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Scouts Inc.: Against an unlikely opponent, Cutler finally flinches

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  • Scouts Inc.: Against an unlikely opponent, Cutler finally flinches

    Interesting read on how the Chiefs D-Coordinator Cunningham devised a game plan with less than formidable talent......Slowik should be taking notes.

    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/afcwest/0...-flinches.html


    After exploiting defenses almost at will in Denver's first three games, QB Jay Cutler ran into some trouble at Kansas City on Sunday. Though he threw for 361 yards and had moments when he flashed excellent arm strength, vision and timing, the performance didn't measure up to those of Cutler's previous outings. Credit Chiefs coach Herm Edwards and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham for drawing up an excellent game plan: a combination of eight-man fronts, disguised coverage schemes and timely pressure packages.

    Despite Cutler's off-the-charts productivity leading up to the matchup, Cunningham focused on taking away Denver's run game. He used interior zone run blitzes and stunts in tandem with eight-man fronts to create penetration and clog rushing lanes. Rather than play it safe and still get burned -- as several defenses more talented than Kansas City's already had -- Cunningham chose to make the Broncos one-dimensional.

    It was a risk, no doubt. But Cunningham's timing was great, and he was similarly aggressive in his pressure packages and coverages. He ran stunts, blitzed linebackers and even got a strong push from his front four. Cunningham challenged rookie cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr to play tight coverage on wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal, mixing man-to-man (including press) and five-underneath man two-deep (which looks similar to Cover 2) with a base two-deep zone to stifle Denver's short and intermediate routes and keep Cutler guessing.

    The result: Cutler racked up yards, but he appeared to press more often. He forced the ball into tight windows that closed quickly and wound up throwing a pair of interceptions. Marshall, Royal and wide receiver Brandon Stokley got their touches, but the Broncos scored just one touchdown.

    Cutler excels in the pocket and on designed rollouts and bootlegs, but he isn't as effective as some other mobile passers when forced to improvise. Cutler can run, but athleticism doesn't automatically translate to playmaking ability. Throwing on the move when a play breaks down is a different skill than delivering on a predetermined run/pass option, and Cutler isn't as instinctive in this department as, say, Cowboys QB Tony Romo (though very few are). When Cutler was pressured in the pocket by the Chiefs and hurried to find an open target, he appeared uncomfortable. The front-four rush and sporadic linebacker blitzes seemed to take him out of his comfort zone.

    To counter such a game plan (which future Denver opponents are sure to copy), coach Mike Shanahan needs to consider more screen passes, flares and wheel routes to the backs. Particularly if the coaching staff senses defenses matching up or using combination coverages that worked for Kansas City, the Broncos need to get the ball to running backs Selvin Young, Ahmad Hall and Michael Pittman in mismatch situations on linebackers.

    The Chiefs had little to lose Sunday, and decided they'd rather pull out the stops and see what happened than die a slow death. The better team may not have won, but it won't be the last time an overmatched Broncos opponent tries to get Cutler and his crew out of rhythm. They had better be ready next time.
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  • #2
    Good scheme by KC's Cunningham, but individual heads up plays by KC to knock the ball from Royal and strip Marshall benefited the outcome more than anything.

    This is the issue I have with the Denver defense (outside of #24 and #55), there are no playmakers on defense.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by atl-bronco View Post
      Good scheme by KC's Cunningham, but individual heads up plays by KC to knock the ball from Royal and strip Marshall benefited the outcome more than anything.

      This is the issue I have with the Denver defense (outside of #24 and #55), there are no playmakers on defense.
      There used to be a #47 too, but he left.

      Boss Bailey has been pretty solid as well. Take away that TD catch and he had a damn near perfect day.


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      • #4
        Good article, it hit all the key points. I agree, if we used Selvin more like reggie Bush and Brian Westbrook are utilized, i think we'd pull off more, also like he said, quick slants and all that open the book up more. They saw every single bootleg coming before it happened!!

        But yeah its obvious we arent running well, more screen, maybe some more of that Shanny play making magic, it made me sick watching replays of Cutler tossing to a brandon marshall who had 3 Chiefs on em when he had Scheff and Stokes open a LOT on Sundays game.

        I wish coaches and players would read stuff like this...

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        • #5
          Ahmad Hall @[email protected]

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          • #6
            Originally posted by TheJackal View Post
            There used to be a #47 too, but he left.

            Boss Bailey has been pretty solid as well. Take away that TD catch and he had a damn near perfect day.
            Yeah, I agree. Boss had his best game as a Bronco against the chiefs this past Sunday.
            It seems Elvis is nowhere near full-strength as well.
            Hindsight, DRobertson may be more valuable than I thought.

