FanPost

The Superbowl Years. A Lesson In Offense and Defense. #1

Every Bronco Fan is aware that we have been to 6 Super Bowls and that our win % is 33.33%. Perhaps we can learn some things about those teams that may help us to see what our Broncos need to do to get back into that "Super Bowl Shape".


This post focuses on the Defense, and takes a look at four primary areas that have an impact on its effectiveness. 1. Takeaway/Giveaway Differential (T/GD). 2. Tackling. 3. Sacks. 4. Age/Experience


T/G D:


The first stat that jumps out at me is the Takeaway/Giveaway Differential (T/GD). Teams with great defenses win this battle, and generally speaking, it takes a great defense to get to the Super Bowl and win it! Of course getting there isn't enough, but since the Broncos have never reached the SB with a negative T/GD, it may be a significant stat.


Denver Broncos SB Year.............T/GD..........NFL Rank............Int D+ / O-.............Fumbles + / - ........Forced Fumbles


1977 (Average age, 26.5)...........+ 12.................5th...................25 / 12.....................14 / 15.........................00

1986...............................................+ 06.................9th...................18 / 16.....................17 / 13.........................01

1987...............................................+ 11.................4th...................28 / 19.....................19 / 17.........................03

1989...............................................+ 11.................3rd...................21 / 20.....................22 / 12 ........................06

1997...............................................+ 10.................4th...................18 / 11.....................13 / 10.........................11

1998...............................................+ 10.................5th...................19 / 14.....................11 / 06.........................08

2011*...............................................- 11...............28th.....................9 / 13.....................08 / 15.........................11


* Through 15 games


Ranking in the top 5 for all but one of the SB years says a lot about that measuring stick, but the resposibility for the result isn't all on the defense. An opportunistic defense will create turn overs, but the offense must do their job by being equally stingy. (-9 last 2 games)


Forcing fumbles has become a "football play" that is taught in the "modern game", and prior to that evolution the stat wasn't kept. In 2011 we have been stingy with the Offensive INT's(untill last week) but the Fumbles are killing us. Two of the teams below made the playoffs (03' & 04') with a negative T/GD.


Since the 1998 SB win +10 (14W/2L), the Broncos T/GD has been as follows:


Year...T/GDif.. (Reg, season record) (result)


1999.....-2........... (6W/10L)

2000 ..+19.......... (11W/5L)... (lost wild card game)

2001 ..+10........... (8W/8L)

2002 ...-5 ............(9W/7L)

2003 ...-4 ............(10W/6L) ...(lost wild card game)

2004 ...-9............ (10W/6L) ...(lost wild card game)

2005 ..+20......... (13W/3L) ....(lost championship game)

2006...even......... (9W/7L)

2007 ...+1............ (7W/9L)

2008.. -17............ (8W/8L)

2009 ...+7 ............(8W/8L)

2010 ...-9 ............(4W/12L)

2011...-11........ ....(8W/7L) 8 unanswered givaways in the last two games.



Yes, we have gotten to the playoffs with a negative T/G D, but only as a wild card team and we lost both games. But a positve T/G D guarantees us nothing either! In the years 2000 (+19) & 05 (+20), we had two amazingly positive years, only to lose in the playoffs. So what gives?


Obviously there are other factors that can negate even the most positive T/GD. Some of those factors involve the Offense and will be covered in the follow up post. Anything can happen in the sudden death playoffs, so throw out all the regular season hype, and bring the A game!


TACKLING:


There used to be a time when tackling funamentals were still deamed important enough to teach. The stat sheets clearly show that it isn't being done these days! Now days it seems players are counting on the sheer force of impact to do the job. Is that what's being taught, because I certainly see a lot more of that happening.


In the tables below, we can compare the Greatest Bronco Tackling Teams who've played, to the more recent years.


Recording Tackling Statistics began in 1981, but it took 20 years to perfect it and to include the assist stat. With multiple camera's covering the games these days, much better stats are available. That being the case, we shouldn't allow excuses to be made for the poor takling we're seeing today.


This group you see below made it to 3 Super Bowls in Four years, and the play offs 4 additional years! Now, that's no coincidence!


LEADING TACKLERS: Years *made playoffs, (made SB),


......................................................................STAT is Individual Tackles Per Year

........................................1983*....1984*....1985....(1986).....(1987)....1988...(1989)....1990....1991*....1992....1993*


Dennis Smith SS...........114..........92..........66..........88...........INJ........106........82.........110......110........120........96

Karl Mecklenburg LILB.................................65........127...........97.........102......143........116......130........116........99

Greg Kragen NT .........................................................60...........78.........140.........72..........81........92........107........65

Simon Fletcher LOLB..............................................................................115.......105..........97........89..........99........99

Michael Brooks ROLB..........................................................................................123........175......153........170....... 92

Stephen Atwater FS..............................................................................................129........173.......150.......151......141

Tyrone Braxton LCB...............................................................................................111.........INJ.........92.........99.......111

Mike Croel LOLB................................................................................................................................................97......110

David Wyman RILB ......................................................................................................................................................133


Average tackles per man starting from 1988 on....................................115.........109........125.......116......119.....105



It appears that the Broncos focused on drafting players that were great tacklers and then developing their techniques to the max! That is great planning and coaching with the proper focus on funamentals. When 9 different players on a team are averaging triple didgit tackles, an apponent can't get a break! Because we used a 3 -4 D, our line backers had to be play makers.


Dennis Smith SS started the tradition, and Karl Mecklenburg LILB, Michael Brooks ROLB and Stephen Atwater FS were Monster Tacklers and showed amazing consistancy. They knew how to wrap up an apponent while laying bone crushing blows! Why can't we teach players to do both these days? Is there simply not enough time to teach the basics any more, or is it a matter of misdirected focus by the coaching staffs of today? Are the College Programs to blame?


