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Archive for October, 2009


Posted by the fanatic on October 31, 2009

Once again, the Broncos are in one of the best football games of the weekend.  Denver V Baltimore.   When John Jesus Krishna Clayton (He prefers JC for short) predicted we would go 3-13 if we were lucky, it was hard to imagine that we would be the highlight game 3 out of 4 weeks  in a row.  Furthermore, we will be the highlight game next Monday against Pit, we will be the highlight game two weeks later with SD, then the Giants, and two weeks after that against IND.  Guess that is what happens when a really good team plays a really tough schedule.

  1. General Pace of the Game:  This game is going to be for football lovers, not casual fans.  The punters are going to get a workout.  Likely, the FG kickers will oft be in action.  Both teams have the same general game strategy: Hit ‘em in the gut, hit ‘em hard, win the field position battle – win the game.  The thing that worries me about the chances of going far in the playoffs starts with this stretch of “great games” – we are playing bal, pit, nyg, philly, and for the sake of this argument, oak … those are a lot of physical defenses and opportunities to get hurt.
  2. Offense:  In my previous post, I spent most of the time talking about either turn overs or the defense (in some cases, both).  I want to focus a little more on strategy this week.  The middle of Baltimore’s defense is ferocious.  Ray “the knife” Lewis still has it and Terrell Suggs is flat out great, and they have the best true NT in the game.  The McD game plan philosophy is simple: avoid & neutralize their strengths while exploiting their weaknesses.  When looking at their D, you can bet we are going to look to avoid the middle of the field.  I expect to see buckhalter and YesShon! attacking the perimeter more than in previous weeks.  We will have to go between the tackles to keep them honest, however.  And while I have been calling Hillis’ number for weeks now, I would prefer to use Jordan up the gut (I don’t want to risk Lewis killin Hillis).  That is not to say I don’t want a lot of Hillis action though.  The next phase of the game is neutralizing their weakness.  We need to for them into nickel and dime packages a lot.  That means 3 and 4 wide out sets.

For every bit as good as the middle of their defense has been, their perimeter (particularly CBs) are not good.  In fact, without Cortland Finnegan, their CBs are weak.  So, forcing them into a nickel where they have to put their 3rd best CB in place of Ray Lewis sounds like a great deal.  Better yet, in the dime they also take Suggs off the field.  So what does that look like for denver?