            I'm sitting here watching how terrible the Steeler's offense looked against the Ravens. Must be nice to have a defense to pick up the slack every now and then.
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            • #7
              I haven't seen a playmaker on the Broncos this season. DJ Williams makes tackles, but he doesn't make plays. Champ hasn't really made plays, neither has Dre'. I just don't think they get thrown at enough. Anybody notice how when Broncos go to Nickel Dre and Champ disappear? And the pass rush is suck.

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              • #8
                definitely liked the article. aside from what it says about cutler it pretty much presents a formula for what our d should be doing too. Our d has been way to vanilla. from the blitz schemes to the coverage I don't see slowik trying to mix anything up aside from deciding to drop 7 or 8 back in coverage.

                Our blitz schemes are uninspired and aside from the occasional switch from man to zone coverage i see nothing special. we may not have all the talent in the world on the defensive side of the ball but slowik sure as hell isn't doing anything to improve the defense.

                its pretty much drop back and pray that the other teams qb makes a mistake which is a great way to lose games.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by WoodyInvincible View Post
                  definitely liked the article. aside from what it says about cutler it pretty much presents a formula for what our d should be doing too. Our d has been way to vanilla. from the blitz schemes to the coverage I don't see slowik trying to mix anything up aside from deciding to drop 7 or 8 back in coverage.

                  Our blitz schemes are uninspired and aside from the occasional switch from man to zone coverage i see nothing special. we may not have all the talent in the world on the defensive side of the ball but slowik sure as hell isn't doing anything to improve the defense.

                  its pretty much drop back and pray that the other teams qb makes a mistake which is a great way to lose games.
                  Totally agree Woody,
                  There's no aggression (therefor not the scheme in particular) from individual players. Goes back to the basics (tackling, full speed ST coverage) in training camp; The Redskins, Ravens, Eagles, Bucs have hard hitting camps And are in full pads 2-3 weeks earlier than when I see the Broncos during training camp.

                  they just don't play angry......and it shows.
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                  • #10
                    I kept wanting to see screens during the game. I thought they would have worked too.

                    I was really hoping for the ball to be put in Hillis's hands. He is a load to bring down.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by illmatic View Post
                      I haven't seen a playmaker on the Broncos this season. DJ Williams makes tackles, but he doesn't make plays. Champ hasn't really made plays, neither has Dre'. I just don't think they get thrown at enough. Anybody notice how when Broncos go to Nickel Dre and Champ disappear? And the pass rush is suck.
                      Champ has caused 2 fumbles this year through 4 games, pretty decent. He has no Ints because he rarely gets thrown at since he is playing zone nearly always.

                      I think Champ is our biggest play maker, and difference maker on D. I have no idea how people can possibly be down on him.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by atl-bronco View Post
                        Yeah, I agree. Boss had his best game as a Bronco against the chiefs this past Sunday.
                        It seems Elvis is nowhere near full-strength as well.
                        Hindsight, DRobertson may be more valuable than I thought.

                        I'm sitting here watching how terrible the Steeler's offense looked against the Ravens. Must be nice to have a defense to pick up the slack every now and then.
                        Every now and agian? I'll take our team over the Ravens. They have no offense. Their offense is like our defense.


                        :salute!: !!Get well soon!!:salute!:

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SlyBronco View Post
                          Every now and agian? I'll take our team over the Ravens. They have no offense. Their offense is like our defense.
                          No, I mean the Steeler's defense stepping up and bailing the enept (for the most part) Steeler offense out for a win.

                          just the defense...wouldn't want any other offense other than our's at all
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by atl-bronco View Post
                            No, I mean the Steeler's defense stepping up and bailing the enept (for the most part) Steeler offense out for a win.

                            just the defense...wouldn't want any other offense other than our's at all
                            I see. Well I think things will look better on the defensive side moving on. But next year we should start to see these problems fixed.


                            :salute!: !!Get well soon!!:salute!:

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                            • #15
                              The fumbles were a spot of bad luck, I don't expect them to happen, much less 2 in one game. The first interception is a tight window that Cutler has thrown into many times already with success, this time the defender made a nice play was able to pick it off. The second interception was just plain bone-headed. So in my eye 3 of our turnovers, or at the minimum the 2 fumbles, will not happen every week, so I think we'll be fine offensively. Defensively I still think we played decent enough to win, but those 4 turnovers really skewed the numbers. Turnovers are possibly the biggest factor in determining a football game, so the focus should be on eliminating them on offense and forcing them on defense.
                              sigpicthanks Freyaka

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