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  1. #31
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    Re: For the "Jackson Stinks" Crowd: Explain This

    While I think Jackson has quite a bit of room for improvement, I don't think he's a problem. However, since we're throwing stat's around, I found one that's kind of interesting:

    Marshall Faulk:
    2004 195 att. 774 yds. 4.0 ypc
    2005 54 att. 267 yds. 4.9 ypc

    Steven Jackson
    2004 134 att. 673 yds. 5.0 ypc
    2005 254 att. 1046 yds. 4.1 ypc

    Notice the difference in ypc each year for both rb's? I pointed this out last year but was scoffed at. It's my opinion that Jackson "appeared" ready to be the feature back because he was getting a lot of his carries in pass situations. His ypc was a stellar 5.0, while a lot felt Faulk was finished because he wasn't getting it done (although his ypc was 4.0).

    Now that their roles are reversed, Marshall's got the better ypc and Jackson's come back down to earth. As good as Marshall's looked this year, I'll always wonder if the team would have been better off with him as a leader on the field and one last year as a feature back. Obviously giving Jackson more carries this year than last year but grooming him just a bit more and letting him explode onto the scene in 2006. That's how I would have done it.

    To me, it was just a waste to handle things the way they were. First, seeing Marshall standing around on the sidelines most of the time, only brought in when the team needed a blocker!?! Second, it was a huge waste of cap space. If they weren't going to play the guy, they should have said goodbye. Lastly, I think the offense would have been more productive overall with Marshall handling the ball more. That's a very debatable point but I don't think Jackson was ready to carry the load.

    As far as Jackson having a good year and Rams fans are just spoiled, what do you think of Rueben Droughns' year in Cleveland? Was it a "good" year? When I think of his year I think it was nice that he topped 1,000 yards for Cleveland for the first time in almost 20 years but nothing to get excited about. Very average at best(Droughns 1,192 Jackson 1,046).


  2. #32
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    Re: For the "Jackson Stinks" Crowd: Explain This

    Quote Originally Posted by moklerman
    As far as Jackson having a good year and Rams fans are just spoiled, what do you think of Rueben Droughns' year in Cleveland? Was it a "good" year? When I think of his year I think it was nice that he topped 1,000 yards for Cleveland for the first time in almost 20 years but nothing to get excited about. Very average at best(Droughns 1,192 Jackson 1,046).
    Reuben also only had 2 total TDs this season. WOW
    Quote Originally Posted by ramsbruce
    The backhanded compliments about Austin Davis are amusing.

  3. #33
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    Re: For the "Jackson Stinks" Crowd: Explain This

    There's no doubt that Faulk's ypc this year, and Jackson's last year, reflect the situations in which they were running the ball (though, to be fair, Jackson did start a couple of games in 2005).

    This fact, however, does not support the notion that Faulk should have started this year.

    Whether you like it or not, Faulk is in his 30s, and Jackson is in his early 20s. Jackson is the future. He's the guy who is going to be the primary back in St. Louis for hopefully the next 5-6 years. In the same time period, Faulk will be retiring (maybe as soon as this offseason).

    I like Faulk as much as the next guy, but I don't see how you can criticize the Rams for starting Jackson this year (Heck, Faulk himself was in favor of the change).

  4. #34
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    Re: For the "Jackson Stinks" Crowd: Explain This

    AJD45, you do bring up some points. So did DXD.

    When I look at the videos of the greatest running backs in history, I see some things that are common to all of them:
    1. None of them has a style exactly like any other.
    2. Each played for a team that could move the ball by passing.
    3. Each seemed to have plays designed just for him, his style, and his speed.
    4. They plays, when re-used, were adjusted to fit the d-line they were facing.
    5. Everyone on the O-line blocked as assigned, opening up holes.
    6. They all were smart enough to do everything asked of them.
    7. They all played with a team who came together, inspired confidence, and had the desire to win.

