February 29, 2012

Broncos Blog March & April Schedule

Well guys and gal, I have updated the Honor Wall pictures. I also changed Champ's picture since I believe I found a better one.

But the main reason for this post is to let you know about the stuff I am planning for the next few months leading up to the draft.

In the next week or two before Free Agency starts I hopefully will have the last Review piece on the Quarter Back done and also the piece on the DJ, Woodyard comparison.

Following that I think those next two weeks of March (March 13th) leading up to April will be focused on keeping you all up-to-date on the transactions and hopefully signings for the Broncos.

Then in early April once I have a better idea of what the team will be focusing on in the draft I will start to do some prospect posts based on positions.

About a week out from the draft I will post up Aussie's Mock Draft in pretty much the same way I did last year. Also in that last week leading up to the draft I will be running the Broncos Blog Draft Guru comp again with an all new points system. (Let's go Digger!)

Then of course we will be focused on the draft and the prospects we select.

Therefore a busy few months, stay tuned and enjoy. ~ Aussie.

February 27, 2012

Broncos Honor Wall Update

Over the last month I have run a poll to find the Broncos Top 5 players that should be enshrined on our honor wall. We had a good number of votes which was great to see and all players got some love. We had a total of 46 votes over the month. The poll results are as follows:

Tim Tebow - 29
Champ Bailey - 29
Von Miller - 29
Elvis Dumervil - 23
Willis McGahee - 22
Demayrius Thomas - 21
Matt Prater - 14
Ryan Clady - 12
Chris Kuper - 11
DJ Williams - 10
Brian Dawkins - 10
Brandon Colquitt - 8
Quinton Carter - 6
Orlando Franklin - 6
JD Walton - 6

Out of the 46 votes Tebow, Champ and Miller picked up 29 votes to keep their position. Willis McGahee picked up 22 votes to keep his. The new addition to the wall is an old addition, Dumervil. He picked up 23 votes to replace Dawkins on the wall who only picked up 10 votes. This I thought was good to see, it reflects what happened through the season. Dawkins faded towards the end of the year where as Dumervil came on really strong.

A huge mention should go to Demayrius who picked up 21 votes and was a single vote off a top 5 spot. Honorable mention should go to Prater, Clady and Kuper who picked up 14, 12 and 11 votes respectively.

Now onto the pictures. We need to find a new picture to put up for Dumervil and whether we should do any updates for the others?

Here is a few choices for Doom. You can find some pics for the players if you want, just make sure they are at least 275 pixels wide and it is easier if they are taller than they are wide.


Sound off in the comments for which pic you want and whether we should update the others. ~ Aussie.

February 24, 2012

Broncos 2011 Review: Coaches

Now time to look at the coaches.

John Fox
At the start of the season the Broncos were looking for their new starting head coach. Elway, Xanders and a few others undertook a number of interviews of different candidates for the head coaching position. In hindsight there was really ever only one choice for the position. It was the only interview that Pat Bowlen sat in on and that was for John Fox. To begin with I was unsure of the move and saw it as a very safe approach. John Fox wasn't the 'sexist' pick out there but he was a good coach. The main problem I had with Fox was he was known to not be very creative and repeatedly did the same thing over and over again. It is the mark of a good coach that they can be innovative and get the best out of his players. I was hoping and crossed about every part of my body as I could that Fox had learned from his experiences in Carolina and would adapted as a coach.

It was an interesting start to the season. Fox had to get accustom to the roster quickly and make decisions about players and the shape of the team that he wanted to run. Many players were not ready and quick decisions had to be made and one of the safest ways to do this is to start the veteran with experience. Fox did this at a number of positions and one of the key ones was Quarterback and starting 'Fainting Goat' Orton. With what Fox saw and the team he envisioned running you can not fault Fox for picking Orton over the other quarterbacks he had at the time. It was probably the right move.

Luckily for us fans Orton was Orton and the fainting goat returned. This lead to one of the biggest decision of the year, changing to your back up Quarterback....Tim Tebow. For me this showed huuuuugggggeeeee balls on Fox's part and major props goes to McCoy and Fox for transforming the offense to suit Tebow's style. Can you just picture for a second if Tebow had gone 0-6 instead of 6-0 during that stretch. If he had we could very well be looking for a new coach. It was a massive call and Fox put a lot of stock into Tebow.

Of course we know what follows. The Broncos rally around Tebow and they make the playoffs. One thing does worry me is how flat the Broncos came out against the Patriots. It is a key part of Fox's job that he gets these players pumped and ready for the game. It has me a little concerned that for the really big games that Fox can't get his message across. But the game the week before was emotionally draining so I will say it was a wash for now.

In summary Fox was a great hire, he showed me that he has learned from his experiences and continues to improve his coaching skills. His effect on the team and positive energy he supplied was evident throughout the year and the Broncos record reflected that. Plus since he had such an impressive year he also finished third in the voting for head coach of the year. Fox could be our coach for a long time and will need something catastrophic to happen before he is removed. Here's to a well coached season Fox.

Mike McCoy
McCoy was brought on as apart of Josh McDaniels staff to be offensive coordinator but played second fiddle to McD who called the plays. After McD was fired McCoy took over the play calling duties and when Orton could not continue he had his first experience tailoring the offense to Tebow. As we know Tebow started off slow in Oakland, showed promise against Houston and was solid against San Diego. A lot of credit should go to McCoy for easing Tebow into the starting role and then opening it up a bit in the following games.

At the start of this season McCoy was kept on the staff by Fox and was handed the play calling duties. Over the first 5 games he was ok but not great at the position, the team of course struggled mightily but he continued to grow as the year went on. A lot changed when Tebow was named the starter. After trying to run their tradition offense for a few weeks it was obvious to McCoy and Fox that Tebow was not prepared enough through TC and practice to run that offensive efficiently. They decided to add elements to the offense that Tebow knew so well, the read-option stuff he had run in college. This like Fox making the decision to turn to Tebow showed huge balls from the two that they were willing to change the offense to help Tebow succeed. In a way it worked, the Broncos had the number one running attack in the league.

