The Soapbox Returns

In which the dead will arise from their graves...

Jaded Warrior

Returns to find his homeland

Chaotically calm

Opening Thoughts

Hello, hello friends. I've been gone awhile now and I doubt I've really been missed, but I know you're pretending to miss me to make me feel better about myself. I'll accept it. I don't have a lot of friends and I could use the boost.

I'm sorry about all the time I've missed. I haven't been unable to work, and I have no excuse for my absence, but suffice it to say that I am now back (again) probably for good (again).

Anyway, I've missed quite a bit in the three weeks in which I haven't done soapboxes. Someone cost us a home game against the Jets, a bunch of pirates came and pillaged our... village (word.), and we went to foggy London town and laid a big ol' British egg. Experts suspect that when it hatches, it will have bad teeth.

As this return journey to my soapbox comes during a bye week, which is the worst of all weeks, I don't have a ton to write about. So this is going to be relatively short and sweet compared to the last two novels. In it, I will being back the discussion of Josh McDaniels' first quarter offensive strategy and discuss a crisis of faith I had after the raiders game. Juicy! So let's get to it.

And I will kill all of them. I am a plague upon thee, zombies. Let's jam.

  • No one has really said this much around here, but I love what I've been seeing from Zane Beadles lately. He didn't play a lick of right tackle until the preseason, but he's come a long way in terms of learning the position. Against the Niners, I saw him setting the edge early for some of Knowshon Moreno's better runs, and he looks great in pass protection. He still makes a ton of mistakes and isn't the most physically gifted guy in the world, but he has come very, very far in the last few weeks for us and I think he will be able to quickly adapt to the left guard position for the future.
  • JD Walton has gotten a lot less love since the Seahawks game, and for pretty good reason. He hasn't been all that great. But remember, when critiquing a rookie center, one must keep in mind that it is his responsibility to make all the line calls for the rest of the o-line, and keep them all on the same page. I read somewhere that Kyle Orton has been making some of the line calls to take pressure off Walton, but he is still required to be the glue that holds together the offensive line, and any rookie would struggle with that responsibility.
  • With that in mind, I thought I'd take a minute to describe what line calls actually are, because I get the feeling that most people don't understand the extent of the center's true responsibility. Before the snap, both the center and the quarterback must correctly analyze what formation the defense is lined up in. They MUST be on the same page, or else any play will get busted. The center then delegates to the other linemen who must block whom, and also where and when. For example, on a run play that requires a guard to pull and take out the outside defender, which is usually the defensive end, but the center reads a blitz by the outside linebacker, center must successfully communicate to the playside tackle to leave the blitzer alone, and then to the backside (hehehe, backside) pulling guard, who is on the complete opposite side of the field and cannot even see the guy who he's supposed to be blocking, that he's supposed to block that guy. He must do that in, oh, three seconds. Simple, right?
  • Bullet points are supposed to be short. I like that Ryan Harris is a right tackle again, because it means he must finally be getting healthy. There.
  • I think I've been seeing our special teams tighten up in the last few weeks. But don't tell anyone.
  • I never want to see Jarvis Moss on the field in a Broncos uniform again, and I think we should cut him immediately for the best possible alternative. I'm tired of him being a promising player every offseason only to sorely disappoint when the real lights come on.
  • Then again, I used to say the same thing about Brandon Lloyd, and look at how he turned out. /Bullet points.

Coaching Points

Here it is: CP, the only relevant part of the article and the only reason I'm sitting here writing today. Last week two weeks ago three weeks ago whenever the hell the last time I wrote this column, I brought up something that I thought was wise:

Josh McDaniels is the opposite of [Mike Shanahan's] 25 scripted plays. His playcalling in the first quarter is usually very vanilla. Last week, I mentioned that this caused me trouble when I was trying to figure out the offensive gameplan. Well, now I think that it's by design. He wants to avoid collapses. See, Mike Shanahan did 25 his plays to figure out what would work and what wouldn't. He blew his wad early and gave the defense time to adjust to him.

McDaniels will never tip his hand in the first quarter. He wants the defense to lull themselves into a false sense of security, have them make adjustments, and then strike at the weaknesses they create for themselves.

Warmick then brought up a point in the comments about this being close to the standard procedure of boxing strategy, which is exactly what I was thinking as I wrote it, which leads me into my next diatribe:

I like to think of myself as somewhat of a martial artist. I got sucked into Tae Kwon Do a couple years back by a girl I was interested in, and I have since studied Karate, Kung Fu, Jiu Jitsu, and drunken boxing. But, by far, my favorite martial art is Jeet Kune Do. A little backstory: Jeet Kune Do was developed in the 1960s and '70s by Bruce Lee, the greatest martial artist of the twentieth century. Lee was concerned with taking bits and pieces of techniques used in other, more rigid martial arts and combining them into one fluid, economical martial art.

Lee's greatest advice was to "be water." What he meant by this was that if you kept yourself fluid and reacted to your opponent, using his strength against him, you would be a the most complete fighter possible. If you fought like a tree, you would have great defense, but your opponent would eventually cut you down. If you fought like fire, you would be dangerous, but there would be many ways for your opponent to put you out. But if you fought like water, you would be a fighter without weakness.

Back when I was regularly fighting in Tae Kwon Do tournaments, I used this line of thinking to dominate many matches. I would spend the first twenty seconds or so feeling out my opponent, and then when he demonstrated a tendency, I would attack it and score a ton of points in a simple combination of movements in a very short time. Then, I would go back to being water.

