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  • Shanahan losing his play-calling nerve

    Shanahan losing his play-calling nerve
    By Mark Kiszla
    The Denver Post
    Article Last Updated: 10/30/2007 12:58:59 AM MDT


    Related
    Packers-Broncos: 10/29/07
    Oct 31:
    Conventional wisdom? Never heard of itOct 30:
    Eye on ... the LionsFavre wins duel with Cutler, salutes Broncos' young QBIn the NFL, the red zone is where coaches earn their money.

    After all these years with the Broncos, is coach Mike Shanahan bankrupt of new ideas?

    On a Monday night when the whole country saw our local heroes are not ready for prime time, Denver lost to Green Bay 19-13 on such a heart-stopping touchdown pass in overtime by Packers legend Brett Favre that it felt like sudden death for any dreams of a Super Bowl that had been entertained by Broncomaniacs.

    "It's a tough one to lose," Shanahan said.

    But the truth is: With Denver trailing by three points and a golden opportunity to win the game in the final seconds of regulation, Shanahan lost his nerve.

    That's not the innovative, gutsy Denver coach we remember as brighter than the diamonds in a championship ring.

    The creeping middle-age conservatism in Shanahan is causing Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler to lose his faith, not to mention his temper.

    Cutler groused he is being asked way too often why this Denver red-zone offense too often plays out like a meek game of Mother, may I?

    "We talk about this every week," a grumpy Cutler complained.

    Can't blame the guy for being ticked. Nothing ever changes.

    Rather than place the game in the strong arm of Cutler on third down with the football resting at the 4-yard line and 22 seconds showing on the scoreboard clock, Shanahan called a conservative quarterback draw, hoping to fool the Packers' defense.

    It was a play that might have worked 15 years ago, when John Elway was quarterback of the Broncos.

    But anyone who believes that asking Cutler to imitate the legendary No. 7 is unfair had to be offended at the decision.

    Cutler should have been given the run/pass option that a rollout play would have allowed.

    Instead, the draw play left the young quarterback with nowhere to run or hide, and Cutler stumbled, failing to gain so much as a yard.

    So Denver place-kicker Jason Elam and his Keystone Cops were forced to scurry helter-skelter and boot a field goal that meekly tied the game at 13-13 on the final play of regulation.

    The Broncos never saw the football again, with Favre adding a fresh coat of bronze on the statue that awaits him in Canton, by firing an 82-yard TD strike to Greg Jennings on the first snap of overtime.

    Denver cornerback Dré Bly admitted he never saw the lightning bolt from the gray-bearded NFL god that hit him. Old Favre remains so stupid good, the veteran can make even a shutdown corner look like an oxymoron.

    "Anytime you're 1-4 in the red zone against a team that's 5-1 and playing pretty well, it's hard to win those types of football games," said Shanahan, now coaching as if he does not completely trust his players.

    With 8 minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and Denver behind 13-10, the Broncos faced a fourth down at Green Bay's 37-yard line, needing to gain six to keep the drive alive.

    Remember when Shanahan had the offensive weapons and gambling spirit that made defenses sweat in precisely such tense situations?

    "The wind was blowing, and it's a 55-yard (field goal)," explained Shanahan, "and I'm saying, 'Hey, that's when the percentages are going the other way."'

    So he punted.

    Shanahan, once the most fearless offensive genius in the game, did not even consider letting his quarterback throw the football on fourth down.

    That's sad. The Broncos have become the same play-the-percentages, hope-and-pray, no-risk, no-reward team that makes parity just another word for mediocrity in the language of the NFL.

    With leading receiver Javon Walker and top rusher Travis Henry both injured, Shanahan wore a bad poker face on national TV. Every time he inspected his offensive options, the coach looked like he wanted to fold his play card. And rip it to shreds. And stomp on it.

    With a record of 3-4 and a tough road ahead, the Broncos can no longer play it safe.

    This is a Denver team that's going to tax all the gray matter in Shanahan's beautiful football mind merely to avoid the red-faced embarrassment of a lost season.


    Actually its a great article that has me wondering the same thing...Where is the no guts no glory attitude he once had? Why is he scared to let this team win a game on its own???

    The Broncos are quickly becomming the joke of the AFC and I am tired of the run D jokes already... Something has to change or this teams moral will be gone and so will this season...
    If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking. --General George S. Patton

  • #2
    That article is really badly written, he just runs a bunch of random tidbits together and never manages to pull the whole thing together. Criticizing Shanhan is one of the dumbest thing a person in the sportsworld can do.

