Success last season and the addition of Peyton Manning fueled speculations that the Broncos could make a run at the Super Bowl. Five games into the season and sitting at 2-3, fans wonder if that talk was warranted. The Broncos consistently show signs of brilliance but rarely put together a complete game. Remember the joke last year? Don’t bother to turn the TV on until the fourth quarter, something mind blowing happens, Tim Tebow hits his first pass of the second half putting the Broncos kinda in field goal position, and Matt Prater nails another career long kick for a two-point win. Same holds true this year but the fourth quarter magic has vanished.

At some point, teams discover their identity. Last year, the Broncos led the league in rushing. John Fox’s system always has been a rush-oriented approach. Pair that style with Tim Tebow’s ability to find a way to make it work, a weak division, and Mike McCoy’s genius in designing offensive schemes, and we made the playoffs.

Each week, the Broncos take the field with a quarterback still trying to figure out his own limitations with players he just started playing with five months ago. Chemistry with familiar faces from the Colts Jacob Tamme and Brandon Stokley is apparent, but other receivers look completely clueless at times. The Colts constructed the offense around Peyton. Now, after inheriting an unfamiliar group of receivers, both sides are trying to find a middle ground and an identity.

Good things come for those who wait. As frustration mounts, remember, a lot of Peyton’s late Colts teams started out with similar records. After starting the season at 3-4 in 2008, the Colts finished at 12-4 and in 2010, were at 2-2 before finishing at 10-6. Given the complete and total mess some know as the Raiders and Chiefs, the division seems to be a two-team race.

Defensively, if the team improves the turnover margin (currently at -6 ranking 29th in the league) and finds some kind of pass defense outside of Champ Bailey, I expect another division title. The sky isn’t falling, but it’s time the Broncos figure themselves out.  No better time to start pumping eyes than Monday night when Denver travels to San Diego to face division rival Philip Rivers and the Chargers.

Since the game isn’t until Monday night, make sure to check out the events for Denver Fashion Weekend hosted by 303 Magazine.

 

Connor Grant is the sports columnist at 303 Magazine.  He enjoys Mad Men, polarized Ray Bans, big mountain skiing, a good Old Fashioned, anything outside, and reading. When he isn’t rubber necking gear at REI, you can find him frequenting shows at Red Rocks, uncovering new electronic music, or discovering new tapas bars around town.  Let go or be dragged. Try and keep up by following him on Twitter.

3 Responses

  1. Pete Schulman

    Mike Tanier, my first interviewee here at 303, wrote an interesting bit of analysis on the Broncos.

    “Looking back at the Broncos in first halves this year, it is stunning how many long, grinding drives they have allowed on defense. The Steelers had a 14-play, 89-yarder and a 16-play, 74-yarder before the Broncos started their comeback in the opener. The Texans had some quick strikes, but also an epic 14-play, 97-yard drive before halftime. The Patriots had 12-, 14- and 16-play scoring drives before halftime on Sunday, then another 16-play, 80-yarder in the third quarter.

    “These epic drives are giving opponents the lead, keeping the Broncos’ offense from establishing itself, and shortening the game. When the Patriots can tick six minutes off the clock and extend their lead in the third quarter, it limits the Broncos’ offensive options from both a score and time situation. This isn’t to suggest that Peyton Manning and the offense are doing a spectacular job, but they were only truly awful in the first half of the Falcons game. They are moving the ball and generating points early in games. The Broncos’ defense has to keep games from tilting away from them.”

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  2. Connor Grant

    Pete, totally agree with the Broncos defensive being on the field entirely too much. However, this all stems from constantly creating turnovers. Champ Bailey for example had 18 interceptions between 2005-2006 yet since then, he has only had 9. Denver is also struggling mightily to stop anyone on third down this year. An announcer pointed out last week the defense plays the hardest during the fourth quarter when the game is in reach and they want to get Peyton back on the field. Solid point because that is the only time in the entire game the defense seems to play with any urgency. I believe the schedule is weak enough in the coming weeks for the defense, especially the secondary which is a total disaster, to gain some confidence and chemistry. Again, you are right, the defense needs to keep the game within reach. Personally, I expected more out of Jack Del Rio as well.

    But for now, you can almost always trust the defense will be on the field when you turn the game on.

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