Kyle Orton's Breakout, NFLPA Proposal, and Other Musings

DENVER - NOVEMBER 14: Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas #88 of the Denver Broncos stretches the ball towards the goal line but is knocked out of bounds by linebacker Derrick Johnson #56 of the Kansas City Chiefs at the 1-yard-line during the second quarter at INVESCO Field at Mile High on November 14 2010 in Denver Colorado. The Denver Broncos defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 49-29. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

 

The Denver Broncos could not have scripted a better way to come out of the bye week. A 49-29 beat-down of first place and division rival Kansas City was just what the doctor ordered for the ailing Broncos, who forced Chiefs head coach Todd Haley to throw a hissy fit.

Haley was apparently upset that the Broncos had their starters in the game until the final snap, and the fact that Denver was blitzing in the late stages of the game didn't please him either. As John stated though, the Chiefs were still playing as though they had a chance to win the game, so the Broncos simply defended themselves. It's not like it's out of the ordinary for McDaniels to keep the starters in during a blowout. Look back to the Oakland game for proof of that.

Win or lose, the other team is going to have to deal with Denver's first string, blowouts included.

In addition to the lovely blowout victory, the NFLPA offered a counter-proposal to the NFL owners' 18 game schedule proposal, and if offers some intriguing ideas, regardless of how likely it is.

Right now, optimism is raging among Broncos fans, and it should be. The Broncos vaulted themselves into relevance with a big win over a division rival, not to mention the first place team. They went from down three games in the division to down two games with four division games to be played in the final seven. If Denver plays like it did on Sunday in each of those games, not a team in the league is going to beat them.

In my opinion, Kyle Orton's performance against the Chiefs was the best of his career, and the statistics will back me up on that one. Orton completed 22 of his 34 pass attempts, and threw for 296 yards and a career high four touchdowns. He also didn't throw a pick or fumble the football, so he put the Broncos in the end zone early and often, and he didn't give the other team the ball.

Orton's performance was impressive, but the Broncos used a complete team effort to dominate this game, and crazy as it sounds, the score did not reflect how truly dominant the crew in orange was on Sunday.

The Chiefs could not do anything offensively in the first half, save for one drive, and the Broncos simply could not be stopped. There was even a point where the Chiefs were close to scoring in the first half when the Broncos led 28-0, and two bull-crap penalties put them inside the 20.

How about a sack-fumble-touchdown, courtesy of Mario Haggan and Jason Hunter? The officials could not take that one back, and the game was all but over when Hunter and his crew of Kevin Vickerson, Justin Bannan, Mario Haggan, and Champ Bailey escorted him to the first defensive touchdown of the season.

The most impressive part of the game, in my opinion, was at the end of the first half. The Broncos led the Chiefs 35-7, and with less than a minute remaining, Josh McDaniels had his team in the no-huddle, trying to score again.

I. Love. It.

McDaniels finally showed some aggressive play-calling on Sunday, and it worked. It not only worked, it worked to perfection, and his two toys at quarterback combined for six touchdowns on the day. This was the first time in 25 games that I have been more than impressed with McDaniels, and Sunday, I was really, really impressed.

Tim Tebow only needed three plays to be up for the Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Week award, as he ran for a touchdown, and then threw the first touchdown pass of his career. He threw it to fullback Spencer Larsen, who proved why he is so valuable to this team. He caught the pass from Tebow (not an easy catch) and punched it in for the score. I wonder who will get to keep that ball?

Like I said before, the only thing missing from this performance was an interception or two, but the Broncos played a complete game of football and looked like a team possessed on Sunday.

 

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported last night during the Eagles-Redskins game that the NFLPA proposed a counter to the owners' 18 game proposal, and it reads something like this:

  • No more than five weeks of voluntary offseason workouts
  • Significantly reduced training camp contact
  • Two bye weeks
  • Expanding roster from 53 to 56-57 players
  • Prorated increase in salaries for players already under contract
  • Fewer games required for players to qualify for post-career benefits

I can't say I'm opposed to any of this. If you combine what the owners want (18 games) with what the players want, it seems like an ideal scenario for the fans.

