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Published on 11/01/2010 at Mon Nov 01 16:25.
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Brandon Lloyd (L) scores a touchdown as San Francisco 49ers' William James tackles during their game at Wembley Stadium in London October 31, 2010. - Reuters Photos

Analyzing player performances from the Denver Broncos‘ 16-24 loss to the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, highlighting the good and the bad.

Brandon Lloyd HeadshotStud: Brandon Lloyd

Forget Brandon Marshall, we’ve got Brandon Lloyd.  Lloyd, who leads the NFL in receptions of 40 or more yards, had another big game, 7 catches for 169 yards and his fourth Touchdown of the season. See you in the Pro Bowl Brandon.  -Jon

Dud:  Kyle Orton (selected twice this week)Kyle Orton Headshot

The game is on the line and you failed… Again. Life needs to evolve around you as a quarterback in the NFL and I just don’t know if Orton is cut out for it. I love him, he’s amazing, but screw him… Play better. – Ian Henson

Stats, stats, stats.
Yards, yards, yards.
Runs into sacks, runs into sacks, runs into sacks.
Timely fumbles & interceptions, timely fumbles & interceptions, timely fumbles & interceptions.
This guy can’t win football games, at least not for the Broncos. Yank him.  You spent a first round pick on a QB, time to get him some reps.  Yes, I know the O-Line isn’t in tip top shape for Tebow to succeed immediately, but experience is important.  It’s “Tebow Tiiiiimmmme”. – J. Kenneth K.

Orton went 28 for 40 with 369 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 4 sacks taken, and 1 fumble lost.

Denver Broncos 2009 Football HeadshotsStud: Jabar Gaffney
4 receptions and 54 yards is what you will see on the official stat sheet.  What you won’t see is another 38 yards and a touchdown nullified by a bad call.  A good awakening for the veteran wide receiver who has been quiet over the last few games. – Josh Temple

Dud:  Josh McDaniels
Josh McDaniels HeadshotI watched the replay twice when I got home late last night.  Dud, Josh McDaniels.  His plate is too full, and he doesn’t know how to call a productive offense.  It’s time he dishes out play calling duties to someone else.  The very idea of “threatening deep to open up the run game” has completely escaped McDaniels.  Is he just out-thinking himself, calling two runs and an end around to start the game?  Have the Broncos even scored points in the opening quarter this season?  And, for God’s sake, let Tebow throw a pass when he’s on the field already. The predictability is just obscene at this point. – Kyle Montgomery

Wink Martindale.jpgDud:  Don “Wink” Martindale
Wink gets a dud for starting cornerback Andre Goodman who ended up gimpy for the better part of the game.  Playing Goodman allowed Michael Crabtree to put up the second killer touchdown allowing Denver to fall far behind.  A green Syd’Quan Thompson would’ve been much better than a beat up Andre.  Plus Thompson has one interception on the season, Goodman has 0. – Josh Temple

Dud:  Coaching staff.
Every game, every single game this season, the Broncos have stopped themselves with an inability to execute.  Either they seem unprepared, the calls were bad, or players make mistakes they simply should not be making. Vernon Davis coming wide open for an easy escape from a blitz?  Nice.  Kyle Orton not tucking the ball when running even though he’s already made that mistake before?  I’ve seen bad Broncos teams before, but never this bad, and never this mistake-prone.  Coaches are supposed to have the players prepared, and it just feels like their preparations are not working. They can’t execute their strengths and they can’t shore up their weaknesses.  That is making them amongst
the worst 2 or 3 teams in the NFL right now. – E. Halsey Miles

Josh McDaniels HeadshotWink Martindale.jpgDenver Broncos 2009 Football HeadshotsBuffalo Bills 2009 Football HeadshotsBarone HeadshotDonatell Headshot
  • chrislynch

    Stud: BLloyd by far. I would have also included Eddie, but his return was called back.

    Dud: THE ENTIRE COACHING STAFF, Jarvoi Moss for that stupid block in the back call, and the reffs for the bogus Chop Block call.

