This is a special 7up, because this week, I’ll be in attendance! I’m taking work off on Monday, hopping on a bus in Marina del Rey, CA and heading down to San Diego to tailgate with OC Orange Crush and LA Broncos Fans. How cool is that? And now, seven things to ponder…
- What T-Shirt Should I Wear?
Last time I went to San Diego to catch a Chargers game, I wore my D.J. Williams #55 jersey and my car got towed, so obviously, that is out. I do have a bootleg Broncos vs. Chargers shirt that I bought for $5 at Qualcomm after the Broncos beat the Chargers in 2009. It’s a nice, sarcastic dig, but it’s also a powder-blue Chargery color. I ordered a brand new orange Broncos shirt with a BCA ribbon on the sleeve, but it might not arrive in time. Other potentials include:
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Grey shirt with 1962-1966 helmet
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->1987 AFC Championship shirt
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Sky blue shirt with 1980’s logo
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->1979 "Orange Power" t-shirt that doesn’t fit
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->1977 AFC Championship t-shirt that really doesn’t fit, and I’m pretty sure is supposed to be for a girl
This is probably the most important pondering I’ll do all week.
- More is Wes
It’s no secret that the Broncos got shredded by the Patriots short passing game in the first half of last week’s game and that put the game out of reach. Even worse, it’s all on tape for the Chargers to see. The Patriots unleashed a fancy new one-word no-huddle attack which gave the Broncos no time for substitutions and trapped Joe Mays on the field and Chris Harris on Wes Welker. Both were mismatches. When Wesley Woodyard got on the field, the intermediate passing game calmed down (a little). The Chargers are probably going to try the same thing, so why not just start Woodyard or Keith Brooking? Unless teams are trying to run clock, Mays isn’t in our top three linebackers.
- Time of Possession
Time of possession is kind of a stupid stat. If you’re scoring points, you’re losing possession, right? Peyton has never been particularly good at time of possession as the Colts ran (what used to be the fastest version of) the no huddle and passed frequently. That being said, it’s becoming a problem.
The Broncos defensive line depth isn’t helping as much as I thought it would and they got utterly dominated by the Patriots. The Chargers line isn’t as good, but if they’re running 97 plays they’ll tire out the Broncos front. Yes, the Patriots ran 97 plays last week. Luckily, I don’t think that Norv Turner is a good enough coach to install Patriots-level discipline on offense, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Philip Rivers (Boo! Hiss!) try to take over the game the way Tom Brady did.
Here’s a main stream media article about how Demaryius Thomas needs to fumble less. Here’s another about offensive ball security. You can always count on MSM to stress the obvious. It would be nice if the Broncos fumbled less, but it’s hard to get upset when the other team is punching the ball perfectly. If you ever had someone smack your Trapper Keeper in junior high, you know it’s hard to hold onto something that’s been unexpectedly punched. My question is, "why don’t the Broncos do this on defense?" I’ve seen a few balls ripped out (mostly by Von Miller), but the real art is to punch the ball and use its own bouncy nature to propel it out of the runner’s hands. I’m starting to wonder if the Broncos coaching staff is teaching more "strip" than "punch." Either way, the Bronco defense needs to start producing turnovers, because offensive ones are going to keep happening when defenses execute.
- The Monday Night Treatment
For those of you who are staying home you will be in for a treat, because Mike Tirico and John Gruden will have the mics. After the Thursday night team of Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock, this is my favorite duo. Fox and CBS seem to hire analysts based on hair styles. They’re a bunch of bubble-headed ex-QBs who are deathly afraid of offending a player with an honest evaluation. Gruden calls the game for the fan. He’s not afraid to drop in some technical terms and have fun doing it. If you haven’t caught his "Quarterback Camp" show on ESPN, you’re missing out.
- Healthiness is Nice
The Broncos don’t have any player listed as any worse than "probable" on this week’s injury report. That means the ankles of Chris Kuper and Chris Harris Jr. should be good to go and Keith Brooking’s concussion was a "mild" one. That’s big news, because this is the first time Kuper will be on the field in 2012 and he is the Broncos best run blocker. Dan Koppen looked good in his first start and teaming him with Kuper should add a boost to the Broncos interior run game. Sorry Manny Ramirez, but I can’t wait until you’re back on the bench.
The Chargers have two players on the rise that I’ll point out. One is LT Jared Gaither, who was cast off by the Ravens only to land in San Diego and blossom into a star blindside protector. He had a dominant game going against New Orleans last week before getting hurt. He got beat on the last two plays of the game, but he was clearly injured and shouldn’t have been on the field. He’s not listed on the injury report, but keep an eye on his health.
The other player to watch is DE Corey Liuget. The Chargers have spent a lot of high draft resources trying to find a compliment to OLB Shaun Phillips in their pass rush and the sophomore Liuget looks to be the best of the bunch. He had a sack and several pressures against Drew Brees. If the Broncos pay too much attention to Phillips, Liuget could hurt them.