the plan was executed, the Broncos were going to win.  Once it wasn't, in the AFC Championship Game, there was no coming back.

Between 2006-2008, the team was very mistake-prone, on both offense and defense (after the first 6 games of 2006).  Generally, you'd have the feeling that if a player or unit made a mistake, that a long day of repeat mistakes would be sure to follow.  Think of all the times Jay Cutler played the team out of games, or the defense took a holiday from tackling (or both happened in the same game, like the early season Chiefs game last season).  There was always a puncher's chance, but you felt like every mistake was the killer.

I have a tremendous amount of faith in this team's ability to overcome mistakes.  In the short amount of time they've been together, I've seen them do it a lot of times.  It's not like they're making a lot of mistakes, but they show the ability to settle down and re-focus, no matter what happens.  The 2008 Broncos would have gotten blown out today, no question about it.  This team hangs in there, gets back to playing solid football, and gets in position to win in the end.  It happened against Cincinnati, it happened against Dallas, and it happened again today.  (Of course, there never was one second where the Browns or Raiders had an apparent chance, so there was no particular need to hang in there in those games.)

Check out this tweet from Darrell Reid, from Sunday night:

@Footz95:  Bronco Fans Please 4Give Me 4 My Penalty That Almost Cost Us The Game. Luckily Its A Team Sport And My Teammates Overcame That Play. Thank U

That's pure class and accountability, and it's emblematic of this team.  There was nothing about how the penalty was kind of ticky-tack, even if it was.  He knows the rules, he ran into the guy's leg, and he is accountable for his mistake. 

It's a gift to be able to feel like this, and I think only probably Patriots, Steelers, and Colts fans have been able to do so consistently, in recent memory.  I think Giants and Saints fans probably can right now.  Somehow, our team is going to keep focused, and find a way to be in the game until the final gun.  What a great new Broncos fan reality.

2.  Information From My Eyes, Patriots at Broncos:

a.  The WRs for the Broncos did great work all game on Sunday.  They ran a ton of hitches, and really got out of their breaks well on them.  They also really caught the ball.

b.  Andra Davis and D.J. Williams both missed clean sacks on Tom Brady, on delayed blitzes.  It sure would have been nice to have those sacks, at the time. 

c.  I thought the use of Russ Hochstein as a FB was a nice touch a few times.  It's been hit or miss this season, and it hit Sunday.

d.  Both Brandon Marshall TDs were emblematic of his improvement as an all-around player.  He made plays with his physicality, which he hadn't ever fully harnessed in past years.  There was no sideways running Sunday, just good routes and power.

e.  That Ben Watson TD was evidently a mistake by D.J. Williams, who from the looks of the rest of the scheme, and Wesley Woodyard's reaction, should have stayed in zone coverage, instead of following the underneath crosser.

f.   Maybe Kyle Orton was so fantastic because he read Mark Kiszla's column before the game.  Feeling like "one of us" has to go a long way, right?

g.  That was a joke, of course, but Orton really did look as good as I have ever seen him.  His feet were calm, active, and precise, his decisions were quick and correct, and his throws were consistently on the money.  He looked like Tom Brady looks on a good day, and that's no overstatement. 

h.  I want to see a QB sneak on a short-yardage play one of these days.  I am tired of seeing these handoff plays get blown up by quick penetration, usually over Ben Hamilton.

i.  WOW, did Josh McDaniels ever flame-spray Mike Priefer and Keith Burns over that Darrell Reid penalty.  He had a point.  There was no particular need to be halfway rushing that punt, in that situation.  Honestly, I am a believer in not trying to block a punt at all, unless there's 6 or more yards to go.  That mitigates the risk of running into the kicker.

j.  If you remember the second-down play in the 4th quarter, with about 10 minutes to go, where Brady threw deep and the ball was broken up by Brian Dawkins, the real play was made by D.J.Williams, in covering Wes Welker one-on-one.  Brady clearly wanted to go there, and it was blanketed.  On the next play, Brady did throw to Welker, and Champ Bailey had great coverage.  The Broncos did a great job taking Welker away in the second half.

k.  Everybody knows I wasn't that high on the Knowshon Moreno pick when it was made, but I have come to really love this player.  He is going to be a superstar for years to come.  I especially appreciate his skill at picking up the blitz, which is rare for a rookie.

