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Published on 09/14/2010 at Tue Sep 14 11:30.
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Jacksonville Jaguars' Mercedes Lewis (89) runs a pass in scoring the first touchdown of their NFL football game against the Denver Broncos in Jacksonville, Florida September 12, 2010. (REUTERS photo/Daron Dean)

Jacksonville Jaguars' Mercedes Lewis (89) runs a pass in scoring the first touchdown of their NFL football game against the Denver Broncos in Jacksonville, Florida September 12, 2010. (REUTERS photo/Daron Dean)

There was a myriad of misfires on Denver‘s part in their 17-24 loss to the Jaguars Sunday, but none were as egregious as the Broncos’ lining up only 10 players on defense in the red zone midway through the third quarter. Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard easily hit tight end Mercedes Lewis for a 10-yard touchdown, and the Jaguars went on to win the game.

With the defensive captain, defensive coaches in the booth overhead, and the defensive coordinator and head coach on the sideline all responsible for making sure the right players are in the right formation on every play, how in the world did this type of gaffe occur?

Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post breaks it down.

• Inside linebacker Mario Haggan left the field after the first-down play (a run by Jaguars star Maurice Jones-Drew), and headed to the sideline to talk to trainer Steve Antonopulos.

So an injured/winded player got the ball rolling. We all saw Haggan walk off. Interesting, if not all that surprising. Go on…

Safety Brian Dawkins #20 of the Denver Broncos attempts to tackle Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during the NFL season opener game at EverBank Field on September 12, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Safety Brian Dawkins #20 of the Denver Broncos attempts to tackle Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during the NFL season opener game at EverBank Field on September 12, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

• To replace Haggan, reserve linebacker Joe Mays came on the field at the same time Denver coaches called in the nickel package, with five defensive backs and only two defensive linemen, which sent Kevin Vickerson and Jason Hunter off the field.

Vickerson was the last man off the field, and to those outside the huddle was the easiest man on which to pin the blame. His teammates — particularly Robert Ayers — seemed to be motioning for him to stay as he left the field. But was it his role to be there in the nickel package?

• Nickel pass rusher Jarvis Moss had come on the field but ran off, perhaps in a miscommunication after seeing Mays in the huddle. No one replaced Moss.

Bingo. Sure, there was a miscommunication when Moss saw Mays instead of Haggan, but Moss’ role is to be the pass rusher in nickel situations. Whoever saw Moss run off the field should have raised hell (or, at the very least, a timeout signal), and Moss should have known his job.

And maybe Moss did know he was supposed to be out there.  Maybe he saw Vickerson, did a quick count, and smartly stood on the sidelines.  But why, then, wouldn’t he rush out when Vickerson went to the sideline?

• And no one — not linebacker D.J. Williams, the defensive player in radio communication with the coaches, not the coaches watching from the booth or the coaches on the sideline — realized the mistake in time to call a timeout.

One guy in a booth did — the play-by-play announcer, Kevin Harlan. If only the Broncos’ coaches responsible for being the eye in the sky would have done the same.

We’re not going to pin all the blame on Moss, although this type of mental mishap adds credence to the theory that it’s Moss’ mental shortcomings, not physical, that saw Jason Hunter usurp him on the depth chart. In the end, though, the coaches — particularly those in the booth — needed to be more ready and more alert. And defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale might want to consider leaving his sideline perch for a bird’s eye view.

Mistakes added up for Broncos in opener [Denver Post]

  • herc_rock

    Yep, Kevin Harlan. Caught it immeidately. Anyone else would have mentioned it after the play when their spotter told them.

    Also, Wink might want to consider changing his shirt. I've never seen the dude w/out that filthy gray t-shirt on.

  • mikebirty

    maybe he thinks the camoflage will hide him when the annual defensive co-ordinator cull comes round after the season.

  • E Burkey

    where is this thomas guy at. he's are new brandon marshall, haven't seen him yet and looks like brandon doing great in miami

  • Paradisimo

    Not sure 8 catches for 53 yards equals great (6.6 yd average). In fact it was the 43rd best performance by a WR this past weekend and 3 of the people in front of him were Broncos. Still agree that I would like to see Thomas on the field though.

  • Mark Angeletti

    Time for another defensive coordinator :)

  • Mark Angeletti

    Also riddle me this, what's the point of putting Tebow in to sneak the ball? Everyone knows what the play is when you do that. I don't get it…

  • roshon2411

    Nice in depth reporting here Kyle. This play was very upsetting and the main reason I believe this game was mostly lost by the coaches and not the players.

    Team game, shared blame everywhere but discipline is the one area coaches have the most control over.

    How many coaches on the sideline, how many more upstairs in the booth. Not one of them has the job to count the number of players on the field?

    The refs do it every play. Call a TO! Regroup, chew someone out, and play with the maximum number of players allowed on the field.

  • Pingback: Denver Broncos Are Misguided and Not Sharp Early In The 2010 Season – Bleacher Report

  • areferee

    Noooo…He'll get 9 months like everyone else! :-)

  • herc_rock

    Yep, Kevin Harlan. Caught it immeidately. Anyone else would have mentioned it after the play when their spotter told them.

    Also, Wink might want to consider changing his shirt. I've never seen the dude w/out that filthy gray t-shirt on.

  • http://thingsatrexdoes.tumblr.com Mike Birtwistle

    maybe he thinks the camoflage will hide him when the annual defensive co-ordinator cull comes round after the season.

  • E Burkey

    where is this thomas guy at. he's are new brandon marshall, haven't seen him yet and looks like brandon doing great in miami

  • Paradisimo

    Not sure 8 catches for 53 yards equals great (6.6 yd average). In fact it was the 43rd best performance by a WR this past weekend and 3 of the people in front of him were Broncos. Still agree that I would like to see Thomas on the field though.

  • Mark Angeletti

    Time for another defensive coordinator :)

  • Mark Angeletti

    Also riddle me this, what's the point of putting Tebow in to sneak the ball? Everyone knows what the play is when you do that. I don't get it…

  • roshon2411

    Nice in depth reporting here Kyle. This play was very upsetting and the main reason I believe this game was mostly lost by the coaches and not the players.

    Team game, shared blame everywhere but discipline is the one area coaches have the most control over.

    How many coaches on the sideline? How many more upstairs in the booth? Not one of them has the job to count the number of players on the field?

    The refs do it every play. Call a TO! Regroup, chew someone out, and play with the maximum number of players allowed on the field.

  • areferee

    Noooo…He'll get 9 months like everyone else! :-)