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What an awful football game.
You know what my biggest takeaway from this game is – there’s no way the Kansas City Chiefs are making it to the Super Bowl. I shouldn’t say, ‘No way’ because they’re going to be a high seed in the playoffs and have some kind of chance -- but they aren’t beating the Steelers or the Patriots when it matters. The Broncos gifted this game to the Chiefs.
The Chiefs’ defense is soft. If Trevor Siemian had half a brain they would have come from behind and beaten KC. Some of the interceptions Siemian threw were as if he had placed a large wager on KC -7.0. Siemian isn’t that bad of a QB…but looked like a disaster for no reason in this game. It was not the KC defense it was Siemian. The Broncos ran for 177 yards and 5.7 ypc. The Broncos had the better defense. It was Siemian who cost them this game.
If Dallas whacks the Chiefs next week…without Ezekiel Elliott and Dan Bailey, then that will be confirmation of all that I am writing.
The Chiefs are a good football team but what Andy Reid is doing defies logic to me. He’s overplayed his Kareem Hunt hand, again. He tries to throw a WR pass with Tyreek Hill to deliver a knockout punch…and it gets intercepted. I’m not against gadget plays. I know full well if it worked I’d be celebrating it. It’s not the play itself, per se. It was the meaning behind the play…
You have a QB playing at an MVP level. You have Tyreek Hill, the single best, most explosive player in the NFL. You have an ace RB and a fine tight end. You’re up 14-0 and about to knock the Broncos out of existence…and you take the ball from your MVP QB, and ask your explosive weapon to throw a trick pass…in tight quarters. I’d run that play at midfield and have him throw it deep if I wanted to run the risk. The point would be to suck the defense in and get a big play…why waste it on a short pass? Why take a non-QB and make him throw near the goal line against an elite pass defense? It’s because Andy Reid stares at Tyreek Hill and all his success and thinks “using Hill as a decoy will help my entire playbook.”
How many fake quick passes to Tyreek but then turn and hand the ball off to Hunt can you run in one game? You know what would make defenses worry about the fake…is if you actually threw it to Tyreek a few times to let the defense know what was possible. Reid is going right where I feared he would go, but never thought he would go…but he’s going –he is making Tyreek Hill a regular WR, and no longer really taking hand-offs or seeing bubble screens.
Old NFL coaches never change.
You’re not changing their playbook unless forced via mass injury. Reid found a run game that was working, and that’s orgasmic to old-school NFL coaches, so he’s using it as a crutch…it’s his blankie. It’s the same old NFL, and I don’t know why I thought it would change with the same exact coaches. Trying to time a sea change in the NFL is going to/has sunk my fantasy season in many situations. Tyreek Hill is being rolled back and Tarik Cohen exploded onto the scene as a wild pass catch weapon and that was too successful so John Fox is going to run the ball 25+ times up the middle instead.
Massive lesson learned/reinforced from 2017 – it’s all about the coaches and the establishment. Fresh coaches will usher the future…not the establishment (and they’re not many ‘fresh’ coaches in this league). Andy Reid is destined to win his division and fall short YET AGAIN. He’s the typical head coach, and his running game isn’t strong enough and his defense is not good enough to carry him all the way…but it won't stop him from trying.
When it comes to coaches, I’m not sure you could do worse than Vance Joseph. Denver has a Super Bowl team being coached right into a sub-.500 season. If I were a Broncos fan, I’d be sick to death.
Joseph already lost me with his decisions in the preseason, but there was a seminal moment in this game…and I knew what Joseph would do faced with the decision, I know what kind of coach he is…and he didn’t disappoint. You probably know what I’m going to say… Joseph inserts Jamaal Charles into the game, and Charles is running like a man possessed. It makes sense because of the KC-Charles history. Everybody knew it. Then you see it live…Charles is on fire. 18 yards on his first run. Same spark on the next run for 4-yards. The next play another Charles run, Charles is popped…the ball jolts loose…KC scoops and scores.
What would you do next as the head coach? Charles is on fire. He’s facing his old team. You need him to help win this game with that on-fire, passionate running. Charles is a veteran hand, fought his way back from multiple major surgeries, is a Hall of Fame discussion player. You treat Charles with some respect, you bolster his confidence and you give him the first carry on the next series. You send him a message. You uplift. You go out of your way to send that message.
Next series, C.J. Anderson is in taking the carries right away.
My personal view from watching games back to the preseason and watching interviews – Vance Joseph is in love with himself and in love with being a real, live NFL head coach, and everyone else doesn’t matter. He’s an actor. He is trying to act like a head coach…like an actor portraying a head coach. I don’t think the players respect him and it’s starting to show on the field. The Denver Super Bowl window is closing fast.
