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Post article - No team has faced a higher percentage of pass plays this year.

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  • Post article - No team has faced a higher percentage of pass plays this year.

    This helps explain our poor pass defense ranking....

    Opponents trying to pass through Denver
    By Mike Klis
    Denver Post Staff Writer

    For many Broncos defenders, this season hasn't been a sprint, rather a continuous backpedal.

    No team has faced a higher percentage of pass plays this year.

    "I didn't know that, but we have had a lot of passes thrown at us," said Broncos rookie cornerback Darrent Williams. "I think there's already been more passes than I had seen in my whole senior and junior years in college."

    It's not like the Broncos' secondary will catch a breather Sunday against Randy Moss, Jerry Porter and the historically pass-happy Oakland Raiders at McAfee Coliseum. Even if the Raiders try to establish running back LaMont Jordan, recent history of Denver opponents suggests it won't be long before Oakland chucks the run and Kerry Collins chucks the ball around.

    Halfway through this season, Broncos opponents are throwing the ball an NFL-high 64.9 percent of their plays.

    "Sounds like we're doing something right against the run," said Broncos defensive tackle Gerard Warren. "That's what I credited it to. I can't say this is a bad statistic to have."

    Indeed, compare the Broncos, 6-2 and ranked fifth against the run, with the Houston Texans, who are 1-7 and widely considered the NFL's worst team. Houston opponents use the pass a league-low 46.3 percent of their plays.

    Why risk the pass when the run will do? The Texans are giving up an NFL-high 156.8 yards rushing a game.

    "I don't think you can look at our ranking versus the run and say it's because they don't run against us," Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist said. "I think it's because we just stuff the run. With the improvement on the defensive line and the addition of Ian (Gold) at linebacker, I mean, our front seven can run. We're like Indy, we're like Dallas in that we're going to come after you in the run game and string you out and pursue you."

    Stuffing the run, however, is only one reason the Broncos spend so much time defending the pass. The others:

    Big leads. This probably is the biggest reason opponents have decided to throw first, throw again, and think about throwing some more. The


    Broncos have had leads of at least 13 points in the second half of their past six games. What's an opponent to do but pass?

    "Our whole theory on defense is to try to make them one- dimensional," Williams said.

    Pass-first opponents. Denver played the Eagles at a time when wide receiver Terrell Owens was not yet in serious trouble and coach Andy Reid didn't even pretend to establish a running game. But while the Eagles are the most dramatic case of the pass-first philosophy, they are hardly the only case.

    "We've played against teams that are bent toward the pass a little bit, more than people might think," Broncos defensive coordinator Larry Coyer said. "Washington more than everybody wants to let on. They throw it around pretty good."

    Kids on the corner. With Champ Bailey out or hobbled in the first half because of recurring hamstring problems, the Broncos have given considerable playing time to Williams and fellow rookie cornerback Domonique Foxworth.

    With rookies at the corners and 30-somethings John Lynch and Nick Ferguson at safety, opponents won't give up believing the Broncos' secondary is vulnerable. Jacksonville, especially, abandoned the run (11 carries for 12 yards) against the Broncos.

    "Their game plan going in was to attack our young secondary," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "But our two young guys have played well. They're going to be tested this week against a couple of excellent receivers."

    Staff writer Mike Klis can be reached at 303-820-5440 or [email protected].

  • #2
    The truth is we have had some success with our rookie CBs

    We stop the run and teams have to pass.
    We are leading the games and teams have to pass to get back in the game.

    As many passess as we see because of those factors, we are going to lead the league in most passing yards allowed. Even with the overall good play of our rookie cornerbacks teams feel they can move the ball on us in the air. And they have been able to. The stats don't lie.
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    • #3
      I think there's some spin going on there.

      Out of the top 10 run defenses in the NFL, we are the worst in terms of yards per carry at 4.1

      If teams just chose to actually run more, we'd be shown as an average run defense. The reason teams don't run on us is because of our own running game. We burn up the clock and get early leads and teams have no choice but to start passing to get back in the game.

      Our run defense is not that good. But our running offense makes it seem that way.

      As for our pass defense, we're not that good there either, but our blitzing schemes have covered it up to a degree. And our rookies have really played well, but they are still rookies.


      • #4
        Another stat that is important but wasn't mentioned is completion percentage. The Broncos D has one of the the lowest allowed completion percentage in the league. What it comes down's hard to say where were at. One set of stats shows a lot of good things. Another set shows some weaknesses. I think we can just toss the stats out. What with the Miami game affecting our averages none of them make much sense. The only sure thing is that as long as they go out and play their game theres a damn good chance we'll be leading every game when the clock hits 0.


        • #5
          Yh the stats can often be deceiving. You can tell 2 difft stories with the same statistics, choosing to ignore some, and highlight others. Perhaps our Run D hasnt been as good as maybe we all think, and our pass D isnt as bad as the stats may show.

          As MUG pts out giving up 4.1 ypc is not very impressive. If teams ran more on us, we woudl have aworse defensive ranking to some degree. But the arguement can also be made, that when we have a big lead, that we often do, we may not focus on stopping the run, as much as earlier in the game. If we are up 24-3, in the 4th quarter, we would be more susceptible to running plays. We may spend the entire 4th in nickle, or dime, and not worry if the RB chews up ydg, as long as the clock is moving. So the ypc can be blow out of proportion in the second half when we have our leads, and are focusing on the pass.

          Now for the pass D, well yes ydg wise, we arent too hot. But we are keeping QB passing percentage under 55% which only 3 other teams can boast. So in that regard our pass D, may not be as poor as we thought. Another stat that many consider impt is Yds per attempt, which takes into account, the amount of passing plays that come against us, kind of like the YPC for rbs that MUG was mentioning. Well in that respect, we are actually 8th best in the league in that category, with a yards per attempt of 6.5. So I def woudlnt charactrize our pass D as weak. Again, the stats can be used to show alot of difft things.


          • #6
            I just wanted to throw in that we lead the NFL in passes defended.

            Eagles 58
            Broncos 58
            Chargers 56
            Panthers 48
            Bengals 48

            da. will-7
            lynch-7 <--------and no one thinks he can pass cover

            Give credit to the pass rush for forcing the QB into bad throws