Denver Broncos: Five Areas of Concern
Five Areas of Concern for the Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos are off to a 1-2 start in a season where expectations are very high, and there is some panic starting to set in from outside the organization. The first thing that should be noted, however, is that the Broncos have lost to the Atlanta Falcons and the Houston Texans. As of today, those are probably the two best teams in football. There’s no shame in losing to those two teams, a lot of teams are going to lose to the Falcons and Texans. The other thing to remember is that the Broncos are in the midst of trying to gel has a football team. Peyton Manning hasn’t played in a year; he and his teammates are working on timing issues as they play games. It is safe to say that the Broncos will get better as the season progresses.
Having said all of that, there are some areas that need to improve if the Broncos are going to be the team that they want to be. There are concerns on both sides of the ball. What has to be most concerning to the Broncos is that some of the problems through the first three games were supposed to be strengths of the team. Every team, even the best ones, have weaknesses at certain positions and they find a way to overcome those. When one of your strengths is all of the sudden an area of concern, it has to be fixed. There are more but here are five areas of concern for the Broncos.
Broncos Must Find Pass Rush
The Broncos defense is built for their pass rush to be the strength of the unit, but through the first three weeks it has been disappointing to say the least. In Sunday’s lost to the Texans, the Broncos got some hits on Texans quarterback Matt Schaub but were unable to come up with sacks.
The game versus the Texans started off well as Elvis Dumervil sacked Schaub in the end zone for a safety. After that, though, Schaub had too much time to throw. The pass rush is struggling for many reasons but Dumervil has not played up to expectations to this point in the season. If Dumervil does not start playing better, then the pass rush is going to continue to struggle as well the defense.
Secondary Has to Improve
In concert with the pass rush is a secondary that gave up too many big plays on Sunday. Everyone is going to get beat from time to time as Tracy Porter did on one of the touchdowns; the problem is when you get beat because of a mental mistake. The Texans first touchdown was a result of a miscommunication in the secondary, and that just cannot happen.
The safety play for the Broncos on Sunday was abysmal and the Texans took advantage of that all day. Rahim Moore is constantly out of position and was benched during the game. It’s time for the Broncos to play Quinton Carter in place of Moore.
Third Down Defense
As much as the defense as struggled, the Broncos defense has been decent on first and second downs. The problem continues to be the third down defense; if you can’t get off of the field then the defense on the early downs does not matter. The third down issues are a direct result of the lack of a pass rush, and the poor play in the secondary.
An effective pass rush or better play in the secondary may have resulted in one or two more stops, and that may have been the difference in the football game. These problems were very evident on Sunday but they have been issues through the first three games of the season, and must be corrected. The Texans were able to convert on multiple third downs throughout the day that kept scoring drives alive.
The Offense for the Denver Broncos is Still Growing
The offense had multiple chances in the second and third quarters to get back in the football game, but failed to take advantage of the opportunities. In the third quarter alone, Peyton Manning and the offense had three straight possessions where they could have closed the gap, but could not sustain drives. Through the third quarter, the Broncos were only trailing by 10 points and one scoring drive would have made it a one score game. The offense must start taking advantage of opportunities if the Broncos are going to start winning football games. The offense has to start moving the ball with more consistency in order to help their defense.
Denver Broncos' Wide Receivers Must Get Better
Sunday was not the best day for the wide receivers of the Broncos, there were multiple drops including some at critical times. Eric Decker dropped a pass that would have converted a third and long into a first down. No one knows if the Broncos would have scored on that drive, but drops kill drives. Demaryius Thomas also had some key drops including a couple that may have gone for big gains if he had hung onto the ball. When you are playing a defense like the Texans, you do not get many chances to make big plays; so when those chances present themselves, you must be prepared to take advantage. In addition to the drops, the receivers are continuing to work on timing with Manning. It will come with time, but a quarterback/receiver relationship does not happen overnight.