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Published on 12/06/2012 at Thu Dec 06 08:12.
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Big Pete of the comments has a guest piece for your reading pleasure this morning. Thanks Pete for volunteering to do this! Let him know what you think in the comments!

Since earlier in the week seemed to be “Nit-Pick Day”, here is a list of the things I nit-pick the Broncos about.

#1. We seem to always play down to our opponent’s level.

What is it with the Broncos for the last 15 years that makes us play either up, or more frustrating, down to our opponent’s level? It seems that since Elway rode out on his white horse, the Broncos can’t seem to dominate the teams they are suppose to dominate, and regularly lose to teams that they are suppose to dominate.

Whether it’s Brian Griese, Jay Cutler, Kyle Orton, or Peyton Manning, we seem to make games far closer than they should be. Who remembers us losing to woeful Dolphins teams when we were still coached by Shanahan and in the playoffs yearly? Who remembers late season meltdowns against horrible, horrible teams like K.C. last year, the Bills and Panthers in 2008 (the slide that got Shanahan fired), and pretty much the entire 2007 season when we lost to pathetic teams such as the Jags, the Lions, Bears, Texans, and Raiders?

At least this year we are winning the games that should be blowouts instead of losing those games in the past, but the frightening trend of playing down to the competition remains. Tell me again how inept the Chiefs were this year, only to have us scratch and claw our way to victory. How about those slumping Panthers? Or maybe even the Bengals who still have a 2nd year QB? The point is that we should have blown the doors off of those teams. We can’t struggle to beat the Chiefs when there are teams like the Patriots in the playoffs. Seven points in the first half won’t cut it in the playoffs, and if anyone thinks that the Pats or Texans will allow us to stay in the game if we play abysmal in the first half, you’re delusional.

#2. Matt Prater still can’t seem to kick a 40-49 yard FG.

Prater is automatic up to 30 yards, pretty darn automatic from 30-39, and clutch as “you know what” from beyond 50… but those pesky 43 yarders, 47 yarders, and 49 yarders seems to be Prater’s kryptonite. He is a pedestrian 56% from that range. Mark my words, this could very well cost us a playoff game if this struggle continues.

At this point, I think that on 3rd downs where if you don’t get the first, it’s gonna be a 43-49 yard FG, I contend that we should use that down to take a shot to the endzone. If we don’t hit it, I say we take delay of game penalties until we back it up into the 50+ yard range. Hell, at this point, if we are handling a team like Oakland come the 3rd or 4th quarter, I think we should prematurely end drives by having Prater attempt 47 yarders. I don’t care if it’s 1st and 10 at the 30, I say we trot Prater on the field to attempt a 47 yarder. We need to get him confident in these medium/long distance FGs. While it will stump the fans and media types, it is essential to end drives prematurely in the regular season in order to get Prater’s head on right come the post season! I myself would stand up and applaud (and then give a 10 minute dissertation to my friends as to WTF John Fox was thinking) if we did this. Kickers are always the team’s leading scorers for a reason, and we need our kicker to be 100% mentally ready come playoff time.

#3. We need style points in our victories.

What I mean by this is that we need to pretend that the BCS system is in place instead of a playoff format. We need to do our best New England Patriots impersonation and hang 55 on the Raiders, 40 on the Ravens, and 55 on the Browns and Chiefs. Do you know why? Because we need to put the fear of God into our opponents much the way the Patriots do in theirs.

Sure, this might piss off a few fans or opponents, but personally, I think the reason why New England is so successful and gets so many points from boneheaded turnovers and mistakes is because their opponents are completely psyched out before they hit the field. They know that they have to play the game of their lives to even stand a chance at beating the Patriots. They know that they have to take unnecessary risks (which usually lead to careless turnovers) in order to match the Patriots point for point. Teams do this when it’s still 0-0 or 7-0. There is no reason for their recklessness except for 1 thing… fear! They are afraid that if they don’t try to return the kickoff the distance (which usually leads to the returner holding the ball loose), that they will get blown out 55-10. The QB knows that if he doesn’t try to thread the needle into triple coverage, that they’ll lose 45-6. Fear is the driver of the Patriots’ wins, not actual scheming and talent (although both are definitely there).

