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  • Poor pass protection, mediocre run blocking

    With all due respect to the Bronco I admire the most, the Great Tommy Nalen, the Broncos will never again seriously contend for AFC Championship until they address their most glaring need: much better pass protection and run blocking.

    Matt Lepsis, a fine, journeyman tackle, is obviously not the answer, given the countless times I observed Jake running for his life from backside pursuit this season. Were Jake as immobile as Ben Roethlisberger, he would have been sacked countless times. Matt never has, and never will, provide the quality of protection Gary Zimmerman provided to Elway.

    Our run blocking achieves impressive yardage totals, but they are meaningless, as our third down conversion and red zone running game remains mediocre, or worse. If Shanahan and Sundquist waste their time and $ pursuing a morale-buster like Terrell Owens, instead of finding a truly top-drawer tackle or guard, or two, capable of playing at the same level as Tommy Nalen, they will have proved that the first step Bowlen must take before the Broncos will return to the Super Bowl is to fire them both.

  • #2
    Originally posted by mebcaux
    With all due respect to the Bronco I admire the most, the Great Tommy Nalen, the Broncos will never again seriously contend for AFC Championship until they address their most glaring need: much better pass protection and run blocking.

    Matt Lepsis, a fine, journeyman tackle, is obviously not the answer, given the countless times I observed Jake running for his life from backside pursuit this season. Were Jake as immobile as Ben Roethlisberger, he would have been sacked countless times. Matt never has, and never will, provide the quality of protection Gary Zimmerman provided to Elway.

    Our run blocking achieves impressive yardage totals, but they are meaningless, as our third down conversion and red zone running game remains mediocre, or worse. If Shanahan and Sundquist waste their time and $ pursuing a morale-buster like Terrell Owens, instead of finding a truly top-drawer tackle or guard, or two, capable of playing at the same level as Tommy Nalen, they will have proved that the first step Bowlen must take before the Broncos will return to the Super Bowl is to fire them both.

    I agree with you but those that don't will point out statistics such as "Jake has been sacked less than 15 times in each of the last 2 years which is among the league leaders"----that is only because he is so mobile. I don't think Broncos fans want to admit the reason that we struggle as a 'drop back ' passing team is not all on Jake, but also on the OL that is, by design, light in the pants and loses ground when faced by a good pass rush. You make a great point regarding the fact that we tend to struggle on 3rd & 2 or less and alos in goalline situations because of the lack of quality linemen. In our SB years, Denver's O-line was one of , if not the best in all of football. We are simply above average overall and average at best when it comes to goal to go run blocking and 3rd & short situations.......
    Last edited by BroncosRPH; 03-14-2006, 08:57 AM.

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    • #3
      While I do not totally disagree with you on this.

      Jake was brought in because of his skills at being a "snake". Any QB in DEN will have to be mobile it is the system we run.

      DO I want to see more BEEF on the line? Heck yes but we don't need 350 pounders like some of the other teams do at least not for 20-20 yard line situations.

      If our guys can get into the 300-310 range it will wear on the DL though out the game and by the late third and fourth QTR, we run them into the ground especially in DEN at MILE HIGH.

      We need some hogs inside the 10, even more so near the goal line. While we are a finesse team with our offense and it works pretty damned good, there are situations like above that we flat need to be able to crush the extra DL help they bring in and the 8-9 in the box.

      BTW welcome to the forum good first post.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by BroncosRPH
        I agree with you but those that don't will point out statistics such as "Jake has been sacked less than 15 times in each fo the last 2 years which is among the league leaders"----that is only because he is so mobile. I don't think Broncos fans want to admit the reason that we struglle as a 'drop back ' passing team is not all on Jake, but also on the OL that is, by design, light in the pants and loses ground when faced by a good pass rush. You make a great point regrading the fact that we tend to struglle on 3rd & 2 or less and alos in goalline situations because of the lack of quality linemen. In our SB years, Denver's O-line was one of , if not the best in all of football. We are simply above average overall and average at best when it comes to goal to go run blocking and 3rd & short situations.......
        I forgot to address this contention, we have one of the best O-line in the business. They are quality just not Quantity (BULK). They are smart and in most cases allow the DL to work against itself. But when play a really disciplined quality large DL we suck. Because they stay at home.

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        • #5
          I really need to cut down on this draft talk stuff. Last night I dreamed that we got Kiwanuka with the 22, and then picked Max Jean-Gilles with our 29. I was like, "Holy crap, that's a big O-lineman." Haha.