A terrible head coach hire. The former Broncos’ head coach and top assistant bailed on their own accord with reported clashes with management. The Broncos have three rostered QBs but really have none. Does anyone want to tell me what a genius John Elway is again? Elway gets to call all the shots with his empty suit front man Vance Joseph. The results look delightful.
Denver has PHI-NE the next two weeks…they could be 3-6 and gasping for air…but with a very easy schedule after that until Week 16-17 with WAS-KC. Denver still has playoff hopes if they can win one vs. PHI or NE ahead. The Computer is projecting 8-8 right now.
Fantasy Player Notes….
-- Alex Smith’s (14-31 for 202 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) is falling into a pattern…smoking bad pass defenses and struggling/underwhelming/OK against better ones. His big games have come against NE-HOU-OAK (10 TD passes/3.3 per game). He’s struggled some with PIT-DEN-WAS-LAC-PHI (6 TD passes/1.2 per game).
The good news for him is the schedule is favorable ahead.
It should be no coincidence then that Tyreek’s performances have been tied to the same pattern…since he’s only a WR now, not a dynamic weapon the team tries to get the ball to by any means necessary.
Hill’s 100+ yard games have happened versus OAK-NE.
His worst games are right along with Smith’s – DEN-PIT-WAS…less than 40 yards in each.
Pass defense rankings to face the next six weeks: DAL (#15), BYE, NYG (#27), BUF (#29), NYJ (#20), OAK (#21).
Hill and Smith should both spike up again, especially after the BYE.
That being said, it looks like it is true – Hill is NOT changing football in 2017. I bet that he would and he isn’t…so, I’m the fool. He’ll be a WR1-1.5 and be fine. He’s isn’t finishing top 3-5 among fantasy WRs. He’ll be #10-15 like he has most of this season.
-- Tyreek Hill (2-3-8-0/6) may spike up more ahead if Andy Reid stops watching SportsCenter and calms down on Kareem Hunt (22-46-0, 3-22-0/5) already. Every play goes to Hunt. 40 carries/completed passes in this game, and 25 of the touches with Hunt.
Five games in a row with Hunt without a TD. 3.3 yards per carry his past 4 games. The long runs have evaporated. Part of the drop is Hunt was just ‘good’ not ‘the greatest RB of our lifetime’. Part of it is Andy Reid is so predictable that teams don’t even go for a fake to Tyreek…they key on Hunt. If Denver wasn’t a living definition of slipping on a banana peel they would have won this game easily because KC’s offense is so stoic and predictable now.
It will only change when KC starts losing, panicking…and even then, probably not. Andy Reid is who he is.
The schedule is mostly favorable for the run game ahead…so more ‘run game’ is what it will be.
-- I don’t know what happened to Trevor Siemian (19-36 for 198 yards, 1 TD/3 INTs) since Week 2 but I’ll suspect it took teams two weeks to figure out new HC Vance Joseph’s game planning and all hell has broken loose. Denver cannot pass protect and Siemian is throwing passes that defy logic…sometimes under duress and sometimes not.
To be fair, he is throwing to awful Bennie Fowler (2-35-0/6) and disinterested Demaryius Thomas (5-66-0/9).
I expect Siemian to start Week 9, struggle, and be replaced out of fan/John Elway pressure by Brock Osweiler or Paxton Lynch. Osweiler against the Patriots Week 10 – Brock has had success against Belichick. After Brock fails this time, then we see Lynch after that when the schedule eases.
Joseph has to double-down on run-run-run-punt and play great defense as a way to win.
Sell off all your Broncos WR weapons for fantasy. Buy Broncos run game assets. Only buy them to a certain point because TDs will be limited in this offense.
-- If Jamaal Charles (8-39-0, 1-5-0/1) isn’t traded before the deadline then I have no idea what Denver or the NFL is doing. Joseph has little interest in Charles and teams like Dallas should be over-interested. It’s not like Charles will re-sign here next year.
-- The Demarcus Robinson (1-5-0/1) uprising went were I thought it would…nowhere. Great game last week…nothing this week. To be fair, it was against Denver. Unless he changes his name to Kareem Hunt, I don’t think he’ll matter here.
-- Denver used to be known for their great pass defense, but it looks like their run defense is even better than the pass defense. The opposing main RB is ‘a sit’ against the group if you have other options. They beat down Kareem Hunt like he was nothing in this game.
-- IDP Justin Simmons (5 tackles) made some really nice plays in this game…a running theme every week. IDP good/greatness is just around the corner.
Snap Counts of Interest…
35 = Anderson
25 = Booker
13 = Charles
38 = Derby
31 = V. Green
22 = Heuerman