What do the Broncos opponents think going into the game? They think that if they keep it close, they’ll have a shot! When you give a team hope, they’ll eat you for breakfast. While we haven’t lost but 3 games, we are allowing teams to think they have a chance against us until the clock hits 00:00. We need to start putting the pedal to the metal and deliver a good old-fashioned Beat Ass to teams. We need teams to know they lost before they leave their houses. If we do that, our path to the playoffs will be all the easier. It’s a whole different ballgame when your opponents honestly believe that they have to take unnecessary risks from the get go, versus teams believing that if they just play fundamentally sound, they can pick us apart and win.

What are your Nit-Picks for the Broncos? Let’s hear ‘em!

  • Benjamin DeRita

    I usually love the writing on broncotalk …. okay let me rephrase, I do love broncotalk but c’mon man this stinks of a patriots circle jerk! We’ve emulated the Patsies enough, it was called Josh McFails. Yeah the Patriots had the EASIEST schedule and they had the opportunity to over match some piss poor teams I grant you that, but why should the Broncos be “afraid” of the cheatriots? minus a timely drop / fumble they come back and win in epic (San Diego) fashion. In reality if the other teams atop the AFC overlook the Broncos I see that as a major advantage.

    Now I’m not completely hating on this article but come on style points count for nothing.. but I would argue still: you don’t think Von made a statement in the Panthers game? what about against the Bucs

  • Pete Baron

    No team will ever overlook a Peyton Manning led team, so that hypothetical advantage is taken away.

    And besides, I think the notion of style points counting for nothing because all that counts are wins is semi-naive. Like I wrote, if we or any team go to New England, what’s the first thing that crosses your mind? I know for me and for many, it’s that we’re gonna have to play PERFECT in order to have a chance. When you have that mentality, you tend to take more chances whether you know you are or not, and when you take unnecessary risks, the patriots can very well score 21 points in 52 seconds. It’s the mentality going into the game that causes a team to take risks, not the patriots themselves, and that mentality is breed into the team because they see 55 point beatdowns.

  • karen labanca

    You have some points but I promise you when teams get ready for the broncos they fear Von Miller and Peyton Manning. Promise.

  • Jim_Jebow

    my nit pick with this years team is Eric Decker not becoming a pro bowl caliber receiver under Manning. I had big hopes for the dude with Manning throwing him passes, but he has dropped way too many, and I think PFM is losing faith in the guy. If he doesn’t turn it around this season, I think the Broncos will be looking for a new WR in either the draft of via free agency.
    Good post big pete, between you and Jon, BT will be dangerous down the stretch!

  • dogheadbrew

    Playing to the level of competition is something I whine about watching the game and style points or lack there of is a little disappointing durring the game, but both are the providence of fandom and no real concern.

    Praters history of missed mid-long FGs is a concern. I think that he feels the most pressure in the 40s because he is supposed to make them. If you can’t make kicks under 40 you don’t belong on an NFL team. Beyond 50 is more of a crap shoot so if you miss a few that is to be expected. 40-50 is professional range. Prater can make them, but I think he may need some counseling on his approach and mental state. Furthermore taking a penalty to get him into “his range” would put more pressure on the kick, there by making it more difficult for him. I hate to sound like this, but it looks to me to be a self image issue. Game winners and long bombs are ok to miss, so he nails them. For a premier kicker, which he can be, 40s are not. He tightens up and curves them out. We all know the guy does not miss short.

  • dogheadbrew

    Is Decker out new Royal? Talent and flashes, and like able but ultimately mediocre?

  • herc_rock

    big pete sucks!

    j/k, man. good stuff.

  • herc_rock

    Bronco day, baby!

