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Stillers-Doncos AFC Wild Card Preview

January 07, 2012 by Still Mill

Doncos AFC Wild Card preview
Stillers-Doncos AFC Wild Card Preview
The Stillers venture to Mile High (whatever the stadium is now called) to face the lowly 8-8 Doncos, who won their division only because everyone else in it sucks.

Keys for this game:


Keys when the Stillers have the ball:


- Contain Dumervil and Miller.��� These 2 men keep me awake at night.�� Only a rookie, Von Miller is fairly underrated but is already a solid �backer.The former Aggie is a small LB by today�s standards (6-3�, but only 240 lbs., which is about 40 pounds lighter than Big LaMarr), but he packs a punch and has good quickness and can use his smallish size to his advantage.Miller was slowed down the past few weeks by a cast on his hand, but presumably is fit and ready to go.�� Dumervil is a hybrid DE/OLB, and at only 5-11�, 260, he has used his smallish stature to his advantage, much the way Freeney has for the Colts.Dumervil can be a terror when he�s attacking the QB, as he is extremely quick, has outstanding leverage, can get underneath the reach of tall lineman, and is able to avoid the titty-jousting matches that tie up rushers like Big LaMarr Woodley.��


����� Max Starks struggles like a banshee against speed rushers, as Max is unable to beat the speed rusher to the corner-turning point where the rusher can veer and directly attack the QB.�� Marcus Gilbert had the absolute worst game of his young career last week, getting eaten and ravaged alive by rookie Jabaal Sheard.�� At this point, it�s hard to know exactly what to expect out of Gilbert, who may have hit the rookie wall.�� At any rate, Bruce Arians must be prepared to offer help to either of these stumblebums, especially with a QB who has nary an ounce of mobility.�� Arians, of course, typically prefers to see his QB bludgeoned at least 9 times by an opposing rusher before he decides to provide any assistance.��


- Limit stupidity and assaholic turnovers.This should go without saying, but it must be said.�� Ben can�t be the John Wayne back in the pocket, especially with his hobbled ankle severely limiting his mobility.�� He has got to be mindful of strips and be willing to simply throw the ball away.He�s facing a shit offense that would have trouble scoring against an FCS defense, so he need not be fretting about putting up 49 points on the board.�� And, of course, when the offense is in FG range, he cannot afford to be taking dumbfuk 13-yard sacks when a simple throw-away will suffice.


- Don�t be timid with Redman.��� Ever since Redman arrived with the Stillers as an UDFA in 2009, he�s been treated like an arthritic leper by the coaching staff.�� In �09, he rotted away on the practice squad.In �10, he made a tremendous play late in Balt-2, in which he busted a tackle and charged into the EZ with a late score that ultimately gave the Stillers a division title.After that, however, he rotted.�� Even in �11, he saw plenty of bench sitting.�� Yes, Redman did fumble twice last week, but those were his first 2 fumbles of the season.Unlike Mendenhall, Red is a very conscientious ball-holder usually wrapping 2 hands (and arms) around the ball and almost never bread-loafing it the way OJ used to and Mendy likes to carry it.��


- Go deep to Wally.If Ben�s ankle allows him to drive into his passes, then we must take at least 2 deep shots to Wally in this game.Wally�s YPC has plummeted, in large part because Ben has been unable to hook up with him, and of course many teams have been giving umbrella coverage to Wally�s side.But, another factor is that the Stillers have simply reduced the deep balls to Wally.�� Ya can�t catch the deep ball if it is not called and thrown.With the NFL rules constructed as they are, there is no CB, anywhere, who can run step for step with Wally.�� Deep stabs (at least 2 in the game) must be tried.Not only is this a high-reward play for an offense that has struggled to locate the EZ, but it also opens up the field for underneath routes for Brown, Sanders, Cotch, Ward, and Miller.��


- Don�t forget Miller.�� Heath Miller is often the most forgotten man in this offense.In the RZ, this man should be a basic staple, but all to often he�s the 4th option on any route.�� Espicially if the weather turns ugly, Miller should be Ben�s security blanket with 6 or 7 routine 8-yard completions to move the sticks and chew the clock.



Keys when the Doncos have the ball:


- Push Tebow to his right.��� This is obvious to anyone who has watched at least 3 minutes of Tim Tebow, but when the defensive coordinator is nearly as old as Joe Paterno, nothing is obvious and nothing can be taken for granted.The right DE and ROLB absolutely must hem in Te-blow and force him to stutter in the pocket or move to his right, where, as a southpaw, he is utterly horrific throwing on the move.���


- Additionally, limit the WLR.��� Big LaMarr loves the Wide Loop Rush (WLR), and Harrison is guilty of it on occasion as well.�� All this does is create a gargantuan running lane for a big, agile QB who, oddly enough, hates passing but loves to run the football.�� Even if he runs for �only� 6 or 7 yards, it�s a crusher because that�s 6 yards more than Tebow will gain on about 95% of any pass he throws.�� On this note, I would consider using Harrison from the LOLB spot -- as they have done here and there this season -- much more in this game.From the LOLB spot, Harrison can attack Tebow�s blind side and create a strip or a quail of a pass for an easy INT.��� Meanwhile, Big LaMarr, the titty-fighting bullrusher that he is, can do just that from the ROLB spot, because as noted above, all the ROLB needs to do is HEM IN Tebow.�� Worilds, too, can do that adequately enough from the ROLB spot.


