Originally Posted by Ace Gunner
yeah, that's pretty much it. these Denver WR's can run all the rubs/crosses in front of our zone cover players and when the ball gets there, our guys can knock the snot outta them and make it incomplete. if nothing else, it limits YAC and forces Denver to run deeper routes on 3rd downs, which gives the Chiefs defense a chance at sacking Manning.
Why would it not be possible to come out with a few presnap looks where we're showing an overload blitz through the A gaps. This is the only point of attack that a defender can possibly get to the QB in about 2 seconds if Manning wants to setup in the shotgun again and look for the immediate throw. This is typically where they're going to run those crossing and inside routes, but there's some things that you can do by essentially forcing their hand at the line by showing this heavy interior blitz design.
1. On occasion actually send an extra guy or 2 if daring and looking at a long distance 3rd down conversion.
2. Show blitz and then drop those guys to play a zone cover in the middle against those shallow routes- possibly creating enough block assignment confusion to hurry his throws and by playing those passing lanes to either knock it down or come up with an interception.
Be honest- how many deep strike balls is Manning going to burn you with as he's banged up, and with his neck and nerve damage he doesn't have the same strike capability of previous years. He's never had a pretty ball, but has been surgical in his placement. The cold and wind further agitate the nerve damage and his ability to grip the ball- which is why he is so prone to fumbling if he does get hit ever, and limits his range of motion in getting the ball out there. Look at his throws after taking a good lick at Indianapolis. His throws had almost no zip on it and looked like floating ducks.
I still say you gamble early to get a good chance of a few solid hits on him and watch it affect his effectiveness for the rest of the game and then play the coverage to take away the underneath and middle of the field. If you make him have to work the sidelines and deeper stuff he may be successful but there's a much greater chance that he will be off on a throw here or there that can help kill a drive and force a punt or prevent the touchdown.
Ironic that essentially that's what many would say you want to do with Smith as he is also all about the shallow routes and middle of the field. This isn't the same as facing a guy like Rivers who can actually strike with deep precision and hit his guys anywhere on the field because he has the arm strength, velocity, and touch to torch you at any level on a consistent basis.
Another interesting thing is to see if last week was truly a sign that they are going to put greater demand on Alex to keep stretching the field and throwing the longer balls. So many just assume he has a shitty long ball and can only dink and dunk the ball, but I'd argue that half of the struggle has also been self imposed.
For some long he's been instructed to take the short pass and be ultra conservative. Like anything else- if you do something and practice it with higher frequency, it tends to improve your performance. Which is why we've seen a number of times when he has been forced to take shots down the field he has on quite a few times been just a little off in his throws. I can think of quite a few plays where the ball was about a yard or 2 outside the receivers reach.
That's not horrid inability to actually convert on those plays. Simply adjusting those throws by getting a better feel for his guys and their timing can see some improvement on his completion %. That's not even including times where the incompletion wasn't because of Smith and more attributed to the guy catching the ball- like getting jammed and behind on the routes timing, which when you are watching the play will simply look like Alex is to blame for overthrowing his man. Not to mention all of the balls that should have been completed and our guys simply dropped the ball, as we are 3rd in the league for most dropped catches.