ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --** You might have watched Sunday Night Football. If you did, you were one of approximately 19.2 million people estimated to have viewed the NBC broadcast -- and you were joined by more than a few Broncos.
With the Giants up next on the schedule and the Cowboys on the docket just 21 days later, Dallas' 36-31 win offered the Broncos a chance for a first look at two clubs the Broncos will face in the next four weeks. But virtually all of their focus was on the Giants.
"I was kind of taking notes. I was looking at defensive backs and seeing what kind of coverage they play: how much man they play, how much zone," said wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. "That was basically it. I was actually watching how much they, blitzed, too. Trying to take everything in."
Added safety Duke Ihenacho: "I took some mental notes. I was just watching the game, noting a few things, that's it."
One of the keys to studying the Giants tape from Sunday is not getting caught up in their giveaways. Yes, there are some tactics and concepts the Broncos can borrow from how Dallas played the Giants, but the chances of New York being so generous next Sunday are miniscule.
According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, the Giants were the 83rd team since 2000 to have at least six turnovers in a game; that means the Giants did something that happens just 1.24 percent of the time, based on that sample size of 13-plus seasons. Only one of those previous 82 teams (1.22 percent) had at least six turnovers the next game -- the Buffalo Bills, in the final two weeks of the 2010 season.
"Other than the turnovers, they still looked like a pretty good offense. We know that we've got to come out with our 'A' game," said cornerback Chris Harris.
Thus, you're not watching turnovers, but schemes, formations and tendencies.
But there's only so much that a player can take from watching the television broadcast. This is especially true for safeties, since they aren't often in the TV shot that is shown at the snap. You can get a feel for the routes the receivers run near the line of scrimmage, but for the deeper routes down the middle and seams and the go routes up the sideline, but unless there's a proper replay, you can't tell how the safeties reacted to figure out what you might do differently -- or try to mimic, depending on which tactics succeeded and which ones failed.
"As a safety, you can't really see everything. I like a big, broad picture," Rahim Moore said. "On TV, sometimes the announcers are talking, and sometimes it's false; sometimes it's true. But when you've got the wide screen, you can see different splits and things on what the linemen or quarterbacks are doing."
Moore will see the bigger picture when he watches the all-22 video that each team shoots and distributes throughout the league for scouting purposes. But he won't hear anything; that footage -- access to which can be purchased the NFL Game Rewind Season Plus package -- doesn't have any sound.
Knowing this, Moore focused on what the TV broadcast has that the all-22 does not.
"A lot of times, you can hear the verbiage and hear the checks and stuff like that," he said. "One thing about film, you can't hear a lick, but on the regular TV screen, you can hear a lot."