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GDT: Denver Broncos @ Arizona Cardinals

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Thanks to @Broncofan we have some GDT info below (it’s not plagiarism, unless we get caught, right?).

Please share your analysis and VJ hate below! Also, share your excitement for Nuggets basketball! We finna make the playoffs this year!

Edited by iLikeDefense

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Well the FF thread's been up for a couple of days, so I'll cheat & just copy/paste...

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State Farm Stadium

5:20 PM PST October 18th, 2018

Coverage: Fox / NFLN / Amazon (Announcers Joe Buck, Troy Aikman)

 

DENVER (2-4, 5-11 in 2017, 4th AFCW); ARI (1-5, 8-8 in 2017, 3rd NFCW)

Line:  DEN -2, O/U somewhere around 41-42 pts

DVOA through Week 5:   DEN (#15 overall - #10 on O; #22 on D; #19 on ST),  ARI (#30 overall - #31 on O, #8 on D, #24 on ST)

DVOA Ranks:  https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teameff

 

So, 2 teams that have coaching staff on the hot seat - HC Vance Joseph & DC Joe Woods for DEN, and OC Mike McCoy (HC Steve Wilks likely has more leash) for ARI.  DEN coming off 4 L's after a 2-0 start against SEA/OAK at home (of which they should have rightfully lost vs. OAK), while ARI is scuffling on O, with a horrible O-line, and an incredibly unimaginative play calling scheme by good old Mike McCoy, who somehow keeps finding work as an OC despite his history of disasters post-Peyton (hmmm, maybe it wasn't McCoy behind the success there...crazy idea).

Keys for this week:

1.  How does ARI's awful OL protect Josh Rosen?  Can they find success vs. DEN' suddenly porous run D? -   The one area where we excel is in pass rush.  The ARI OL is just awful at pass protection, and pretty awful overall.   Rosen is the guy we should have drafted at 1.5, but hey, it's all good with Case Keenum as our QB (LOL).   Still, he's a rookie, and so getting pressure and getting in his face is the key.   On the run side, our run D has completely collapsed, with our CB's & EDGE's no longer able to provide contain, and our S & ILB's sudden unable to tackle at the 2nd level, leading to some monstrous games (Gurley & LAR no surprise, but NYJ 2 weeks b4 was an eye opener).   The OL is the key here for ARI, because we are vulnerable in the run game, and we are incredibly stout in pass pro (we did give LAR's OL fits in pass rush).  One HUGE break for ARI - Shane Ray has a HAS, so he's out 3-4 weeks, which means that our pass rush is easier to account for (rookie Bradley Chubb had a really good game, even if we should have gone Rosen 1.5, at least he's not been a bust pick so far, although he's not a traditional alpha EDGE threat).  I'd imagine we see a lot of double-teams for Von on Thursday.  

2.  Can DEN's "It's Totally OK To Fly" Zone limit the ARI passing game?- Since 2016, DEN's D has been getting awful pass coverage play for RB's & TE's - but now, we suddenly can't cover anyone except for whoever Chris Harris Jr. covers.   Bradley Roby should be wearing a t-shirt with a picture of toast on TNF instead of a jersey.   Our 3rd CB's have been no better.  And our TE/RB coverage is still non-existent.  So while Fitz will have his hands full vs. Harris Jr., Christian Kirk, Ricky Seals-Jones, David Johnson and the 3rd WR receiver (Chad Williams?) should all have favorable matchups.   It's why protecting Rosen long enough is so key, we are incredibly beatable in our pass protection.   We're not the No Fly Zone, we're more like "Fly The Friendly Skies".   If Rosen struggles, no surprise given our pass rush and his rookie learning curve.  But if he excels, he will certainly show Elway the mistake he made in passing on a franchise QB in a very big and obvious way.

3.  Can David Johnson break out this week? - Isiaih Crowell, then Todd Gurley gashed us for 200+ rushing yards.  I don't see DJ having that kind of success, but I could definitely see 100+ which for him would feel like 200+..and 6/60 in pass catching.    He's an absolute elite weapon mired behind a bottom 5 OL, so this is his chance to shine in prime time.

4..  Can DEN get ahead and rely on the run game instead of Case "OMG Elway how did you pass on Rosen for this guy" Keenum?  - Case Keenum just sucks.  The take that he was possibly a bargain over Cousins, or better to have than Carr, well, I hope ppl realize how awful those takes were.   Late on reads, no pocket awareness, and zero anticipation / placement.   But hey, besides that, all good.   Ugh.   If we are behind, we are dead in the water, having to rely on Keenum to bring us back.  On the other had, we have a really good run game with Royce Freeman as the thunder & Philip Lindsay supplying the lightning.  Our OL does excel at run blocking.   That's the good news the bad news is that...