  • AKfan

    Duds: Don't forget the kickers, everybody working together to fail

    Now I know why this feels so weird. From SI:

    Denver and Pittsburgh are the only NFL teams to avoid a season of 4-12 or worse since the 16-game schedule was instituted in 1978. The Steelers (5-2) already have assured themselves of avoiding the ignominy this year. Not so the Broncos, whose second half doesn't include a single game against a team with a worse record.

  • Dbejaranogw

    dud: jabbar gaffney, yeah orton shares the blame but two weeks in a row he just watched helplessly as a corner picked off a pass which he could have tried to fight for….just my opinion!

  • areferee

    To the BT Guys:

    Save yourselves some trouble each week and just copy and paste your last three paragraphs into the Studs and Duds layout for each of the next 8 games. Without some positive input from Pat Bowlen, they are assured of weekly “Duddom”.

  • Josh Temple

    I'm still holding out hope that we'll get to hand out “game balls” again this season.

  • anthony33


    – Lloyd: great story

    – Marcus Thomas: Don't laugh, this guy has shown stready improvement all year and was all over the place yesterday. He is developing into a quality D lineman and plays with heart.


    – O Line coach: He's becoming a permanent fixture to the dud list

    – Colquitt: Terrible game

  • WhidbeyBronco

    DJ was a stud as well!!
    So few.

  • WhidbeyBronco

    MT got smashed by a qb…

  • anthony33

    I do kinda remember that, he was blind sided right… that was Smith that hit him??? Still, he is playing decent.

    Agree on DJ… having his best year since his rookie year. Might have something to with playing the same position two years in a row… ya think.

  • crazykid

    I just thought about what we could have done with Doom this season……I think we would have beaten at least 2 teams this year if we had him… :'(

  • TheTroglodyte

    4 weeks ago when I proclaimed that Orton was a dud and his “numbers” were highly misleading, I was told off by pretty much everyone. My response “actually pay attention to how he is playing and ignore the numbers”.

    I hate to say I told you so but…

  • Ian Henson

    I can sort of agree to this. Defense played different with Robert Ayers on the field. With Ayes and Dumervil… We have a whole other season…

  • Ian Henson

    “Statistics are for losers.” – Josh McDaniels.

  • Nisse

    i think its raheem morris who says that

  • E. Halsey Miles

    4 weeks ago Orton was playing well and making plays and it just did not look or feel like he was the problem on the field.

    The last 2 weeks? Yeah, Orton is looking like the Orton of old, and no one is able to say that despite things being ugly, Orton is a winner — he's under 50% now thanks to this season tanking so badly.

    And with the doldrums settling on on the team that clearly has discipline problems, I don't see things getting better.

  • anthony33

    Good point. Him going down just kind of set the tone for the whole season.

  • Vince_marine

    Good catch Whidbey! I would also throw Mario Haggan in there too. Those two take on blocks and blow up plays at the line of scrimmage so well

  • dogheadbrew

    Season-to-date and the reason we're in this giant mess Dud: Running game.

    Kyle has been a stud every game, but he has his limitations, the biggest one being he's not Peyton Manning. Now he's at the point he has to try to win the game himself, and he's not that good, but neither are 99.999% of NFL players. Still that mentality leads to some more risky decisions and then turn-overs. This team can not over come turn overs. If we had a line that took pride in run blocking and running backs that REFUSED to be bottled up, we wouldn't be in such a deep hole. I see our QB and for the most part our WRs work their asses off each game, some times better than others, but I don't see the same from our RBs.

    Our D has been better than I expected, and given our O a chance to get an early lead in most games. Our O has not gotten the job done. I see that as both talent and coaching/play calling issues.

  • Roy

    Dud: McDaniels. Our running game got off to an ok start (better than usual, anyway), so why would he abandon it so early? Moreno had 11 (11!) rushes for the game. We were only down by three when he basically abandoned the running game in the first half. There is no way that an offense can find balance if the coach hits the panic button so quickly.

  • kerry

    um no Orton has not been a stud whatsoever. see stud QB's can actually throw for TD's where as Orton cant do that. never has. alot of yards and no TD's……….sounds like Jay Cutler with a weak ass arm. but look on the bright side, at least we wont lose this week. we will be lucky to win 4 games this year. a nice top 5 pick should net us somebody that McD will totally misuse and neglect then he will be traded for a 7th round TE the next year.

