How Can NFL Officiating Be Improved?

It seems we can’t have a single high-profile or prime-time game go by this year without having a questionable call by the officials that gets scrutinized to death and debated as to whether or not that call should have been made and, if not, that it decided the game.

The latest one was in last night’s game between the Packers and the Lions, in which the Packers attempted an endless lateral that led to the Lions’ Devin Taylor tackling Aaron Rodgers, but Taylor getting flagged for grabbing the face mask. On the next play, Rodgers completed a Hail Mary pass for the winning touchdown.

It’s not the only high-profile game to have a debated call, but it’s only compounding the narrative that officiating has gotten worse. There have been multiple suggestions about how to solve issues with officiating, but most of them tend to be reactionary or not understanding all the facts. Let’s go over a few things:
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Midweek Musings: Chargers’ Real Issues Aren’t On Offense

Hello, Bronco fans! It feels good to know your Broncos are 9-2 and have beaten a bonafide playoff contender, doesn’t it? But as we all know, the work isn’t done yet and the Broncos face an opponent that has struggled this season but it isn’t going to go away quietly.

The San Diego Chargers are 3-8 but not for the reasons you may think. It has nothing to do with the offense, even though the offensive line has been hit hard by injuries and most of the linemen have struggled. The only offensive lineman to have started all 11 games this season is Joe Barksdale, while all other linemen have missed multiple games with injuries. As things currently stand, D.J. Fluker did not practice Wednesday as he recovers from a concussion and King Dunlap was limited, after missing several games with an ankle injury.
Continue reading Midweek Musings: Chargers’ Real Issues Aren’t On Offense

Reviewing Brock Osweiler’s Draft Report

We get to witness Brock Osweiler starting more games while Peyton Manning is recovering his injuries. Scotty Payne from Mile High Report gathered various draft reports back in 2012, which you can read here. I want to go over some of the analysis and compare to the reports against what we’ve seen so far.

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Jason Fitzgerald On Brock Osweiler’s Contractual Future

This will certainly look familiar to those of you aware of the Broncos’ upcoming offseason obstacles:

Many outside of Denver did not know who Osweiler was going into the season. The fourth-year pro had thrown a total of 30 passes as Manning’s backup. Osweiler, Denver’s second-round pick in 2012, seemed destined to follow the path of many backups — a short-term deal for around $3.5 million a season with hopes to score a starting job in the future.

But two games into his starting career, visions of that type of contract are gone. […] Now, [the Broncos] probably see Osweiler as deserving of a contract similar to Nick Foles’ $12.2 million per year extension with the Rams.

Osweiler turns 26 in 2016, and if he finishes the year with a 6-1 or 5-2 record as a starter, he will have no reason to take that type of offer from Denver.

I’ll save my own detailed take for the end of the Broncos’ season.  That is because, as much as this has drastically changed in just three weeks, it could drastically change once again depending on future games.  As much as we don’t want it in the short term, if Osweiler throws up a couple of dud games and/or the Broncos go one and done in the playoffs, his value could easily cool back down to the Nick Foles range.

I do want to make a comment about Von Miller, however.  It’s clear that the Broncos would be best served to hammer out an extension with him sooner rather than later if they can model it close to the value of Justin Houston’s extension.  But if Jason is correct in that Miller can leverage his way into Ndamukong Suh money on the open market, the Broncos will have to take a long, hard look into how much is simply too much to retain Miller.

Mathis, Ware Practicing; Several Others Not

Some good news for the Broncos on the injury front: DeMarcus Ware practiced Wednesday after missing three straight games with a back injury, and Evan Mathis practiced, despite playing through an ankle injury in the New England game.

Louis Vasquez, T.J. Ward and Sylvester Williams did not practice. Neither did Peyton Manning, who is still wearing his walking boot. It’s been a week since Peyton started wearing the boot, and if he continues to wear it through the next week, that’s a sign he’ll be inactive for that much longer.

ETA: Some clarification regarding Peyton Manning:

Patriots at Broncos: The 10 Things I Liked and the 10 Things I Didn’t

I’m surprised I didn’t end up in the hospital after that game. What an exciting game and an even more exciting outcome!

I’m not going to talk about penalties. There were missed penalties for both teams and I don’t think any of them had more of an effect than the other. The clock runoff at the end of regulation confused everyone and I don’t think it was fair for the Patriots. Regardless, I believe the outcome would be the same. Like I’ve said before, there were over a hundred plays where the game could’ve been won or lost. Before I go into my jive, here are some fun stats:

  • Tom Brady: 23/42 for 280 yards – 3 TD – 1 INT – 3 sacks
  • Brock Osweiler: 23/42 for 270 yards – 1 TD – 1 INT – 3 sacks

Continue reading Patriots at Broncos: The 10 Things I Liked and the 10 Things I Didn’t

Broncos Playoff Standings: 2015 Week 13

Now that we’re close enough to conduct reasonable projections, and Sunday night’s pivotal game against the Patriots is the books, I thought I’d take a look at what the Broncos need to obtain the best possible playoff seeding.  This is a mini-project that I might take on for the remainder of the regular season, depending on how things shape up.

Continue reading Broncos Playoff Standings: 2015 Week 13