Many people my self included were frustrated with some of his play calling. Things like runs on 3rd and long, no crossing routes, not much of a screen game, only running two or three WRs down field on passing plays and tight ends didn't see much love. These problems persisted as the year went on and annoyed fans. It was difficult to watch some times when you knew what play was coming and the continuous 3 and out series killed fans inside. But whether by design or just purer luck it all sort of my sense in the end. Leading into the playoffs the Broncos had ran something like 28 times from 29 on first down. So on first down in OT against the Steelers, the Steelers secondary were playing the run and moved up into the box. Play action pass, 80 yard run for a touchdown and the Mile High Goodbye was born.

Since the Broncos had such an successful season and that McCoy had been a large part to that, he started getting offers for head coaching positions. But he was not successful and is staying in Denver. Some had wished he had left but I am in different. He is a good coach but he needs to show improvement. Be a little more diverse in your play calling and when you run pass plays set them up to succeed. Use rub and crossing routes. But I think he knows that already. With a full offsesaon of training ahead of him the team should be more familiar with the plays and be able to do a few more things then in recent years. Here's to a good season ahead.

Dennis Allen
Allen was brought in at the start of this year to be the first defense coach under head coach Fox. Allen had previously been the secondary coach at the Saints and he showed up with glowing reviews from his previous employers. He was the prodigy that would be taught and guided by Fox on the nuances of the defensive side of the ball. The Broncos defense showed a marked improvement from previous years' seasons under Allen going from last to middle of the pack. One key reason was we were finally able to stop the run. The Broncos defense under Allen managed to always keep the Broncos within reach of winning the games. Though there were a few blowouts this could be put down to the offense as much as the defense itself.

There are a number of reasons why the Broncos defense improved and one of them is Allen. Though he had a better squad of players to coach and more focused input from the big boys upstairs, Allen also demonstrated creative and aggressiveness. His weapon of choice none other than Von Miller. What Allen did to move Miller around to take advantage of his skill set was great to see. Sending him up the A great was a stroke of genius. Allen does deserve credit for helping retool and get the best out of the defense. But there was skill a lot of work to be done....

Unfortunately since Allen had done a such good job and the Raiders are the Raiders they stole Allen away from us to be their Head Coach. Allen went from secondary coach, to defensive coordinate to head coach in two years and that is impressive. But Allen leaves the team with a half completed job to take on an even harder job with the Raiders. Luckily for us we picked up Jack Del Rio and the defense shouldn't skip a beat. To Allen I say I hope you crash and burn and lead the Raiders to failure.

That is the coaching review all done so.....we gone! ~ Aussie.

February 22, 2012

Broncos 2011 Review: Free Agency

The free agency period of 2011 happened for the first time AFTER the draft. For me this is the way I prefer it to happen. You select the players in the draft for your starting spots and you fill the holes left in FA. Of course this year it is back to it's original form. Last year though following the draft the Broncos did exactly what I said before, they went out and filled key holes in their roster. After the draft the triple threat EFX knew they needed another running back, defensive linemen and some veteran tight ends to go with their newly drafted rookies.

The top prize of our free agents would be Ty Warren.

Ty Warren - Signed
Was the biggest name to be signed to the Broncos and we as fans had high expectations. Warren had been dominate in his youth and a key component of the Patriots big three along the defensive line. But he did miss a number of games over the previous seasons due to injuries. With the Broncos he did not last much longer as he was injured and lost for the season with a triceps injury. He is still under contract with the Broncos and we again will have high expectations for the coming season.

Willis McGahee - Signed
The best SIGNING by the Broncos in 2011. He started off the year as the back up to Knowshon Moreno but quickly took over the starting job. As a 30 year old RB we were not expecting much and thought he would be a good back up, but wow. He had a great bounce back year and topped the rushing numbers for the Broncos.

Willis McGahee24911994.86010479.93352

His 4.8 yard average was very solid. He only had 4 touchdowns though, I would like to see him get some more. Plus get rid of those fumbles, having 3 and losing all 3 is bad.

His receiving number are also interesting, he didn't do much in total but when you realise he only had one completion from Tebow over those 11 games it makes you wonder what changed.

Jonathan Wilhite - Signed
Wilhite was signed late in the offseason and rushed into the starting line up as the nickel. But he was outshined by Harris and replaced soon after. Wilhite burst onto the scene with his two sacks early in the year but dropped off after that. He is a project player and will probably be a back up going into the future.

Jonathan Wilhite253282.0180212200000

Brodrick Bunkley -Trade
For the first time in a long time a trade that worked out really well for us. Bunk started off the year interestingly. He was not wanted by the Eagles who first tried to trade him to Cleveland. But in yet another dumb move by Cleveland they didn't clear Bunk medically and the trade was void. Step in the Broncos who traded for Bunk and cleared him medically. Bunk would go on to play every single game this season for us (that ones for Hillis!). The pick up of the year by far for our defense and really solidified the defensive line for this season. Bunk didn't get any sacks this year but that really isn't the position he plays. He is a run stopper and did a great job of it this year.

Brodrick Bunkley3310430.003000000000

Hopefully we resign him. For next season keep doing what you have been doing and try to sneak out a few sacks.

Daniel Fells
Fells had a decent year and made a number of clutch catches through the season. He was the only tight end to do anything significant this season.

Daniel Fells193125613.5332416.0218813

He did have 3 touchdowns this year but I expect the return of JT and improvement from Green will mean Fells becomes an after thought.

Dante Rosario
Didn't do much this year for us, had only 7 catches. He was released and resigned at some point too. I don't expect him to hang around long.