    Sure is easy to criticize after the fact, if Cutler had made it into the endzone on the draw and we had won the game this dude wouldn't have written this article, he might have even written a different one about how Shanahan deserves a payraise.

    Guys like this are the reason there is only 1 Bronco in the hall of fame, the Jets lose a bunch of games in a row and they still call their coach "Mangenius" and last year they had that one ad on how Chad Pennington was bringing the 'magic' back to football or something like that. Here in Denver we have writers talk about how bad our sports teams are, even when were winning they still say were an average team, or we got lucky or whatever.

    Other cities and their hall of fame voters see how we talk about our athletes and figure "Well, I guess those guys know more about their players than I do, time to vote for this guy that played for the Jets!"

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree, a qb sneak was the stupidest thing on earth to do, you have the entire defense right in front of you, if you want to sneak put 4 wideouts wide, stagger one back so it looks like a quick-out, put Jay in the shotgun and fake the pass at least. (The quick-out was the smart play, do you really think they can stop Marshall from getting 4 yards?)

      It was beyond stupid.

      There is no imagination anymore, Shanny has become Reeves.

      Comment


      • #4
        The draw was so stupid it was good, comeon guys it was the last thing the defense expected. You said the quickout was a good playcall, but then you say he's an idiot in the next breath? Did you want him to call it again? Did you want him to throw a fade to marshall or something? Both are VERY predictable playcalls, especially when you consider that we had JUST thrown towards marshall.

        Nobody was expecting a QB draw, if it had worked everyone would have been happy and people would be saying Shanahan is the best coach ever.(again)

        Comment


        • #5
          I have no doubt that the Shanny fan club will flame me for posting this article...But I watched the game and this article is dead on...he has lost his nerve and has the Broncos all out of whack...

          This is not a thread to fire shanny but rather discuss the fact that our playcalling has went bye bye...see ya... all gone...nothin but conservative calls that cant win games...Might keep uis ina game for a but but in the end wont win it.
          If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking. --General George S. Patton

          Comment


          • #6
            There was nothing good about that draw...seriously...we couldnt get a RB in the endzone what makes yuo think our QB can sneak almost 4 yards to cross the line??? The Packers were all over our running game once we hit the goal line. i am sick of these "would have been great" if it had worked calls...
            If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking. --General George S. Patton

            Comment


            • #7
              Ok, I'll repeat myself......How many guys were between Jay and the end zone ?

              How close were they ?

              A qb draw from the 4 ?, dumb as hell.

              For the record, I said a quick-out.....NOT....a fade.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Superchop7 View Post
                Ok, I'll repeat myself......How many guys were between Jay and the end zone ?

                How close were they ?

                A qb draw from the 4 ?, dumb as hell.

                For the record, I said a quick-out.....NOT....a fade.
                the quote in your sig should read.."YOU'RE ******* RIGHT I DID"

                just thought i'd clear that up. awesome scene.

                ...carry on
                Orange Crush Fantasy League sign ups. All the cool kids are doing it.


                Rivers has probably now the fastest release in the NFL that Favre is retired. - riversOWNSdonks
                Rivers has the potential to be better than Brady or any QB ever - riversOWNSdonks

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Deltagbear View Post

                  Cutler should have been given the run/pass option that a rollout play would have allowed.

                  Instead, the draw play left the young quarterback with nowhere to run or hide, and Cutler stumbled, failing to gain so much as a yard.
                  Believe me I am not defending Shanny, but I believe we have 'Dinger to blame for this one. With his (Heimerdinger) style it appears that he is more fixated on throwing from the drop back, as appose to rolling out. This was evident last season with the Snake. Jake, as we all know wasnt the best at throwing from the pocket. But he proved to be somewhat lethal on the run/boot/rollout (05 season). Exit Kubes and enter Dinger (06), Jake runs much less rollout passes and throws more from the pocket, and he struggled big time. I personally blame "Ding Dong Dinger."
                  SOMEBODY!!! ANYBODY!!!! GIVE ME A MILE HIGH SALUTE!!!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    To be honest I don't mind the QB sneak but there should have been motion or a fake audible to get guys moving around out there.
                    Now this is what I don't like we got one of the strongest armed QB's in the legue and we arn't going for the big plays downfield.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The amazing thing is...the writer answered his own question:

                      Remember when Shanahan had the offensive weapons and gambling spirit that made defenses sweat in precisely such tense situations?

                      "The wind was blowing, and it's a 55-yard (field goal)," explained Shanahan, "and I'm saying, 'Hey, that's when the percentages are going the other way."'

                      So he punted.