3.  Information From My Eyes, Other Games:

a.  I had the Bengals-Ravens game on my fixed screen Sunday, for the duration.  The key observation from that game is that I had it slightly wrong a couple weeks ago, when I said that the Ravens were without any glaring weaknesses.  Their cornerbacks are below average, and they can be killed outside the numbers.  Old friend Domonique Foxworth is a good guy, but an average-at-best player.  Fabian Washington isn't even as good as that.  Particularly if you can block the Ravens' pressure packages, there is a lot of opportunity for success.

b.  It is, however, best to stay out of the middle of the field, with any kind of risky throws.  Ed Reed is as great as ever, and we all know about Ray Lewis.  Reed made a couple big plays Sunday, stripping Chad Ochocinco on a long gainer before the first half ended, and then also returning an interception for a TD later.  The Bengals dominated this game, and Reed and Ray Rice were the Ravens' only real positives, and managed to keep the Ravens in it.

c.  Matt Cassel says he wants to find the right "anecdote" to losing.  The Chiefs ought to start by drafting a lot more speed, because they're the slowest team in the NFL, ahead of their opponent Sunday, Dallas.  The Chiefs are going to have another very high draft pick this year, because they are really horrible.  If I were Scott Pioli, I would do everything possible to get below the Top 10, because a third straight very high pick, along with Cassel's contract, is going to really mess up their salary structure, a la Oakland.  I would give a top pick away, straight-up, for the 12th pick, in their situation.  Bill Polian had it right when he said that you don't get good by picking high in the draft every year.  Unless you're taking a can't-miss QB, like Peyton Manning, nobody is worth the money you have to pay out.

d.  Speaking of the Chiefs, this has gone mostly under the radar, but they're not playing Derrick Johnson, their best linebacker.  He was their best defensive player in 2008, and now he's frozen out for some undisclosed reason.  If I were a 40-front team, I'd be calling the Chiefs before the trade deadline next week.  I bet he could be had for a 5th-rounder.

e.  Have you ever seen that show, Intervention, on A&E?  I know I have a pretty male-heavy readership, and it's mostly targeted toward a female demographic, so I ask, rather than assume.  Anyway, it's not what I would call uplifting television.  There's always some really troubled person, with drugs, or gambling, or compulsive shopping, or whatever.  Their family loves them, and wants to help get them on the straight and narrow, but addiction is really hard (my 3-year anniversary of quitting smoking is next Monday, so trust me, I have an idea about addiction). 

Anyway, the Jaguars remind me of an addict who is trying to get clean, and tries hard, and does well for a while, and then has a staggering, messy relapse.  Jacksonville's addiction is to playing undisciplined and stupid football.  The last two weeks, against Houston and Tennessee, the Jags had their act together.  Sunday, against Seattle, they relapsed, and got completely embarassed.  Rashean Mathis, a good CB, had a horrid game, and got out of position repeatedly.  I think Jack Del Rio's days have to be numbered, because his program just isn't getting the team to where they need to be.  I'm not picking them in any more games this year, either, unless it's against an obviously terrible team.  Sometimes, even though you may love the addict, they won't let themselves be helped, and you have to cut them off.

f.  The 49ers are not addicted to undisciplined football, but they sure played like the Jaguars West on Sunday.   Watching the Short Cut, I really feel like they lost their composure after Roddy White's 90-yard TD in the second quarter.  Nate Clements got beat on that play, and had a tough game overall.  The defense was physical, and maintained their run lanes, but didn't tackle well, at all.  I expect that Mike Singletary will re-focus his team, and they'll show better in their next game, after their bye.  Since they're clearly not built to play from behind, they need to establish early leads.

