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Where did the "Genius" Go? (Good Article on Shanahan)

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  • Where did the "Genius" Go? (Good Article on Shanahan)

    Let's hope the genius resurfaces
    By Mark Kiszla
    The Denver Post
    Article Last Updated: 09/05/2008 01:02:04 AM MDT


    When was the last time coach Mike Shanahan stole a victory that really mattered for the Broncos?

    Think about it. We'll wait.

    And that's the problem with being a master of X's and O's. We expect Super Bowl magic every year, every game, every snap.

    Genius never gets a week off. For two years, no Shanahan scheme has done so much as get Denver in the playoffs.

    As another NFL season kicks off, the Broncos cannot even get in the general discussion of championship contenders.

    "When you take a look at where we were last year, both offensively, defensively and special teams-wise, why would they pick us?" said Shanahan, who doesn't blame anyone for doubting his young Denver team.

    Sounds like a coach whose reputation for genius has faded in football circles.

    As his Broncos head to the Black Hole with fewer proven offensive weapons than at any time since he took over as Denver coach in 1995, it looks like a big opportunity for Shanahan to remind everyone why he once was praised for the most beautiful mind in the league.

    If Shanahan is to make good on his guarantee that Denver will be playing beyond the 16 regular-season games of 2008, it's up to the veteran coach to pull some tricks out of his playbook and author the most magical script since the last Harry Potter flick.

    For the Broncos to beat hated Oakland without suspended receiver Brandon Marshall, with an offensive line that could drift toward mediocrity if center Tom Nalen is not there to anchor it and with a roster of running backs that reads like a fantasy- league trick question, Shanahan needs to be the real prime-time player on "Monday Night Football."

    There's no denying the hard-won admiration Shanahan has earned.

    "Going back to before I got here, when I was playing for New England, coach (Bill) Belichick constantly talked to us about how much he respected this Denver offense and what Coach Shanahan could do," said tight end Daniel Graham, who joined the Broncos in 2007 after five seasons with the Patriots.

    The sparks of genius, however, have been too few and far between of late. A year ago, it was cool when the Raiders came to town and had Denver beaten, only to see Shanahan do more than ice a field-goal kicker. The coach sank Sebastian Janikowski with the whole iceberg.

    But if you're asking me, the last time Shanahan truly stole a game crucial to the Broncos' dreams of winning a Super Bowl was January 2006, when Denver beat New England, although it could be argued the fingerprints of cornerback Champ Bailey were all over a 100-yard interception return and the victory.

    In the unforgiving business of the NFL, the scoreboard resets to zero before each game and reputation counts for nothing.

    Playoffs? There was a time we never could have imagined a question mark would ever follow that word with regularity so long as Shana- han was in charge.

    "It's not like us to miss two years in a row," Bailey said.

    Not to put any undue pressure on the Broncos, but if they don't want to take the risk of turning football frustration into a three-year habit, this contest against the Raiders is a must-win.

    Lawyer extraordinaire Harvey Steinberg saved Denver's season before it began by persuading NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to reduce Marshall's suspension to a single game. But should the Broncos lose in Oakland, Marshall would return to a team stuck in a big Black Hole.

    Given his dedication to tireless preparation, Shana- han's work has failed to pay big dividends in recent season openers, with the Broncos winning only one of their last three curtain-raisers, on a helter-skelter, last-second field goal against Buffalo.

    So it's fair to ask: Will there be true brilliance in the game plan for the Raiders?

    "You'll have to wait until Monday to find out," Graham said with a wry smile.

    This one's on Shanahan.

    All we expect is genius.

    http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_10384551
    I think a lot of us try to keep the thought in the back of our heads, but we could very well lose to Oakland on monday night. If B-Marsh was on the field, it would be a whole different story IMO, he is our most dangerous weapon on offense. Al Davis signs one ex-Bronco after another, so he has got to know a large chunk of our schemes. Thet's hope Shanahan can help out from the sidelines.

  • #2
    Originally posted by mx_stiles13 View Post
    I think a lot of us try to keep the thought in the back of our heads, but we could very well lose to Oakland on monday night. If B-Marsh was on the field, it would be a whole different story IMO, he is our most dangerous weapon on offense. Al Davis signs one ex-Bronco after another, so he has got to know a large chunk of our schemes. Thet's hope Shanahan can help out from the sidelines.
    Um, they don't need to sign ex-Broncos to know our schemes. They have this thing called "film," that shows everything we do in our games and how we do it on the field, and they can look at this "film" stuff and see that.

    And yes, we would ALL be glad to have Marshall back on the field for the first game of the season, but he screwed up and managed to screw up his teammates at the same time. It's done.

    Still, we have a running game, we have a solid QB and some decent receivers and we believe our defense has improved. Now we have to show the NFL that we're back.