  • areferee

    Hey, da “Ref” and da “Minkey” are buds.

    The difference lately is, Orton has been wrapped in “burlap” just like the “Jaybird”. We've got to give him more time to see the field.

  • LevonZevon

    Good critical feedback by J. Kenneth K., Mr. Montogomery and E. Halsey Miles. As for the running game, it seems Moreno's best run is always his first or second one (whereas Shanahan, at least, could script the first 15 plays).

    Then, of course, we'd have to hold on for dear life with passive cover-2 under Mike (who was equally gutless on defense).

    But, it seems like McDaniels refuses to do what many fans are calling for in terms of stretching the defense early (as he did against the Jets on the first series).

    He also refused to involve Scheffler all last season (particularly in the first-half when he was raring to go). Shanahan also was gun-shy about letting Jay Cutler air it out early on (despite it being particularly helpful due to Jay being so geeked-up at the game's start).

    The theme? I know better than those stupid fans (because I see all the film and practices etc.. etc..).

    But the phrase “the forest for the trees” is obviously lost on a head-coach whom many of us urged to address the TE position and some of us urged to sign LaGarrette Blount.

    So, add Blount's name to the Kory Lichtensteiger, Ryan Torain, Peyton Hillis, Tim Crowder, Brian Orakpo list of players we easily could have had contributing here (if not for Coach Knows-It-All). Size, speed, balance and power apparently took a backseat to whatever objections Josh had to his ability to absorb his needlessly-complex playbook (while appearing like a choir-boy).

    Shanahan passed on DeSean Jackson for similar reasons. So the similarities between McD and Shanahan continue (even though Josh, thankfully, got over his worries about Perrish Cox to select him in round-five).

    As for the 49ers loss' positive side, at least Josh remembered that Tight Ends aren't Tackle Eligible's by another name (and even had Orton complete a pass or three to Graham and Gronkowski).

    And the unfair chop-block call on Moreno– who could've avoided even that remote possibility, if he simply followed through on his block before turning around– certainly hurt.

    But when all was dull and lifeless, it was the pass to the deep middle to Lloyd that woke up the Broncos and lit a spark under the defense too. Unfortunately, Josh continues to waste a quarter or more every week by hoping to repeat the success of the Moreno run/end-around reverses (that are two-thirds of his game-opening offense).

    The other third is the smoke or bubble-screen. Which leads me to wonder when all this talk about whole new game-plans every week will materialize? Oh, I guess they change the formations on these three plays every now and then.

    Which is clearly not something they do much on defense (which is the most vanilla scheme in the league outside of everyone's pre-season's efforts).

    No “Amoeba Formation,” or run-blitzes can be used (since they risk vindicating something associated with Mike Nolan).

    And no overloaded blitzess that strand an offensive-lineman blocking air can be done (since they would only illustrate how rare the tactic has been used previously). Sorta like the less-rare but common-elsewhere stunts where defensive linemen loop around each other or drop into Dick LeBeau's six basic permutations of the zone-blitz.

    Boy, it sure must be hard to coach against yourself (when spin-doctoring takes precedence over doing whatever was necessary to win).

    But, such is life in the McBowlen era. And I say McBowlen since Mr. “Standing-Pat” Bowlen deserves the biggest Dud week-in and week-out (and its time that fans organized a boycott of buying his merchandise until he finally addresses these annual deficiencies).

    Like, uh, hiring a coach who understands that the 3-4 enables a team to better disguise blitzes. Like, uh, spending money for a real GM and a top-flight defensive-coordinator (who aren't wholly dependent on McDaniels approval and can, therefore, provide unvarnished critiques to the not-so-football-savvy owner).

    Its not like Joe Ellis or Mrs. Bowlen are capable of that. And you don't expect McDaniels to admit to any of these flaws, do you?

    Personally, I'm waiting until we address the Front Seven in rounds 1-2 for two consecutive years before I spend a dime on anything Broncos. And, although I tried to buy a Brown Brian Dawkins Jersey when we were 6-0 last year, they were all sold out (so I can say that I've resisted the impulse for three years running).

    What can I say? I love earth tones.

