I just wanted to follow up a bit with some observations on the Broncs at Jags game. I fully intended to post this sunday evening, but life got in the way.
- First, as others have opined, the game was lost primarily due to the kicking game and secondarily due to too many mistakes - and the two are very linked. You can't keep giving the other team a short field to work with and expect to put them away. And by the same token, in the first half, the Broncs were constantly starting at the 20 or worse. That's a long way to go and remain mistake free. Which brings us to the second issue: From Beadles' holding penalty to Buck's fumble to McFacemask to unnecessary timeouts to lack of kickoff coverage lane discipline - they're all a sign of lack of mental discipline. Holding's going to get called, especially against rookies, and backs are going to fumble - it's a rough game. But there's no excuse for leaving your coverage lane or not knowing your assignment or getting two face mask penalties on the same drive when in the first instance, you had a lot of teammates around and the second (I disagree with Mr. Bena here - I think this one was the most egregious) you were falling to the ground with MJD in a virtual bear-hug anyway.
- Mental discipline may or may not be on the coaches but play-calling most certainly is. Just my opinion, but I thought McD started the game with some pretty intriguing play calls and formations. However, once we got past the middle of the second quarter, I though the level of that intrigue fell off. Branded as an innovator, McD needs to raise the bar a little. I don't know how much of the "choosing the receiver" falls to Orton and how much is predetermined based on formations chosen, etc., but I thought the targeting of Lloyd in the second half was excessive based on the success we had throwing the Eddie in the first half - and whatever happened to Gaffney and even Graham for that matter? I would think any of those guys might have been a better choice on the "he missed getting that foot inside the line by this much" fourth down play. And on the other side of the ball, I didn't really see much much in the way of creative stunts and blitzes out of Wink, particularly as it seemed that Garrard had a lot of time to throw and those long throws were hurting us. Back when he was an offensive coordinator, Shanahan used to run plays in the first half just to set up a surprise variant on those plays in the fourth quarter - I'd really like to see a bit of this. I know, it's very easy from this perspective to second guess, but still . . .
- I thought the receivers had a pretty good day on sunday and while everyone's talked up the fact that Orton stepped up his game after the team traded for BQ and drafted Tebow, no one's acknowledged that the team traded away BM and then drafted two receivers in the first three rounds, but Lloyd, Gaffney and Royal didn't beef (as far as we know). While it's only been a week and the jury's still out, I would contend that like Orton, these guys went about raising their game.
Here's hoping we see less mistakes, better kick coverage, more play calling innovation and some worthy Bronco football on sunday as I believe it amounts to a must-win game if we're going to have a play-off year.