    I'm not saying that every single one of the top RB's has had all of the above in every game, or even every season. I am only saying that those seven factors all came together a large percentage of the time.
    As far as KC's success with the running game, look at the team: There's an awful lot of the Rams over there. The way they have built the team since 2000, they have basically tried turning it into the '99 Rams. Some of the names are different, to be sure, but Vermiel did build the GSOT, and it shows to me that he wants to do the same in KC. And a lot of the success of the GSOT was due to the running game. Faulk was (and probably still is) the greatest RB in the past 15 years. Finnesse? Oh, yeah, he has it. Power? Most people don't look at Faulk, as small as he is, as a power running back. He is. Just watch some of the games he played in during '99-'03. the man blocked. He recieved. He ran. Sometimes, no one touched him. Other times, he ran over, around and through them.
    DXD's point about Faulk spoiling us is true, too. He did so much to help the team and put us on top, and now a lot of people are still expecting him to, even at his age and after all his injuries. Even more people are expecting Jackson to do what Faulk did. But, what they are forgetting, among other things, is that it wasn't all Marshall. It took the whole team, from the HC down to the cheerleaders and fans to get the Rams to the top of the mountain. Marshall was a part of it all....a very huge part, but he couldn't, and didn't, do it alone.
    I wasn't following the Rams in the 80's and 90's, so I can't help but wonder some things. Did fans question Eric Dickerson's abilities? Was he doubted in Los Angeles? Did people expect him to run the ball like CrazyLegs Hirsch?
    And when we aquired Faulk, how many people doubted him? After all, he was less than stellar when he was in Indy. Did people call for his head just because he wasn't Carnation Instant Dickerson in his first game with the Rams?
    A lot of variables come into play when assessing any football player. It takes a combination of just the right factors to take an average player and make him a legend. Faulk was one of these who had everything in place. Will Jackson? Only time will tell.
    Imagine this for a moment, and then the next paragraph will make more sense: Let's say you like to play poker. every week, you get together with friends, and you are known to be a great player. You win a large percentage of the time. your friends push you to enter a local amateur tournament, and you are up against the best poker players in your area. You are good enough to win. Then, you go on to the state finals, and are in the top five in your state. Soon, you are on your way to Vegas to compete against 249 other finalists for the grand prize. You don't take home the million dollars and first place trophy, but you do really good, placing in about # 16 nationally. You are asked to become a professional poker player, and go from town to town and play games. Well, the money's good, you have the talent, so...
    The first two years, you do pretty good. Not great, but you are better than a lot of the guys who have done it for years. Still, there are other new guys who are beating the pants off of you. All of your friends and supporters are griping because you aren't winning every game. Is it your fault? Or, is it the fact that you are playing people who are also really good, you are still learning how different things are between being a professional player and playing against a bunch of talented amateurs, or is it the fact that you don't always get dealt a good hand?
    When looking at Jackson, it is more than obvious he came into the NFL with a buttload of talent as a running back. Only now, instead of facing talented college players, the majority of which never are good enough to be NFL players, he is facing the best of the best. Things were a whole lot more difficult. Each defense he faces has a different way of approaching the game, and even that changes several times during the game. He gets input from above, telling him to do something because it should work as planned, but it doesn't always go as planned. His teammates may not do exactly what he expects them to do, or his opponents may do something unexpected.
    Over the next three or four years, he'll get better. So far, sometimes he gets a straight flush, sometimes four aces, sometimes just a pair of twos, and sometimes he bluffs and loses big. He hasn't yet got to the point of turning a three of a kind into a Royal Flush, but he is on his way.

  5. #35
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    Re: For the "Jackson Stinks" Crowd: Explain This

    I like Faulk as much as the next guy, but I don't see how you can criticize the Rams for starting Jackson this year (Heck, Faulk himself was in favor of the change).
    Well, I explained why I thought it would have been more beneficial to keep Faulk as the primary rb for one more year. I think the balance last year was much more beneficial to the offense as well as "balanced'. Faulk has shown he's still running pretty well and I think he would have been able to maintain his performance over the course of this year if he was given a modest amount of carries.

