A Closer Look at the Denver Broncos
Written by Mike Davidsen Saturday, 01 October 2011 10:44
The last meeting between these two teams was a Monday night thriller ending in a Packers' overtime win led by Brett Favre. Sunday's game should be substantially less competitive, even with Ryan Grant and Bryan Bulaga out. Mike McCarthy chose to play the conservative card with these two, just as he did with Tramon Williams in Week 2. Now, eyes fall on James Starks and Marshall Newhouse to stamp the easy win.
Kyle Orton hasn't been the same passer in 2011 as he was a year ago, when the Tim Tebow advocates were silenced by Orton's surprisingly stellar play. Orton has turned the ball over five times in three games, while being sacked eight times in that span. A wobbly offensive line surely contributes to the Broncos' woes in the passing game. I expect Dom Capers to pick on rookie tackle Orlando Franklin.
Orton just doesn't have a whole lot of playmakers around him. At wide receiver, his top receiver is named Eric Decker. The running game hasn't made it any easier on Kyle; Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee are both averaging under three yards per carry. If the Broncos continue to average under 20 points per game, I only expect the 'We want Tebow' chants to get louder.
As in the case with all of John Fox's teams, defense looks to become the staple of success in Denver. There is a lot to like about the Broncos' new front seven, which features Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers at end and rookie Von Miller at outside linebacker. With Newhouse getting his first career start, the Packers choose to run the ball against Denver. However, last week the Broncos held Chris Johnson to 1.6 yards per carry.
The Denver secondary is stable but lacks depth. Fox has three reliable veterans in Champ Bailey, Brian Dawkins and Andre Goodman, but a whole lot of youth after that. Denver added safeties Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter in the draft, Moore earning the starting free safety role out of camp. Second-year stopgap Cassius Vaughn is the top option at cornerback when Bailey or Goodman are sidelined.