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  • Defensive Dissection

    OK, let's get down to the nitty-gritty. If something radical is not done with the Denver defense, it does not really matter how much promise we show on Offense. To me, the No. 1 question is still if we have the right guy in charge of the Defense. Jim Bates is officially the Assistant Head Coach/Defense, or something along those lines...and the Defensive Coordinator is actually Bob Slowik. Those two did actually work together back in the day in Dallas, but you have to wonder what the Defensive philosophy is, and how did that come about? If we are to assume that Bates brought in his system, lock, stock and barrell, you also have to wonder what changes were made during the bye week, when, as Dominique Foxworth says, everything the Broncos were doing on defense 'completely changed' to the extent that training camp was almost irrelevant. During that time, we have seen no less than 13 D-linemen come and go.

    The most bizarre thing about Bates was that early in camp, there were signs that our Defense was struggling, and he never made any adjustments. DJ Williams was obviously struggling to take to the MLB positon, and even though Nate Webster was our best LB in training camp, we had to move him to an un-natural position on the strong side. That gave us two LB's that at any given time were unsure of what their duties on our defense were. In addition, Bates decided he had no use for Gerard Warren, even though he was clearly the best DT on our roster. The interesting thing about Warren is that he is supposed to be a poor fit for Bates, yet his replacement is a similar style of player in Marcus Thomas. So, my question is, at what point do you live up to your title of 'coach' and tweek your system to allow the best players contribute? But no, Warren was exiled to Oakland, and the job was eventually turned over to the evergreen Marcus Thomas....by way of Amon Gordon and Antwan Burton.

    Sam Adams was supposed to tbe the immovable object in the middle of the line that would allow the LB's to flow to the ball and make plays, but hat never seemed to happen.

    So, after a full offseason, Draft and TC, the Broncos are now starting Alvin McKinley (6'3"-294) at one DT, along with Marcus Thomas at 6'3"-301. The backups are Stephen Harris at 6'5"-305 and Josh Mallard at 6'2"-260. Not exactly the blueprint DT the Bates system is said to require.

    So, where do we go from here? Does our Defense have an identity crisis? How are the Broncos going to address this major problem?

    LDE: John Engelberger is the starting LDE by default. He starts despite his 6'4"-255 frame. He does so, I am sure, because he has the best understanding of what the coaches want, and they have the highest comfort level with him. But he should not be starting under any circumstances, as he is at best a reserve that should only make the team in a rotational role.
    Kenny Peterson has actually shown some signs of life in recent weeks, playing the run better than the other DE's we have. At 6'3 1/2"-292, he at least has the pre-requisite size and effort to suggest he may develop into something...and he has outplayed the other candidate, Tim Crowder, whose rookie year can only be classified as less than stellar.

    LDT: Alvin McKinley is the vet that has survived the roster turnover, taking over for Sam Adams mid-way through the season. Stephen Harris was promoted from the practice squad, but this positon remains the teams NO. 1 offseason need.

    RDT: Marcus Thomas was given the starting job after Amon Gordon and Antwan Burton flamed out. He is obviously playing catchup for the football he has missed over the last two years. This season was basically a crash course in playing DT in the NFL with mixed results. It will be interesting to see how far Thomas has come by the time TC opens next summer.
    Josh Mallard is a small but quick player at 6'2"-260 with a knack for rushing the passer. The initial impression I get from Mallard is that he is a player coaches like Bill Belichick and Jim Johnson would make use of. It remains to be seen if our coaches are creative enough to utilize him to his strengths. Still, with the investment the Broncos have made in him, this job is Thomas' to lose, and he better be ready to play come next September if the defense is going to improve significantly.

    RDE: Elvis Dumervil is a rare bird in the NFL...a unique player that should not be a starter, but should be paid like one. To me, Dumervil is the equivalent to a great NBA 'sixth man'. If the Broncos are smart, they will tear up his contract RIGHT NOW, and give him a new six year deal worth several millions of dollars. Dumervil can play both the left and right DE positions, and is a great problem for alot of OT's to deal with. He is also a great character guy, and one of the young stars the defense can build around, even if he is not a starter. Jarvis Moss suffered a broken leg and torn ligaments...that is a tough combination to overcome. He now has to be considered a question mark to even be healthy enough to go to camp next year on time. Ebeneezer Ekuban is in a similar situation with his injury, and now on the wrong side of 30.

