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Broncos' blunder on special teams: Nine players on the field

When Jets kicker Nick Folk drilled a 56-yard field goal on Sunday, Denver made it easy on him — and I’m not just talking about the Mile High elevation.

The Broncos had only nine players on the field for the kick, as Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News pointed out on Twitter and I just confirmed with the help of my DVR and DirecTV’s “Short Cut” of the game.

The Broncos’ mistake is a strange one. For starters, longer kicks typically have a lower trajectory, so you’d think Denver would make absolutely certain that they had as many players on the field trying to block the kick as they could. Why did no one on the Denver sideline check to make sure everyone on the field goal block unit was on the field?

And a field goal that comes up short can be returned, so it’s also surprising that the Broncos didn’t have anyone deep in the end zone ready to catch Folk’s kick if it came up short.

Perhaps that’s where a miscommunication happened: Maybe the Broncos have a player on the field goal block unit who comes off when they send someone else onto the field for long field goals, ready to make a return if the kick is short. And maybe both of those players thought the other one was going out there. But even if that did happen, the Broncos should have had 10 players on the field, not nine.

It’s actually a little surprising that the Jets didn’t notice and audible to a fake field goal: The way the Broncos’ field goal block unit was lined up, with only nine players on the field and all of them bunched near the line of scrimmage, a fake field goal would have had a good chance of producing a touchdown.

In any event, it was a pretty big screw up by the Broncos.

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21 Responses to “Broncos' blunder on special teams: Nine players on the field”
  1. Citizen Strange says: Oct 19, 2010 2:34 PM

    “I love this game so much,” McDaniels said. “I would die to have 53 guys here who love it as much as I do. I’m looking to find the right group of guys to accept our one singular goal — to win. So far I only have nine.”

  2. Finalyst says: Oct 19, 2010 2:41 PM

    Niners did this last week as well, but they were kicking the ball. They ended up calling a timeout. They also got a 12 man penalty on a punt return.

  3. psmith7716 says: Oct 19, 2010 2:54 PM

    The difference between excellence and mediocrity is attention to detail. There is no excuse for not having 11 special teamers on the field. Shame on McDaniels.

  4. JSpicoli says: Oct 19, 2010 3:15 PM

    Singletary does something like this every week.

  5. Woe is Mets says: Oct 19, 2010 3:22 PM

    during the game, Dierdorf mentioned while a replay was up that if the Jets had audibled into a fake field goal, there was a good chance of the play going for a big gain. he said something along the lines of if the fake went to the right side, it had a chance to go a long way.
    but Folk drilled it with room to spare, and tied the game at 10.

  6. EverybodyGotsAIDS says: Oct 19, 2010 3:24 PM

    Niners did this on Sunday as well. If it was the Raiders, the dream team of Silva and Rosey wouldv’e been all over this. The headline would read, “Cable stupidest coach in the NFL” or, “Davis is so senile, he can’t even count to 11!”
    Way to keep it real, PFT.

  7. SmyDChargers says: Oct 19, 2010 3:25 PM

    I don’t really see the reason to report this, if the field goal was for the win then yeah by all means this story would be “important.”

  8. buddha says: Oct 19, 2010 3:32 PM

    I could understand having 10, but NINE?!! Wow. Where was the ST coach on that one? He should have easily been able to notice that there wasnt a full unit out there.

  9. kosarsmyidol says: Oct 19, 2010 3:33 PM

    # SmyDChargers says: October 19, 2010 3:25 PM
    “I don’t really see the reason to report this, if the field goal was for the win then yeah by all means this story would be “important.””
    Remember, Donovan, games can end in ties.

  10. Mooney24 says: Oct 19, 2010 3:48 PM

    Um, it’s rather important considering the stupidity of the move, SMDC. 9 players? Professional teams simply can’t make that mistake. It’s understandable at 10 or 12, because sometimes miscommunications happen.
    But 9? That’s inexcusable, hence it’s being reported on. How do we know had that field goal not happened how the game would have turned out?

  11. omegalh says: Oct 19, 2010 3:48 PM

    I don’t know if this was the same play or not but wasn’t there 2 guys in the end zone for a return on that FG attempt?

  12. dixinpunani says: Oct 19, 2010 4:05 PM

    Kosar:
    final score 24-20 jets. they still win without the field goal.

  13. Rosentard says: Oct 19, 2010 4:17 PM

    this stuff happens all the time. Just a couple weeks ago Tennessee lost a game to LSU because they had 13 players on the field. If you knew anything about being a coach or player you would know that, but your clearly more of the type that was in the band and spent time trying to sneak their boogers in there mouth without anyone seeing you. Nice article.. In other really important news that you might not have heard a quarterback threw an interception on sunday, and somebody in the NFl fumbled, and it hurt their team… Gosh they should probably stop that huh?

  14. magsdad1 says: Oct 19, 2010 4:40 PM

    Denver fans have been screaming all year to fire the special teams coach. They have been awful in all phases of ST.
    Time to cut him loose.

  15. wyobroncoboy says: Oct 19, 2010 4:40 PM

    “In many ways, it may be like staring in the mirror, but our
    players are totally different and our defenses are different,”
    McDaniels said. “And some of the things we try to do on game day
    are certainly different.”
    IMO, “Josh McDaniels has an offensive philosophy in mind that fits this versatility and may be something with which the NFL has never seen before. ”
    See it was all planned..muuuhahaha!!!!

  16. CanadianVikingFanII says: Oct 19, 2010 4:56 PM

    This makes Chilly’s counting skills look good.

  17. joetoronto says: Oct 19, 2010 4:58 PM

    SmyDChargers says: October 19, 2010 3:25 PM
    I don’t really see the reason to report this, if the field goal was for the win then yeah by all means this story would be “important.”
    *********************************************************
    This comment is actually a sign of the times.
    They are now teaching the kids in school that it doesn’t matter if you come up with the correct answer, as long as you went about it the right way.
    God help us all.

  18. TheWizard says: Oct 19, 2010 5:42 PM

    There is no excuse for not having 11 special teamers on the field. Shame on McDaniels.
    In the NFL, the head coach generally doesn’t manage special teams on game days.

  19. Raiders757 says: Oct 19, 2010 6:15 PM

    That’s hilarious. How do you do such a thing? I was asking myself during the Raiders/49ers game when the 49ers lined up to kick a FG. Lucky for them they noticed their blunder and called time out. The strange thing is, that after the TO, they punted the ball instead.

  20. PolegoJim says: Oct 20, 2010 10:32 AM

    The Bronco’s are a blunder in general…outside of Ortons success.
    A head coach with little man’s syndrome- little Hitler in a Hoodie, little no discipline, poor poor poor overall scheming and planning, mental blundering, some just plain bad defense, and absolutely brainless special teams.
    Hello, um….Hellllooo….tap tap tap… is anybody out there Josh? Time to wake up.

  21. Al Davis' 40 Time says: Oct 21, 2010 8:38 AM

    # PolegoJim says: October 20, 2010 10:32 AM
    The Bronco’s are a blunder in general…outside of Ortons success.
    A head coach with little man’s syndrome- little Hitler in a Hoodie, little no discipline, poor poor poor overall scheming and planning, mental blundering, some just plain bad defense, and absolutely brainless special teams.
    Hello, um….Hellllooo….t ap tap tap… is anybody out there Josh? Time to wake up.
    ————–
    You’re a pretty terrible person to make such lewd accusations like that.
    Usually HCs don’t oversee special teams plays because that would be irresponsible. Also, I’m pretty sure it was intentional since nearly half of the starting defense is either injured or playing injured.

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