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Published on 11/13/2008 at Thu Nov 13 10:30.
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Denver proved once again to the world that they are a tight end-oriented offense Thursday night against Cleveland. The media stars Marshall and Royal certainly pull their fair share of weight, but sometimes we fail to see what truly glues our offense together.

Everyone noticed Tony Scheffer’s presence back on the field. Scheffler helps us win games, and that’s the bottom line. Four passes for 92 yards is great for a tight end. Scheffler gives the Denver offense that other option that it had been missing in the past few games. Frankly, in my opinion, Scheffler’s absence didn’t just hurt the offense, it nearly killed it. Take a look at these numbers:

  • With Tony Scheffler: 5-1
  • When TEs get 20% or more of the passes: 5-0
  • With 3 TEs having receptions: 3-0
  • With 2 or less TE having receptions: 1-4
  • Percentage of TE receptions against Cleveland: 40%

Now consider how much Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal bring to the table. Their tenacity and drive help us get down the field but take a look at these stats:

  • When Marshall catches 60 yards or more: 3-3
  • When Royal catches for 60 yards or more: 2-3
  • When Scheffler catches for 60 yards or more: 4-0

After looking at those numbers it’s hard to say that we aren’t a tight end dependent offense. Defensive backs can’t ignore Tony Scheffler and if they do, the scoreboard lets them know. With Scheffler back it pulls coverage off of Royal and Marshall and helps the offense run like the highly tuned machine its supposed to be.

Mike Shanahan has always utilized tight ends from the legendary Shannon Sharpe, to the forgotten, yet efficient, Jeb Putzier. Just look at how many times we have cut Chad Mustard on and off the team, Shanahan knows the importance of tight ends.

Denver Fans – lets cross our fingers and hope the 6’5 – 250lb man beast stays healthy as long as he can. Our offense needs him for this division title run.

  • Kyle

    Those are some awesome stats, East. Just wanted to say well done!

  • E. Halsey Miles

    It’s not just tight ends. Scheffler provides a dynamic to the offense that neither Graham nor Jackson can reproduce. Clearly we’ve put Jackson in the same situations we put Scheffler in, but Jackson hasn’t proven himself to be dangerous enough to provide extra attention.

    But when Scheff brushes off a jam from a linebacker at the line and streaks out on a go route, the linebacker can’t keep up and , a safety *has* to get over and that will leave one of the outside receivers on an island. And we know both Royal and Marshall can beat single coverage. The net result is that either Scheff is open or a receiver has a higher probability of being open.

    That also makes at least one safety key on what Scheffler does, which can open up other aspects. It becomes very hard to double cover Brandon Marshall when you have to worry about Scheffler, and we know that Marshall gets open when there’s only single coverage, but not so much in double coverage. He’s good, but he’s not quite Steve Smith good in that sense.

  • sirsam

    Good news too…Sheffler fully participated in practice Wednesday!

  • (stuck in) raiderland

    I think East is dead-on about the value of Mr. Scheffler, but I’d add one much less elegant, way-too-obvious, but important point: Cutler just likes throwing to Scheffler. It’s only natural for quarterbacks to have one or two guys they “click” with, and it’s been evident from Day 1 that Scheffler, more than any other player, has been that guy for Cutler. Xs and Os and stats are important, but that sort of individual connection/chemistry sometimes trumps all of that.

  • GreasyQtip

    I love stats, good stuff

  • Michael

    I would like to see a breakdown of Cutlers stats on when Scheffler is on the field compared to when he is not. I bet his QB rating is at least 10 points lower, completion % is probably a few points lower and I bet his TD:INT ratio suffers as well.

  • Patrick

    Good point East.

  • broncobear

    When Marshall catches 60 yards or more: 3-3
    When Royal catches for 60 yards or more: 2-3
    When Scheffler catches for 60 yards or more: 4-0
    Brilliant stat, brother. For whatever reason, Cutler is far more comfortable with his big receiver friend out there. The addition of With Cheese to the collection of Marshall, Stokley and Scheffler is a nightmare for DCs. Here’s to a fine young player and the wins he brings us.

  • MikeY55

    good post… its no secret that when we lost all of our weapons to injuries we suffered greatly.. i think KC is the only game that we lost when we had everyone.. and also since they’ve been back and have had time to reconnect with cutler because 3 of his last 4 interceptions were on jay throwing one way and the receiver running the other..time should fix that..If you watched the miami game jays first 2 were both to stokley and he broke on something jay obviously didn’t see. the 3rd one was all jay bad pass after being frustrated by a terrible call. and then the one to marshall vs cleveland. so if were on time Interceptions come down touchdowns go up i hope soo!!!

  • E. Halsey Miles

    I don’t think it’s just the Cutler-Scheffler rapport. I think it’s that Scheffler causes serious match up problems which exposes a defense in ways that Nate Jackson and Daniel Graham cannot do.

  • Mark in Carolina

    excellent job – makes perfect sense, and shefflers importance in making this all work is something that I hadn’t considered.

  • precisiontint

    Great post. Graham has played well in his absence. If Jay wasn’t so against the checkdown, this position coul have better numbers overall. It is awesome that he is back in the lineup. I hope he stays in for the rest of the season. Don’t forget about the position if he does not.

  • (stuck in) raiderland

    E. Halsey-
    I’m with you, it’s not just their rapport, I’m just saying that’s part of it too. I think another guy with equal talent or who created similar matchup problems wouldn’t necessarily do the same thing for the offense that Scheff does b/c of the way he clicks with Cutler. But I think East’s point is very well taken.

  • East

    Michael – That’s a really good point, and you’ve just given me another idea for an article. I’ll research the numbers and post them later on.

    E. Halsey – You’re definitely right about Tony Scheffler being a mismatch. Scheffler was the second fastest TE of the 06′ combine only to Vernon Davis who ran an ungodly 4.38 (Vick ran a 4.36). Scheffler ran a 4.54 which makes him faster than most of the linbebackers out there such as Atlanta’s Tony Gilbert who runs a 4.79. Scheffler however has to compete with the speed of faster safties (ATL’s Lawyer Milloy – 4.46 & Thomas Decoud – 4.48), however his size dominates the safties which causes exactly what you said… a mismatch.

  • Thomas

    I can’t wait to see Scheff back at 100%. We don’t even need stats to realize how important he is to Jay and this offense.

  • Jon Krause

    *When Broncos starting RB get 100 or more rush yards: 137-0-2

  • Thomas

    Pittman had over 100 rushing yards against Jacksonville and we lost.

  • MikeY55

    pretty sure we lost more of clinton portis hundred yard games then won… haha not sure how true that is but we lost quite a few

  • flbronc

    i’d be interested in learning of the games we won with more emphasis on the te, were we playing from behind the whole game? or were they games that we had to come back (the only one i know for certain was cleveland we came from behind).

    i think that jay has a tendency to jam the ball into marshall and a lesser degree royal when we play from behind. marshall is our ‘threat’ where sheff is jay’s ‘safe’ throw. i think that when we play from behind he feels like he has to find the threat on the field at all times.

    someone mentioned the check down factor also. jay doesnt do it much- especially when we are down or the run game isnt a factor in keeping the defense from pass rushing. when we are running the ball and have play action he is much better at going through the progressions and finds the sheff mismatch to be open and delivers the ball.

  • Michael

    East { 11.14.08 at Fri Nov 14 10:31 })
    Michael – That’s a really good point, and you’ve just given me another idea for an article. I’ll research the numbers and post them later on.

    Awesome, I’ll definietly be looking forward to seeing what comes out of that. I would do it but don’t really have any way to or the attention span to get it done.