View Full Version : Who Are the Real Broncos?

08-30-2009, 08:18 AM
Just reading this article from Denverpost.com.
There's lots of blah,blah - but the defensive stats jump right out.

Fourth in total defense, but we give up the highest passer rating in the league. Who are the real Broncos?

I keep thinking that if we can get more outside pressure on third down, and the LB's do a little better with their pass coverage, we might actually be pretty decent.

Bowlen won't be chairman of bored tonight
The Broncos' boss calls the matchup with the Bears and Jay Cutler "an important preseason game."
By Mike Klis
The Denver Post
POSTED: 08/30/2009 01:00:00 AM MDT
UPDATED: 08/30/2009 01:29:56 AM MDT

Owner Pat Bowlen, left, and coach Josh McDaniels know the importance of tonight's game against the Bears is higher than for a typical run-of-the-mill NFL preseason contest. ( John Leyba, The Denver Post )
In case confirmation was needed, even the chairman of Broncoland believes Invesco Field at Mile High will host one of the most meaningful of meaningless preseason games tonight.

The Broncos without quarterback Jay Cutler will play the Cutler-led Chicago Bears in a game that won't count, but nevertheless will feature starters playing at least a half, if not a series or two into the third quarter.

"I'm more interested than I can remember to see this game coming up," Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said, "because that's an important preseason game for us. We have a very tough schedule, in my mind. At least, that's the way it looks in August. We've got our work cut out for us, let's face it."

The Broncos are winless in the preseason, even though they have outgained their opponents, San Francisco and Seattle, in each game.

Bowlen is anxious for tonight, not because he's worried about an 0-2 preseason record but because he detects that his new head coach, Josh McDaniels, is making progress.

The offense, directed by new quarterback Kyle Orton, has been moving the ball impressively, but too often turnovers have interrupted the conversion from yards to points.

McDaniels is known as an offensive-minded coach, yet the most immediate evidence of improvement is on defense. The Broncos ranked 29th in total defense during the 2008 regular season, but they are fourth in the preseason (263.0 yards per game).

In recent years, one of the biggest gripes about the Broncos has been their inability to rush the passer. The new 3-4 alignment has helped the first-string defense combine for seven sacks in its two first halves of play.

Not that the film hasn't shown Cutler some vulnerability in the Broncos' coverage. Denver's 117.6 preseason passer rating ranks last in the NFL.

The increased pressure the Broncos' defense has applied to quarterbacks, however, does help explain why so many NFL teams are converting to the 3-4.

View slide show of Broncos owner Pat Bowlen.
"I'm encouraged by that aspect," Bowlen said. "I think on offense, there are things we haven't seen yet."

Dressed business casual in black slacks and black golf shirt, Bowlen leaned back in his well-padded office chair last week as he discussed the latest version of a Broncos team he has owned since 1984. It's his 25th anniversary as owner and 26th season.

He would not talk about Cutler, whose polarizing departure is in the past, or disgruntled star receiver Brandon Marshall, whose tumultuous situation is too fluid to determine his future.

But Bowlen is comfortable with where his numerous offseason changes have taken his organization, even as the transformation has not been always been smooth.

"I'm really optimistic about not so much we're going to win 12 games or anything like that but optimistic that we're going to be a good football team," Bowlen said. "I like what I see. I'm really happy with my staff and the coaches. I've got to know most of them pretty well. I've watched how they interact it's a good buzz going around this upstairs floor."

Such confidence is not generally shared outside the walls of Broncos headquarters. Twelve wins? The wise guys in Vegas don't think the Broncos will reach seven.

They did at one time, back in March. In large part because of a strenuous schedule that includes games against the defending Super Bowl-champion Pittsburgh Steelers, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots,

Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts and the ever-rugged NFC East, the Broncos' projected win total opened at 7 1/2.
The embarrassing offseason conflicts with Cutler and Marshall created enough "under" bets to drop the line to seven wins. When the Broncos lost to Seattle in the second preseason game in which Marshall didn't play and Orton threw a left-handed interception, the Broncos' projection was dropped to 6 1/2.

"With everything that went on in the offseason . . . we've got a bunch of new guys in the locker room, so nobody knows what's going on," Broncos receiver Jabar Gaffney said. "But we've been working. The good thing about all those predictions is they don't count. All that counts is what we do out there on Sunday."

Jay Kornegay, executive director of the Race & Sports book for the Las Vegas Hilton, said that in 16 years of listing over/under lines, the Broncos are one of only four or five teams whose season projection has dropped by a full win.

"In the past, whenever there were mistakes in the preseason, the perception was the Mastermind (Mike Shanahan) would fix them," Kornegay said. "I personally think the Broncos have played pretty well so far, especially in the first half. But the perception out there now seems to be that when they make mistakes, it means they're headed for disaster."

Bowlen is aware such pessimism exists. He also knows the Broncos could begin altering perceptions tonight with a strong performance against Cutler and the Bears.