David Anderson
Anderson was an interesting one. The Broncos brass was very high on Anderson when they first signed him but at the time he came into a crowded WR corp. With Lloyd, Decker, Royal locking down spots and with Thomas and Willis waiting in the wings Anderson didn't make it on the roster and was released.

Derrick Harvey
After failing in Jacksonville the Broncos gave Harvey a lifeline in a very low risk, possibly high reward deal. But Harvey didn't crack the starting rotation and was a healthy scratch all year. It will be interesting to see what his old head coach/new defense coach Del Rio will do with him.

Jeremy Jarmon -Trade
Jarmon was apart of another failed trade by the Broncos. When Jarmon was brought into the Broncos there was high hopes for him. The belief that going from a 3-4 to his favoured 4-3 would help him burst onto the scene. But he flopped and was released by the team (he was signed to a future contract but I don't have high hopes for him). This trade was made even worse by the fact the Broncos traded WR Jabar Gaffney who in the previous season had career high numbers only to beat them in Washington with even better numbers. Throw in the fact the Broncos now lack that veteran presence in the receiving corps this is currently up there with one of the worst trades I can think of in recent memory.

The Broncos free agency signings last year were some good and some bad. It is also interesting to note that there is no high prized FA in that lot but that doesn't mean the Broncos didn't try to get one. There are a few I haven't included like practice squad signings as they haven't done much. I think this year the Broncos will try to do much of the same. Try to sign players to fit specific holes or upgrade the talent at a specific level then draft high talented players at specific positions. It is going to be an interesting few months. March 13 mark it down ~ Aussie.

February 14, 2012

Madden 12 Review

Where to being with this one... Last year I had no hope for Madden 11 being a good game. Before EA even released the game they said a whole lot of the new main features, the things fans had been asking for for years, would be included in the next iteration, Madden 12. Why then did they even release Madden 11? Which only had a few new features to the gameplay and another butchered attempted at a menu system. This is the heart of the problem with Madden. It is released every year and makes EA a bucket load of money while only adding a few knew features and taking several steps back. There has been nothing groundbreaking about the game in years, this must change.

(Note: I wrote a list of all the things I wanted to talk about in this review/rant before I started the article, reminders, and it just kept getting bigger and bigger.)

First I want to take a look at my favorite aspect of Madden, Franchise mode. By this I mean the offline franchise mode where you can build your dynasty or burn your team into a smoking heap (Raiders). I personally thoroughly enjoy this game mode as I love taking my Broncos, who are usually below average in the game, to greatness. This year the guys at EA Sports had promised that they had added numerous features and spent a vast majority of time making this and Superstar mode much better.

To be honest I was super pumped for this game because of this reason. Two of the main game modes of Madden would finally be given some much needed addition.

So envision if you will my first time with Madden. I load it up, update the rosters (I didn't want Orton on our team) and started off my franchise. The first thing you see when your franchise loads up is a picture of your team versus it's next opponent and a background image of that city. That was it, nothing else. Since the first game is the first preseason game I thought maybe it would change over the season. It didn't. I can't tell you how much I was disappointed when yet again Franchise mode had missed on a key aspect of the game that makes it so fun. Note there is a menu system, but it isn't displayed and is opened through a few button clicks.

The reason I play franchise mode is not to play the games but to do all the other fun stuff. Sign players, draft players, hire coaches, watch those players I believed in grow and get better. There is nothing better in Madden then finding that guy who doesn't rate very good but you say 'hey i believe he may be great' and then watching him succeed. Following that underdog. The main stuff that is involved in running the franchise. The games themselves are a mean to an end. Want a perfect season? Sure I will play every game. But I am interested in the stats, what other teams are doing, the scouting, injuries, all that stuff. The problem is this Madden doesn't display that information in a timely and easy manner to use. You waste more time navigating then doing the things you want to do. Madden can do this effectively and efficient and has done it in the past. Maybe bring in someone that is an expert in user interfaces and understands how this sort of stuff should be done, as at the moment it is clear you do not know how.

The Stats hub is one example of this and I ain't a fan of it. Well I think it can be done better. There is a lot of time spent on not important screens with very little information. For example navigating to the season stats page for your team is done by numerous button clicks. Then there is other screens which are the opposite, they don't have enough info on them, like doing the owner tasks. You would think doing the owner activities would be an important part of franchise mode but it seems more like an after thought. For one doing stadium upgrades, you can select to do heaps of them but it never shows the teams total income or budget so you don't know if you are spending money you have or not. That is a problem if you are getting 20 million dollar jumbotron. Then you have ones like the coaches hiring screen. Which is small and compacted together. It is hard to find information on the coaches, like their ratings or their previous records with clubs and I thought this would have been important information in making coaching hires. These are all things that could be done better.

Moving on, after playing for several hours over a few days I had completed my first season and was deep into offseason scouting of players I wanted to draft. This is where I came across one of the first bugs I would have to endure while playing this game. I had just completed scouting players but before I wanted to start the draft I just wanted to go over the list of players and sort of design a plan of attack, who in what round etc. The screen that lists all the scouted players (and pretty much every other screen) has a progress button (it is start on the PS3) that should take you to the next activity in this case the draft. I stupidly pressed the progress button but instead of taking me to the draft it took me to the rookie signing screen which is the next thing you do after drafting your rookies. But to my horror it had skipped the draft completely and I had not drafted any players, so this rookie signing screen was empty. Can you imagine the rage Elway would be in if he had a week long bender and missed the entire draft and didn't get anybody? That was the state I was in. I couldn't believe the stupid logic of the game and the fact it hadn't even sim'ed me some players. I got nothing, that is not a fun game. So I was faced with continuing as is or reloading a save file. I went save file which was an hour back in game play. This is when I asked myself the question why doesn't this game have an autosave feature? Pretty much every other game in the last 5 years has had one and there are more than enough loading screens in Madden to add one, so why then isn't there? Therefore I spent the next hour getting back to the same point and continuing on with the game.

