Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa. Please forgive me Kyle for doubting you. It has been said many times around here and I just didn't believe it...Kyle Orton is a good Quarterback. No equivocation or apprehension about that statement.
He is not a great quarterback on par with Mr Manning, but he is certainly good enough to run a good game-plan and win a bunch of games. He is even good enough to win a Superbowl, with the right parts around him. It may not sound like much, but that is a big step for me. I was planted firmly in the "KO can't throw the ball to save his life" camp. After Yesterday's game, I can see that the biggest problem with our QB situation is elsewhere. It is between the earpieces of the Head Coaches headset.
I know, I know...before you break out the McD hater stuff...just hear me out.
McDaniels can put together a hell of a game plan. We have a LOT of problems right now, not the least of which is a patchwork OL and a complete mess in the backfield. These are the biggest problems that I see right now...
#1 - Pass to set up the run. I have heard this over and over and over. "Don't worry about the running game, we are going to pass first and that will open up the running game. Indy does it!"
Yes, Indy does do it. The problem is that Indy has Peyton Manning, and he is just that friggin good. Seriously, we watched an all-time great have a pretty bad day yesterday...and he still put 27 on the board. That being said, he still uses the run. Watch that Short touchdown in the first half. They used a play action fake to draw the safety a step towards the line, the receiver blew past and was open for an easy TD. That play ONLY works if the other team is afraid of your running game.
In a similar situation, what pass do we throw? 4th and 3 we throw a fade/hitch to BLloyd. How do you throw a fade hitch? Well, your Receiver reads the play as a fade and your QB reads it as a hitch. The result is exactly what you saw, the ball drilling nicely into the green stuff. This is a philosophical question and I suppose that I am just on the opposite side of the fence from McD. That play is nice when it works, but it is a low percentage play because it is so easy for the QB and the WR to have misreads. It was a 1on1 battle between KO and the DB, the other 11 players on Defense didn't matter a lick. Neither did 9 of the 11 guys on offense. I just don't like the play call.
#2 -Sloppy, Sloppy, Sloppy!! Through 4 preseason games and 3 regular season games, there has been one consistent part of the Broncos game. Sloppy play. Whether it is a rookie letting a punt bounce off of his pads, an OL jumping offsides, the WR and QB misreading routes, ST players abandoning their lanes on cover teams or the RB's inabilty to hit the right hole, it is all sloppy play. This is a team that prides itself on the genius of it's playbook, but fails consistently to do even the simplest of tasks.
Winning teams clean that crap up. I don't care how good the playbook is, if McD doesn't get this team on the same page, we are going to see 13 more games just like that one. We will continue to put up HUGE yards through the air between the 20s, and finish the games with 14 points or less. That IS the Head Coach's responsibility and McD is failing miserably.
#3 Do I even need to say it. Our running game SUCKS. An no, it doesn't suck because Knowshon got hurt. It doesn't suck because Buck has disappeared. It doesn't even suck because the OL isn't opening holes, though that was my first thought as well.
The reason that the running game sucks is because the most important time in the progression of a play is the first second after the ball is snapped. As an OL, you win or lose the play on the first step. Your RB has to be in that hole when it opens, or it will be gone. It is a little trickier when you try to do some zone blocking because the hole may not open right away, but when it does, the RB has to be in the right spot. Our Running plays develop so slowly, there is no chance to gain yards. I don't know whether they are coached that way, they are indecisive or because none of our RB's have experience in the system. If we want to run the ball, and we want the ability to Play Action in the Red Zone, our Running Backs Have to, Have to, Have to hit the holes faster. If our RB's work on ANYTHING other than hitting the holes faster this week, we will continue to struggle in the running game.
#4 The Amoeba Offense. Supposedly, we are going to adjust our style to defeat the weaknesses of our opponent. Right. All teams do that, it is called game planning.
When you play Baltimore, you plan on passing because you sure as hell aren't gonna run on them (unless you happen to be a certain former Bronco). When you play New Orleans, you plan to get pressure on Drew Brees. You can bet that we are planning for how to stop Tennessee's running game.
The problem with our "Amoeba Offense" is that it is basically admitting that we aren't good enough to dictate to you on the field. We are only going to try to exploit your weaknesses. We are going to try to sneak around you, not run you over. I just don't like the attitude, and I don't think it is necessary.
As I just stated, Kyle is a good QB. Our WR's are really good. Our Pass Blocking has been...Really good. Use it! Make the opponent adjust to you. Make them take Brandon Lloyd away. When they do, throw it to Eddie over the middle. If they take Eddie away, throw it to Thomas short and let him run some MF'ers over. Find what you are good at and BE THAT! Since we have to pass in the red zone, don't try to go around them with back shoulder passes and fades all the time. Let the WR's try to get open in the EZ and give Kyle the opportunity to make a good pass. Sometimes you have to make your own luck.
This is where we find out if McD is a Head Coach or a Coordinator. He doesn't need to work on his game planning or his talent evaluation right now. He needs to get his guys ready to play mentally, and he needs to call the right plays to let them achieve what they are capable of.
Take the leash off coach, just let 'em play!!!