  1. The speed set.  4 true receivers.  Marshall, Royal, Gaffney, Stokely.  It is a basic double slot set where the under guys look to work the sideline, Marshall works the sideline deep, and Royal starts wide and looks to create a deep seem down the middle.  Probably my least favorite option, but this one almost assure Ray Lewis to be on the sideline.
  2. 3WR and a TE.  Normally I like sheffler as the receiving TE.  Not this week.  While he is a monster match up for every defense and my feature prominently in the 2nd half, I prefer a set where Graham (or Quinn) is the big target.  Honestly, those guys are just more physical and will wear them out more quickly.
  3. My favorite option.  A single back (Hillis), Single TE (Probably Graham, but Quinn would be fine), 3 WR set.  The TE stays in pass protection and Hillis goes wide.  Lewis is already off the field, so when we throw a quick out to Hillis, he gets to (literally) run over their smaller corners and safeties.  Look for this set at key junctures in games and look for us to use it to set the pace for physicality early.  I think this set is money.
  4. One final set that I think will be really difficult for Bal to play against … a 2WR, 2TE, 2Back set.  Brandon and Eddie split wide, Graham and Sheff at TE, and Hillis and YesShon as the backs.  After using Graham in the passing game, they will have to respect him as a target, as with Hillis.  This set is a monster option because the D has no idea who the targets are at the line of scrimmage.  While there is honestly a max of 4 check downs (and maybe a dump option), all players from the D point of view are viable.  I don’t expect to see this much in the passing game because it leaves their middle of the field with its best personnel, but it might be used in really obvious running situations for misdirection.
  5. Goal line.  Denver must find a way to get goal line yardage against their D line, otherwise my fantasy kicker could have a big day (not good from the POV of this post).  This is the one situation where I want Hillis to be the ball carrier against Lewis and company.  I also think we need to use the 3TE set here to establish the line of scrimmage.  Besides, that still leaves Sheffler and B Marsh as passing targets on the goal line.  Plain and simple though, we need to score TDs.
  6. Defense.  Every week is a favorable match up for your defense when you have the best defense in football.  This week is no exception.  There are several things I like this week for this matchup.
    1. Flacco is still learning his checkdowns, which is obvious because he can hold on to the ball too long.
    2. This is a very bad defense to hold on to the ball too long against.
    3. ChampBaileyFEAR:  There are always two sides of a coin.  This stare is the strikes fear into the hearts of 31 men in the NFL.  However, Vincent Jackson, Randy Moss, and Roy Williams do not scare Champ Bailey.  Do you think he is afraid of old man Derrick Mason?  Their receivers are nothing special and will have a very tough time finding space and creating separation against our secondary.  This will make Flacco hold on to the ball longer.
    4. I expect DOOM to have some more sacks, but I also think it will be a quiet 1st half for him because their game plan will be to double team him.
    5. NFL/To adjust for this, expect Denver to send DJ up the gut and and make Flacco look like this.  One hit like that, and that will be the end of double teaming DOOM.
    6. RUN D.  This is the key to the game.  BAL has a great running game and we must stop the run.  Making them one dimensional is a guaranteed win for us.  This goes back to our secondary discussion.  Because their receivers are not that good and because Goodman is the most underrated CB in the league and we have a guy named Champ, we have really good options for this.  1. Move B. Dawk into the box frequently.  This will punish their running game.  It also makes him a ligit threat for the safety blitz.  See above strategies for freeing up DOOM.
    7. We must prevent them from 3rd and short as BAL has one of the best 3rd conversion percentages – all related to the efficiency of their run D.
  1. Keys to the Game:
    1. I mentioned in my last novella of a post – we must figure out a way to get things going in the 1st quarter.  This is more important this week than any previous.
    2. Use the score board to your advantage.  Sounds obvious – but if we can get up on BAL by 10-14 early, they are more likely to abandon the run.  They will not beat us by passing and our defenders are less likely to be injured.
    3. Special Teams:  I didn’t focus on this through the rest of the post.  I should have.  We have a new punter whose specialty is field position.  This is going to be key in this game.  No more line drive punts, no more touchbacks when punting from the opponents 45.  Both are unacceptable.   Also, I alluded to this earlier … but Spencer Larsen is back, healthy, and ready to take someone’s head off.  Having your gunner on coverage teams is key, and Larsen is actually one of the best in the game.  If he doesn’t decapitate the ball carrier, he takes out 3 guys trying to do so.  Look for this to be the most improved phase of our game.
    4. Blitz:  Like playing SD, over committing on blitz packages leaves bubble screens wide open.  BAL loves this play as much as Norv  “the playground bully” loves to pile extra touchdowns on KC.  We were burned early against SD with this type of play, but adjusted extremely well to it in the 2nd half.  I expect BAL to try it early and often.  I don’t expect it to work.
    5. Blitz:  Dump their QB.  Its Nolan’s philosophy, so expect heat up the middle early and from the outside the rest of the game.  BAL has only given up 7 sacks in 3 games …. I expect close to that many tomorrow.  However, only if we can establish the line of scrimmage and get ahead on the score board.
    My Prediction:  Denver 26, Baltimore 16

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The Most Anticipated Sporting Event of the Weekend

Posted by spongebobmyshow on October 31, 2009

So, I know all you reading this probably already have this link because, obviously, everyone is watching the most awaited championship match-ups of the season.  Who needs college football anyway? Yeah, Wachal, I said it.


We are going pro and Olympic one of these days, just mark my words.