    What I despise is how readily Broncos Nation has accepted Bowlen fielding the annual equivalent of 98-pound weakling teams that never punch anyone else in the mouth.

    Instead of wasting early picks on Bruton, Quinn, McBath, Alphonso Smith and Moreno, we should have been beginning the three year project of constructing a defensive line (that does more than simply occupy blockers). The Chiefs began this task and have already moved on to adding speed elsewhere throughout their roster. And the Raiders also have d-line talent that require double-teams. But Denver? Its always the same sad song (as if by ignoring these logical premises, we won't have to end up paying in losses for the extra 2 seconds we allow opponents to throw the ball).

    If we had Pittsburgh's linebackers, it would be tolerable to construct a front-three whose jobs are to retain gap-integrity and occupy four blockers. But we don't (and as hard as Mario Haggan plays, he and Joe Mays, Ryan McBean and Justin Bannan will never be the kind of cornerstones a franchise can be constructed around).

    Its the bargain-basement Broncos and McDaniels has to hold his tongue about Bowlen's financial troubles (in exchange for getting his first-job).

    Too bad our owner has no outside revenue stream (and probably invested in the same Ponzi scheme that took St. John's coffers for $10 million dollars).

    If he had any concern or respect for Broncos Nation, Bowlen would sell to someone who could do better than signing Daniel Graham and Dale Carter as the only two high-profile, outside free-agents to be acquired this decade. But I guess the Bowlen family's bottom-line must take precedence over the dreams and wishes of millions of Broncos fans (who can no longer coast on memories of “this one's for John”).

    But money isn't always linked to success in the NFL, when teams like the Steelers and Giants have the discipline to follow a Front-Seven Template (year-in and year-out).

    But just like our lack of pressure and lack of blitz packages. And our poor pass defense getting less column inches than out poorer run defense.

    The amount of problems in Denver have become so numerous that they individually escape addressing and attention (especially with our near-worthless reporters of the obvious at the butt-kissing “Denver Post.”)

    You almost don't know where to begin, so its somehow easier to have a new QB being developed every 3 years to attract our attention (like moths to a flame).

    Its worked well for Bowlen these last 7 years as the Plummer-Cutler-Orton-Tebow story-lines have commanded most of the chatter.

    I just wish we could have begun the slow but unavoidable task of building the front-seven through the draft instead of endlessly seeking d-backs who can accomplish the impossible: i.e.cover for 5-6 seconds and still come up with interceptions occasionally.

    It hasn't worked before and it will never work. Too bad, Mr. Bowlen has us in a corner where he gets an endless amount of seasons to attempt this futile goal.

    And now we also have a coach who doesn't see the linkage between the lack of a seam-stretching receiving TE– see Marcedes Lewis, Dallas Clark, Owen Daniels, Kellen Winslow Jr., Antonio Gates etc.. etc..– and the resulting throttling of our run-game (which won't improve no matter what record McDaniels sets for changing the O-line personnel every week).

    As we head into 2011, I can see some “Denver Post” story reminding us how the same 5 starters only played 3-4 games together in 2010. So what can we expect?

    Better analytical reporting, coaching, player personnel decisions and better accountability for the entire organization. As it is now, the GM and the head-coach are answerable to Pat Bowlen (who only seems to care about rookie signing bonuses and TV rights).

  • areferee
  • Annie

    Stud: Brady Quinn who makes more money riding the bench than Orton does. That's a stud in my book.

  • Gobroncos32

    UHH.. J Kenneth K is insane. Starting Tebow right now would be the worst.

    Sure Orton is struggling, but in my opinion he could get better (if McDaniels gets fired) and really win some games for us. Tebow is inexperienced and needs a lot of work before he's ready to play/win in the NFL. JKK should go have another look at his slow release, and that play he hurt his ribs after unnecessarily putting his body on the line (im not opposed to some elway/steve young-esque scrambles). Keep Orton in please (and easy on the 4th down tries jeeeeeeeez).

