At least one budding star linebacker from the 2009 class will take the field in Mile High, Robert Ayers.
I took notes on the entire Jaguars-Broncos week one matchup, but I'm not going to have time to post them all. One player I wanted to make sure everyone is aware of is Robert Ayers. The second year outside linebacker out of Tennessee was everywhere, and everywhere he was, bad things were going down for Jacksonville. Ayers and linebacker D.J. Williams are both very active players that can do a little bit of everything.
Here are my notes on Ayers:
- Second Drive: Jaguars retain seven blockers. Broncos blitz five. Ayers and Ryan McBean clamp from the outside. Ayers spins through replacement right tackle Kevin Haslam and closes and sacks Garrard.
- Fourth Drive: Ayers catches David Garrard scrambling off left end after a gain of one.
- Ayers stops Maurice Jones-Drew after a gain of one on third and two.
- Seventh Drive: Ayers strikes Garrard just after Garrard finds Mike Thomas for 20 and the first. Ayers has good short area burst and is a mean tackler.
- Eighth Drive: He blows up a screen attempt on the right but misses the tackle. Broncos rally, but a Ryan McBean facemask penalty wipes out the play.
- Same drive, he tracks down Thomas in space and lands a quarterback hit on Garrard.
Since we're doing this, here's a couple more notes:
- Temperature in Jacksonville was 92 with a 100 degree heat index.
- Between Olindo Mare, Matt Prater and Mile High, there might not be a single returned kick.
- Denver uses a lot of play action to set up short passes.
Kyle Orton has a decent deep ball and very good accuracy. He can throw a pretty pass, that's for sure. He doesn't have great zip and can throw some really stupid passes underneath into double coverage. Orton can be almost too calm in the pocket sometimes. Like, oblivious.
- Sometimes, he is plain wild. In the second drive, Denver ran a play action pass and Orton targeted a receiver coming free on a crossing pattern, from right to and into the left flat. The receiver was open, but Orton threw it about a yard and half in front of his feet.
- Orton has developed chemistry with Brandon Lloyd.
- Lloyd and Knowshon Moreno are both players with exceptional body control, but only so-so quickness/explosiveness/burst. They are fun to watch, but it's debatable if they're actually good.
- The Broncos call their Tebow package the "Wild Horse" which sounds like musky men's cologne worn by gigolos and trans-men.
- Aaron Kampman wore out rookie Zane Beadles. Beadles, you might remember, was whooped by Tyson Alualu in the Poinsettia Bowl. Both players were drafted way before I think anyone projected. Hard to know if Kampman is embarking on a Patrick Kerney like comeback season or Beadles is just bad.
- Jacksonville scored a touchdown on a play in which Kevin Vickerson missed a substitution and the Broncos fielded ten defenders.
- Eddie Royal is awesome. He is explosive, has great hands, is a great route runner, and he turns receptions in space into punt returns. Check this out. That's not garden variety run after catch.
- Josh McDaniels has the worst body language of any coach I can ever remember watching. His emotions range from frustrated to exasperated.
- I thought the Jaguars offensive line played very well, and as such, I would not underestimate the Broncos defense. I think they will generate pressure.