Woody Paige: Merry Christmas, I hope

Woody Paige: Merry Christmas, I hope
Posted at 4:35 PM, Dec 23, 2016

Merry Christmas, I hope.

Depends on the outcome of the NFL games this weekend, I suppose.

The Broncos are 2-17 in December games in Kansas City. The Chiefs have lost two recent games at home.

In Broncos’ franchise history, the team is undefeated on Christmas.

So, there is optimism, and there is pessimism.

The sample size is small on Christmas games, though. The Broncos won in Detroit in 1999 and Tennessee in 2004. I was sad personally having to be in Detroit (eating Christmas dinner out of a snack machine in an airport hotel) and in Nashville (when my mother was alone only 200 miles away). I was happy professionally that the Broncos won the games.

Denver will make a joyful noise and this time if the Broncos prevail. Our Dusty Old Cowtown deserves to be lit up if the Broncos get a break after weeks of woe.

How do they do it?

I’m always here to help.

No turnovers, to start with, and make those turnovers happen.

When the Broncos come out of a game with fewer turnovers than the opposition, they’ve triumphed in 29 straight games. That’s quite a feat. Unfortunately, they’ve been committing too many turnovers and not causing enough (or any) lately, losing games to Tennessee and New England, and dropping three of four, and six of their last 10.

Do not, under any circumstances on Sunday night, let Jordan Norwood anywhere near the ball as a receiver or a returner. He fumbled doing both against the Patriots and has become Muff The Fumble Dragon.  He must be declared inactive on Sunday afternoon.

The Broncos should line up Emmanuel Sanders as the punt returner. When he was placed back there before, he didn’t return many, preferring fair catchers, or return any for long distances.

But he doesn’t fumble, and he doesn’t let the ball skid or bounce along the ground for an addition 20 yards, creating terrible field position.

Do not run the football.  Devontae Booker and Justin Forsett have fumbled this season (on the first carries ever for the Broncos) and can’t run beyond three yards.  If they are to get the football, it should be on pass routes out of the backfield.  The old West Coast offense used pass plays as their run offense.

Sorry, I had to pause there and appear on two Kansas City sports radio talk shows.

Those people are afraid of the Broncos. Well, they are afraid of the Broncos’ defense. They know it will be a close game. Of course, it will be glove-tight. Almost always is. Neither can run very well; both play defense very well. Andy Reid makes a big mistake every game as a coach. (See:  Icing the kicker on the last play in Titans game.)  Gary Kubiak made a big mistake in the last game with the Chiefs. He should have taken the tie or, at least, gone for it on fourth down and 10.  ESPN’s top analytics expert told me at the time that the percentages were highest for the tie or the fourth-down effort, and kicking a field goals was the worst decision.

That tie could mean a lot to the Broncos now.

Anyway, the Broncos should throw the ball deep at least a dozen times to Emmanuel and Demaryius Thomas. And they should shift Emmanuel in the slot at least half the possessions and have “”Sunshine’’ Taylor on the outside. He’s a tall target with great speed and good hands. Instead of using a tight end, the Broncos should go with six offensive linemen to protect Trevor Siemian. They don’t have a fullback any more, and they barely have any healthy tight ends, and those they do aren’t effective, anyway.  Load up with offensive linemen to stop the rush and help each other since their five are so mediocre, anyway.

Gary Kubiak needs to let Greg Knapp call all the plays, and the Broncos should be in a hurry-up, shotgun offense the entire game. The Broncos have to score two touchdowns.

The defense needs to produce one touchdown on an interception or a fumble recovery.  For once, the Broncos must have all three units – including the special teams – working together.

Aqib Talib should ask Russell Okung to address the team Saturday night.

May Christmas night be merry and bright for the Broncos, and for all of you.


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