  • Jim_Jebow

    i friggin hate the Raiders, I feel sorry for Dennis Allen’s dad and all, but I hope the Broncos crush the Raider 63-3

  • Jim_Jebow

    that’s looking like a fair comparison right now

  • TD30isMVP

    It pissed me off you gave them 3…

  • Benjamin DeRita

    Your points are valid and thanks for responding, I agree ‘overlook’ is a relative term and every game is the most important game.. I just don’t think the Patriots pose as great of a threat as say years past. Sticky coverage and pressure can shut down Brady and their secondary is highly suspect at best, two areas the Broncos seem to be built to combat. That being said I prefer the game be played at Mile High obviously. Yes there is that feeling for a need to play mistake free but that is universal, if Denver can force a turnover they have the tools to cause just as much damage if not more than the vaunted Tom Brady.. IMO

  • Pete Baron

    Yeah, with how much Manning and Decker worked out together this offseason, I’m stunned that he’s as bad (or should I say not good) as he is. He’s had too many drops, too many idiot decisions. Remember, Manning doesn’t like “Idiot kickers”, so he’s probably more than annoyed with Idiot WRs. The things Decker has done on the field make me scratch my head.

    Then again, Manning has a chemistry with DT, and with DT being bigger, stronger, and faster than Decker, maybe it’s simply Manning going to a better option, which will make Decker’s plays diminish.

    But I’m with you. I’m really disappointed with him. I expected so much more out of the guy. The good news is that he seems to be in good spirits, so maybe things change?

    Also, thanks for your kind words. I’m trying to get an “instant reactions” article up tonight after the game. Of course, seeing I can’t post articles directly, I’ll need someone to be here after the game to publish it for me, but I’ll crank it out within 15 or so minutes after the game. So if there’s a Mod (I know Kyle is down for me doing it, but not sure if he’ll be here) is up to it, give me a shout, and I’ll email you it after the game.

  • Jon Broncos Heath


  • Pete Baron

    Awesome breakdown. I bet you’re 100% right on the taking a penalty to push him back. That’s kinda why I wouldn’t be against us ending drives prematurely if we are winning handily in order to have him boot some. There won’t be pressure cause we are up, but there will be pressure because he knows why we’re doing it.

  • Pete Baron


    And yes, he needs to get his swagger back big time.

  • Pete Baron


  • Pete Baron

    We need to throttle them and destroy their will to live (only slight pun intended). While I want a shutout, I’ll concede 3 garbage time points to them.

  • Pete Baron

    Amen brother! I’ve said for years (or more appropriately, since the day Brady became their starter) that Brady is good, but not great. I think he benefits from the system instead of talent.

    Now, I’ve softened on that as he’s done better in pressure situations, but what I love about playing against Brady is that he can be rattled and scared so easily. Pressure Brady, and he crumbles. Put him to where he’s down by 2, 4th and 15, and he has to throw the ball beyond his comfort zone of 2-3 yards past the line of scrimmage, and I still win more money than I lose in betting that he throws a pick.

    While he’s good, and he’s shown to handle pressure better than a lot, I do think that people revere him maybe more than they should. With that being said, I just think that the Patriots as a whole psych a lot of teams out and make them play recklessly, which in turn enables the Patriots to capitalize on those mistakes and turn what might have been a close game or even a loss, into a 30-40 point blowout. But like you, I like our chances against anyone in the NFL. I honestly think there is only 1 team that can beat us in the playoffs, and that is unfortunately, the Patriots. However, I think that if we played 10 games, we’d win 6 of the 10. I just think they are capable of beating us…. I like our chances though, especially at home!

  • AZDynamics

    Decker will never be a Pro Bowl receiver, IMO. He will always be a good #2. And that’s fine, as long as the Broncos have the likes of Demaryius Thomas on the other side and someone the caliber of Brandon Stokley in the slot.

