Week 10 vs The Panthers Preview – 7up!
It's a grudge match for our coach, but that's for mainstream wanks to write about! Here's some real meat to ponder! Seven slices to be precise!
- Never Get Involved in a Land War in Asia
Call me paranoid, but pondering the matchup of Charles Johnson vs. Orlando Franklin scares me. The Panthers like to be weirdoes and put their best pass rusher on the left side. Most teams put their pass rushing stud on the right side in order to take advantage of the quarterback’s blindside. Offenses put their best pass blocker there and that’s usually the end of the chess match. I’m surprised more teams haven’t tried flipping their best pass rushers to target Orlando and circumvent Ryan Clady, who according to ProFootballFocus.com is currently the best rated pass protector in the NFL. Should a defense put their passing-game-poison where it’s traditionally placed and hope for the best, or arrange a more confounding alignment? It’s a bit like the Iocaine Powder scene in The Princess Bride.
At any rate, this matchup is going to happen, and that’s scary, because according to the very same ProFootballFocus.com, Charles Johnson is the top rated pass rusher in the NFL. The best strategy the Broncos can use in this situation is to have spent the last few years building up immunity against Iocaine Powder, which I’m using as a metaphor for Peyton Manning’s quick release.
- Tracey Porter May Never Come Back, and that’s OK
I’m no doctor, but when you have pre-cursor symptoms for a seizure for 3-4 weeks in a row, I don’t think you should be playing football. I say this because when I was young and playing, I’m pretty sure I sustained a minor concussion on every offensive play that involved me blocking. I was a good tackler though.
More importantly though, Porter is out again for the Panthers matchup, but worry not. Tony Carter has stepped up and made the Broncos not just solid, but better at the cornerback position. This came out of nowhere since he was being regularly toasted for most of the preseason. He is the Broncos third cornerback, but not the nickel back. His elite speed makes him better suited for the outside, which allows Chris Harris to continue his (dare I ponder it?) Pro Bowl-caliber play in the slot. The Panthers don’t have a threatening third option at wide receiver (take your pick between Raiders cast-off Louis Murphy and Armanti Edwards) so look for the majority of Cam Newton’s passes to go to his tight ends and running backs.
Get well, Tracy Porter, but don’t rush it.
- Tight End Coverage
Previously, I pondered how the Broncos would handle the tight ends who present matchup nightmares. Against the Chargers and Antonio Gates, the Broncos experimented with a "big nickel" package, using three safeties at a time. Mike Adams and Jim Leonhard both took turns in coverage. Lately, Danny Trevathan has been seeing time beside Wesley Woodyard in a more traditional nickel package. Trevathan is very fast for a linebacker, but not very tall, which is something to worry about when he’s covering 6’7" tight ends.
The Broncos dodged Jimmy Graham (who wasn’t at full health) but Cincinnati’s Jermaine Gresham made them look bad. The Panthers have Greg Olsen, who isn’t the most intimidating pass catcher, but is good enough to cause problems. I don’t think Jack Del Rio has solved the tight end riddle (and frankly, nobody has when it comes to refrigerator-sized sprinting behemoths) so keep a close eye on how the Broncos handle a more handleable tight end.
- AFC West (and other non-Broncos teams) Report
Here’s my AFC West report: The other teams aren’t very good. I don’t care if the Chargers stuck it to the Chiefs. The Chiefs only goal for the rest of the year should be out-stinking the Jaguars and looking for a new coach and GM. Anything less than an AFC West Championship for the Broncos would shock me. Many pundits have pointed out that the Broncos schedule is weaker going forward and barring a serious injury to Peyton Manning, the Broncos should be fighting for a bye up until Week 17. I’m a little biased, because I have tickets to the Broncos vs. Chiefs game in Week 17 and I’m praying that game means something.
While I’m on the subject of other teams, don’t sleep on the Steelers. I wouldn’t be surprised it the Ravens take a serious nose dive in the second half without Ray Lewis and (more importantly, in my opinion) cornerback LaDarius Webb.
Sorry for resurrecting everyone’s least favorite, most over-talked topic, but I couldn’t help but think about the Tim Tebow as I watched the Jaguars floundering against the Colts on Thursday Night Football (the best broadcast of the week, every week!). There’s no way you can convince me that the Jaguars are better off with Blaine Gabbert than they would be running a gimmick offense with Tebow. Their offensive line is not that bad and the accuracy margin between the two isn’t that big.
Not to mention, that stadium was empty and did nothing but boo.
- Madden ‘13
It’s not going to be pretty when the Broncos have the ball. I think we could have some video game scoring. Due to injuries, the Panthers are rolling with two cornerbacks who don’t belong in anyone’s starting lineups. Josh Norman is a rookie 5th round pick and Captain Munnerlyn belongs on a pirate ship. Yar!
The Broncos receivers are going to be able to win matchups and that means they don’t need to send as many out. That means backs and tight ends can stay in to help handle any pass rush. That means Peyton is going to have time to find open receivers. The Panthers won’t be able to blitz much, because they’ll need safety help everywhere. I am wearing my optimistic hat.
- Punting is Fun!
Maybe I’m grasping for things to ponder, but I’ve felt like Britton Colquitt has been less efficient this year with the smaller workload. That’s how I feel, but it turns out I’m totally wrong. His net average has gone up from 40.2 to 43.1. He’s putting a higher percentage of his punts inside the 20 (48.4% to 32.7%), and the average return on his punts is 3.6 yards. That’s the best in the league where the median punt return average is 8.9. Don’t you dare ask me the average, because that’s way too much math and I’m really proud of myself for coming up with a quick workaround.
He was the secret MVP of the team last year, picking up hidden yardage in nearly every punting exchange (and there were many). He’s having a (dare I ponder it again?) Pro Bowl year this year, even if he’s working a lot less.
- Rock the Vote
Vote, you scallywags! Our forefathers dumped tea so that white land-owners could vote and you’re wasting it! Ladies too! You think your great-great-grandma won your right to vote in 1920 so you could sit on your hands and let the same damn big-name players from other teams make the Pro Bowl every year?!?!? If Ray Lewis makes the Pro Bowl for no good reason (yet again), I’ll dump your tea!
Here is a list of Broncos who (with a little favoritism and ballot stuffing) could conceivably deserve your (admittedly pointless) Pro Bowl vote:
People have been screaming on TV all week about voting, so you know I’m right. While you’re there, ‘friend’ me on NFL.com. Seriously, nobody uses it, and I’m wondering how it works: http://www.nfl.com/fans/profile/youaresignedin
About the author: Rhune Kincaid is a musical comedian, video director for Loveline, and as of this column, an amateur writer on the topic of the Denver Broncos and the NFL. He has two cats. Follow him at twitter.com/rhunekincaid and www.rhunekincaid.com.