- Be prepared for the read option and stretch plays.�� Denver decided mid-season to go with a limited read-option offense.This is designed to take advantage of a defense�s over-eagerness, over-slashing, over-committing, and lack of gap-sound responsibility.��� In theory, the Stiller D-line, both in concept and experience, should be the perfect D-line to limit the read offense, because they play a sound, conservative 2-gap style.�� The Stiller D-line should be doing what it is designed to do -- hold the POA (point of attack) without taking a �side� of the block, and allow the LB to spot and then kill their prey.�� Meanwhile, the stretch plays have given this defense fits, particularly early in the year by Gay Rice and Adrian Foster.�� This was caused by legal cut-blocking, as well as foolish, rabid over-pursuit, combined with backside laziness and sloth from the likes of Big LaMarr Woodley.�� McGahee has never been a mammoth problem for this defense to contain, as he isn�t capable of stopping and jump-cutting on a dime the way Rice and Foster are.��


- Get Ike on D. Thomas. ���The primary threat that keeps me awake during sober evenings, is WR Demaryius Thomas. He�s enormously big (6-3�, 235) and athletic.�� A 1st rounder in 2010 who averaged over 17 yards per catch this season, this is the kind of big WR that gives Will Gay fits.�� Gay is actually competent and acceptable against most smaller and average sized WRs, but against a big WR or any TE (see Gronkowski, Rob), Gay shrivels and cowers like, well, a gay faggott.�� Quite clearly, Ike Taylor must take Thomas.�� Ike is a big boy himself for a CB, and Ike can handle a bigger, more physical WR like this.��


- Get Foote off the field in obvious passing situations. You saw Foote on the field last week in a 3rd down situation, and before you knew it, Seneca Wallace was scrambling up the gut and dashing right by a lumbering, plodding Foote for a 27-yard scamper.Foote can�t cover; can�t rush; and is so short that he stands no chance to even bat a pass.He can give Farrior a breather now and then on running downs, but get his sorry ass off the field in obvious passing downs.


- Don�t go soft in the 4Q.�� This, of course, is diametrically opposed to how The Great Dick likes to play the 4Q, but it must be stressed.�� Tebow is an utterly putrid, gawd-awful downfield passer, so why on earth would you be afraid of this man hitting a receiver downfield ?�� In the 4Q, you absolutely must continue to press his receivers and put some intelligent pressure in Te-blow�s face.�� If you play the Softee Sitback that Dick so often loves to use in the 4Q, it simply gives an erratic, off-target shitbag like Tebow ample opportunity to play pitch n� catch, and find a rhythm, against the defense.�� Don�t f---king do The Softee Sitback.���


- Be prepared for Quinn.��� Apparently, GayBoy Quinn has been getting at least half the snaps in practive, and TeBlow could be on a short leash.�� Of course, Quinn sucks every bit as much as Tebow.Still, Dick need to be prepared for the switch, should Fox insert The Un-Mighty Quinn.Of course, whether it be Tebow, Quinn....or a popcorn vendor yanked out of the matter who it is, you can be assured that Dick LeBeau will still find a way to struggle, much like a man trying to swim the English Channel while clutching into a manhole cover



Spec teams.�� TheStiller coverage teams have been fairly solid and steady down the stretch.Eddie Royal is a crafty punt returner who isn�t flammably dangerous, but is more than capable of taking it to the house if slop and lane lapses occur.


����� The Doncos have a hefty advantage in the kicking game.�� At punter, they�ve got Britton Colquitt (a familiar last name in Stiller history), who has the leg and reliability that make him one of the better punters in the conference.�� Kapinos has been so-so; on occasion, he can boot the 50-yarder, but on too many occasions he�ll get off a weakling 36-yarder as well.Pooch punting becomes immensely important in the playoffs, particularly when facing an inept offense like Denver�s where pinning them inside their own 5 should lead to appetizing opportunities soon thereafter.��


���� Matt Prater does the PK duties for the Doncos, and has the leg to dial up long distance, having made 3 of 4 over 50 yards. He was a bit erratic between 40-49 yards, hitting only 3 of 7.The Stiller coaching staff obviously has zero confidence in Suisham, bypassing fairly routine 46-yarders and the like and instead going for it on 4th & 5.�� In the thin Colorado air, you should expect either kicker to have a solid chance at 50-55 yarders, but heavy winds could play into this as well.


���� Tonio Brown has been returning KOs and punt with immense confidence, which is about 83% of what makes for success in that job.�� He�s been sure-handed and needs to be, as just about the only way Denver can score is to get a short field off of easy turnovers deep in PIT territory.Brown has been showing good vision and crisp running, and he should be able to give the Stillers some nice FP during this tilt.


Summary:�� This is a game that the Stillers should win, and frankly, should dominate against a very mediocre Donkey team.�� The Donkeys barely won their division, and won it only when the other contenders choked just as badly late in the season.�� This will be Tebow virgin foray in the playoffs, and it should be a fairly miserable, forgettable event for the young lad.�� That said, this Stiller team has been utterly atrocious on the road the entire season.The Stillers generate very, very few turnovers and their RZ offense smells like donkey dung, 2 factors that can very easily help the Doncos remain within a single TD well into the 4Q.�� By no means should anyone be planning for an easy, comfy, 20-point win.This�ll be a nail-biter, with the Stillers eking out a slim, uninspiring 6 point win.��



(Still Mill and -- when it comes to the analysis of the Pittsburgh Stillers, no one else comes close�.)


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