g.  A lot was made of Dre' Bly's idiotic celebration Sunday, but Donnie Avery deserves some scorn too, for dancing after a TD catch, when it made the score 31-10 Vikings, with 6 minutes to go.  That's just clown-like.  Hand the ball to the Field Judge, and get back to your sideline.

h.  Matt Schaub threw a noodle-armed out route Sunday, which Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie took back for the game-winning TD.  Even after that, Schaub drove the team the length of the field, before the Cardinals held them on 4th and goal from the 1.  The problem with being a zone-blocking team, as we've seen, is that you tend to struggle in short yardage situations, and the Texans really struggle with them.

i.  I got called "ignorant" once by our dear friend/Colts blogger BigBlueShoe for saying that Anthony Gonzalez was a below-average starter.  I considered it an honor, because I am happy to disagree with anybody.  (Evaluation is a function of what I see, not what anybody thinks they know, and by extension, that they think I should "know.")  In any case, Gonzalez, who is from 3 towns west of where I live, is going to stuggle to get on the field when he gets healthy.  Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon have done fantastic work this season, and they're both better players than Gonzalez.  Collie is smooth in his routes, and fundamentally sound, and Garcon is fast and fluid.  Gonzalez struggles to get off press coverage, and as Mike Shanahan once said, if you can't get off press coverage, you'll be selling cars before too long.

j.  The Steelers defense looks extremely beatable lately, especially if you can pass protect.  The Lions did a lot of good stuff offensively Sunday, and lost only because they couldn't contain James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley.  Trust me, they're not a terrible team team this season.

k.  Josh Johnson looked like an NFL starting QB on Sunday, which is an accomplishment, for your second career start, against a defense like Philadelphia's.  His stats were pedestrian (26-50, 240 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT with 5 carries for 40 yards), but he passed the eye test.  His throws were mostly accurate and decisive, and he was victimized by quite a few drops, at least 6 or 7. 

l.  I haven't gotten a great look at Jason Peters yet this regular season, and I have been wanting to.  Sunday's game didn't show me much, because Gaines Adams just looks clueless on the field.  LDE Jimmy Wilkerson got 3 sacks for the Buccaneers, and lazy analysis would lead me to criticize RT Winston Justice, who I am typically not a big fan of.  Thing is, I looked at the plays, and none were particularly bad plays by Justice.  One was an overload, where the RG picked up Wilkerson, and on the other two, Donovan McNabb rolled into a decently-blocked Wilkerson.

m.  ST&NO favorite Channing Crowder had a fantastic game on Monday Night, and really backed up his smack talk from the spring with Rex Ryan.  Another ST&NO favorite, Sean Smith, did not have a particularly great game.  He struggled a little with Braylon Edwards, and while he didn't embarass himself, he has looked a lot better in other games.  He was still the best CB the Dolphins had, as Vontae Davis and Will Allen both struggled worse.

n.  I called this just last Tuesday with Edwards.  He got out of Cleveland, and he's going to flourish in New York.  He always thought of Cleveland as a non-cosmopolitan place, even to a greater extent than what is really true.  (It's medium in its cosmopolitan-ness; well behind the major cities, but well ahead of a place like Jacksonville.)  Edwards also felt like Ohio fans secretly hated him because he is a Michigan guy.  The enmity between OSU and Michigan people is pretty real, for Big 10 country anyway, but Clevelanders are almost universally Browns fans before they're OSU fans.  It's an NFL town, first, no question about it.  If Edwards did well for the Browns, he'd have gotten plenty of love here.

My read on Edwards' personality, from living in the same town, is that the fact that he comes from a fairly affluent, two-parent, suburban background works against his ability to be a great player.  He knows he has options outside of football.  Poor kids need football, and many dedicate themselves fully to it, but I don't think Edwards has ever felt like he needs it.  (For an example, there's the famous story of him asking Will Demps how to get into modeling and acting, between plays, during a game with the Texans).