Cut days are a really cool new feature of the game but it would be great if they actual worked. On more than one occasion it would skip a specific cut day. A bit of background, during the preseason there is 4 weeks of games. Each week you need to cut down a number of players, the order is 4, 4, 8 and 4 players. Note: I had settings set so cut days was a USER task and not a CPU (computer) task. I don't like playing the preseason games, there is no real point to them in this game. So I sim that week. At the end of each week it should ask you to finalize cuts and it does for weeks 1,2 and 4. But week 3 the biggest cut day, it for what ever reason would sim through the week and since this is the biggest cut week of 8 players it is quite frustrating when your trying to evaluate players and want to keep some. What is even more frustrating was some times it does sim it and others it doesn't, it was an random happening. So another cool idea broken by a bug.

I thought signing naming rights of stadiums was quite funny. Why? Because no matter what company you sign with for the naming rights the names on the stadiums never change. Also there is no SAF@MH on the Denver stadium, it still has the Invesco field logos all over it.

Scouting I think could be done better or differently. As we know in the real world NFL teams have scouting reports on almost every people coming into the league through the draft, 300+ guys. But in Madden you can only scout 20 at most and is harder when you try to spread that 20 over more players at the different events. So the draft becomes more of a cr*pshot, you may get one top guy that you are targeting but the others are random. A system that provides more (easily accessed) information but doesn't give away the stat ratings could be quite useful.

Finally head shots, in previous games head shots have been animated models of the players or maybe just blank. In this game their is a recycle system of head shots, with lesser players being used more than once. This I like there are a lot of players out there that no one knows about so it can be done. But when you get 3 players on the same team with the same head shot it loses its appeal. Also I thought it was funny seeing a head shot of Dre Bly on a defensive lineman.

Enough of franchise, moving on the main other game mode that you can play is Superstar. In a word it is 'Boring'. There is nothing interesting here, you create a player, play games or do 10 reps of training, update your player stats and then rinse and repeat. I was bored with this after half a season let alone playing an entire career that spans a decade. Superstar over the years has taken steps backwards. EA has removed more and more things from this game mode over the years so it is less about the 'Superstar' and more like 'A Player', it is dull and boring. For me I can see the prospect of this game mode being great, I for one think it could be its very own game (to get the level of attention it probably needs) and since we all know EA is about money why not have two games on the market instead of one. I think there are so many cool and interesting things you could do with a Superstar game. You could throw in a little sand-box elements, have a story line like what Fight Night Champions did. There are just so many different ideas to choose from and do with this that I am surprised it hasn't happened yet. But EA sports haven't been the best at being creative....

Back to Superstar mode itself. One of the main reason superstar was sooooo boring was the load screens. They are numerous through out this mode and you spend way to much time on them. I think I spent more time waiting on load screens then actual playing the games themselves. That leads into another problem, the games. They for me were too short, you never really get deep involved into them, teams don't score over 20 points often and the stas are not correctly reflected. I played an MLB for my Superstar, over the seasons I played my LB lead my team with a tackle count ranging from 50-70. All other teams' MLB had 100+, which means your LB never compares well and won't be consisted for any awards. You would then think it would be an simple option of changing the game length so you could play longer games if you want. But NO! The option to do this is not available in Superstar and I really do not know why. I can understand the thinking, don't allow longer games so plays can run their stats up and get more points to upgrade their attributes. But who cares? So someone wants to play an hour long game than 3 short ones. Why do you care what they do? Plus it doesn't really matter about the points for attributes, if you do every training and play all your games you can max out your superstar in an season anyway.

So for a mode that was meant to have heavy develop into it not much was actual done. Change the menus, remove some features, add new stat system. Pretty much what EA Sports has been doing the last few years with Madden.

As with Franchise mode I did have some issues with Superstar, the big one was it crashed while trying to save superstar, luckily it didn't corrupt my PS3 save files, but I did have to load an old superstar save which I lost only an hours worth of game play. I almost gave up on the game then, but I kept playing in the hope of finding a reason to like this game.

Another issue that really annoyed me was that my contract was automatically resigned. My superstar after being drafted was automatically given a two year contract with the Rams (the team that drafted me) which I expected. I played out that contract and was looking forward to resigning else where, hopefully with the Broncos. I even had hopes that they may have an FA screen or something useful. Nope, it automatically resigned me to a 5 year 50 mil contract that I didn't want. I got no say in the decision. The only way to change teams in superstar for whatever reason is to request a trade. As we know this is not the way the world works and again shows me an lack of real effort on this game mode.

I'll add it here because the upcoming combine remained me of it. Why doesn't superstar have a combine system so you can set up your base stats and hopefully get drafted in the first round. Again there is a whole other game here.

Things I want, Other bugs and gripes
This will be a list of all the other things I could think of.

First the character models are outdated. Compared to the graphics and models of other games that come out in recent years Madden's character models are outdated, this should be improved.

Good running animations, will this ever be improved? I know in recent years they have tried to capture better running animations with players but it still isn't very good. Go out and get like 10 different running styles and set the players up with one. An idea I had would be to use the pro bowl or a preseason game and do a live motion capture of all the players. That way you get different animations by Professional players for every position. The NFL would have to give the green light on this but I can't see why not in a meaning less game like these.

One thing that annoyed me was the D-linemen all lineup at the exact same time in the same stance, it is a weird bent at the knees walk before putting your hand on the ground.

The worst one for me was the fist pumping QB and linemen at EVERY SINGLE coin toss. I have never seen this on Sunday.

I thought the game intros were poorly done. They just looked crappy for the level of game design we are accustom to today. Plus when your starting offensive players get announced as 'Starting Receiver' or 'Your Quarterback' there is no real reason to watch these. So skip.