4.  Can DEN's OL find any way to actually pass protect? - we just lost G Ron Leary, who's been battling injuries, and won't likely return for 2019.  But the issue as with most teams - our replacement sucks hard (Max Garcia).   Our T's literally cannot pass block, they made average Joe DE's/EDGE's look like HoF talent.   And given Chandler Jones is a stud, and their front 7 (and safeties) are bringing the heat (with 4 players with 2 sacks and a lot more hurries) with Jones' 5.5 sacks, this is the D matchup where ARI has to be licking their chops.    We are now down our starting RT Veldheer and have lost our LG Leary for the season, and both replacements pretty much suck.   Our 2017 1st-round LT Bolles is a run block animal, but a total zero in pass pro (16 holds leads NFL since 2017 season started, and a ton of sacks/pressures given up too)

5. Can the DEN WR's / TE's win their matchups vs. ARI's D?  - P-Pete we all know is an elite CB.  The other emerging talent is S Budda Baker, he's the other guy who's made a huge mark as a game changing S (but no one is in Derwin James' stratosphere right now).   PP will take out 1 of the 3 DEN WR's, and Baker's a force in the middle.  Combine it with a huge pass rush, and I see the potential for 2-3 TO's for ARI's D on TNF.

6. Turnovers / Field Position / Turnovers -  when you have 2 bad O's and losing teams, these little things often are the difference.   HFA makes a big difference, although playing in altitude is one advantage that ARI won't experience vs. us.   But it's why ToP and field position will be huge here. 

7.  Will anyone outside of DFS / Fantasy / Bettors / Local Fans even care? - frankly, I don't know that anyone outside of those groups should care lol.  I will say, thank goodness for FF and DFS for games like this.

With us 2-4 and in cap hell, and without a QBOTF, and the need to dump high-salary vets and get picks for UFA's who we won't be able to re-sign (Shane Ray and Shaq Barrett are the easy calls), it's weird that most of the DEN fans in FF are rooting for a L vs. ARI, to move up in a loaded top-end talent class.    

On paper, DEN's a 2-point favorite since we kept it close with LAR, and our O problems seem small compared to ARI's O issues.  But the matchups actually all go in ARI's favor except our pass rush vs their OL, and our run game vs. their run D.   In a tight game, I can see ARI pulling out a 23-17 W.   A DEN W could happen if Mike McCoy pulls a McCoy, or we win the TO battle - but the ironic part is most of DEN's fans are hoping we lose, so we can be sellers at the Oct. 30 trade deadline, and lance the boil that is Vance Joseph as HC on our team.   It might be the first time in a while that both home and visitor team fanbases are rooting for the same team (ARI) in Week 7 lol.

Edited by Broncofan

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Clearly Von Miller realized no one outside DEN/ARI/betting/fantasy & DFS cared, so he decided to spice things up...

 

Now, this was apparently in reply to Elway's criticism of the team, and him promising the team was going to give full effort, and "kick ARI's *ss".   So take it FWIW.

Anyways, looks like ARI will be without one of their starting G's, Mike Iupati, while we will be missing Shane Ray, Pacman Jones & Veldheer.  The OL pass pro on both sides is really going to be ugly.   

 

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1 hour ago, Broncofan said:

Clearly Von Miller realized no one outside DEN/ARI/betting/fantasy & DFS cared, so he decided to spice things up...

 

Now, this was apparently in reply to Elway's criticism of the team, and him promising the team was going to give full effort, and "kick ARI's *ss".   So take it FWIW.

Anyways, looks like ARI will be without one of their starting G's, Mike Iupati, while we will be missing Shane Ray, Pacman Jones & Veldheer.  The OL pass pro on both sides is really going to be ugly.   

 

Fully expecting Rosen to show Elway why he should’ve taken him tomorrow.  

Run game will keep it competitive until Vance panics and starts relying too much on Case

David Johnson will have his first monster game of the year abusing Todd Davis, which is convenient because I’m playing against him in fantasy this week.

Those are my early predictions.  

 

Arizona 24

Denver 17

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1 hour ago, broncofan48 said:

Fully expecting Rosen to show Elway why he should’ve taken him tomorrow.  

Run game will keep it competitive until Vance panics and starts relying too much on Case

David Johnson will have his first monster game of the year abusing Todd Davis, which is convenient because I’m playing against him in fantasy this week.

Those are my early predictions.  

 

Arizona 24

Denver 17

Rosen is starting his 3rd game and Iupati and the backup G are out. Against our pass rush that’s a tall order.    I expect he still show his rookie weaknesses getting used to NFL speed.  Which is the awful reason Elway used to justify getting a “winning vet” like Keenum - we couldn’t afford to let a rookie learn on the job with this win-now team (lol).  And even with that statement that I expect he’ll struggle and have ups & downs this year it’s a total no-brainer to take him 1.5 if you believe he’s the QBOTF (and you know I do and again it’s nothing personal to Chubb).