Notes: Not even one Bronco recorded triple didget tackles, from 1994 - 1998 (but we won 2 SB's), and only MLB John Mobley broke the 90 tackle mark in 97 & 98! After an injury in 99 that cost him all but 2 games, Mobley never returned to his old self, and retired after just 8 years with the Broncos.


From 1999 - 2009 The following list gives the per man anual takle averages comparing the top 5 to the top 8 men. Comparing the 8 man teams below to those above, we see the teams below struggling to record half of the above totals. Perhaps this new Team of Coaches will begin to address the problem after last weeks reminder!


1999 - 2010 Yr./5 man/8 man


99........58.6.........40.1

00........66.4.........35

01........65.8.........58

02........73.2.........62.8 Al Wilson 100

03........58.2.........50.5

04........69.4.........59.1

05........64.0.........57.0

06........71.4.........64.0

07........70.2.........58.6 DJ Williams 106

08........80.8.........63.3

09........72.8.........61.5 Dawkins & DJ 90+

10........66.4.........57.8 DJ 94


The next table shows these same men's sack totals:


SACKS: Years *made playoffs, (made SB)


......................................1983*....1984*...1985...(1986)....(1987).....1988....(1989)...1990....1991*.....1992.....1993*


Dennis Smith SS..........5.0........1.0........4.0.........1.0........0.0...........1.0........0.0........0.0........0.0..........0.0..........0.0

Karl Mecklenburg LILB..........................13.0.........9.5........7.0...........1.0........7.5........5.0........9.0..........7.5..........9.0

Greg Kragen NT......................................................0.0........2.0...........2.5........2.0........2.0........3.5..........5.5..........3.0

Simon Fletcher LOLB............................................................................9.0......12.0......11.0......13.5.......16.0........13.5

Michael Brooks ROLB.......................................................................................1.0........2.0........0.0..........0.0..........1.0

Stephen Atwater FS...........................................................................................0.0........1.0........1.0..........1.0..........1.0

Tyrone Braxton LCB............................................................................................0.0........INJ........0.0..........0.0..........0.0

Mike Croel LOLB..........................................................................................................................................5.0..........5.0

David Wyman RILB......................................................................................................................................................2.0


Avg. per man totals including all players with 2 or more....................5.7........7.0.........5.0........8.5..........7.0.........6.8


Most years, the sacks came from three men until 92 & 93. "Meck n Fletch " were the VonDoom of the day. Looking at Mike Croel and Fletcher in 92 & 3, you see them both playing the LOLB position and acumulating some great sack stats


AGE & EXPERIENCE:


Team Age = Experience = Better Players, at least thats the theory, and the information age guaranrees it. These days even Our Nations High School Students have footage. It should be very difficult to screw up a Draft Pick an yet that continues to happen. Below, we see in the table that it was a team of 28 year olds that won both of our Super Bowls, and that the 25 & siix year old teams couldn't seem to keep up with the Vet's!


SB Year (Average Age) Results


1977..........(26.5)............Lost SB

1986..........(26.5)............Lost SB

1987..........(25.6)............Lost SB

1989..........(26.1)............Lost SB

1997..........(28.3)............SB Winners

1998..........(28.5)............SB Winners

2011..........(26.2)............SB Bound?????


Just a coincidance right? Below, when we compare the average ages of the very best tacklers our team can boast, notice that the 1989 Superbowl team saw three youngsters coming into their own!


Years *made playoffs, (made SB)


......................................1983*......1984*......1985....(1986)....(1987).....1988.....(1989)....1990.....1991*.....1992.....1993*


Dennis Smith SS............24...........25..........26.........27.........28...........29...........30..........31..........32..........33...........34

Karl Mecklenburg LILB..................................25........26..........27...........28...........29.........30...........31..........32...........33

Greg Kragen NT..........................................................24..........25...........26...........27.........28...........29..........30...........31

Simon Fletcher LOLB...............................................................................26...........27.........28...........29..........30...........31

Michael Brooks ROLB.............................................................................................25.........26...........27..........28...........29

Stephen Atwater FS................................................................................................23.........24...........25..........26...........27

Tyrone Braxton LCB.................................................................................................25.........26...........26..........27...........28

Mike Croel LOLB.................................................................................................................................................23..........24

David Wyman RILB...........................................................................................................................................................29


Average Age...........................................................................................27.3........26.6......27.5.......28.4........28.6.......29.5


On the 1998 defense, DB Tim McKyer was the oldest at 34, SS Tyrone Braxton 33, RDT Michael Dean Perry 32, and the four 31 year olds were LLB Bill Romanowski, FS Steve Atwater, LDE Neil Smith and LG Mark Schlereth.


The defensive backfield had a great mix of veterans along with the "mid twenty's" players, and the D-Line was stocked full of seasoned vets. This was a run stuffing, turn over producing group recording 47 sacks, 19 INT (2 pick 6's), and 8 forced fumbles, and our 3 starting linebackers (28.3 avg. age) combined for 204 tackles and 56 assists, with John Mobley getting 93/19 of that! CB's Darrien Gordon and Ray Crockett, and Safety's Steve Atwater and Tyrone Braxton, (31.25 avg. age) totaled another 180 tackles and 29 assists.


I'm no expert, but I would love to hear what you all think after checking this out! I'm working on the Offensive side of the ball and this is really looking interesting!


In summary, my Daddy used to say, "Listen up Son! An 'ex-spurt' is just an 'O'l-squirt' who quit learnin, and when considered such, will always retain his right of d'-Nile. That's the cruise I'm on, so listen up Son!" It took me a long time to figure Him out, but you can bet that I always listened!

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

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