    Bottom Line: To me, the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys are the blueprints for what you want to have on the D-Line. That is a variety of players, in different sizes and shapes, that can contribute and can be customized to maximize matchup problems for Offenses. Elvis Dumervil provides that, but we need more.

    The Cowboys have DeMarcus Ware, Greg Ellis, Marcus Spears, Jay Ratliff, Chris Canty, Brady James and Anthony Spencer in thier front seven.

    The Patriots have Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Adalius Thomas, Mike Vrabel, Javon Green, and before his injury, Rossevelt Colvin.

    The Broncos have Elvis Dumervil and a bunch of maybe's. That is the No. 1 thing we have to change.

    Cont.

  • #2
    Cont.

    The next area to address is the LB's

    The most interesting thing will be to see what the Broncos decide to do with DJ Williams.

    The Broncos bit the bullet and played him at MLB all season, even though Nate Webster was probably a better fit, at least initially. But, to DJ's credit, he has had some games where he showed improvement, and one game (At KC) where he was exactly what the Bronbcos wanted him to become when they moved him to MLB. The question is, has he shown enough to earn a second season at MLB.
    If you ever want to see what Williams should look like for us, watch the Dallas Cowboys and see the plays Brady James makes. Williams needs to become that type of impact player, but he in nowhere near as cinsistent as James is. That needs to change for us to become an elite defense. DJ Williams was the No. 17 pick in his draft; four years in, he needs to start playing like it.

    It seems to be a forgone conclusion that Ian Gold will not be back. He has had a terrible year and has simply not made enough plays to justify his contract as one of the highest paid OLB's in the entire NFL.

    To me, the obvious question is what the Broncos decide to do with Williams. Will he start again at MLB, or will they move him back to the position they drafted him for as Gold's replacement on the weakside?

    Do the Broncos throw huge jack at Lance Briggs in free agency? Probably not.

    Will Jonathan Vilma be available? If so, he might be interesting reunited with DJ Williams.

    Boss Bailey??

    The Broncos will not be able to address both the D-Line and LB issues with just two Day One picks, so Free Agency success will be vital.

    The strength of the Bronco defense is obviously their Corners. The Safety position also needs to be addressed, especially if John Lynch retires, but Hamza Abdullah looks like he has a bright future as the starting Strong Safety. Steve Cargile has also shown flashes and could be a legit backup for Abdullah.

    Nick Ferguson probably has another year as a backup and can contribute on Special Teams.

    The Draft:

    Right now, the leader in my clubhouse for the first round pick is Miami DE Calais Campbell. At 6'7"-285, he can be like Chris Canty is for Dallas, or Trevor Pryce was for us...a bigger player that can be rotated all along the D-Line to take advantage of matchup mis-matches.

    Frank Okam looks like he could be around in the second round, and paired with Campbell would be more appealing than his selection as a first round pick.
    Last edited by MindField; 12-22-2007, 11:11 PM.

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    • #3
      I think your assessment of the Dline is pretty accurate. I'll leave talent evaluation and revenue allocation to the Denver staff.

      The most interesting point, to me, is whether or not Bates can adapt. I think he, any coach, needs two years to adapt if they're faced with big issues. So, if he's still around, I'm really curious to see his response.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm also thrilled with the decision to keep DJ in the middle. Its paying huge dividends, and was the right call to make.... keeping whats-his-face on the strongside ('out of position') or not.

        Comment


        • #5
          Six new starters in the front seven some time in the near future......Hopefully two of them are Moss and Crowder.