          Maybe my subconcious agrees with you.

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          • #6
            Humph!!

            if you guys have some brilliant suggestions as to where we're gonna find someone equal to a hall of fame calibre left tackle like gary zimmerman, i'm waiting to hear 'em. . . . this should be good!
            Officially Objectified by the GPA

            rest in peace, darrent williams and damien nash-- you will be missed!!

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            • #7
              Ok, you guys are simply incorrect.

              Sure, the Broncos failed to protect against the Steelers, but you don't even acknowledge that the Steelers did an excellent job of making every offensive lines in the playoffs look stupid.

              In the first game, Pittsburgh faced Cincinatti who allowed the second fewest sacks in the league despite thowing the ball very often. They were able to get good pressure.

              In the second game, Pittsburgh faced Indianapolis, who allowed even fewer sacks than Cincy. They pressured Peyton Manning all day.

              In the AFC Championship game, they faced the team to allow the third fewest sacks in the league. And they pressured Jake Plummer all day.

              In the Superbowl, they faced Seattle who blocked for the league MVP and allowed the fifth fewest sacks in the league. They were able to get good pressure.

              In other words, the Steelers faced all of the elite lines in the league but KC during the playoffs and beat every team. It's not that Denver was exposed. It is that the Steelers were exposed as a damn good defense with a fantastic front seven.

              As for the Broncos, they blocked for a team that gained 4.7 yards per carry. The only team to run for a higher average was a team with Micheal Vick pumping the stats. Teams like Seattle that ran for the same average played with NFL MVP's behind their line.

              Couple that with the fact that Denver allowed the third fewest sacks in the league and it becomes clear that Denver's line is fantastic.

              As for short yardage situations, Denver could be better, but they're not bad.

              According to football outsiders, Denver ranked 9th in power runs this year. Not top of the league stuff, but even their weakness was much stronger than people realize. What else should be noted is that Denver did much better in the redzone this year than last year, so all of this redzone talk doesn't mean anything to me either.
              Last edited by Archimedes Owl; 03-14-2006, 10:12 AM.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by dogfish
                if you guys have some brilliant suggestions as to where we're gonna find someone equal to a hall of fame caliber left tackle like gary zimmerman, i'm waiting to hear 'em. . . . this should be good!

                Yeah--how about ATTEMPTING to draft some high round linemen. Aside from big George, all of Denver's linemen were undrafted or lower round picks. If they would at least make the ATTEMPT (as Shanny has done for many years at CB before striking at gold last year)I wouldn't be so harsh with my criticism.
                Last edited by BroncosRPH; 03-14-2006, 10:14 AM.

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                • #9
                  I agree somewhat with that the Broncos could improve with pass protection when we simply drop back and pass. However, that is the consequence of having smaller lineman, allowing for more speed, thus helping the run and screens.

                  Lepsis is not a Zimmerman, but he is far from bad. You know that Abraham guy that a lot of teams want? He was shut down by Lepsis. Lepsis is a very solid tackle who really only had problem with Porter in the playoffs (so did everyone else though).

                  Jake scrambling around, buying time, is what he does. Besides, he is much better on the run. and a little off topic: Big Ben is more mobile than u think , he is very good at escaping pressure.

                  Welcome to the boards tho!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mebcaux
                    With all due respect to the Bronco I admire the most, the Great Tommy Nalen, the Broncos will never again seriously contend for AFC Championship until they address their most glaring need: much better pass protection and run blocking.

                    Matt Lepsis, a fine, journeyman tackle, is obviously not the answer, given the countless times I observed Jake running for his life from backside pursuit this season. Were Jake as immobile as Ben Roethlisberger, he would have been sacked countless times. Matt never has, and never will, provide the quality of protection Gary Zimmerman provided to Elway.

                    Our run blocking achieves impressive yardage totals, but they are meaningless, as our third down conversion and red zone running game remains mediocre, or worse. If Shanahan and Sundquist waste their time and $ pursuing a morale-buster like Terrell Owens, instead of finding a truly top-drawer tackle or guard, or two, capable of playing at the same level as Tommy Nalen, they will have proved that the first step Bowlen must take before the Broncos will return to the Super Bowl is to fire them both.
                    wow, the broncos have been better than everyother team in the last decade at running the ball and you say we have bad run blocking I know we don't have the best pass blocking scheme but it is built for a scrambling QB, I don't think we need to change a thing. If we made to the AFC championship game last year, I see no reason why we can't get there again, especially with an improved team