This is what I believe Josh McDaniels is doing in the beginnings of football games, especially on offense, and I think it demonstrates a strong reason why we are such a bad first-quarter team. The Jedi (remember when we used to call him that?) spends the first few drives of games feeling out the defense, trying to find a tendency that he can attack, and then he adjusts to it. If they like to blitz backside a lot, we'll call a tight end slipscreen that way. If they like to blitz the corner on third-and-long, we'll go over the top on them.

Having said that, however, I don't necessarily think that it is the best offensive football strategy. In fighting it is good to have no identity or strategy, because that makes you unpredictable and your opponent uncomfortable. In football, however, I think there has to be a marriage between the two extremes. Shanahan was the best first-quarter coach in the game, and it is always good to play with a lead. Maybe McDaniels should take a look at some of his gameplans and see about analyzing exploitable weaknesses that he can take into games rather than forcing himself to have to adjust. At the very least, it could possibly save us from getting in large early deficits.

Freeform Jazz Odyssey

"You're a man now, and you've got to start acting like one." ~ "I'm not sure I know how." ~ "Allow me to demonstrate. First, puff out your chest. Now say, 'Tax Exemption.'" ~ "Tax Exemption!" ~ "Now, you must acquire a taste for... free form jazz."

"I love being a baby. Being a grownup is boring. And besides, I don't get jazz."

Story of My Life--A Crisis of Faith

I had a crisis of faith after the raiders game. Here's the story. See, I go to the University of Central Missouri, and our Homecoming football game was the day before the raiders game. We were 6-1 and ranked #12 in the DII polls, and we were facing a University of Nebraska-Omaha team that was 3-4 despite having played 6 home games. Long story short, we're really good and at home, and they really suck and are on the road, so we should beat them real good.

Entering the fourth quarter, it was 31-7 and we were losing. Losing would actually be a mild term. We were getting our asses thoroughly spanked. Our only touchdown at that point had come off a pick-six. Not only were we getting destroyed on homecoming, it was also about 50 degrees and raining. I wanted so badly to go home and play Halo, but I stayed because I was there with a bunch of friends and they wouldn't let me leave.

Good thing, too, because the sun came out and we scored 27 points in the last 11:00 to win 34-31. No kidding.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that I was there having a good time with friends. I've never hooped and hollered with the people around me at a football game like that. I live in the heart of Chiefs country and have been to Arrowhead Stadium many times to see the Broncos get whooped by the Chiefs, but I'd never had the opportunity to cheer for the same team as the people I went to the stadium with.

Those same friends invited me to go to the Chiefs game with them the following day. I declined, saying I had other things to do. In reality, I had one thing to do: watch the Broncos lose 673-14 to the raiders at home. So while I was curled up into a small sad ball crying in the corner, my friends were having fun without me at the Chiefs game.

Now, I usually try to watch Broncos games with my dad, because he is, after all, the reason I am a Broncos fan. He's from Denver and used to be one of the biggest football fans I knew, but ever since we won the Super Bowls and went through that whole Brian Griese experiment he's been kind of burned out on the whole thing. So he missed the game to go work on the koi pond and I stayed in and watched by myself on the tiniest computer screen in the world. It was depressing.

The moral of the story? Allow me to digress for a moment to the best post ever on MHR. If you don't have time to read that, it goes something like this: Firstfan once said that Hoosierteacher (Steve) once began a session of MHR University by taking out a large mayonnaise jar. He put golf balls in it and the class said it was full. Then he put some little pebbles in it and they settled in the spaces between the balls and again they said it was full. Then he poured sand in and again they said it was full. Then, just to screw with them, he poured two beers into it and this time it was really full. (I believe someone cried at this point. Was that you, Trinidad Jack?) Then Zappa thought a man was a woman and everything went straight to hell.

The point was, don't fill the jar up with sand first or you won't have room for anything else. The golf balls represent the most important things in life: family, friends; the pebbles less important things like cars, jobs, payments; and the sand is stuff like arguments or weather that really isn't all that important. If you worry about small crap, you won't have room for family, but if you take care of the important things first, you'll find yourself with time to take care of smaller matters.

My lesson from that weekend was to make the Broncos a pebble. They are important to me, but they aren't worth crying over. Friends are more important, and if I have that choice again, I'll go have fun with the friends and DVR the Broncos game for later. Don't let a football team run your life or take over your weekend.

On that note...

Allow me to play you out

Here's a quote from the Master:

I have not invented a "new style," composite, modified or otherwise that is set within distinct form as apart from "this" method or "that" method. On the contrary, I hope to free my followers from clinging to styles, patterns, or molds. Remember that Jeet Kune Do is merely a name used, a mirror in which to see "ourselves". . . Jeet Kune Do is not an organized institution that one can be a member of. Either you understand or you don't, and that is that. There is no mystery about my style. My movements are simple, direct and non-classical. The extraordinary part of it lies in its simplicity. Every movement in Jeet Kune-Do is being so of itself. There is nothing artificial about it. I always believe that the easy way is the right way. Jeet Kune-Do is simply the direct expression of one's feelings with the minimum of movements and energy. The closer to the true way of Kung Fu, the less wastage of expression there is. Finally, a Jeet Kune Do man who says Jeet Kune Do is exclusively Jeet Kune Do is simply not with it. He is still hung up on his self-closing resistance, in this case anchored down to reactionary pattern, and naturally is still bound by another modified pattern and can move within its limits. He has not digested the simple fact that truth exists outside all molds; pattern and awareness is never exclusive. Again let me remind you Jeet Kune Do is just a name used, a boat to get one across, and once across it is to be discarded and not to be carried on one's back.

– Bruce Lee

Be water, my friends. See you in a week.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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