Let’s face it Year 1 with a rookie QB is usually a throwaway (for every Big Ben & Watson there are 40-50 rookies who struggle, including Peyton / Elway and Goff / Wentz).  But we were always better off going this route than investing a lot of $ to win now.  Oh well.  

But if Rosen outplays Keenum and we lose as a result the pressure to go Kelly will only mount.  Still too soon but I’d take just knowing VJ is 1 step closer to the executioner’s block.   Ari is bad enough we could still win on the road.  Especially with Mike McCoy as their OC and that OL.   I hope we can find a way to get the L.   Better in the long run by a mile.  

Edited by Broncofan

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3 hours ago, Broncofan said:

Rosen is starting his 3rd game and Iupati and the backup G are out. Against our pass rush that’s a tall order.    I expect he still show his rookie weaknesses getting used to NFL speed.  Which is the awful reason Elway used to justify getting a “winning vet” like Keenum - we couldn’t afford to let a rookie learn on the job with this win-now team (lol).  And even with that statement that I expect he’ll struggle and have ups & downs this year it’s a total no-brainer to take him 1.5 if you believe he’s the QBOTF (and you know I do and again it’s nothing personal to Chubb).

Let’s face it Year 1 with a rookie QB is usually a throwaway (for every Big Ben & Watson there are 40-50 rookies who struggle, including Peyton / Elway and Goff / Wentz).  But we were always better off going this route than investing a lot of $ to win now.  Oh well.  

But if Rosen outplays Keenum and we lose as a result the pressure to go Kelly will only mount.  Still too soon but I’d take just knowing VJ is 1 step closer to the executioner’s block.   Ari is bad enough we could still win on the road.  Especially with Mike McCoy as their OC and that OL.   I hope we can find a way to get the L.   Better in the long run by a mile.  

Pass rush is only effective if it gets there.   I’m expecting a heavy dose of David Johnson tomorrow.  He’s been used incorrectly all year but nothing will get a guy going like playing against Marshall & Davis.

Its going to be a similar game plan that the Jets used with their rookie QB.   

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18 minutes ago, broncofan48 said:

Pass rush is only effective if it gets there.   I’m expecting a heavy dose of David Johnson tomorrow.  He’s been used incorrectly all year but nothing will get a guy going like playing against Marshall & Davis.

Its going to be a similar game plan that the Jets used with their rookie QB.   

Yeah that’s what a good OC would do for sure.  They have Mike McCoy.  So.......unclear.  Lol. 

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23 minutes ago, Broncofan said:

Yeah that’s what a good OC would do for sure.  They have Mike McCoy.  So.......unclear.  Lol. 

True, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then

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Great job on the write up, @Broncofan

I would say Arizona is the team I've seen the least of in the last 2 years in the NFL. They tend to play late Sunday games like us, so I can't watch them live and they rarely get primetime games because, well, they haven't been good (like us too).

It's a pretty obvious observation, but I am intrigued to see what adjustments we make in our Nickel Run Defense where we've been torched not just this year, but at times last year too. Johnson is excellent on the zone stretch plays that we got killed with against the Rams.

That said, from what I have seen thus far in all 22, it appears we played our Nickel against 11 personnel but without playing an 8 man or even 7 man box. This is clearly a biproduct of Brandin Cooks; you don't want to bring your Safeties down into the box because of the fear that Cooks will get deep beyond your single high Safety (or none if we go with an 8 man box in our Nickel).

I would expect to see our base Nickel Defense on 1st and 2nd down to be a 7 man box with one of the Safeties coming down. Who that Safety will be is an interesting point. Stewart has the better instincts and before this year, was the better tackler. However, Simmons has the better range to get back from the box and play the deep half if it's a pass.

I can't make a score prediction because I really know nothing about this Arizona team. What I do know is Vance is in a no win situation with the game. Win, and it's a win against (from all accounts) a poor side. Lose, and he could well be out of a job.

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5 hours ago, Broncofan said:

Yeah that’s what a good OC would do for sure.  They have Mike McCoy.  So.......unclear.  Lol. 

I think going against a team who let you go last year will bring the best put of you. 

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Rosen is going to eat a lot of turf this game. Tre Boston being out is good news for us. He has been pretty good this year. Probably would have picked Keenum at least once. 

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3 hours ago, lomaxgrUK said:

I can't make a score prediction because I really know nothing about this Arizona team. What I do know is Vance is in a no win situation with the game. Win, and it's a win against (from all accounts) a poor side. Lose, and he could well be out of a job.