    195 attempts last year for Faulk and 134 for Jackson was a lot more beneficial to the offense in general if you ask me. Faulk was virtaully phased out of the offense this year (54 carries) when they obviously needed him. I knew the Faulk/Jackson backfield was BS but it would have been a better way to go.

    I don't know what Faulk was thinking when he surrendered the starting job but I imagine that being cut out of the offense and turned into a blocking specialist wasn't what he had in mind. Increasing Jackson's carries from 134 in 2004 to around 180 this year would have been what I would have done. Decreasing Faulk's from 195 to around the same 180 to balance things out and I think they both would have been more productive as well as healthy. In any case, I don't think the team was in a position to have a "feature" back with Jackson's style. He's not elusive enough to thrive in the Martz offense and the transition would have been easier had the team continued to morph this year and handed the reins over to Jackson next year. If nothing else, it might have the same effect as it did on Larry Johnson. He was so ready to play and prove himself that now he plays angry and mean all the time. I don't see that in Jackson. He was handed the job and I don't think he was completely ready. Talent, yes. Desire, not enough.

  6. #36
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: For the "Jackson Stinks" Crowd: Explain This

    I don't see any lack of desire in Jackson. Just a lack of blocking, lack of passing threat, and lack of a commitment to the running game.

  7. #37
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    Re: For the "Jackson Stinks" Crowd: Explain This

    I don't see any lack of desire in Jackson. Just a lack of blocking, lack of passing threat, and lack of a commitment to the running game.
    And that's your peroggative but those are the same exact reasons that I was cutting Marshall some slack last year and why I thought he should be more involved this year.

    Jackson may be the future but I don't think he was versatile enough to carry the load this year and I think his frustration is starting to show in lack of overall effectiveness. He's not getting the carries that he wants but he's not capitalizing with the one's that he does get. Faulk's been looking better than Jackson when things got tough and I just don't think Jackson was quite ready this year to be the sole rb in this offense.

  8. #38
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    Re: For the "Jackson Stinks" Crowd: Explain This

    Quote Originally Posted by moklerman
    Increasing Jackson's carries from 134 in 2004 to around 180 this year would have been what I would have done. Decreasing Faulk's from 195 to around the same 180 to balance things out and I think they both would have been more productive as well as healthy.
    Faulk claimed he wanted a reduced role to allow him to play longer. How does a decrease of 15 carries give him that reduced role?

    Furthermore, do you think there's some guy on the sideline tallying how many touches Faulk gets, and then runs over to the head coach saying how Faulk needs more or less to get to his target number? This isn't the Randy Ratio in Minnesota. I would really hope the Rams' coaching staff are delegating their time to more important things than making sure Faulk gets a predetermined number of touches.

    That said, Faulk touched the ball 245 times last season (17.5 touches per game), and it was too much for him to duplicate in 2005 if he wanted to continue playing long-term. I agree that his 6.4 touches per game have been too low, but what's interesting is that while Faulk has seen a drastic decrease in his touches running the football, he's only eight receptions away from matching his 2004 production as a receiver. The Rams have reduced the number of carries he gets as a runner, where he's going to get smashed and slammed by linemen and backers, but have kept his role as a receiver relatively the same. I don't necessarily disagree with that strategy, even though I'd prefer to see him touch the ball a bit more in the running game.
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  9. #39
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    Re: For the "Jackson Stinks" Crowd: Explain This

    [Off topic] Blankman, good to see you! 'Been awhile.

    Sorry we meet again under such Ram circumstances...