Poor commentators, Cris Collinsworth is an good announcer but when he says the same thing over and over again or contradicts himself it gets quite annoying, like 'taking an arrow to the knee'. Some prime examples are if you play as the Broncos, ever time Colloinsworth will tell you that the term 'shutdown corner' was invented to describe Champ Bailey. One time (I don't remember the team I was playing) Colloinsworth was talking about their starting corner and how he 'doesn't believe in the term shut down corner' and this guy is as good as one. Then not a minute later he is introducing Champ and giving the invented 'Shutdown corner' line. So which one is it?

Why is instant replay done in standard definition? You go from the better looking players, to madden 2006 when you check the instant replay. Why the time travel?

I can see the effort that was put into showing the huge beautiful stadiums and the level of detail. But then why do you surround it with flat 2D cars in car parks and 2D trees, it ruins the picture. Da Vinci didn't let a 5 year old draw around the Mona Lisa.

I had trouble with framerate drops during the Intro screens for games.

Cheerleaders, for the love of God at least make them look like women. I have had enough of these figures that look like they are wearing nappies. Whoever the guy was that developed these must either hate his job or women.

I for one am not a fan of seeing other players on my home screen. I want to see Champ, Dawkins, Tebow not Raiders.

Sideline players, reactions on the sideline. This could be done better, show reaction when I guy goes out of bounds, that sort of thing.

A decent looking crowd. It hasn't changed since 2005, same looking people all waving at the same time, wow.

Realistic noise(s) for crowd and players. It hasn't changed in ages. Send a sound guy down to the field during a game and get all the audio you need.

Tackling Mechanics would be an nice addition to the game. I hate it when three or four players fall over while one person makes the tackle. In real life the player would be getting blasted from all angles. Plus what happened to gang tackles they had this two years ago.

I think it could be cool if they showed Tailgating fans before the game. Same with Locker room shots before, at half time and after the game.

Mascots! I want to see Miles pumping up the crowd.

In franchise I think it needs a Sports center during the week or NFL network or radio, something to cover the news of the week from around the league.

Tattoos! In previous games you could give players tattoos. This Madden no one has any, again why when most of the players are inked.

Make it easy to skip. Takes forever to skip the crap so you can get to the games.

The game definitely needs better player creation. For one you have to select from a preset of create heads to make your guy. There is no individuality here. I look at a game series like UFC Undisputed and they have really good player creation so your guy looks the one you want.

Here is a list of different things I have seen people request for the next Madden which you would be surprised to know used to be in Madden and were removed for whatever reason. First Create-A-Fan. Create your favorite team's fans by customizing your fan appearance with thousands of possible options for clothing, hats, face paint, wild team specific items and signs. Do you know this was in the game like 5 years ago. A drive summary after you score a TD, also was in the game at a point in time. Half time shows, removed and put back in. Create a new stadium, this used to be in the game! TD celebrations there use to be some really cool ones, not anymore. Create a play should be back.

For me I can overlook many of these types of issues in a game if the game is fun....but Madden 12 wasn't. And I felt bad because I had to buy this brand new to get the roster updates and online play, (Main reason is I didn't want Orton on my team, damn you Orton!).

When I look at this game It seems like over the last few years they spent too much time on the actual games themselves and forgot about the game modes which make playing all those games fun. EA sports lacks the balance of making improvements into both areas of the game. And this goes back to the timeframe they set for themselves of releasing a new game every year.

The game as it is now and what other games are currently out there, Madden I believe has come to end of life. It needs to be retooled and remade from the ground up. EA sports take at least a few years to make a decent game and deliver us the Madden we want and deserve. I will be one person that will be happy when EA Sports license on the NFL product runs out so it has some competition in the market because people still talk about ESPN NFL 2K5 and it came out in 2004.

Madden pick your game up. ~ Aussie.

February 7, 2012

Broncos 2011 Review: Draft Picks

Last years draft class looks to have been a success and has provided the team with a number of good quality players to move forward with. The Broncos made a total of 9 selections in the draft and each player is still currently with the team. Their seasons and information are as follows:

Von Miller - 1st Round, 2nd overall

Miller was selected with the 2nd pick in the draft and with that comes a lot of expected greatest. Which I believe Miller lived up to. He was the phenomenon and worth the 2nd pick and ever penny on his contract. I think Miller was the best player to come out of the draft this year...until he got hurt and had to wear the cast. If Miller can stay health and he continues to progress his sack numbers could be crazy high in the foreseeable future. His season totals are below:

Von Miller50146411.5778400002000

All I want Miller to do is become a complete linebacker. Learn to play the run and drop into coverage. Then he may become one of the greatest to ever play the position. It will be interesting to note how Del Rio uses Miller on defense next year.

Rahim Moore - 2nd Round - 45th overall

I dubbed Moore as Rahim 'Miss' Moore 'Tackles'. The number one reason he was benched was because he could not tackle. He started the year off well with the big highlight hit against the Bills but soon faded after that. I do not know why really? He took poor angles and struggled wrapping up the ball carry and there was no real reason for this. For now I am putting it down to nervous, lack of confidence and Rookieness. He will need to improve if he wishes to see the field again and not be another 2nd round bust.

Rahim Moore283310.00121181800100

Like I said Moore has talent, that is why he was drafted. But to play defense in the NFL you have to tackle. Till he learns that he will ride the bench and if he doesn't work it out in a year or two Champ will be playing in his FS spot.

Orlando Franklin - 2nd Round - 46th overall

Orlando was taking with the very next pick after Moore in the draft. The Big O didn't start the year off great in the passing game but improved out of sight as the year progressed. There is still adjustments and improvements to be made but he really took to the coaching and took his play to the point that I am happy to keep him at RT.