I want the Broncos to win every game - and I hope we beat the Cards - who knows, even with a win Elway might can Joseph anyway rather than prolonging the agony. If it doesn't happen this week I think he will be gone straight after the Houston game to allow two weeks gap for the interim HC (and even with a win tonight we will probably be 3-6  at that stage).

I also expect to see Kelly for the last three games - Browns, Raiders and Chargers. I don't think Keenum will be replaced right away and I don't think Elway will want Kelly thrown in against the 49ers to let Shanahan send a message.

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The recipe to win this game is simple. RUN THE FREAKIN' FOOTBALL. For some reason, and for the life of me I couldn't tell you what it is, we keep relying on Case Keenum's arm to try and win us football games. Is it because we paid a noodle-armed shell of Chad Pennington's ghost $18M per year? Is it because Vance wants out and doesn't have the stones to quit? I was of the opinion Elway was a bottom-tiered GM in this league, and signing Keenum cemented that for me. Even someone who casually watches the game can see that Keenum is nothing more than a backup caliber QB, and we paid him front--line starter money. We lead the league in YPC, but we continuously divert away from the run, our once feared secondary is now public airspace, and I'm pretty sure 100lb sack of potatoes can plug a hole better than our Dline at the moment.

To win, the gameplan is simple. You can't pass block, you have Max Garcia starting, and you've been gashed for 500+ yards on the ground in two games. We need to control the clock, establish the run early to open up play action, and stop the run (even though DJ is my fantasy RB and would love for him to have a decent game). Josh Rosen isn't going to beat us this season, and we can stack the box and favor the run until they prove they can beat us over the top. IMO, if Keenum attempts greater than 25 passes, this game is closer than it should be. I would love to see Freeman actually get 15+ carries, and Lindsay 15 total touches (10 carries, 5 catches). 

With all that said, I hope we get blown out. I'm all for tanking this season and going through the rebuild that was averted when Manning was signed. Get rid of VJ, get rid of Elway (this won't happen), and start over. I hate the idea of having Kubiak as the interim head coach, and I think it should be Musgraves to see what his potential is, especially if Kelly is inserted. 

 

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3 hours ago, MakeDenverGreatAgain said:

The recipe to win this game is simple. RUN THE FREAKIN' FOOTBALL. For some reason, and for the life of me I couldn't tell you what it is, we keep relying on Case Keenum's arm to try and win us football games. Is it because we paid a noodle-armed shell of Chad Pennington's ghost $18M per year? Is it because Vance wants out and doesn't have the stones to quit? I was of the opinion Elway was a bottom-tiered GM in this league, and signing Keenum cemented that for me. Even someone who casually watches the game can see that Keenum is nothing more than a backup caliber QB, and we paid him front--line starter money. We lead the league in YPC, but we continuously divert away from the run, our once feared secondary is now public airspace, and I'm pretty sure 100lb sack of potatoes can plug a hole better than our Dline at the moment.

To win, the gameplan is simple. You can't pass block, you have Max Garcia starting, and you've been gashed for 500+ yards on the ground in two games. We need to control the clock, establish the run early to open up play action, and stop the run (even though DJ is my fantasy RB and would love for him to have a decent game). Josh Rosen isn't going to beat us this season, and we can stack the box and favor the run until they prove they can beat us over the top. IMO, if Keenum attempts greater than 25 passes, this game is closer than it should be. I would love to see Freeman actually get 15+ carries, and Lindsay 15 total touches (10 carries, 5 catches). 

With all that said, I hope we get blown out. I'm all for tanking this season and going through the rebuild that was averted when Manning was signed. Get rid of VJ, get rid of Elway (this won't happen), and start over. I hate the idea of having Kubiak as the interim head coach, and I think it should be Musgraves to see what his potential is, especially if Kelly is inserted. 

 

I agree with everything except the bold. $36m over 2 years is far from front line starter money and is closer to bottom line starter money - Dalton and Brady are the only starting QBs (not on rookie deals) making less per year. 

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29 minutes ago, Royal_VT said:

I agree with everything except the bold. $36m over 2 years is far from front line starter money and is closer to bottom line starter money - Dalton and Brady are the only starting QBs (not on rookie deals) making less per year. 

But we paid him far more than he deserved.   One year of production on the most talented team and a top 3 D that only required 17 points a game to win.   Other stopgap guys got 5M, 10M for 1 year.  Bradford was the only guy who got more, and probably because everyone saw ARI was awful, so the $ only way to bring a guy in.   But yeah, it's not front line starter money.

You put Keenum on the open market now, I bet he doesn't even get McCown $ (10M/1 year).   That's how bad of a miscalculation it was.  But yes, not front-line $.

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