  10. #40
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    Re: For the "Jackson Stinks" Crowd: Explain This

    Faulk claimed he wanted a reduced role to allow him to play longer. How does a decrease of 15 carries give him that reduced role?
    Well, that's about a 10% decrease from the previous year when he didn't carry the ball much at all. I don't remember Faulk saying that he wanted a reduced role from his 2004 numbers in particular so it's a bit of a reach anyway.
    Furthermore, do you think there's some guy on the sideline tallying how many touches Faulk gets, and then runs over to the head coach saying how Faulk needs more or less to get to his target number?
    I don't know where you're coming up with this exact numbers scenario. Most teams do have an idea of how many carries a back is targeted to get though--wait, we're talking about the Rams. Nevermind. Martz doesn't even know which rb's in the game so I doubt there's any plan there at all.

    I think that you'd agree that 180 carries in a season is a relatively low number for an NFL rb so targeting that number for both Faulk and Jackson are realistic for my scenario. It would have kept Faulk involved but not overworked and it would have increased Jackson's carries from his rookie season getting him more involved but not relying solely on him for a running game.

  11. #41
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    Re: For the "Jackson Stinks" Crowd: Explain This

    This is not really a Jackson vs. Faulk thread (though it seems to have become one). The point of the thread is that, to the extent that Jackson has had troubles, you can't discount the impact of poor line play.

    I have little doubt that, if Faulk had been the primary runner behind this year's line, he too would have struggled to exceed 4 ypc.

    Put either back behind Denver or KC's line... different story.

  12. #42
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    Re: For the "Jackson Stinks" Crowd: Explain This

    This is not really a Jackson vs. Faulk thread (though it seems to have become one).
    Sometimes I marvel at your interpretation of things Avenger.

    This isn't Faulk vs. Jackson it's about Faulk being under and misused.

  13. #43
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    Re: For the "Jackson Stinks" Crowd: Explain This

    Quote Originally Posted by Blankman71
    I hope Richie contributes, too. I also hope he doesn't aid us in leading the league in penalties if he does.
    Good to see you back around the Clan, Blankman. Richie might get ejected from a game or two due to fighting, but he's disciplined enough to avoid the common Claude penalties.

    I haven't been able to see as many Rams games as some this season, but my thoughts mirror what has already been said:

    1. O-Line is half too old and half too inexperienced.

    2. Playcalling... predictable [first down runs, calling run plays in streaks] and toss sweeps geared for Faulk's style don't help Jackson much. It seems like the running plays are designed as all-or-nothing type runs, instead of trying to get a consistent gain. It was frustrating to see Faulk as his days as a starter were winding down, getting stuffed in the backfield before he had a chance to make a move. Seeing the same complaints with Jackson this year, I have to point to playcalling.

    3. Jackson runs tentatively because of the two points above and the fact that he is only 22 years old. He hasn't been given many opportunities to get comfortable with the running game, as a big part of his style is wearing out the defense throughout the game with consistent 1-5 yard runs. With Jamie Fitzpatrick starting at quarterback, it also allows the defense to key a little more on S.J.

  14. #44
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    Re: For the "Jackson Stinks" Crowd: Explain This

    Here's a good article explaining one way to scheme a successful running game...

    Groundswell

    by Paul Attner

    Posted: December 7, 2005

    It is the winter after his first season as Broncos coach and Mike Shanahan is troubled. His running game is not as dominant as he would like, with too many negative plays. And he's concerned that the finesse aspects of his West Coast offense are not projecting the image he desires for his team. So he and Alex Gibbs, his offensive line coach and friend, devise something uniquely their own -- a curiously different run approach that calls for zone blocking built on a foundation of toughness and physicality.

    Ten years later, the brilliance of their creation is at its peak. The running scheme born from their talented minds drives the NFL's two top rushing teams. The Broncos and Falcons are grinding toward franchise-record running seasons, their playoff desires grounded firmly in the intricacies of the league's most devilish and intriguing method of line blocking.

    For the Falcons, their success on the ground follows a 2004 season in which Gibbs, in his first and only year as their full-time line coach, transformed Atlanta's running game from mediocre to No. 1 in the league. It's a status the team has maintained this season with a 177.8 yards-per-game average that projects as the NFL's highest in 35 years. For the Broncos, their running prowess offers them a potential ball control solution to overcoming the Colts in January.