    Oh, and btw, Kiszla is an idiot who mostly just tries to stir the pot to keep people upset enough to read his nonsense. He's shown over the years that he's not very knowledgeable on football and only a so-so writer.
    You Tell 'em Justice is coming. You tell 'em I'M coming!sigpic

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    • #3
      Messing up the raider's field goal last year was genius....IMO atleast.....
      "I'm also serious when I say: You can't stop Elvis Dumervil; you can only hope to contain him." -Peter King-

      sigpic
      -The best in the business-

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      • #4
        Originally posted by rogue719 View Post
        Um, they don't need to sign ex-Broncos to know our schemes. They have this thing called "film," that shows everything we do in our games and how we do it on the field, and they can look at this "film" stuff and see that.

        And yes, we would ALL be glad to have Marshall back on the field for the first game of the season, but he screwed up and managed to screw up his teammates at the same time. It's done.

        Still, we have a running game, we have a solid QB and some decent receivers and we believe our defense has improved. Now we have to show the NFL that we're back.

        Oh, and btw, Kiszla is an idiot who mostly just tries to stir the pot to keep people upset enough to read his nonsense. He's shown over the years that he's not very knowledgeable on football and only a so-so writer.
        Come on, a player can give a lot more insight than some game film. There is a lot more that goes into a gameplan than what you see on a screen.

        (edit: Shanahan hasn't been a dangerous play-caller for years. He needs to dust of the late 90's playbook.)
        Last edited by mx_stiles13; 09-05-2008, 07:30 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mx_stiles13 View Post
          When was the last time coach Mike Shanahan stole a victory that really mattered for the Broncos?
          Maybe it's just me, but I tire of seeing "cutesy" play calls. Having said that, I do believe we're headed in the right direction. When we have more than one playmaker, I want to see us line up with authority, and run some plays an opponent knows are coming; yet can't stop. Shanahan will make great things happen once the Broncos get a couple more weapons, 1 on offense(hint, hint RB) and a 2 on D ( hint, hint MLB & pass rusher). My patience is another story.
          sigpicNow I'm not sayin OJ shoulda killed her...but I understand" -Chris Rock

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          • #6
            Brandon Marshall is a key element to this teams success...I have much stronger faith in Jay Cutler this year then last and truth be known ...He is the leader of this team and will make everyone around him better ....

            If the Broncos lose to the Raiders ...

            I'm not going to cry out ..Well we didn't have Marshall .... But I will cry believe that ...

            As for the thread Mike Shanahan is an offensive football genius and imo one of the greatest coaches in NFL history & he didn't go nowhere..A few off years & even 3 could never tarnish his Wins,Win % and Back to Back Super Bowl wins..Mike Shanahan will top Marv Levy this year and be 16th all time in wins and if things go really well he will be right with Bill Cowher..All the coaches in the top 9 have 22-33 years coaching many with the same team something that we are not likely to see in the modern era....
            :logo: :logo: :logo: :logo: :logo:

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            • #7
              "Mark Kiszla"
              I stopped reading right there.


              My adopted Bronco is Chris Kuper. Huzzah!

              I am the raid leader for this World of Warcraft guild. Yay us!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by mx_stiles13 View Post
                Come on, a player can give a lot more insight than some game film. There is a lot more that goes into a gameplan than what you see on a screen.

                (edit: Shanahan hasn't been a dangerous play-caller for years. He needs to dust of the late 90's playbook.)
                I totally and completely disagree with you. Every team basically runs the same plays. Every WR in the NFL, has the same routes. There are only so many places for the RB to run once being handed teh ball. Thus its not KNOWING their playbook that makes the difference in games... its WHEN they are called and HOW they are called.

                What do you think the WR could tell the Raiders that the DC in Oakland didn't already know? Why do you think guys like Ron Jaworski can break down film and TELL you what the play was supposed to be, and how the QB or WR made the wrong read..after seeing the defense line up??? You think Ron KNOWS the team's playbook???

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                • #9
                  You think Ron KNOWS the team's playbook???
                  I think Ron Jaworski is a witch, personally.


                  My adopted Bronco is Chris Kuper. Huzzah!

                  I am the raid leader for this World of Warcraft guild. Yay us!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PatrickdaDookie View Post
                    I think Ron Jaworski is a witch, personally.
                    He and harry potter

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PatrickdaDookie View Post
                      I stopped reading right there.
                      ......Same me.

                      The fact is, since the SB years, Shanahan has done what he's done with mostly average talent.

                      He's a brilliant coach, and everybody knows it......even Kizla......

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PatrickdaDookie View Post
                        I think Ron Jaworski is a witch, personally.
                        huh...I always thought he used voodoo and used dummies to make them run the plays his way so he'd be right...

