Hey guys and gals! It's been a while since I chimed in with anything more than the odd comment here and there, so I thought it'd be a good time to post something a little more substantial. Follow me below the fold for some random thoughts that I've been collecting for a while now that I feel safe to publish after watching our first preseason game.
Let me go ahead and get this out of the way: I've been a supporter of pretty much all of the franchise's so called controversial moves this offseason. I guess somewhere between my affinity for chess and my need to keep sight of the big picture at all times, I managed to see how everything was coming together rather nicely all along.
There are many others on this site who can offer a greater wealth of knowledge or keener insight for analysis than I, so I tend to focus on the little things that might get lost in the shuffle. If you're into that sort of thing, then I hope I don't let you down with the following list. And so, without further ado, I present you a brief list of things that I'm excited about going into this season:
- Passing out of "heavy" sets: in Denver, we're blessed with an impressive array of versatile offensive weapons. One of the advantages of that is that we are able to create mismatches all over the field and at all times. Perhaps the single scenario that most excites me is what we can do in short yardage and goal to go. Imagine a huddle with Knowshon Moreno and Peyton Hillis as running backs, Daniel Graham and Tony Schefler as tight ends and Brandon Marshall as the sole wide receiver. Defenses will surely have to size up and probably have to commit their focus in order to defend the run, but we'd have a full compliment of five capable pass catchers out there against them. Can't you just picture McDaniels waking up in the middle of the night, eyes wide open as he scrambles for pen and paper with which to draw up yet another play to run out with that group at his disposal?
- Coverage sacks: many were pleased when the front seven was able to collect four sacks against the 49ers Friday night, but I've been disappointed to see that the fact that at least half of those were coverage sacks has been largely overlooked. Without the full starting four back there, they were still able to absolutely shutdown the Niner passing attack from time to time.
- WR screens: we've known for some time that we have two guys out wide that give defenses fits when they have the ball in their hands: Eddie Royal and Brandon Marshall. The former is a terror as a kick returner and the latter is a beast to bring down after the catch. Give them the rock in space and be sure to keep both hands free to count up all the missed tackles they'll produce. With effective TEs and slot guys working the middle, plus an offensive line that protects the passer superbly and opens up plenty of holes for our stable of solid RBs, the fuse is perpetually lite on this particular piece of dynamite.
- Dominating the Forgotten Third: another tidbit that seems to have been lost on the traditional media as our new management put together our overhauled roster was the focus on guys that could excel in special teams while competing for regular playing time. Alphonso Smith, for example, has looked dangerous every time he fielded a kick. Better than that, though, was the performance of our coverage units throughout the night. Winning the battle of field position makes the game easier for both the offense and the defense and, for the first time in quite a while, we same capable of doing just that this year.
- Ground and pound: despite the fact that the powers that currently be in Denver seem partial to the passing game, they certainly demonstrated a commitment to the running game when called for. Not only that, but all the pieces are in place to put together the sort of buzzsaw rushing attack that you must be able to employ in the NFL to dominate time of possession when necessary. When guys like Correll Buckhalter and LaMont Jordan appear to be your lesser options, you're in good shape as far as the Jimmys and the Joes are concerned. Then again, I suppose we all kind of knew that from the get go. For me, I was impressed by how well the coaching staff developed the X's and the O's to get the most out of them.
Well, I'll leave it at the for now. There's a lot more that I could add and that doesn't even count the stuff that's been focused on by others. Needless to say, there's a lot to be excited about in Denver. I've gone from wanting to shove our success in every doubters face to simply impatiently waiting for the rest of this wonder to be revealed to me as the season progresses. Now I can't wait to share that experience with everyone else, I guess.
As always, feel free to chime in with questions or comments and thank you for taking the time to read my work. Go Broncos!