    The effectiveness of this rushing scheme is fascinating, considering all the analysis it has endured by the best defensive minds the league could offer. These clubs have the NFL's two smallest lines -- both average less than 300 pounds -- and neither has a player atop the rushing standings. Yet Atlanta has gained 200 or more yards in five games, and Denver's 162.7-yard average projects to the highest of the 11-year Shanahan era, during which the Broncos have the most running yards of any NFL franchise.

    This season, the two teams also are 1-2 in two important and revealing categories: yards per carry (each averages more than 5.0) and lowest percentage of attempts resulting in lost yards.

    Let's embark on an exploration to uncover the secrets behind this Bronco Scheme, an approach that doesn't pull guards and tackles, doesn't employ the counter trey and doesn't feature many traps or draws yet is so amazingly successful.

    The first time Falcons running back Warrick Dunn tries to be creative by making a couple of moves before cutting into a hole, he hears the voice of Gibbs. "One cut downhill ... one cut downhill," Gibbs screams. It was Dunn's introduction last season to the demanding details of the Bronco Scheme. "There is just one way to do everything they ask," he says. "Or you don't play."

    Denver and Atlanta don't have many running plays. The Broncos, for example, might bring no more than 12 into a game. But the success of the scheme is not tied to quantity; it excels because of the ability of the offense to execute with precision the exacting requirements of each of these few plays. Behind all of it has been the bellowing of Gibbs, first in Denver and now in Atlanta, where he serves this season as a consultant who spends a few days each week with the team. This 5-7 bundle of passion, vulgarity and brilliance -- his players joke he is Napoleon on speed -- mixes demeaning authoritarianism and an incredible grasp of the concepts into success. An eccentric football genius with a doctorate in education, he crashed and burned in Denver in 2000, finally needing psychiatric help and medication.

    Yet Gibbs became Jim Mora's most important hire as a rookie head coach in 2004. No NFL rushing method could make better use of Michael Vick's talents, considering how the Bronco Scheme, with its focus on inside runs, functions best with the bona fide outside threat of quarterback bootlegs.

    "To make their system complete, you need to fear the quarterback running that boot to your weak side," Bucs linebackers coach Joe Barry says. "With Atlanta, you have a freaking rocket ship coming out of there at quarterback. The whole scheme is a ***** to defend. Both teams don't do a lot. So no matter what the defense does, they are able to practice against it because they aren't bogging down their players with too many runs." It's what Redskins defensive line coach Greg Blache calls the "Colonel Sanders" philosophy: "They do one thing well; they do chicken right." But having Vick gives the Falcons the edge over Denver in rushing. He has 470 yards this season after gaining 902 yards -- the third most by a quarterback in NFL history -- in 2004.

    Yet the Bronco Scheme doesn't need a Vick to excel. Shanahan has produced five different 1,000-yard rushers -- most of whom have been low-round draft choices -- including 1995 sixth-round pick Terrell Davis, who gained 2,008 yards in 1998. Ron Dayne, a flop with the Giants, set up the winning field goal against Dallas on Thanksgiving with a 55-yard overtime run. "He is a 1,000-yard rusher in our system as a starter," says Shanahan matter-of-factly. Oh, yes, Dayne is a third-string back. In Atlanta, Dunn, who rushed for 1,106 yards last season, already has accumulated 1,174 this fall, a career high for the ninth-year veteran.

    So it's the system, not the backs, right? Not really. The Broncos never sign a jitterbug back whose instincts push him toward multiple fakes and ad-lib scrambles. Dunn had those tendencies pre-Gibbs; to function in the system, he has transformed himself. He now is a one-cut runner whose goal on every carry is to avoid negative yards. So if there is no hole, he plows ahead anyway. "We're taught to gain at least a blade of grass on every attempt," says Falcons fullback Fred McCrary. If you are indecisive and unwilling to be tough and run downhill, you won't run for these teams.

