Well my fellow Broncomaniacs, the bye week for Denver is already over and we are just a few days away from the start of the 2nd half of the season for the ever struggling Broncos. I personally think that extra week off will do this team some good with 8 games left on the line. From where we're sitting, these 8 games are all crucial, with 5 of them being division games. We got our hands full, we all know that. But even with all the adversity staring us in the face, this team CAN get it done. The question is will they put everything they have on the line to do so.
It's a very bold statement to make and possibly very unrealistic but I'm crazy enough and high enough on the Orange kool-aid to say it... I think they can muster up the smarts to pull out a crazy comeback and win 7 or 8 games either ending the season 9-7 or 10-6. At this point, when they can make anything happen, I hate to think they end up 8-8 again. I'm sick of seeing those numbers behind our name every year. Time for a change. And it starts Sunday. Chefs are going down baby... I'm talking flushing those stinkin' Arrowheads down the toilet where the sun never shines.
Air Orton vs. McD's old flame, Matt Cassel. Denver's Kyle Orton has had to use his right arm so much this season, his right shoulder is obviously becoming sore. He said himself that he prefers to balance out this offense rather than ‘airing it out’. Glad to see he has finally admitted to it. It's great that he's on pace to break Dan Marino's passing record but our season is on the line, along with a strong respected reputation for this team and one record isn't going to salvage our problems. We've needed balance for years now. Get with it already.
Orton has lost his mojo in the last few games leading to the 'Tebow Time' question. Must be something in the air as once again I'm on the fence about a lot of issues going on, including this one. I'd like to see the team rally around Orton as he is our starter and for good reason, he earned it. But everyone in Bronco Country knows he isn't our long-term future QB. Hence the reason why Tebow is with us. He's been used a time or two and has 2 rushing TDs but this kid has so much more potential than this. Let the kid throw the ball. I say if we can't get a run game going, strong & steady, and that causes Orton to get more of sore shoulder, it should be Tebow Time for the remainder of the season. I rallied around Orton the second he got to Denver but now that we have Tebow, its time to get him comfortable taking the reigns. Let him lead this offense like he was meant to.
As for Matt Cassel, I don't know if I can say it again. I'll just say the Chiefs are having a better season than us. Even that leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. Bleh!! The rookies on the KC roster have definitely made an impact on their 2010 season and have made the difference from the team they were a year ago to the team on top of our division now. Bleh again. Both QBs are pretty close in stats although Orton has been sacked twice as many times as Cassel. Cassel also has guys he can rely on to actually run the ball. Quite the concept. Our best option to run ball, Knowshon Moreno, has yet to be able to really break free but he definitely the better choice out of Maroney, Bucky & Lance Ball who we yet again signed on from the practice squad. With run weapons like rookie Dexter McCluster, Thomas Jones & Jamaal Charles, we got even bigger problems considering we are 31st in stopping the run and dead last at a run game of our own. We be in twouble.
Good news is we still have strong, healthy & reliable WR weapons that should give KC's pass defense a run for their money. Brandon Lloyd is still the favorable WR but with other hot weapons like rookie Demaryius Thomas, Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal we will probably have another game focused more on passing since that is our strong suit these days. Catch is, KC has reliable receivers as well Dwayne Bowe, Tony Moeaki, Jamaal Charles, Chris Chambers - just to name a few.
The Chiefs now have the #1 rushing offense so it's up to our defense to put on a good balancing act so they can put pressure on Cassel just as well as stopping the run. With the state we're in it seems like a tall order to ask of this defense but they have to find a way to get it done. No questions asked. Denver is 8th in putting up yards on offense, KC is 13th in that area. Denver is 24th in points, KC is 12th. Denver is 3rd in pass yards, KC is 30th. There are considerable gaps between these two teams but the fact that they are long-time rival division teams will make this a tight game, I believe.
When it comes to defense, Kansas City seems to have the stronger of the two. With guys like Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry, Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr & Glenn Dorsey our receivers will be covered well and most definitely our RB. Then they have guys like Tamba Hali with 8 sacks on the year and Wallace Gilberry with 4 - the top two sack leaders of the Chiefs. And for the record, Orton has already been sacked 21 times in 8 games (double the amount on Cassel this year and double the amount he was sacked all of last year). Our Oline is also losing its mojo if Orton is getting pressured like this.
Denver's is 8th in pass defense, their strongest area. 27th in points allowed, 23rd in yards allowed and 31st in stopping the run. KC on the other hand is 8th in points allowed, 15th in yards allowed, 21st in pass defense and 9th in stopping the run. Denver has their hands full.
McCluster has got to be held down on punt & kick returns. We cannot afford to have this guy running all over us as he is a major threat. Stopping him should NOT be our only priority but it should be on their Top 5 to-do list in the game on Sunday. Contain that kid or we will be doomed. As for Denver, I'm gonna say it again, use Squid more often and we'll get much better results instead of risking one of our best receivers for punt returns.
I'm happy and relieved to report that Denver's injury list has shortened up big time but we will still be without 2 strong defensive guys, Robert Ayers and Andre Goodman. Denver's defense will be short two key players, making their already tough job even tougher. However, McBath, Vickerson & Woodyard were all limited in practice this week so far and could play in Sunday's game.
KC's injury list is short as well with S Kendrick Lewis (hammy), WR Dexter McCluster (ankle), S Jon McGraw (knee) and G Brian Waters (shoulder) all limited in practice.
1) What Broncos' player led the AFL in pass-receiving in each of the new league's first 4 years of existence (and five of the AFL's first 6 years)?
2) In the 2003 season, how many TOTAL fumbles did the Broncos lose all season?
3) What Broncos' player returned 3 punts for touchdowns in 1997?
I say Denver comes into this game and the rest of this season fighting for wins and playing better, smarter football. They will start it off with a 20-17 win.