          MindField, I'm still trying to figure out why you keep promoting Anthony Spencer like he's a Marquee Name every time you get the chance......"The Great Dallas Cowboys. Staring Tom Cruise and Anthony Spencer"

          He's played in every game yet he's got 32 tackles and 3 sacks......Tim Crowder has 15 tackles and 4 sacks in 11 games, Moss has 12 tackles and a sack in six games.

          None of them start!

          Not a whole lot to base a argument that Denver picked the wrong guys or that Dallas has the right guy. Spencer plays LB, Moss/Crowder play on the D-line......As a matter of fact you could say that Crowder is the better pass rusher than Spencer right now.

          Yet I couldn't help but notice that you include Spencer along with the other positives Dallas has in the front seven and not Crowder with Dumervil?

          I guess you REALLY, REALLY wanted Spencer......
          Last edited by stnzed; 12-22-2007, 11:57 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by stnzed View Post
            Six new starters in the front seven some time in the near future......Hopefully two of them are Moss and Crowder.

            MindField, I'm still trying to figure out why you keep promoting Anthony Spencer like he's a Marquee Name every time you get the chance......"The Great Dallas Cowboys. Staring Tom Cruise and Anthony Spencer"

            He's played in every game yet he's got 32 tackles and 3 sacks......Tim Crowder has 15 tackles and 4 sacks in 11 games, Moss has 12 tackles and a sack in six games.

            None of them start!

            Not a whole lot to base a argument that Denver picked the wrong guys or that Dallas has the right guy. As a matter of fact you could say that Crowder is the better pass rusher than Spencer.

            Yet I could help but notice that you include Spencer along with the other positives Dallas has in the front seven and not Crowder with Dumervil?

            I guess you REALLY, REALLY wanted Spencer......
            By now stnzed, I would think you would be used to Mindfield's obstinacy when it comes to his assessments of players.
            Only fools bet against Tim Tebow.

            Team Tebow #108

            Yards, without points, mean nothing.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by DancingHorsey View Post
              By now stnzed, I would think you would be used to Mindfield's obstinacy when it comes to his assessments of players.
              I am, but that's why it's fun to point out when somebody is being biased......

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DancingHorsey View Post
                By now stnzed, I would think you would be used to Mindfield's obstinacy when it comes to his assessments of players.
                Once again, everyone is just looking at the raw numbers and assuming they tell the whole story. In Spencer's case, they definitely do not. Spencer also put big-time hits on Eli Manning in week one that almost cost him his season, and Brett Favre that left him with a mild separation of his left shoulder, and really changed the way Favre played that game because he got absolutley rocked...he also made a big hits on John Kitna. Now, you would never know this unless you were watching the games, because he never got credit for sacks on any of these plays. But I guarantee you they were game changing plays because Manning and Favre were not the same players afterward and that helped the Cowboys win those games.

                Spencer is a backup only because Greg Ellis is back playing like a Pro Bowler. Spencer made these plays as a reserve that are exactly what we are missing from our Defense, yet he never got credit from them because they did not show up in the box score. But they were legal hits from a great pass rush that had a dramatic effect on the outcome of both games.

                So, if you think Moss or Crowder are even remotely in the same pass rushing class as Spencer, you would be sadly mistaken. This will bear itself out more over time, just as I told you all DeMarcus Ware and Kamerion Wimbley were players, so is Spencer.

                So, go ahead, take your shots at me about Spencer. He is ten times the player Crowder will ever be.
                Last edited by MindField; 12-23-2007, 08:33 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by stnzed View Post
                  I am, but that's why it's fun to point out when somebody is being biased......
                  Call me biased if you want, just make sure you also call me right.

                  If you don't know this about Spencer, it's obvious you have not watched the Cowboys play much.

                  I watch their games because they generally precede the Broncos, and my friend is a huge Cowboys fan, so I watch them almost as much as I watch the Broncos.

                  Spencer is a reserve only because Greg Ellis is playing lights out; Tim Crowder can't beat out John Engelberger. That prety much tells you all you need to know.