I expect that Edwards will be very good for the Jets, and get himself a good contract extension after this season.  New York is the town he wants to be in, and at his best, he can be like Tiki Barber, a guy who is interested in a lot of other stuff, but finally focuses pretty well on football, and has some good years under some tough coaching.  Just don't be the person who believes the nonsense about him being a bad player, because he is not one.

n.  The Dolphins offensive line is really one-dimensional, because their Tackles, Jake Long and Vernon Carey, severely lack foot quickness.  Both guys can really move defenders off the ball in the running game, though.  I am a big fan of Justin Smiley at LG; he's a mauler.  The Dolphins do well in their wildcat stuff, but I think they should play more with their QB under center, to generate opportunities in the play-action game.  It's the only way their QB will ever be able to consistently take a very deep dropback, unless they want to max-protect with a limited pattern.

o.  Wow.... two successful fake punts in one first half by the Jets.  I don't know if I have ever seen that before.  Brad Smith was almost stopped on the second one, but he managed to get away from the tackle.

p.  Chad Henne has looked much better than I thought he could play the last two weeks, but I am not sold on some things.  For one thing, since when do QBs have lousy, jail-house looking tattoos, or any tattoos at all?  It's like when an enlisted guy in the military becomes an officer, and suddenly looks a little different, sporting a bunch of ink.  (My buddy who is getting married in Dallas in about 2 weeks is actually one of these.)  Anyway, it's weird to see a QB with that going on.  As a player, he looked really good, though.

q.  Ted Ginn put a pretty humbling move on Darrelle Revis in the 4th quarter Monday Night.  When you hear scouts talk about suddenness, Ginn is not a guy who really has it, as opposed to somebody like Percy Harvin, who does.  Ginn does, however, have world-class speed once he gets going, and he ran by the outstanding Revis for a go-ahead TD.

r.  I usually ignore MNF while I write the bulk of ST&NO on Monday nights, but this Dolphins-Jets game was terrific.  Both of these teams are playoff-caliber teams, and only one of them will probably make it.

s.  The Packers had a bye week, and signed Mark Tauscher, which was smart.  I think he is below-average, (and so is Chad Clifton), but they are a damnsight better than Daryn Colledge and Allen Barbre.  If Aaron Rodgers can get sacked only 3-4 times per game, as opposed to 8-9, the Packers would have a better chance to beat good teams.  Rodgers does tend to hold the ball too long at times, and I am sure the Packers are working with him on that, as well.

t.  There were a lot of lousy games this weekend, which weren't particularly relevant to anything.  I didn't bother with them.  (That means you, Buffalo-Cleveland and Washington-Carolina.) 

4.  Between The Lines - Patriots at Broncos

a.  The Patriots pass-protected very well in this game, much better than I expected them to.  Matt Light and Nick Kaczur really held their own against Elvis Dumervil, Robert Ayers, and others.  The Broncos mostly tried to play coverage, and generally didn't blitz a lot, but the Patriots handled their 3- and 4-man rushes virtually every time.  Once Light was injured, and replaced by Sebastian Vollmer, I felt like the Patriots expressly didn't want to have him singled up on anybody, and they got more conservative with their protection calls.  Of course, on the key play where Vonnie Holliday sacked and stripped Brady, and Dumervil recovered, that was only a 4-man rush, and Vollmer was the victim.  The Patriots won this battle on volume, but he Broncos got the biggest play.

b.  The Broncos also were outstanding in protection.  Orton was never significantly pressured during the game, and the two sacks he took were both coverage sacks, delivered by LBs Rob Ninkovich and Tully Banta-Cain.  Ryan Clady and Ryan Harris were outstanding as usual.  Although Clady did have Banta-Cain on his sack, it's hard to call the play Ryan's fault.  Pressure up the middle forced Orton to step backwards, into the area where Clady had ridden Banta-Cain.  Sometimes you take a hit for doing your job right.  The interior was strong in protection too, especially Chris Kuper.  He does a great job anchoring against power rushers.  The Broncos were terrific in this area, and won it going away.