  • mikebirty

    Mike Shannahan is working out JaMarcus Russell (Sorry for hijacking)

  • crazykid

    In case you missed this and were looking for a potential mock draft:
    If the Broncos continue to lose, we could draft Marcell Dareus (DE/DT) or Robert Quinn (DE) in the first round, then draft Jerrell Powe (Nose Tackle) w/ our 2nd round pick. With Miami's 2nd round pick, we could choose Quan Sturdivant (Inside Linebacker) and we would be well off.
    Maybe in the 3rd Round, we could pick Jared Crick (DE/DT) or a speedy player like Noel Devine (RB, 4.3 40 yd dash)

  • coskibum

    Duds abound on our Broncos. Yes Bowlen, Ellis and Xanders are big dud's with regards to their role in the assessment of McNugget's ability to be a HC. Without a doubt, McNugget is the biggest DUD we have. The eTrade babies could do a better job play calling… That and the lack of talent on this team, falls squarely on McNuggets shoulders. This is his team! He not only has traded away vital talent but more importantly he has run off quality coaches. Nolan, Dennison and Turner are gone and look where we are now. Can't run, can't block and can't tackle, but we got CHARACTER!

    Looks like Bowlen got his wish, taking his team in another direction…

  • Roy

    I don't think there is an overall lack of talent, not like on some other teams. Look at the Browns. Top to bottom, they don't have as much raw talent as our team does, but they compete. Our team has 0 grit.

    McD has hired coaches to do jobs they are not farmiliar with, and/or have no business coaching. Those same positions are the ones we are struggling the most with. Coincidence? Judge for yourself…

    Offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy. We got him from a team whose only offensive talent at the time WR Smith, and two bell-cow RB's. Surely the Panthers were a force to be reckoned with under his watch, right?

    Our o-line coach has one year of experience as an ASSISTANT offensive line coach. He was a TE coach though…

    The TE coach worked for a bunch of scrub college teams, and was a special teams coach for some NFL teams not exactly known for their ST.

    Ben McDaniels, QB coach. Collusion. Nuff Said.

    Wink is still LB coach, even though he has a Super Bowl winning LB as an assistant that could easily take over those duties.

  • Ian Henson

    It was actually Scotty Bowman if I want to be a dick about it. But I am not. =)

  • 5280

    I comletely agree with orton being a dud. yards and qb ratings dont put points on the board. you can have unbelievable stats and yet fail when it counts. how do you not have the presence of mind to tuck the ball when you run? why would u throw into double tripple coverage and get picked off when theres less then a minute left in the game and you need a touchdown to win? if orton would've had 100 yards passing and threw 7 for 9 no body would have gave a shit if he would have protected the ball and played heads up and won the game.

    don martindale has a dud for the season as far as im concerned. he started off the season sending 3 down lineman at the qb every 3rd play for godsakes and NEVER, i mean NEVER, blitzed knowing he doesn't have the lineman to use only 4 down. then when he pulls the stick out of his ass and actually starts sending blitzes, he telographs the shit out of them. maybe he should give rex ryan or dick lebeau a call and try to get an internship. but of course we wouldn't be in this perdiciment if McWeenie would have kept Mike Nolan, who, by the way, has the dolphins D rated 7th in the NFL. If hindsight could kill we would have been dead by week 4.

  • Josh Temple

    The e-trade babies would make an awesome coaching staff.

  • AKfan

    If McWeenie kept Mike Nolan his seat would very, very hot right now. Would be real easy for Bowlen to pull the plug and promote Nolan. Instead it is impossible to fire McD during the season. As green as McD is he the only head coach option on the entire staff of rookies learning this coaching thing. Combine that with making a massive investment in Tebow that will 'take some time to develop' and you got to give some respect to McD for protecting his job. My guess is he holds Tebow back until next year and gains another freebie year as a coach working on his pet project.

  • Darwin

    My tendency is to keep giving McDaniels some more time. He didn't get stupid overnight. There have been a lot of great coaches that struggled their first couple of years. I think he has done great with Orton but Orton is not a clutch quarterback. He does not come up big when he needs to. Throw Tebow in there for a quarter and see what he does.

  • crazykid

    Dud: Mike McCoy's picture

  • Josh Temple

    Ahaha, that's the official headshot image from the NFL and Denver Broncos, it's terrible.

  • Josh Temple

    Ahaha, that's the official headshot image from the NFL and Denver Broncos, it's terrible.