                  Nice try at a cheap shot guys, but your wrong....as usual.
                  Last edited by MindField; 12-23-2007, 05:15 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ravage!!! View Post
                    I'm also thrilled with the decision to keep DJ in the middle. Its paying huge dividends, and was the right call to make.... keeping whats-his-face on the strongside ('out of position') or not.
                    Before you jump to this conclusion of the light suddenly going on for Williams, and that he has now developed into the player we all want and need at MLB, watch the games against the Chargers and Vikings, and their high-powered running games, and see how he fares.

                    I am willing to give DJ a clean slate for these games, to see if he has made legitimate improvement. But if the Defense gets shredded by the Chargers and Vikings running games, I am not sure that you would be able to legitimately draw the conclusion you apparently have.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Bump it up...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MindField View Post
                        Once again, everyone is just looking at the raw numbers and assuming they tell the whole story. In Spencer's case, they definitely do not. Spencer also put big-time hits on Eli Manning in week one that almost cost him his season, and Brett Favre that left him with a mild separation of his left shoulder, and really changed the way Favre played that game because he got absolutley rocked...he also made a big hits on John Kitna. Now, you would never know this unless you were watching the games, because he never got credit for sacks on any of these plays. But I guarantee you they were game changing plays because Manning and Favre were not the same players afterward and that helped the Cowboys win those games.

                        Spencer is a backup only because Greg Ellis is back playing like a Pro Bowler. Spencer made these plays as a reserve that are exactly what we are missing from our Defense, yet he never got credit from them because they did not show up in the box score. But they were legal hits from a great pass rush that had a dramatic effect on the outcome of both games.

                        So, if you think Moss or Crowder are even remotely in the same pass rushing class as Spencer, you would be sadly mistaken. This will bear itself out more over time, just as I told you all DeMarcus Ware and Kamerion Wimbley were players, so is Spencer.

                        So, go ahead, take your shots at me about Spencer. He is ten times the player Crowder will ever be.
                        I love how you use stats when they support your opinions, and completely disregard them otherwise. It's quite convenient.
                        Only fools bet against Tim Tebow.

                        Team Tebow #108

                        Yards, without points, mean nothing.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MindField View Post
                          Before you jump to this conclusion of the light suddenly going on for Williams, and that he has now developed into the player we all want and need at MLB, watch the games against the Chargers and Vikings, and their high-powered running games, and see how he fares.

                          I am willing to give DJ a clean slate for these games, to see if he has made legitimate improvement. But if the Defense gets shredded by the Chargers and Vikings running games, I am not sure that you would be able to legitimately draw the conclusion you apparently have.
                          DJ did just fine this year. I am willing to bet that he is outta Denver first chance he gets. I havent seen a player bumped around as much as DJ. Our Dline is what failed the defense. I would also say that early on our offense didnt put up touch downs. Our defense will be very good when the offense starts scoring consistantly and forcing teams to pass. However, the d isnt good enough to win a slugfest.

                          I disagree with some of your points but still a good breakdown.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DancingHorsey View Post
                            I love how you use stats when they support your opinions, and completely disregard them otherwise. It's quite convenient.
                            Well, sometimes they are relevant, and sometimes they aren't. Nothing is ever absolute; you have to be able to realize the difference.

                            It was you and another poster that took the cheap shots at me about Spencer without really knowing what you are talking about.

                            That's your fault, not mine.
                            Last edited by MindField; 12-23-2007, 05:17 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MindField View Post
                              Well, sometimes they are relevant, and sometimes they aren't. Nothing is ever absolute; you have to be able to realize the difference.

                              It was you and another poster that took the cheap shots at me about Spencer without really knowing what you are talking about.

                              That's your fault, not mine.
                              No, I took a shot at you regarding your overall stubborn attitude towards player assessment. It was stnzed who specifically took the shot at you about Spencer. Either way, your arrogance is astounding.

                              "Well, sometimes they are relevant, and sometimes they aren't."

                              And I suppose you're the one who decides when a stat is or isn't relevant right?
                              Only fools bet against Tim Tebow.

                              Team Tebow #108

                              Yards, without points, mean nothing.

                              Comment

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