Nate Irving - 3rd Round - 67th overall

As hard as it has been to find a replacement QB for Elway it has been just as hard finding a replacement MLB for Wilson. Irving was the next great hope at MLB for the Broncos. His first year was a wash though. He played mostly special teams and barley saw the field. Even though the player ahead of him struggled all year long and lead the team in missed tackles. But I still have hope for Irving for two reasons. One it is hard to play MLB in the NFL, you have to be the QB of the defense and it takes time to learn opposing offensives, what calls need to be made and in what situations, running the D. The second is I have a feeling Irving was red shirted in much the same way as JT (Julius Thomas). Coach Fox has given Irving the year to get accustomed to the game and the defense. I expect big things in Training Camp this year.

Quinton Carter - 4th Round -108th overall

For me Carter was the pick of the draft. My reasoning being when you pick second overall you are meant to hit big with that pick and we did with Miller. In the 4th round it is a bit of skill and luck. To get a player of Carters calibre in the 4th round was a great pick. Carter started the year on the bench but with Moore's struggles and Dawkins injuries he saw pretty of playing time. Which he excelled at, he is a force over the middle and he tackles correctly most of the time.

Quinton Carter4511561.040000000000

For me he is too slow to play Free Safety, I see him as more of a banger like Dawkins at strong safety. For next season I want Carter to keep improving and learning the defense. And also carry over those picks from the playoffs into the regular season would be a big plus. But number one learn not to lead with your head to tackle, I would hate to see you in a wheelchair. Hit'em hard but with the shoulder.

Julius Thomas - 4th Round - 129th overall

Going into the season Thomas was known as a player with a high ceiling but a lot of work to do. It showed, Thomas struggled greatly with the blocking aspect of his position. He caught a few balls before he sustained a high ankle sprain injury and he struggled to return to the field for the rest of the season. Fox effectively red shirted Thomas for the year to get him more use to the physicality of the NFL and to hopefully understand the nuances of his position.

Moving forward this next season could be make or break for Thomas. If he can't make it physically in the NFL then he probably never will. Some of that is mental and it will be on him to over come it. He has talent and I would like to see him succeed.

Mike Mohamed - 6th Round - 189th overall

Mohamed had an interesting year. After being drafted he was released by the Broncos at the end of September. But was signed to the practice squad the following day. This is where he stayed till the end of November when he was moved to the active roster. His play was limited to that of special teams.

When you get later down in the draft it is hard for these players to make it in the NFL as most lack that raw athleticism that the NFL players have and Mohamed is one of them. If Mohamed can continue to improve and get better he may one day find himself in the starting rotation. For now he needs to continue his work and excel on special teams.

Virgil Green - 7th Round - 204th overall
Green is a little different to Mohamed in the sense he is extreme physically gifted but had a bit of an injury cloud. Green played the entire year for the Broncos and was one of their better blockers at the TE position. He only caught 3 passes on the year and will look to improve that. Green is not the biggest TE, he is in that tweener mold between WR and TE, much like Shannon Sharpe but he is more than fast enough. The saying 'too fast for LBs, too big for safeties' comes to mind with Green.

His ceiling like JT is very high and the Broncos FO I believe really likes him. Hopefully we see him get a bit more improved in the passing game this coming year.

Jeremy Beal - 7th Round - 247th overall

Beal had much the same year as Mohamed did. After being drafted he was released by the Broncos on the final cut day. The next day he was signed to the practice squad. He was the only drafted player to not make the first day roster of 53. Beal was signed to a future contract at the end of the year and will be back fighting for a position on the Broncos in 2012.

Beal going forward has a lot of work to do. He is a sack machine but has timed really slow for what ever reason. He needs a big camp and preseason to get a position otherwise he will go back on the PS or be released into obscurity.

Make sure to chill out and relax as FA is coming. ~ Aussie.

February 4, 2012

Von Miller - Defensive Rookie of the Year

Linebacker Von Miller earned the Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award and the Broncos were honored with the 2011 GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Year for their come-from-behind victory over Chicago in Week 14, the league announced on Saturday. The awards were given at the inaugural NFL Honors awards show in Indianapolis.

For the second straight year, the first two players selected in the draft have been named AP offensive and defensive rookies of the year (Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, Cam Newton, Miller).

"I was extremely surprised,” Miller said of winning defensive rookie of the year. "(49ers LB) Aldon Smith had a great season. All the defensive rookie candidates had great seasons — (Bills DL) Marcel Dareus, (Cardinals CB) Patrick Peterson — I was just honored to be nominated. To get the award is extremely humbling."

Miller tied a franchise record by totaling 11.5 sacks during his rookie campaign. That figure ranked second among rookies and tied for ninth overall in the league. In 15 regular-season games (15 starts), he totaled 64 tackles (50 solo), 19 tackles for a loss, four passes defensed and two forced fumbles. Additionally, he was one of just six NFL players this season to record at least a half sack in 10 or more games. Miller was a force all year long and one of the best players in the entire NFL regardless of rookie or veteran status, and he earned a trip to the 2012 Pro Bowl where he sacked Cam Newton twice.

"It feels great," said Miller, who credited Linebackers Coach Richard Smith with pushing him to such success throughout the season. "Hats off to my organization and teammates."

"First of all, the award is all for him," said Broncos' football operations boss John Elway. "He's the guy who went out and did it. Considering he didn't have an offseason for us, learning the defense — with the year he had there's just so much more upside for him that he's just going to get better and better."

Along with his Defensive Rookie of the Year honor, Miller was named a second-team All-Pro selection by the AP in addition to representing the AFC as a starter for the 2012 Pro Bowl. He is the second player in Broncos history (LB Mike Croel, 1991) to be named as the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Broncos were named on other ballots too. John Fox placed third for the NFL Coach of the Year behind San Francisco's John Harbaugh and Green Bay's Mike McCarthy.

Great year to all and congrats to Miller. ~ Aussie.

