Monday, November 20, 2006

big takeaway from the big game last night

I'm writing this on the morning following the Chargers' big 35-27 victory over Denver IN Denver.

I'm writing this in mourning over a season that held so much potential.

There are a lot of things to say about last night's game. Heck, just writing about the strength of the Chargers could take two entire articles. . .but I don't have that kind of time.

So I'll boil it down, from a perspective that I feel I know best:

What I saw last night was proof that this year's Denver defense just isn't all it's cracked up to be. In fact, the difference between this year's defense and the units from 2003 and 2004 is negligible.

28 points at home in the second half? I don't care about short fields or any of that nonsense, that just isn't done to a good unit.

Once again, we watched a front 4 who can't get pressure on the quarterback without blitzes. Once again, that lack of pressure turned in to decent chunks of yardage gains for the opposition against a zone defense.

Best defense in the NFL? Hardly. In the last month Denver has allowed 31 points and 35 points at home against playoff-caliber AFC teams. They "escaped" with only 20 points scored against them in a game where the opponent's offense literally moved the ball at will.

Not very encouraging. And the thing is, I'm not the only one down on them.

Coach Shanahan is, too.

Last night, in the 4th quarter, Coach Super-Genius had a critical decision to make. The situation: 4th and 4, with the ball inside Bronco territory, under 4 minutes to go and the B-men down 1, one timeout left.

The announcers pegged the symbolism clearly: if Shanahan trusts his defense, he will punt the ball. If he doesn't, he will go for it.

Denver went for it. Denver did not get it.

And the thing is, if I was Shanahan, I would've done the exact same thing. As inconsistent as the Denver offense has been this year, I KNEW that the Denver defense wasn't going to do the job. Choosing the Denver D was choosing defeat by submission; at least going with the offense in that situation gave the team the maximum chance to win.

THE UPSHOT of all this: I mention earlier the teams of 2003 and 2004, which were decent teams that made the playoffs, only to get spanked by Indianapolis in the first game of the playoffs.

This year's team is the same. The Broncos will probably end up 10-6 (with losses to the Chiefs, Chargers and Bengals--yes, to the Bengals at home!) on the way in. I think that record will put them in the playoffs. (The competition for the wildcard spots features some teams with some difficult schedules ahead) Thankfully, I don't think it will be the Colts who are given a chance to have a perfectly-rated quarterback and a 120 yd/2 TD running back against Denver in the wildcard round--but somebody is going to get that chance.

NOW I'm not saying that Denver will lose that game, or any other playoff game (unless they face the Colts, that is--that would be a done deal). I'm simply saying that Denver's defense will be gashed by every playoff-level offense. It will be up to our offense to carry our hopes for advancement.

And most weeks of the year, if I was an opposing coach, I'd be very happy to put Denver in just that situation.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

speaking straight about apologies from people who can't speak straight

Yes, he's done it again: the inspiration for my start into blogging has gone out and made a nuisance of himself. And yes, I feel it is time for me to venture into the comment pool with both feet.

Sen. Kerry's infamous gaffe on Monday (where he said to a sympathetic audience "You know, education -- if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq") finally drew an almost-honest response of contrition from the foot-swallowing mouthpiece of the Democratic National Party. From his website:

As a combat veteran, I want to make it clear to anyone in uniform and to their loved ones: my poorly stated joke at a rally was not about, and never intended to refer to any troop.
I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member, or American who was offended.
It is clear the Republican Party would rather talk about anything but their failed security policy. I don’t want my verbal slip to be a diversion from the real issues. I will continue to fight for a change of course to provide real security for our country, and a winning strategy for our troops.

As a person who may know a thing or two about the mind of the people who serve in uniform to protect this country, I make the following observations about Kerry's statement: a) it IS an apology. As for the quality of an apology. . .well, it's not the most contrite I've ever seen someone act, but I'm not picky. To me, far more important is the second point I'll write about: this statement shows just how unbelievably inept that man is at doing anything anymore that requires the ability to act admirably.

WE, the public, did not misinterpret his words. He can argue until the cows come how that what he INTENDED TO SAY was very different, but that doesn't matter. WHAT HE SAID --which is the point of this entire exercise--has not been misinterpreted, and his statement arguing the opposite is wrong. Call it intentionally deceptive, call it deflecting blame, or even be generous and say that it's yet another case of the words coming out just ever-so-slightly incorrectly--whatever, it doesn't matter. The bottom line is that yesterday, after 48 hours to carefully craft his message to not just the servicemembers in Iraq and around the globe, but also to the entire American people, and after taking due consideration to the fact that he'd better not make the statement vocally in front of a live audience lest he screw something up (again), he comes forth and produces a ground-breaking statement that is totally wrong, almost from the starting syllable. I could've written a better statement for him with both arms tied behind my back and a six-pack worth of Coors in my belly.

Amazing. Truly amazing. This guy was one state away from being our President during a time of war? Frightening!

Whatever happened to the guy that seemed so at-ease--or at the very least, likeable--when he conceded the Presidential election a few years ago?

You can't tell me that the echo chamber doesn't have victims. Kerry was never the best political operator out there, granted--but at least he wasn't the worst. After the last 3 days, I don't know that you can necessarily say that anymore.