Passing in the night

Everyone will be watching and comparing the Broncos' current and former quarterbacks during tonight's preseason game between the Broncos and Bears at Invesco Field at Mile High. The NFL careers of Kyle Orton and Jay Cutler became inextricably linked when the Broncos traded Cutler to the Bears, in exchange for Orton and a slew of draft picks.


26 years old; 6-feet-4, 225 pounds; Purdue; fifth NFL season

Strength: Orton had a record of 21-12 as a starter in his four seasons with the Bears and brought a reputation for playing smart, mistake-free football to Denver. His teammates praise him for his unflappable personality.

Weakness: Orton isn't going to wow anyone with his arm strength or launch 60-yard passes on the run. He has thrown four interceptions in two preseason games.

Career stats: 33 starts; 505-for-913 (.553) passing for 5,319 yards, 30 touchdowns and 27 interceptions; 71.1 passer rating.


26 years old; 6-3, 233; Vanderbilt; fourth NFL season

Strength: Cutler has one of the strongest arms in the NFL, and he knows it. He's as dangerous out of the pocket as he is in it, able to throw the ball accurately and far on the run.

Weakness: Because of his physical gifts and supreme confidence, Cutler sometimes takes risks. He threw 18 interceptions (second-most in the NFL) last season with the Broncos. He has a career record of 17-20 as a starter.

Career stats: 37 starts; 762-for- 1,220 (.625) passing for 9,024 yards, 54 touchdowns and 37 interceptions; 87.1 passer rating.

Lindsay H. Jones, The Denver Post

Five goals

Here are five goals for the Broncos in their preseason game against the Chicago Bears, as set by Denver Post writer Mike Klis:

1. Stop Jay Cutler! Sack him. Intercept him. Confuse him. But for the sake of building goodwill for the new Broncos, Cutler cannot go off.

2. A turnover-free Orton. The positives in the preseason performance of Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton have been eclipsed by his four interceptions.

3. Boos and cheers. Will anything besides goals No. 1 and 2 matter to an emotional, first-half crowd in the home preseason opener?

4. Establish running game. OK, there are matters other than how Cutler and Orton perform. Even with Knowshon Moreno and LaMont Jordan out with injuries, the Broncos need Correll Buckhalter, Peyton Hillis and Darius Walker to find a rhythm in the ground game.

5. Play for gulp! your job. This is the final tryout for many Broncos. The team must cut its roster from 80 players to at least 75 by Tuesday. The final cut to 53 players is Saturday.

08-30-2009, 09:34 AM
Yeah, the pass rush has shown some promise. Kudos to Mike Nolan on that. But the preseason stats are kind of silly. If anything, you can look at the yards not translating into scoring as more of the same. But, again, preseason stats are silly. Rarely has the team run the ball inside the 10. Hopefully that balances out during the regular season.

bronco militia
08-30-2009, 09:35 AM
IMO all of those sacks were coverage sacks

08-30-2009, 10:05 AM
Meh.. who cares about preseason stats. I just care about evaluating our plethora of new players, and seeing of Orton can do more than dink and dunk. But as far as defense goes, you can be 1st in preseason, and end up dead last during regular season. We won't really know how much better we are until it starts. I DO think we'll be better though. Slowik was so damned passive with his style, it's no wonder we managed a sad 6 ints on the year. But... I'm expecting say, 18th or so better. I don't think we are going to jump from almost last to anywhere near the top 10. But we'll improve. I hope. :)

08-30-2009, 10:43 AM
IMO all of those sacks were coverage sacks

Pretty much.

08-30-2009, 10:45 AM
IMO all of those sacks were coverage sacks

We didnt get a whole lot of coverage sacks last year. We also gan ran on alot last preseason. Its nice to see a change.


Rock Chalk
08-30-2009, 10:46 AM
IMO all of those sacks were coverage sacks

You'd be wrong.

Most were coverage sacks, sure.

More importantly, who gives a ****.

Coverage sacks, are just as good as pressure sacks especially when they are coming on 3rd down.

ANd coverage sacks are something we weren't getting last year either because our secondary completely sucked balls.

bronco militia
08-30-2009, 10:48 AM
You'd be wrong.

Most were coverage sacks, sure.

More importantly, who gives a ****.

Coverage sacks, are just as good as pressure sacks especially when they are coming on 3rd down.

ANd coverage sacks are something we weren't getting last year either because our secondary completely sucked balls.

yeah it doesn't matter how many sacks this teams gets if they continue to allow kyle orton cloned qb's to convert on 3rd and long

this defense is still terrible on 3rd down

Rock Chalk
08-30-2009, 11:07 AM
Yeah we suck militia.

We should just mail it in.

08-30-2009, 11:20 AM
We have a bunch of OLB's who are being asked to drop into coverage for pretty much the first time in their careers. We have a ton of new personnel in the secondary and at LB. We are learning a brand new scheme where the coverages are very different. Pass defense is the most difficult part of this transition so it is not unexpected that it would be the last area to come around. Patience people! The defense is already looking much improved.

bronco militia
08-30-2009, 11:25 AM
Yeah we suck militia.

We should just mail it in.

I've never mailed in a broncos season

right now this team is no better or worse than the teams from 2006-2008 but this team will struggle more due to the QB situation.