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It’s a good time to be a sports fan in CO: A prelude

Posted by ajbeitscher on October 31, 2009

Upon leaving the library last night I had a brief conversation with a classmate.  When the conversation turned to sports, my classmate noted me wearing my Broncos “test taking” hoodie and asked if I was a fan. “Yeah…a big one,” I said not trying to be too gleeful.  He smiled, saying “Cool, I’m a big bears fan….thanks.”  Now I’m sure that he wasn’t mockingly saying this because bears fans really do love the fact that they have “he who does not deserve to be named”.  I didn’t know what to say other than feel bad for him.  “Good luck with Orton when the game’s on the line,” I was told.  My only retort was “well, I hope you enjoy the redzone INT’s.”  Though a better answer would have been “yeah, we’ll see if Orton can do anything in the clutch…like against the Cowboys, or Pats, or Chargers…”

My classmate responded “Well, at least we can get down there now.”  And that’s when it struck me, boy it’s pretty rough when you can’t expect your team to drive the field at all.  Then it got me thinking more about how crazy it is to be a sports fan in Colorado right now.  We’ve certainly had our droughts but the past 3 years have been in a crescendo and we are at an unprecedented moment I believe…. To be continued after histo exams on monday…and a slew of weekend sports activities.

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Posted by sburk44 on October 31, 2009

The disparity of shots on goal finally caught up with the Avs last night. Anderson was strong but the Sharks scored with 6 seconds left in the second period to finally break through. The puck spent way to much time in front of Anderson’s net all night long. Being realistic – this is not a game the Avs are winning unless the sharks pla down a notch – they are just too talented, especially at home.

However – the Avs have still yet to be blown out – and the fact that game was so competitive shows this team is still not slowing down any time soon – if at all.

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My favorite human

Posted by sburk44 on October 30, 2009

All things being equal…Wachal is probably my favorite human being. He just provides for endless entertainment. Like a few nights ago – when Linds first saw the logo for his blog Brolatollahs:


And she said “but which one is Wachal, none of those fit his..um…body type?” And I said…Ahhh, you are not looking close enough…try again…and this time look for a guy who looks like this:


Soccer Scarves are the new ascotts

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by sburk44 on October 30, 2009


Thank you Sir...and your big goofy grin

WOW – Staying up doing homework and I caught the 2nd half on radio. Had to listen closely to the last minute – great game – big win and even

better it was a back to back – both wins against division rivals.

Thanks Greg Oden – your first free throw was short and your second was long – like your legs. Sorry Wachal.

Mel0 – 41 points – 18/19 free throws. He’s starting to get the star calls. Expect something special this year.

Posted in NBA | 2 Comments »


Posted by sburk44 on October 29, 2009

Running out of superlatives…Last night completed Back to back wins against division rivals – this one a possible top 5 team in the league with one of the best home ice advantages. This win was about patience, defense/goaltending, and character. Last year’s team would have given up about 3 min in after Calgary built an early 2-0 lead. But the D held strong for the rest of the game – Anderson was his Vienza-like-season self – and the team never relented. The offense only got off 14 shots – but plays like the 2nd goal – a pure stick-with it effort from David Jones – exemplified the attitude of this team. There are obviously plenty of things to be really happy about – but the main stream media is still not taking the Avs seriously. Being outshot 34-14 will not help that cause…but considering the opponent and hth back-to-back road games, this win is indicative of why this team will not be going away anytime soon.

Avalanche Oilers Hockey

Your team leader in points - Wolski has 8 goals and 5 assists

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Welcome Oscar Burke-Wanger

Posted by sburk44 on October 29, 2009

So – Linds got a dog for her birthday* and we picked him up last night. His old name was Pavol – and has been dubbed Oscar. He is a lab/something mix who is 2 years old and weighs about 45 pounds. He has some** energy – maybe a little more than Linds and I were initially anticipating  – but we love his quiet and cuddly*** attitude and his ability to learns things very quickly(we suspect he lost some of his manners being in the Kennel for a month – other manners will need to be taught by us for the first time)…AND he has not sharted, pissed, or otherwise minterated upon any of our rugs (or other parts of the house).

We are hoping to take him up to the cabin this weekend – but we have to be sure he will not run off like he did for a few minutes when we brought him home. Also – that no one shoots him with an arrow**** (its still bow season I think)

I will get have pictures up soonbut for now you can look at his 30 seconds of fame on the TV when they were featuring dogs on our local fox morning news. He likes to show us his ass.