c.  The Patriots seemed to want to run the ball at Ryan McBean and Mario Haggan, and had a bit of success at it early with Sammy Morris.  After that, they seemed to get away from that plan, only running much from shotgun looks.  The Broncos defensive line was up to the task, consistently holding the line of scrimmage, as they have in all five games.  Noteworthy performances were turned in by Ronald Fields, Le Kevin Smith, and Kenny Peterson, in addition to McBean.  These big guys just continue to hold up.  Logan Mankins was tough for the Patriots, and Dan Koppen was steady and crafty.  Kaczur had a couple nice early blocks on the opening possession too.  This battle was pretty even, in the final analysis.

d.  Vince Wilfork was the best all-around player on the field on Sunday, and he couldn't be blocked.  If the Patriots don't pay him, I'll be shocked, but there are actually rumblings that they may not.  The rest of the Patriots defensive line got pushed around in the running game.  The Broncos blockers were terrific in opening up holes for Knowshon Moreno and LaMont Jordan.  Clady, Harris, and Kuper were especially noteworthy for their efforts in the running game.  Wilfork did make a key stop on third-and-short, and blew up Hamilton on the play.  Moreno's 4.2 yard average was a lot better than teams usually get from the Patriots.  This is a win for the Broncos.

e.  Remember a year ago, when the Patriots physically dominated the Broncos on both lines?  That did not happen Sunday.  The matchup was pretty even, with a slight edge going to the Broncos.  This was very important to the final outcome of the game, as always.

(I am scrapping the BTL feature for another game.  I am pretty overloaded lately, and I need to save the 90 minutes per week.  It seemed like the best place to cut from.  Sorry for anybody who will miss it.)

5.  Weird comment from Pat Kirwan on NFL.com:

5. Things I didn't like

When the visiting Patriots lost the coin toss in overtime and the Broncos drove the field and kicked a winning field goal, it left me wanting more than that to decide a winner. Wouldn't it have been great if, after Denver's field goal, Tom Brady had one drive to score a touchdown?

Is Kirwan saying that Brady should get even more special treatment, because he's Brady, or is he saying that the NFL should allow both teams to get the ball at least once in overtime, as a rule for all teams?  I typically like Kirwan's work, but this has me pretty confused.

And for the record, I don't think it would have been great if Brady had one drive to score a touchdown.  To me, moving down the field after winning the toss, and kicking a winning FG is legitimate.  I also think the Broncos play-calling would have been a bit different, once Knowshon Moreno got them inside the 30, if they felt like they really needed to play for a TD.

6.  Big up Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post, for reminding us, via Twitter, of somebody who hasn't come forth with their mea culpa yet.  I'm looking at you, Rick Reilly, purveyor of puff pieces. 

Actually, Reilly's words were more mean-spirited than anybody's, so he really owes Josh McDaniels an apology.

@DenverBroncos : Deadspin compiles all the not-so-nice things Rick Reilly wrote about McDaniels last spring. Pretty interesting. http://deadspin.com/5379838/delighting-in-rick-reillys-massively-wrong-broncos-predictions

I don't normally read Deadspin, but nice work by Tommy Creggs here.  Some interesting reminders:

Reilly on April 3rd:  "And none of it would've happened without McDaniels' ham-handed style and his Macy's-balloon ego. I have a buddy who honestly believes McDaniels thinks this is fantasy football; that Pat Bowlen gave him a whole team to play with and screw over in his own image and what the hell, if his moves don't work out, his league has a special "mulligan" rule and he can start over. Only there's no "oops" rule in the NFL. Years from now, the Cutler Catastrophe will go down as the dumbest thing in Boy Blunder's very short coaching career. By then, perhaps he will be your waiter at Olive Garden."