  • Jim_Jebow

    The 3 points were for Dennis Allen’s Dad

  • areferee

    Love ya Big Pete.

    I may not agree with every point above, but I appreciate your thoughts and your taking the time to “officially” add your voice to BroncoTalk. I hope you will continue to contribute both above and below the lines.

    Does the picking of nits really mean we are infested with the Bronco Bug? If so, here is the one that “bugs” me the most:

    Notwithstanding a good performance from Demaryius Thomas this season, the Broncos wide receivers, as a corps, are underwhelming at best. While I don’t rate DT’s performance yet up to Pro Bowl standards, that of Eric Decker and the remainder of that group (Stokely excepted) is more like the toilet bowl. Thank the gods for our tight ends or Manning would be more battered and bruised than he has been.

    It is time for Eric, et al, to get on “Deck” and to step up their game to the level that Elway, Manning, Fox and the fans expect.

    OK. Pick on THAT!

  • Benjamin DeRita

    That’s the truth we just gotta pray (or tebow) for a pats loss in the coming weeks. I agree with you entirely often when rattled Brady will get frustrated and miss on short throws causing a shockingly high number of 3 & outs. Going to school in New England I often have the displeasure of watching the cheatriots play, and man they get f’ing lucky, often! So the jets were hung for 50 something on thanksgiving, but in the game in Foxboro they should have lost several times over.
    There is something about the packers that still scares me, but it may just be lingering nightmares from last years game lol

  • Pete Baron

    I think the fear in any of us is lingering nightmares of every team we’ve fielded since 1998. We are so use to losing that we can’t quite wrap our heads around being one, if not, the best team in the NFL regardless of our record. Besides, those 3 losses were when Manning was still scraping off his rust and developing chemistry with the team.

    I promise you that if we played Atlanta, Houston, and N.E. right now, we finish 2-1 at the WORST and more probably 3-0.

  • Pete Baron

    Here are the 5 things that need to happen for the Broncos to win tonight in Oakland (aka, Keys to Victory):

    #1 Wake Up
    #2 Don’t miss the bus to the stadium
    #3 Arrive to the stadium safely
    #4 If offered water or Gatorade by anyone but team officials, don’t drink it, as it’s likely poisoned.
    #5 Don’t let the stadium crew board up and lock the team inside the locker room

    Keys to the Raiders winning….
    #1 Any of the above 5 happening

  • Pete Baron

    You hit the nail on the head with that statement!

  • E. Halsey Miles

    I actually disagree with point #1.

    The only game where it seemed like we “played down to the competition” was against the Chiefs. But that’s an illusion. Kansas City isn’t good, but they can play it close. They lost to Baltimore by 3, and they’re leading a division. They lost to Pittsburgh by 3. The week after we beat them they came back and beat Carolina (though that game had extraordinary circumstances).

    It did seem like we let KC hang around more than we should have, but against a division rival in their home stadium. And that’s the only game I can think of where we can be accused of doing that. We slaughtered Oakland and San Diego and the score in Tampa Bay was closer than the actual game (and Tampa Bay is actually a very good team).

    I think the problem is that we expect perfection. We expect these games to never be competitive, and we forget that these are all NFL teams and unlike college, even the bad NFL teams are capable of winning given the right circumstances. Maybe we haven’t absolutely dominated enough. We haven’t put up any Patriots style 40 point wins, but who cares? Manning is putting up better stats than Elway and our defense has one of the best past rushes in the league. We have the tools to get it done, and for 7 games in a ROW the team has gotten it done. And I personally believe that they will get it done 4 more times and end the season 13-3, which was a prospect *unthinkable* to me just 16 weeks ago.

  • E. Halsey Miles

    Don’t take the Raiders lightly. Remember the Chiefs beating the Panthers this weekend? Dennis Allen’s father died. They have something emotional to rally around. This team is going to play us tough this week, and Denver has to be ready for it.

  • Pete Baron

    Oh, we’re going 13-3 all right!!! I predicted 14-2 or 13-3 in the preseason, and all my friends thought I was insane! lol.