    Still, it is what happens up front, among the athletic, quick and, for the NFL, small linemen that makes the Bronco Scheme different and so effective. To uncover why, we need to go to the videotape.

    On the huge screen is a football choreography contrary to anything you'd anticipate about this most muscular of sports. In lock step, linemen move:

    shoulders square, in perfect balance, sliding effortlessly down the scrimmage line, nearly 1,500 pounds of nimbleness -- a dance of intricacy and precision. These images, on this large screen within the headquarters of NFL Films, display the foundation of all that has been dominant about the Bronco Scheme. Before T.J. Duckett or Mike Anderson can gain a yard, their linemen must first become Baryshnikovs in shoulder pads, drilled to work in unison, geared to frustrate defenders unable to crack the formidable barrier presented by this picket fence in motion.

    Several years ago, Denver's linemen had another term to describe their meticulousness.

    Trained seals.

    Here on the screen, the current Broncos linemen are working against the Redskins' defense. The usual NFL approach to run blocking is macho-oriented. You take on opponents man-to-man, firing straight into them alone or in tandem with a teammate, with the goal to knock them up the field, away from the line and apart from each other. The ultimate triumph of this mentality is the pancake block -- sending the defender onto his derriere. But the Bronco Scheme is based on zone blocking, in which you worry about protecting an area and the defenders who intrude into it. The movement is lateral, not straight ahead. The pivotal word here is stretch -- the linemen want to stretch the field and force the defense to run laterally with them. The more it stretches, the more creases open for the running back.

    On virtually every stretch play, you will see multiple double-teams by the linemen -- what they call a "hat and one-half" on each down defender. The heads of the linemen are always up; they are constantly looking, moving. Once the double-teamed defender is under control, one of the Broncos' linemen will split away seamlessly and move to the next zone, the next opponent, lending help to another teammate. Or he will scurry to the next level to hunt down linebackers and safeties. On the backside, away from the direction of the running back, the linemen frequently use cut blocks -- blocks aimed at the thighs and rolled to the feet -- to knock down defenders and limit pursuit. It is a controversial block -- defensive players hate it because it attacks their legs -- but it is legal and has a purpose.

    "You knock down a 330-pound nose tackle for three quarters and he is really tired in the fourth," says FOX and Sporting News analyst Brian Baldinger, a former NFL lineman and our videotape guide on this day. "So all of a sudden he is too fatigued to make the same tackle he made in the first half. And that

    3-yard run becomes a 30-yarder." So the Bronco Scheme preaches patience. "It is a philosophy," says Mora. "You have to stay with the run and not abandon it. You have to have the mentality that the big plays will happen, that the big holes will be there." On third-and-5 or -6, when most teams pass, these two clubs just as often run, frequently from three-receiver sets. The Falcons average almost 35 carries a game, the Broncos 33. The rest of the league averages 27.

    It is so maddening and methodical, this unrelenting stretch-the-field approach. "They block everything so it looks like an outside run, but it's not," says Dolphins middle linebacker Zach Thomas. "They're not trying to get to the edge; they are trying to run between the tackles. But they're moving the line sideways and waiting for you to commit. It's tough because everything you're taught to do on an outside run is to attack, and you have to fight your instincts." Because if a defender attacks, that's when he's nudged out of the way and the runner cuts into the resulting hole. Or, if the defense really overpursues, he cuts dramatically, in back of everyone. And that's when the scheme's emphasis on cutting down backside pursuit and sending linemen upfield to help receivers block linebackers and defensive backs leads to long gains.