That was right after the Cutler trade.  Nice, huh?  Try this one out:

Reilly on April 29th: "To repeat: Boy Blunder used a [first-round pick] to take a second. And if the Broncos are going to be as lame as I think they're going to be-4-12 perhaps-that first-round pick will be very high. McDaniels is the worst combination of things: Terribly naïve and doubly confident. Bronco fans, you're screwed."

And one more pearl;

Reilly on September 29th:  "You can't just bolt your team because you think it's going to suck. (Which the Broncos are. There is no debating that. They are going to lose more than France. Just because you worked under Bill Belichick and you wear your sweatshirt like Bill Belichick does not mean you are Bill Belichick.)"

I would have been glad to debate Reilly on September 29th, or any other day.  And if Josh McDaniels was my waiter at Olive Garden, I'd tip him pretty well, because I tip well, and because I bet the service would be outstanding. 

I mean, like they say on ESPN, C'mon Man!  This drivel was worse than what came from any of the serious-ish reporters, right?  Your garden-variety John Clayton, Peter King, or Don Banks were smug and disconnected from reality, but it wasn't personal.  With Reilly, this was clearly PERSONAL.  Where are you at, Rick?  Being a Denver guy, I suspect you'll see this, or at least hear about it, from somebody who does.  Ted Bartlett from MileHighReport.com wants to know where you're at with this today, and is directly, publicly asking, on behalf of the thousands who realize how wrong you were, and think we have a great Head Coach.

Hell, if I find out that Chad Henne's tattoo is actually beautifully and tastefully done, and I had it all wrong, you can bet that I'll man up to it publicly.  Same goes for anything I ever say, in all seriousness.  Maybe accountability to readers is a blogger thing, I don't know.

7.  Retired for John Elway

8.  So, there's a hellaciously stupid line of thought that's circulating throughout the punditry (as always, meant negatively.)  It seems that there are two kinds of people: those who dichotomize, and those who don't.  The punditry tends to dichotomize, and there are two kinds of coaches right now.  Hot Coordinators (including some retreads like Mike Nolan, Gregg Williams, and Mike Mularkey), and Super Bowl Winning Retreads.  And lemme tell you, nobody wants a Retread.  Why not?  Because they're Retreads, stupid!

My favorite contrarian Andrew Perloff tells us so in his crack column Against The Grain: ("A weekly NFL column that heads in the opposite direction of your average pro football analysis."  Just in case you were wondering....)

3. The NFL information men are hot on the trail of finding out where former Super Bowl-winning coaches like Mike Shanahan, Mike Holmgren and Bill Cowher will end up. But shouldn't we be asking ourselves if those coaches are the right hires for franchises like Washington, Dallas and Carolina? A retread coach with a ring is still just a retread. Duplicating that kind of success is still a longshot in the NFL. Some of the organization problems within those teams would cause just as big a headache for a proven winner.

Perloff has a point about the organization problems, but calling somebody a retread, and assuming that they suddenly can't coach is asinine.  Analysts who don't know how to analyze always look for correlation, and assume causation, where there often is none. 

Some teams, like the Redskins and Cowboys, will almost certainly make big-splash hires.  Some, like the Bills and Jaguars, will be cost conscious, and probably hire a coordinator.  Some, like the Panthers, could go either way.  You can believe that whatever is deemed to be the trend du jour, (probably hiring coordinators), the other path will be criticized.  Such is life with the dichotomizing punditry.

9.  Another fun Ted Bartlett prognostication from the preseason:

The Broncos are going to have the best defense in the AFC West.

I guess I am just hot this year. :)

That's all I have for this week.  Have a great Tuesday, and beyond, and we'll see you Saturday for Lighting Up The Scoreboard, even as I will be at Notre Dame this weekend for their game against USC.  It will be my first time seeing Touchdown Jesus, so we'll see what that does for me as a guy who grew up Catholic.  Maybe I will tweet from the game.  Follow me at @TedBartlett905.  Thanks for reading, and go Broncos!!!

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