February 3, 2012

Broncos 2011 Review: Special Teams

This year the Broncos' Special Teams improved in almost every category and have some interesting numbers. First let's look at the returning numbers for the team and start with kickoffs. There were a total of 7 Broncos to return kicks and 5 to return punts. The Broncos had 39 kick returns on the year for a total of 956 yards at an average of 24.5 yards. The longest return went for 67 yards. The key stat we lacked here was a returned kick for a TD. Comparing this to our opposition we did very well. Our opponents only had 20 kick returns on the year, Prater your awesome, and their longest return was for only 40 yards. They also did not get a TD.

Our punt return numbers were also OK. For the year we had a total of 47 returned punts for an average 12.7 yards. The longest punt return we had went for 90 yards and we returned 2 punts for touchdowns, nice job Eddie and Decker. We also had 19 fair catches. Our opposition had very similar numbers to us. Their average was slightly less at 11.5 a return and they had 27 fair catches. This shows our guys were able to get down the field quickly and make plays. We also only gave up one punt return for a touchdown. This had been a problem in the past.

The kicking numbers were surprisingly low and I can't really figure out why? It might be because we couldn't sustain drives and/or get into the other teams half. Or maybe we were just scoring heaps of touchdowns. We attempted a total of 25 field goals and made 19 of them for a 76% success rate. Our longest kick went for 59 yards. Compared to our opponents who had 39 attempts and made 32 for 82.1% success rate our numbers seem rather quite bad. Prater was usually money but he again struggled in the 40-49 yard range, he had 7 attempts for only 3 successful. The other areas he only missed at most 1. To be honest I thought Prater was having a better year and in that range too, are the numbers lying? We were 100% successfully on our extra point attempts. Prater was the top point scorer on the team with 87 points, ahead of Decker (54) and Tebow (40).

The punting numbers I think were much better than in previous years and that can all be put down to Brandon Colquitt. The Broncos had 101 punts this year, 10 more than our opponents, for a total of 4783 yards. That was an average of 47.4 yards a punt and an Net average of 41.6 yards a punt. Colquitt had 33 punts inside the 20 and only 7 touch backs. He had a great year.

Individual Stats

Matt Prater
Needs to get that percentage up over 80 and practice on that 40-49 yard distance.

Matt Prater192576.0590-05-68-83-73-43030100.0

Brandon Colquitt
Keep doing what your doing, the pro bowl awaits.

Brandon Colquitt10147836647.440.20337275158511.5

Quan Cosby
Was our returner for most of the year before he had a bad game with multiple fumbles, he was soon cut. He had an average average and we can do better.

Quan Cosby1745726.96302726910.03009

Cassius Vaughn
I am looking forward to seeing Vaughn back and healthy. He only returned 7 kicks before he was injured but he had the highest average return and the longest kick return on the team.

Quan Cosby721030.0670000.0000

Matt Willis
Should not be returning kicks, does not have the explosion required for the position.

Matt Willis816320.4290100.0000

Eric Decker
Should not be a returner, same reason as Willis. His punt numbers are a little out of proportion, he had only 6 returns for 133 yards at an average of 22.2 yards. But if you remove the 90 yard return he had he was only averaging 8.6 yards a return. I don't mind a sprinkle of Decker every now and then but he needs to be more focused on his position....like catching the ball.

Eric Decker25025.0340613322.29011

Eddie Royal
Should be the full time returner and 4th string WR, so there I said it. We need an electrifying return and that is Royal but I don't think he wants the job.

Eddie Royal34715.72001219416.28519

There is room for improvement on the special teams but I think our kicker and punter are set. I hope we resign Prater but looking at the numbers there may be some second guessing in the FO, I really hope he stays. The one key ingredient that our special teams lacks is that electrifying returner. If Royal doesn't want the job full time then maybe target a top returner in the later rounds of the draft, say 5th round and beyond. ~ Aussie.

February 1, 2012

Broncos 2011 Review: Defense

The Denver Broncos defense had a surprisingly good year under the direction of DC Dennis Allen. The group went from being the worst in the league to middle of the pack in a single season. This was due to the return and addition of two of the best players on our defense. They are Von Doom aka Batman and Robin aka Von Miller and Elvis 'Doom'ervil. With a relived pass rush and creative play calling the Broncos defense improved out of sight and was one of the big reasons this team made the playoffs.

Statistical the Broncos defense had a solid year but there is room for improvement next season as we try to build a power house team. Over the season the Broncos defense amassed 836 solo tackles and 218 assists for a total of 1054 total tackles, which is average for the league. The area of biggest improvement for the defense was the sack department and as mentioned above that was because of the dynamic sacking duo. The defense collected 41 sacks on the year and I think if we have a health Von and Doom all next year I expect this number to be over 50.

Two areas that I think need to greatly improve is in the turnovers categories. All season long the Broncos only got 9 intercepts, yep only 9. Add to that the 9 fumbles that we recovered that is a total of 18 turnovers. Compare that to the 13 intercepts and 17 fumbles our opponents got, 30 in total, there is massive room for improvement. The complete defensive passing stats are, 58 passes deflected, 9 intercepts for a total of 152 yards with a long of 55. With 3 of those being returned for touchdowns. For the fumbles the Broncos forced 12 and recovered 9. None of which were returned for a touchdown.

Individual Stats

Defensive Linemen

Marcus Thomas
To say Thomas loves the 4-3 is an understatement. He started off the year slow coming back from injury but he came on in a bigger way I think this year. He didn't gain any sacks but he managed to collapse the pocket on numerous occasions and was generally solid in the run game.

Marcus Thomas2914430.003100000000

I would hope to resign Thomas and would like to see his sack numbers improve.

Brodrick Bunkley
The pick up of the year by far for our defense and really solidified the defensive line for this season. Like Thomas, Bunk didn't get any sacks this year but that isn't the position he plays. He is a run stopper and did a great job of it this year.

Brodrick Bunkley3310430.003000000000

Hopefully we resign him too. For next season keep doing what you have been doing and try to sneak out a few sacks.

