As Broncos players pour cereal into their bowls tomorrow morning, most of them will probably hear a “snap, crackle, and pop” whether or not they’re eating Rice Krispies. The bodies of NFL players on the Monday morning after a Sunday afternoon game often feel okay. However, by Tuesday morning, their bodies sound like they need some WD-40 to get the muscles and joints working again.
After being sacked 6 times, throwing 50 passes, and leading the team in passing and rushing yards, Kyle Orton certainly can’t be feeling like a million bucks this morning.
We all like to be the Monday morning quarterback, so when I talked with John Elway last week, I asked him what it feels like to actually be a Monday morning quarterback from a mental and physical standpoint.
“Usually, the soreness doesn’t creep in until Tuesday morning,” Elway said. “Monday’s not too bad.”
That is why most NFL teams have Tuesdays off. Some guys will get a light run in to loosen soreness and get blood flowing for muscle repair. However, much of the action sways from the football field and goes to the training room where guys receive injections, hop in and out of the hot/cold tubs, and stretch with a trainer.
Elway said that most Monday’s can be looked at as a “mental” day.
“When you go back and look at the game, there’s always plays within the game that run through your mind that maybe you could have done better or were good plays. It’s a constant rehashing of the previous day’s game. If you lost, what were the plays that beat us? If it’s a win, you’re excited about a win, but you also look back on the plays that you could have done better.”
Looking back at the game’s mistakes and conquests is healthy and normal on a Monday. By Tuesday, that should dissipate a little bit so the focus can be on the following week’s game.
“On Tuesday, you look at the game films and try to learn from it,” Elway said. “By Tuesday, you start to look at the next week. When the mental side calms down a little bit, you start to look to that next game.”
Today, the Broncos can look back at their game. They can look to the highs and lows, learn from them, and bring the lessons to Baltimore next week.
After a physical win over the Tennessee Titans where the stars were aligned just right, and the Broncos’ perseverance reared its ugly head, much can be learned from a game like that.
Most importantly, Josh McDaniels learned when to give up on a part of the offense that wasn’t working. With 9 minutes to go in the 4th quarter, he abandoned the running game and put the ball in Orton’s hands. That’s what was working with the rushing attack averaging just 1-yard per carry.
The casualties from the Broncos rushing game could be seen after the game. The offensive line was battered and bloody leaving the locker room. Running backs Laurence Maroney and Correll Buckhalter surely couldn’t be feeling like they just got done with a day at the spa after clawing and scratching for every yard they got.
The point is the Broncos made adjustments as they saw fit and got an important win out of week 4.
That snap, crackle, and pop is just the coda to a beautiful winning tune.
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