    I still think we showed clear signs of playing down to teams though. Although I honestly believe in the “throw out expectations when it comes to division games”, we should have throttled the Chiefs. Ditto Bengals, although, again, I’ll give them credit for coming off a bye for us. And the Panthers should have been more of a beatdown than it was.

    I must admit that during our 7 game win streak, I’ve never actually felt like we’d lose a game. Even if we were behind, I was never worried that we would lose. I suspect that many here feel the same way. I also think that because of those feelings, we might overlook the fact that we played down to our opponents’ level. If we never fear for a win, then it’s harder to see that we should be throttling the teams we are only beating by 1 score. Either way, I’ll take the win, but we need to thoroughly decimate the teams that aren’t in the playoff picture, and quite frankly, we haven’t been. We’ve been eeking out wins, even though it seems that we had the game under control from the opening kickoff.

  • herc_rock

    Exactly. You can NEVER look past a division game on the road. Especially on a short week…

  • Pete Baron

    I expect the Raiders to play us tough, but rally points or not, this is a team that we should throttle on our worst day. The added disadvantage of us traveling on the short week shouldn’t be overlooked either, but regardless, we should be able to handle them with relative ease. It’s this damn uneasy feeling that the last 6 years has breed in us which makes us worry. We need to remember that WE are the team with Peyton Manning! If the Colts were coming to town a few years ago, what would we be feeling? Well, we’re the colts, and they’re the Raiders. See what I mean? We have nothing to fear, the Raiders have everything to fear.

  • Pete Baron

    Which is why I suspect the Chiefs played us so close, and why the Raiders (I guess) could. I’m a firm believer in the “throw everything you expect out the window against a division opponent”, but man, inter-division or not, there’s no reason the Raiders should finish the game within 14 points of us.

  • Pete Baron

    yeah, as a whole, we’re not as good in the WR department as we should be. I wrote about Manning/Thomas combo being the best in the league, but I wrote it pretty piss poorly, so I’m positive it won’t make the cut to get published here, but in it, I proved that Manning to Thomas is the BEST combo in the game today. But that’s just Manning to Thomas…. There is still Decker, Stokley, Willis, Dreeson and Tamme. Decker needs to step it up big time. He needs to stop sliding when there’s still 10 free yards ahead of him. He needs to stop getting tripped by blades of grass, and he needs to stop dropping easy passes. Do that, and our WR corps looks a lot better, cause Stokley is still pretty darn good.

  • Bryan

    Nice write up Pete. It’s a good read.

    The only ‘issues’, if you will, that I have with the piece are apparent comical attempts with Prater, and running up the score.

    Prater is missing alot more FG’s than I’d like to see but taking penalties to move back to attempt a 50 yard FG instead of a 40 yard FG is silly. Kicking FG’s from that range can’t be easy, but I’m sure if you ask any NFL kicker they’ll all tell you they’d rather an attempt from 40, than one from 50. It goes without saying that everytime PFM touches the ball, you think he has FG in his mind? Of course not.

    Style points, running up the score, it’s all the same. To do such a thing frequently to attempt to make opposing teams afraid of you is also silly. The only people that care about style points are gamblers. The vast majority of fans only care about winning. Whether it comes by 1 point or 31 points, by pitching a shut out or last second FG, winning is still winning. I, like the rest of you, want to go 19-0 EVERY single year, period. The final score of those 19 wins is irrelevant. Employing the NE philosophy gets us no where. Head over to a NE Patriot forum and ask them how many Super Bowls they have won by running up the score. I’ll save you the time. Zero. Nada. All three of their SB wins came on the back bone of a strong defense, an offense that limited turnovers, and Spygate.

