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Mason's Mailbag: O-line's improvement a positive development this season

Posted Dec 17, 2017

Also: why on-field results aren't "flukes" if you look closer.

You can tweet questions to me with the hashtag #AskMase or use the submission form to your right (if you're viewing on a standard browser) or at the bottom of the page if you're on the mobile site.

I hear so many people saying we need a new QB to turn things around. While I don't totally disagree with that opinion, I feel that they need more help in the offensive line. Your opinion, please.

-- Lyle Wentzel

The line has improved over the course of the season, and while it is not all the way there, it is much closer to being where it needs to be than it was at the end of last season. The addition of Ron Leary, the continued solid play of Matt Paradis and the improvement of Max Garcia and Connor McGovern have been among the bright spots.

The cohesion of the group has improved over the course of the season, and as you saw against the Colts on Thursday, especially with the push they got against their defensive line on the ground. Indianapolis came into the game with an above-average run defense; the Colts ranked 10th in rushing yardage allowed and were one of 11 teams allowing fewer than 4.0 yards per carry.

It's not all the way there, obviously. At left tackle, Garett Bolles is a rookie and is still developing. At right tackle, with Menelik Watson ending the season on injured reserve and Donald Stephenson in the last year of his contract, the Broncos will have some questions to answer. But it's much fuurther along than it was when the season began.

That sounds like the sort of statement that I would make -- and would cause my 5-year-old to respond, "Daaaaad," with exasperation before going back to her Legos.

Sports media says "fluke loss" or "fluke win." I don't believe in fluke wins or losses. Why would sports media keep mentioning fluke this or that, also do you believe in fluke wins or losses in covering the Broncos?

-- Ramone Paige

You'll have to ask media that commonly use that term why they keep utilizing it. I think it's a lazy way of summing up something that can be usually explained by saying that it goes outside of statistical norms.

For example: Since 2007, teams that have posted a minus-3 turnover margin and allowed 400 or more yards in the same game are 1-119, according to pro-football-reference.com. The slapdash way of referring to the exception, a 31-27 Atlanta Falcons win over the then-St. Louis Rams, would be to call it a "fluke." But a closer look would also reveal that the Rams had an effective attack of their own; they actually outgained the Rams that day. The Falcons never lost control of the flow of the game; the Rams never led by more than three points and the Falcons only trailed for 17 minutes, 14 seconds.

Atlanta also ran for 263 yards and averaged 8.2 yards per carry; since 2007, teams that rush for 200 or more yards and average more than 7.0 yards per rush are 56-21. That statistic alone would ensure the Falcons' win was not a "fluke." Instead, it would be accurate to call the game an outlier that Atlanta made possible because their star running back at the time, Michael Turner, had a massive game in his career season.

Players sometimes say, "It is not about the money we play the game for instead it is our passion and love for the game." There is a large salary the league pays their players and coaches. Are these players saying it is not about the money, although deep down inside they know for a fact they want a large contract which contains more money? What are your opinions?

-- Woody Parker

If you could earn a living and get paid for doing something you truly love, you'd be a fool to turn it down, right? You're not running a charity; you're trying to put food on the table, a roof over your head, money into your savings account for retirement or a rainy-day fund. You can fight to maximize your earning potential and yet still have a passionate love for the game. These are not mutually exclusive concepts.

Is it possible to have a Canadian football team in the NFL?

-- Saleem Jabarkhil

Only if it drops the rouge and plays with American rules.

The analysis, opinion and speculation in this story represents that of the author, gathered through research and reporting, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Denver Broncos organization.

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