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BroncosRPH
                      Yeah--how about ATTEMPTING to draft some high round lineman. Aside from big George all of Denver's lineman were undrafted or lower round picks. If they would at least make the ATTEMPT (as Shanny has done for many years at CB before striking at gold last year)I wouldn't be so harsh with my criticism.
                      and the lower round picks are still outplaying foster, the first-rounder. . .

                      but i'll be honest, i would love to see denver draft charles spencer, the OG from pitt. . .

                      to say we need to find another guy like zimm, though, is silly-- who wouldn't want to?! of course we'd like to have guys like zimm-- but they don't grow on trees. . . it's not like drafting a tackle in the first round guarantees he'll be a hall of fame player. . . our O-line is the heart and soul of our team-- that's not to say there isn't room for improvement, but to say it's our "most glaring need," as the original poster did, is exaggeration of the worst sort! bronco fans need to stop living in the past and whining about zimm, elway and TD-- they ain't comin' back!!
                      Officially Objectified by the GPA

                      rest in peace, darrent williams and damien nash-- you will be missed!!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by cinnamunmun
                        I agree somewhat with that the Broncos could improve with pass protection when we simply drop back and pass. However, that is the consequence of having smaller lineman, allowing for more speed, thus helping the run and screens.

                        Lepsis is not a Zimmerman, but he is far from bad. You know that Abraham guy that a lot of teams want? He was shut down by Lepsis. Lepsis is a very solid tackle who really only had problem with Porter in the playoffs (so did everyone else though).

                        Jake scrambling around, buying time, is what he does. Besides, he is much better on the run. and a little off topic: Big Ben is more mobile than u think , he is very good at escaping pressure.

                        Welcome to the boards tho!
                        Right on with Abraham, but it doesn't end there.

                        Do you remember seeing John Abraham, Derrick Burgeous, Jevon Kearse, Osi Umenyiora, or any of the other elite right defensive ends get any pressure on Plummer this year??
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jvw
                          wow, the broncos have been better than everyother team in the last decade at running the ball and you say we have bad run blocking I know we don't have the best pass blocking scheme but it is built for a scrambling QB, I don't think we need to change a thing. If we made to the AFC championship game last year, I see no reason why we can't get there again, especially with an improved team
                          Yeah--but so far, how have we improved? I don't think that we have regressed except at the TE position and if Duke steps up, we will be fine.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BroncosRPH
                            Yeah--but so far, how have we improved? I don't think that we have regressed except at the TE position and if Duke steps up, we will be fine.
                            I know we havn't improved yet, but you know shanahan has somthing up his sleeve.

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                            • #15
                              Food for Thought

                              Hi, everyone!

                              Thanks to all of you for your excellent thoughts in response to my post about poor pass protection, etc. I appreciate your welcoming remarks and the expertise and good judgment all your posts reflect. Reasonable men and women can differ on these points. Even those with whom I don't completely agree made some valid points that I need to think about, and may cause me to adjust my thinking.

                              I would like to say, however, that my distinct recollection of this season, and each of the last several seasons, is of an offensive line that, on the whole, neither pass protects particularly well, nor blows open gaps in key running situations, anymore. They do fine when the field is stretched and pass coverages necessarily pull people off the line, but more often than not get beaten in critical third down conversion and goal line situations. I say this as someone who admires each one of them as players and men.

                              I should not, however, focus solely on the O-Line, which is unfair. We certainly miss the magnificent run blocking of Eddie McCaffrey and Howard Griffith. Losing Jeb Putzier doesn't help, in this, or many other, respects.

                              Our short-yardage/gaol-line deficiencies need to be examined and addressed. It's not at all clear that Coach Shanahan, for whom I also have great respect, but who seems to be losing some of his mojo, has any answer to offer other than relying on Jake to channel John Elway's spirit and work miracles of a kind he really is not equipped to perform. Jake is a very good QB, just as Brian Griese is a very good QB. They can get the job done when the running game is hitting on all cylinders, conversions come one after another, and defenses have to leave passing lanes open out of fear of the run. Likewise, when the passing game works well, the running game works better because defenses have to stack the line.

                              There's no denying achieving this kind of balance is very difficult. Sure, it's unreasonable to expect the Broncos to easily find another Zimmerman. Sure, Matt Lepsis is a fine lineman. What perplexes me is why other teams have had so much more luck in recent years in establishing the run and in pass protection, while we have not, even though most of them lack anyone approaching Gary Zimmerman's greatness, as well.

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