We get more football, the owners make more money from the extra regular season games, and the players get more money.

I love the idea of adding roster spots. I think teams make so many moves throughout the year, it would perhaps eliminate the bevy of roster changes they have to make, and it would add significant areas of depth to teams.

The idea of two bye weeks doesn't bother me either. I would think you would do it so that no team played more than nine games in a row in a season.

Obivously, the part that they disagree on is a salary increase for the players who are under contract as well as the rookie salary cap. Teams need to be protected if a player completely busts out. In my opinion, the rooke wages should be fixed according to draft status. The top five get a certain amount, then 6-15, then 15-25, 26-32, 2nd round, 3rd round, and so on and so forth.

The major point being that players cannot be guaranteed $50 million dollars before they play a down. It's not only ridiculous, it's a terrible investment (see JaMarcus Russell).

If the schedule increases to 20 weeks, players should be paid more. That's pretty simple, actually. You can't keep their current salary and demand that they play more games. It just isn't fair. The players have families, so if you're going to increase their work load, you must increase their pay.

I hope this new development can push the two parties closer to a new CBA, because this country can ill-afford to lose football. It's a booming business, and it needs to stay afloat.

 

I am so excited for the Broncos' matchup against the Chargers on Monday Night Football next week.

For one, I'll be watching the game from a resort in Cancun, as I enjoy the all-inclusive life for a week. The Broncos' game being on national television while I'm in paradise is a major bonus, the way I see it.

Not only that, but the Broncos are relevant again. The win against the Chiefs was an exaggerated version of what I thought this team was capable of from the start.

The offensive line is healthy, Knowshon Moreno is healthy, Orton has answered the call, and the defensive unit finally put some heat on the quarterback. Like I have said already, if the Broncos play the Chargers or any NFL team the way they played the Chiefs, there's not a team in the NFL that can beat them.

I am not going to go so far as to say the Broncos will play lights out football for the rest of the season, but we know no what they are capable of when they are fully healthy and ready to go--not to mention when our coach is being aggressive and trying to blast the hopes and dreams of the opposing team into oblivion.

I still think there is room to improve for the Broncos, and it starts with getting back a healthy Robert Ayers and Andre' Goodman. If the Broncos enter the San Diego game with those two players on the active list, it could be another dominant performance.

If the Chargers do anything better than any team in the league, it's scoring the football and coming from behind when they seemingly have no chance to do so.

Following a blowout win over the Chiefs (who beat the Chargers week one), it would be nice to see the Broncos make another statement victory over the team that stands between them and now second place Kansas City.  If Josh McDaniels and the Broncos are going to make a second half run, they can ill-afford to lose any games at this point. The Chargers are a team that is definitely hard to beat, but they are not all-powerful.

The Broncos will key on stopping Philip Rivers and the passing attack, which is one of the best in the NFL. I wouldn't be surprised to see Darcel McBath in the game to cover Antonio Gates (assuming he plays, which I think he will), who is the best tight end in football. Rivers just knows how to get Gates the ball, and the they know the Broncos know that. They are going to get it to him anyways, and say, "Try and stop it."

One bold prediction I'm going to go ahead and make early on in the week is this--the Broncos will return a kick, punt, or both for a touchdown.

Perhaps not a very bold prediction, considering the Chargers have the most awful kick and punt coverage units in the NFL. But the Broncos have two weapons in the return game that can hurt San Diego. Demaryius Thomas has blazing speed and good power, and has nearly broken a couple of kick returns this year. Eddie Royal is one of the best in the business already, and returned two punts for scores against San Diego last year.

The Chargers have allowed three return touchdowns this year (one punt, two kick), and are allowing 23 yards per return between the two.  Nate Kaeding has uncharacteristically missed three field goals this year, and Mike Scifres leads the league with four, count 'em, FOUR blocked punts.

Unreal.

The Broncos will be aggressive on special teams, as that has proven to be the Chargers' fatal flaw this season. Demaryius and Eddie better be ready to run, because they are going to get opportunities.  They also could be the reason why the Broncos improve their record to 4-6 and continue their climb back to the top of the AFC West.

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