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                        • #13
                          I don't think the genius has gone anywhere - it just needs someone to execute it. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Elway was special and could do the things that Shanahan dreamed up. Once Shanahan put a supporting cast around him, the Broncos were unstoppable - for 2 years. Once he left, we found out that Bubby Brister and Brian Griese couldn't create what Shanahan wanted, so he went and grabbed Plummer because Plummer appeared to have some of the same physical skills that Elway had. Turns out his head was hollow - he makes bad decisions. So, Shanahan saw potential in Cutler and traded up to get him, and he has been working with him since. However, the supporting cast isn't there just yet. Or, maybe it is this year. We'll see.

                          Shanahan gets a bum rap for the 'cutesy plays'. I don't think so. Everyone runs the same general plays and from the same general formations. A defense has to guess what play is coming from this particular formation. And that is where Shanahan's genius lies. He is a master at making the defense think something else is about to happen. What other people call 'cutesy' is actually misdirection. When everyone in the stadium knows that on second and goal from the 1, Young is going right up the middle behind Hillis, at the snap, the OL will zone block for a sweep left. The defense has to shift from an overloaded center to attack the sweep, correct? But, Culter is slipping into the end zone around the right on a nekkid bootleg. 'Cutesy'? No, misdirection to guarantee yardage. And once in a while, he'll dream up a play or formation or player grouping that the defense has never seen before, and they don't have a clue how to react to it. That's not 'cutesy'; that's out-thinking the defense.

                          Granted, Elway could make something out of a broken play and saved Shanny many a time, but the general principle remains. Shanahan's genius is offense with brains to go with the physical skills. He may have the group this year. The entire season comes down to one person: Slowik. If we have a defense, we have a playoff spot. Shanahan knows what this offense can do, and he has enough trust in Slowik, who he's known for 20 odd years, that we have a defense. So, boys, let's get this thing fired up!
                          I don't want a winning season; I want a Dynasty!

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                          • #14
                            From on Offense perspective...

                            If you can execute with authority, you can get by less. Having said that, it doesn't hurt to mix it up a bit. But in the end, in order to win consistently you must have some fundamental strengths - smoke and mirrors are only short term solutions. You should be able to succeed, even if a bit predictable. I was a big John Riggins fan. And any fool knew what most of the plays were going to be when he and the Redskins were #1. Give it to John. But even then, there was some variety mixed in, just to throw the D off a tad. This is not a new concept. Mix it up to throw the D off balance. Use all your weapons effectively. And even then, you must execute.

                            A simple analogy might be how baseball pitchers succeed. If you are a Nolan Ryan type, you can get by on few pitches. Heck just blow em away with fastballs. A modern day phenom with one unbelievable pitch is Rivera. He can execute the cutter so well, that guys can wait for it, but much to their chagrin, he usually wins out. But if you can execute an array of pitches, like Greg Maddux has done for so many years (I know he's near the end!!), then that's your ticket to success. No one super pitch, but a series of complementary ones, thrown at the right time. But again, well executed.

                            So for me, moving this back to the Broncos, I want to see Shanny build on our strengths (like Jay's arm), and hopefully bring the running game back to the level we come to expect. But I also love some, shall we say, "off speed" plays, to throw off the predictability element. And I repeat, regular plays, trick plays, and other plays (whatever you want to call them), must be executed appropriately. And it is all connected by the skills your players bring, what the defence gives you, and how well you are programmed to maximize all of the above. That takes a lot of planning, and careful / strategic assessment of players, on both sides of the field. For reference, it used to amaze me that San Francisco used to map out it's first 20 or so plays each game (please correct me on the number). That exemplified a full grasp of what this game is all about. So for me, if Shanny has done his homework, and has made all those assessments, we should see some of the brilliance that he is capable of, and has provided us in the past. And from there, given that we have talent, it will be up to each individual to deliver (yes - The "E" word), as a unit. This may all sound simple and obvious, but it isn't.

                            (Note: I have used the Offence in this discussion, but the same principles apply for the D)

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                            • #15
                              Shanahan's "genius" went to Houston....ok just kidding. Shanahan's strength is this: 1st down, run up the middle for 4 yards. 2nd down, quick slant to whoever for 5 yards, 3rd down, goal line I formation with 3TE motion FB to the left, Play action left to the RB, OL shows run left while the TE's seal the right, and bootleg right to hit the fullback in the right flat(who leaked to the right behind the Oline). Make you think the predictable short yardage run is coming, then catch u over pursuing the RB. I see it all the time.


                              I know this is his bread and butter in short yardage passing situations, sometimes I see him motion the TE off of the line(instead of FB) or even put a receiver in the formation and take a TE out and have the receiver run off some coverage or even become a second option.


                              Sometimes teams counter that by having a guy seal the bootleg and thus allowing shanahan to strike again.

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