Elvis Dumervil
What can I not say about Doom. For me he was one of the most improved players on the team. You can tell he really worked hard in the offseason. He had more strength and played the run really well compared to his struggles in previous years. And to bounce back from his injuries the way he did was amazing. Every game he was health he put up sacks. He finished the year with a total of 9.5. He will get double digits next year.
Elvis Dumervil3111429.5632100000100

For next season just stay healthy, please.

Robert Ayers
Ayers is an interesting prospect and I haven't given up on him yet. He was a project for this year, new coach, new defense and new position. Playing with Miller on his outside who struggled at times containing the edge probably limited him a little. He didn't amaze until the playoffs but put up respectable numbers. He managed 3 sacks on the year.

Robert Ayers2514393.0122200001100

Next season he needs to continue his improvement and try to pump those sack number up, say 5+

Ryan McBean
As a rotational player McBean did enough to warrant another look. He got 4 sacks playing the nose tackle position and has showed improvement. Let's see that continue.

Ryan McBean1914334.0104000000000

The remaining few didn't do overly much but were rotational guys that did see some time, Jason Hunter and Mitch Unrein. Then there is Big Vick and Ty Warren who are expected back next season. This is an above average group that is just lacking that impact player from DT.


Wesley Woodyard
Lead the team in tackles though he is a back-up!

Wesley Woodyard6730970.001200003000

He should be resigned and continue what you are doing.

DJ Williams
Was solid all year and occasionally came out and made a huge play. I would love to see DJ continue this improvement and renewed focus.

DJ Williams7020905.0385200003100

Not much I can say in the way of improvement here, maybe pick a pass off?

Joe Mays
Will probably be on the team next year but hopefully not as a starter. He missed a team high 20 tackles on the year.

Joe Mays6411750.008200000000

He is average at best, an upgrade is needed. I have been a fan of Dan Connor before he was drafted by the Panthers but I also really like Irving.

Von Miller
The phenomenon, was worth the 2nd pick and ever penny on his contract. The best player to come out of the draft this year...until he got hurt. If Miller can stay health and he continues to progress his sack numbers could be crazy high in the foreseeable future.

Von Miller50146411.5778400002000

All I want Miller to do is become a complete linebacker. Learn to play the run and drop into coverage. Then you may become one of the greatest.

Mario Haggan
Subbed for Miller through the year when the rookie was struggling. Is still a serviceable vet and the only one of these linebackers to tack a pick this year.

Mario Haggan1310230.00311161610000


Chris Harris
The surprise player of the year. Once he took the starting job he really shined. Was an amazing tackler and lead the secondary for total tackles (the real reason for this is he was picked on a lot as a rookie but he made form tackles all the time).

Chris Harris6210720.00161151500000

The skys the limit for Harris next year. He may take the number two job from Goodman but I think it is more likely Harris and Squid are the nickel and dime next year. With a vet or draft pick at number 2 depending on what happens.

Quinton Carter
Took over for Rahim and an injured Dawkins. For a rookie he came on in a big way. For me he is too slow to play Free Safety, I see him as more of a banger like Dawkins at strong safety.

Quinton Carter4511561.040000000000

For next season keep improving and learning the defense. Carry over those picks from the playoffs into the regular season would be a big plus. Oh and learn not to lead with your head to tackle, I would hate to see you in a wheelchair. Hit'em hard but with the shoulder

Brian 'Wolverine' Dawkins
B-Dawk had an up and down year. For the first half of the season he was superb. He picked up 3 sacks in that time. The second half of the season he struggled with injuries. It looks like he has an neck injury that may end his career but I would always be happy to have him back.

Brian Dawkins3813513.0383600001000

Dawk has done it all, not much he can improve on if he comes back, maybe try to get a few more picks? If he does come back I think they will try to limit his snaps and rotate him with Moore and Carter.

Andre' Goodman
For me is done and dusted. He struggled for most of the year but when he was at his lowest he always found a way to bounce back with a big play.

Andre' Goodman418490.001102462610100

Goodman and Bailey was a better combo then Bly and Bailey but he is done in my mind. They will probably keep him for depth but a new impact player is needed at the position.

Champ Bailey
Is still as good as advertised. He did get picked on a little more than usual but his play was still top notch. He also had a surprising amount of miss tackles for Champ Bailey. Most of these though were one on one tackles in the open field usual deep in the secondary against other peoples receivers. These are the hardest tackles to make but Champ is the best so he needs to clean that up.

Champ Bailey354390.0011020001000

For next season Champ needs to work on those open field tackles and making a few more plays on the ball. No more 2 pick season, I would like to see 5.

Rahim Moore
Rahim 'Miss' Moore 'Tackles'. The number one reason he was benched was because he could not tackle. Rahim couldn't even tackle a fat kid, who is sitting down, eating cake.

Rahim Moore283310.00121181800100

Moore has talent, that is why he was drafted. But to play defense in the NFL you have to tackle. Till he learns that he will ride the bench and if he doesn't work it out in a year or two Champ will be playing in his FS spot.

Jonathan Wilhite
A project player that was out shined by Harris. He burst onto the scene with his two sacks early in the year but dropped off after that. Will be a back up going into the future.

Jonathan Wilhite253282.0180212200000

David Bruton
The enigma. Bruton showed flashes at times and struggled at others. He filled in late during the season after Dawk was out with his neck injury. Bruton played well, showed better understanding and angles then in previous years plus some real speed. But the problem was some weeks he would tackle perfectly and the next game he would tackle terribly.

David Bruton182200.002300000000

Bruton should be back next year and may even fight it out for a spot with Rahim but that at the moment for me that seems like a disastrous proposition. I expect an upgrade here, hopefully a veteran presence.

The defense as a whole played well for most of the season and helped propel this team into the playoffs. But for it to take the next step and become great it looks like we need an impact player at DL, MLB, CB and FS. One in each area of the defense. It will be interesting to see the direction EFX go with this and whether existing players come on. ~ Aussie.