    "If we are running it well, you can hear defensive guys muttering to themselves in the fourth quarter," Falcons right guard Kynan Forney says. "They are tired, they don't want to tackle anymore. Basically, they lose life; you can feel it." To constantly move sideways and stay in front of defenders requires players with quickness and athleticism. Both franchises have found these linemen mostly in the lower rounds; five of the 10 starters were picked after the fourth round, and another, Denver left tackle Matt Lepsis, was an undrafted college tight end. But the Bronco Scheme allows someone such as Denver center Tom Nalen (6-3, 286) to become a dominant player, a potential Hall of Famer.

    "They play with a great awareness," Baldinger says. "They don't block guys who have no chance of making a play. And they give a defense so much to think about: the stretch, the cutback, the bootleg, the reverse. It slows defenses down, makes them have to play perfect on every snap."

    It also is why Shanahan was eager to bring in Jake Plummer to replace slow-footed Brian Griese at quarterback two years ago. With Griese, the bootleg part of the scheme disappeared; with Plummer, it has returned with a flourish.

    "It takes smart people to play this system," former Broncos lineman David Diaz-Infante says. "The guys are so good at knowing who to block. If a defense gives you an eight-man front or stunts or blitzes, the guys know how their assignment changes, and they make the changes immediately as the play is evolving on the field. That's why they are so sound play after play."

    But the linemen also function within a strange code of conduct formulated by Gibbs, who boycotts the media. In both Denver and Atlanta, usually only one lineman gives interviews. Otherwise, an internal kangaroo court fines linemen even for having their name mentioned in stories. "It's all part of what you learn as a young lineman," Broncos right tackle George Foster says. "There is a standard on and off the field, and you are expected to live up to it. Otherwise, you don't last." Even current line coaches Rick Dennison in Denver and Jeff Jagodzinski in Atlanta buy into the silence. Jagodzinski, in his first season as line coach, still is learning from Gibbs. But Dennison, who has a masters in civil engineering, has excelled since replacing Gibbs. "I don't think I have been with a coach as bright as he is," Shanahan says.

    What also hasn't changed is the difficulty of neutralizing the Bronco Scheme. Familiarity helps. Division rival Tampa plays the Falcons twice a season and has found that its own quickness has created problems for Atlanta's offense. But for teams such as the Jaguars, who have played Denver the past two seasons, preparation for the scheme is more taxing. "What the scheme does," says Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Smith, "is force you to be solid in gap integrity. They want to get two of their guys in the gap, and we can't let them do that or it opens up a run lane. They want to push you sideways, by the hole. So you have to be disciplined and have your color uniform in each gap. Then they give you all the window dressing with different formations and motion and all, and you have to cut through that, too."

    If you have a defensive front such as Jacksonville's, which is strong and athletic enough to push upfield and cut into the lateral flow, suddenly the picket fence breaks. You don't want gap penetrators but rather gap maintainers who can shove the Bronco Scheme linemen backward. Still, so far this season, no team has held Atlanta under 115 yards rushing, and its average per game is 10.8 yards higher than last year's club record. Since two sub-100-yard rushing games to open the schedule, the Broncos have gained no fewer than 121 yards, and there is a chance Anderson and Tatum Bell might become the first backs under Shanahan to each gain 1,000 in the same season.

    "You may not win championships because you run the ball well," says Shanahan, owner of two Super Bowl rings, "but it certainly gives you a better chance than if you can't."

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    Re: For the "Jackson Stinks" Crowd: Explain This

    It's not been our backs or qb's fault in the last several years Marshall and Kurt are more than capable of producing pro-bowl #s if we only had a line that would block on every down! Steven and marc are seeing that up front and personal these days. Kurt and Marshall are always getting the blame for either being too old and losing a step or his hand is damaged and finished as a QB..............You give me a line that can block and I'll give you 2 record setters or league leaders! Whether it be Marshall and Kurt or Marc and Marshall or Steven and Marc! The line has been terrible for several years! If the Rams could get a few linemen that would block I guarantee that we'd be back with the Elite! Utilize the Dline too would help! Bigger bodies up front and the tweeners outside i promise would put more heat on the qb and help the secondary out tremendously!

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