                      Shanahan, once the most fearless offensive genius in the game, did not even consider letting his quarterback throw the football on fourth down.
                      And the all-important answer:

                      With leading receiver Javon Walker and top rusher Travis Henry both injured, Shanahan wore a bad poker face on national TV. Every time he inspected his offensive options, the coach looked like he wanted to fold his play card. And rip it to shreds. And stomp on it.


                      And that right there is the answer. Simple as that.
                      We have no stud WR to open the field. Yes, we have Marshall, but they can double team him no problem now the Walker out.

                      Our RB is injured, and an undrafted RB is taking his place. Yes, he had a good game...but at this point in the game, Young was also hurt.

                      There is an offensive line that is put together, very good but very young. A QB that has a great arm...but just missed Marshall in the endzone the play before the "call."

                      Besides that, Shanny didnt call the QB sneak for the TD, he called it to make the first down to get 2 more shots into the endzone. It was a smart call, and if executed correctly, would have given us those 2 shots, possibly the win and definatly the tie.

                      It all comes down to execution of the calls given on the field. He has to play the percentages with such a young team, and one that doenst always execute well the plays called.
                      sigpic
                      Adopted by: Peanut

                      "You find ways to win and certainly you can find ways to lose...it's not just dumb luck."
                      -Sean Payton

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Geandily View Post
                        The draw was so stupid it was good, comeon guys it was the last thing the defense expected. You said the quickout was a good playcall, but then you say he's an idiot in the next breath? Did you want him to call it again? Did you want him to throw a fade to marshall or something? Both are VERY predictable playcalls, especially when you consider that we had JUST thrown towards marshall.

                        Nobody was expecting a QB draw, if it had worked everyone would have been happy and people would be saying Shanahan is the best coach ever.(again)
                        Obviously the Packers were expecting the draw or prepared for it, considering they stopped Cutler from getting the first down.
                        Last edited by mojo0730; 10-31-2007, 07:08 AM.
                        sigpic

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                        • #13
                          I dont think it was the greatest play call

                          But the Broncos went on a pretty nice drive to get to the goaline

                          You want to bash him for 1 bad call made ?

                          When the Broncos went 93 yds in 2:23 seconds ??
                          On 1 of the better defenses in the NFL.

                          And called a freaking great play on 4th and 2 to keep the drive alive.
                          :logo: :logo: :logo: :logo: :logo:

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Geandily View Post
                            That article is really badly written, he just runs a bunch of random tidbits together and never manages to pull the whole thing together. Criticizing Shanhan is one of the dumbest thing a person in the sportsworld can do.

                            Sure is easy to criticize after the fact, if Cutler had made it into the endzone on the draw and we had won the game this dude wouldn't have written this article, he might have even written a different one about how Shanahan deserves a payraise.

                            Guys like this are the reason there is only 1 Bronco in the hall of fame, the Jets lose a bunch of games in a row and they still call their coach "Mangenius" and last year they had that one ad on how Chad Pennington was bringing the 'magic' back to football or something like that. Here in Denver we have writers talk about how bad our sports teams are, even when were winning they still say were an average team, or we got lucky or whatever.

                            Other cities and their hall of fame voters see how we talk about our athletes and figure "Well, I guess those guys know more about their players than I do, time to vote for this guy that played for the Jets!"
                            Mark Kiszla's article could not be more accurate. He nailed it. I love coach Shanny but he needs to re-evaluate his methods and change his approach to winning football games or things will continue to get even worse for our Broncos.
                            Utah Bronco Freak

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Everyone loves to criticize Shanahan for playing it safe.

                              But really... The quick out, the fade, the TE Cross / slant to scheffler, all of these are the most likely things that the Broncos could have done. Being as there was only four yards to go, as soon as Cutler rolls out there would have been 7 guys minimum in coverage. Nothing against Cutler but he is still very young and brash. The chances of him trying to throw a tight pass through coverage and getting picked off by woodson / harris or whoever are much higher than a QB sneak. An INT would have ended the game with a guaranteed loss. At least the sneak was the last thing anyone would expect. How many defenders did you see blitzing the inside gaps? The packers were not playing the run. If you want to blame anyone, blame the young, inexperienced o-line that failed to get any leverage or push off the line of scrimmage.

                              Shanahan is right to play the percentages at this point, cause in all honesty, most of Cutler's playmakers were down and out by that point. He would have been foolish to gamble the game away. It's really not the play calling, its the lack of execution on the field.


                              P.S. If Shanahan had let Cutler roll out and if Cutler had been picked, then every fan and sports writer would criticize Shanahan for putting too much pressure on his young QB. Remember Brian Griesse?
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