*this was not a whim decision – been planning for a long time

**Linds would say a lot

***yea – I said cuddly

****True story – buddy form law school had his poor dog shot and almost killed a few weeks ago with an arrow

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Posted by sburk44 on October 29, 2009

Nuggets pick up right where they left off (before games 5 and 6 to LA that is). Did not really follow the game for reasons to be posted about later – but was very glad to see Lawson chip in with 6 assists. I let Wachal’s comment speak for this post:

Watching Nugs-Jazz. Ty Lawson looks like a legit PG. It’s been frightening when he and Billups have been on the floor together.

Also..this happened:

…and link you to one of the 2 best nugg’s blogs, Denver Stiffs,  for  recap. Actually – here is the other one (Roundball Mining Company), which points out how great a pick-up Affalo was for us. Also – go check out Wachal’s comments in NBA predictions post – dude knows his NBA – I might only disagree with the Toronto thing – if only because I think the win right at or less than 40 games and lose in round 1 – then Bosh leaves – they are not really on my radar.


17 points and 6 assists - Not a bad first night

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Systems – QB’s, coaches, and the stupidity of the media

Posted by ajbeitscher on October 28, 2009

Not to harp but I’m amazed by how people are paid plenty of money to give their opinions and create ridiculous arguments that are so flawed it would be better served on a turkey sandwich with rye….if that’s your thing.  Note the following from the esteemed John Clayton:

Q: With the sudden success of Kyle Orton in what is the Patriots’ “system” in Denver after not much success before that, and the success of Matt Cassel last year in the same system after not even playing in college and not playing as well this year, is it time to consider whether it’s actually the system that breeds success and that Tom Brady might not be as good a QB without being in this system? Hmmm, interesting question and point.  Mr. Clayton, your thoughts…

A: Brady would be good in any system. He’s just a great quarterback. Brady was successful before the Patriots added Wes Welker and Randy Moss, but after they came to New England, the offense rose to its highest level. Sorry John but you didn’t answer this question at all with this statement.  Brady has been in this system for his entire career.  Welker and Moss didn’t create this system….I digress.  Joe Montana was a “system” quarterback, but he proved he could move the system to Kansas City in his declining years and still be a playoff quarterback. So Montana was good because he “moved” his “system” to Kansas City?….not sure I follow.  Can Montana make the choice as to what system the team uses? Wouldn’t they have had different systems?   Sure, the system is good, but the system Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick developed around Brady only made his skills better. Ok, fair, even good point, I’ll buy that…some credence building up….  Orton is succeeding in Denver because his receivers are good and have good run-after-the-catch ability. Matt Cassel is struggling in Kansas City because his receivers lack those skills.  Wha?!  How does this have anything to do with the above question or your answer.  You’re saying that merely by the receivers being able to have RAC ability the Orton is doing better than Cassel?  Is this your NFL system John Clayton?  Receivers who have the ability to run after the catch?  Name me 5 current receivers who don’t know how to run after the catch?  That’s the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard….can anybody explain this logic?

other points about the above:

– Orton is playing out of his mind because he can brew coffee almost every drop….maybe he’s even good.  Aside from that, for receivers to have RAC ability don’t they need to be catching the ball in stride?  And therefore and accurately thrown ball? Is accuracy not a highly valued thing in the NFL?  I mean isn’t Jamarcus Russell proof enough of this?  And maybe that whole NFL line thing is important…..

And in terms of Orton not being good before hand, his career numbers before Denver: 33 games, 21-12 W-L, 30:27 Td:INT ratio and a (505/913) 55.3 completion %.  Those of he who shall not be named: 37 games, 17-20 W-L, 54:37 Td:Int ratio, and a (762/1220) 62.5 completion %.

So for one person being a God-sent “franchise” QB and the other being a cast off I’m not sure who is who….wait I look at the W-L records and…get the “wrong” answer….hmmm.

The more I see football the more I am convinced that a coach who can truly create a system for his players, as opposed to finding players for his system is the most important piece of the puzzle.  Unless you can get a coach to play quarterback….but that guy’s name is Peyton Manning.

Other’s thoughts?….discuss!

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