  • Bryan

    I don’t want to have to play in NE because it’s a tough place to play in January. I have no issue with NE coming to Denver for a playoff game however. As long as our defense continues to play the way they have, NE doesn’t scare me. A great defense trumps a great offense. I think our defense matches up really well vs NE actually. I just wish we were able to generate more pressure up the middle to collape Brady’s pocket. We don’t have to play perfect to beat NE tho. We just can’t turn the ball over. That idea goes for any team Denver plays.

  • Pete Baron

    And Vinatieri… can’t forget him.

    My point was that the road to the super bowl would be a lot easier if teams felt that they had to take unnecessary risks in order to win, instead of just trying to play fundamentally sound.

    I honestly believe that the only reason why the Patriots didn’t win the last 2 super bowls that they have gone to is 1) no Vinatieri, and 2) the Giants didn’t take unnecessary risks.

    My point is that until you play a team that is strong enough that they don’t care if they are down 14-0, they won’t play risky, you’ll pretty much get an automatic “W” by playing all the other teams, and lets face it, there are only a handful (literally) of teams that won’t be intimidated by the Patriot’s ability to put up 40-50 pts. When you come across a team that isn’t going to play a bit more reckless, you best be able to play fundamentally sound football as well.

    That’s where I think this Broncos team has the Patriots beat. I think we are much more capable of playing fundamentally sound football than they are, so we can beat them. But also, I’d rather also have the path to a championship be that much easier because teams psych themselves out before the game, than to have to eek out a closer victory than it should have been.

    That’s why I said we need to run up the score. Whether you’re a professional or not, you know when you’re evenly matched and when you are outmatched. By running up scores, we’ll have all but a handful of teams think they are outmatched, and thus make careless mistakes that we can capitalize on. Psychological warfare is what it’s called. It has a name to it cause it works ;)

    (and as I predicted rather accurately, it will piss of some fans).

  • Gary_in_SD

    I agree with you on that too. “Good enough” receivers are not exactly growing on trees and I’m sure he’d have plenty of suitors if he hit the free agency market. Let’s just hope he steps it up a little more down the stretch and into the playoffs. It would be nice to have him do enough good to erase the picture (in all of our minds) of him stumbling in SD and falling down!

  • Jeff

    I think Decker is fine, there are slumps that all receivers have during seasons, running backs and QBs included. There cant be various dominating receivers in a system such as this. Decker will be fine and he is perceived as a threat to opponents.

  • dustfan

    I don’t think so. He is top 20 in catches, top 30 in yards and tied for 3rd in TD’s. He may not be elite but as AZD says above, he is a good #2 and imo better than Royal ever was.

  • Benjamin DeRita

    damn the #Cheatriots

  • Pete Baron

    I agree!

  • AZDynamics

    Oh, he’s already done that for me, Gary. The last two times he barreled into the end zone with defenders draped all over him were good enough for me. :)

  • Jim_Jebow

    Here is my boys reaction when I told him the Broncos were playing the Raiders tonight

  • Jon Broncos Heath

    Pete, you’ve gotten the conversation going again on BT. It hasn’t been this active in a long time.

    Well done!

  • Pete Baron


  • Pete Baron

    Thanks :)
    I’m lobbying to have anyone able to post stuff (you, kyle, etc) to be on here like 15 minutes after the game so I can email someone to publish an instant reactions article… Kyle is good with it, but not sure if he’ll be here at that time. You might have to do it if he isn’t here and you are.

  • Jon Broncos Heath

    Are you on Twitter?

  • Pete Baron

    Nope. I’ve debated it for years, but I’m not, cause I wouldn’t ever post to it. Even though I could follow reporters for news, I still haven’t created an account. Kyle said I could try emailing him, but if you’re up to it, I could email you if you aren’t too busy with the live game blog. is email.

  • Leo Maes

    The broncos D is still underrated, not much talk about them when it comes to Defensive teams you don’t hear them but I promise you this… by playoff time they will be talked about a WHOLE bunch … GO BRONCOS!!!

  • Broncosnipe

    Know why the Broncos lost to bad teams last year? Because they were also bad.