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oubronco
11-11-2009, 08:41 AM
http://www.denverpost.com/premium/broncos/ci_13759257

Broncos must play like leader
By Jeff Legwold
The Denver Post
Posted: 11/11/2009 01:00:00 AM MST
Updated: 11/11/2009 01:04:46 AM MST

editor's note: NFL reporter Jeff Legwold analyzes the Broncos' 28-10 loss to the Steelers and looks ahead.

It has been 11 months between "We're in first place" declarations from somebody in a Broncos uniform after a rather dismal loss.

The Broncos are, indeed, still in first place in the AFC West at 6-2 after Monday night's 28-10 loss to the Steelers at Invesco Field at Mile High.

And in the usual postloss sweeping-up, quarterback Kyle Orton said the Broncos are "certainly not in panic mode. We're in first place in the AFC West."

Spin the clock back less than a year. After a crushing loss to the Buffalo Bills at Invesco Field, former Broncos linebacker Jamie Winborn offered: "This league isn't easy, but we're still in first place in our division."

Time reveals things in the NFL. The more teams play, the more is uncovered about them. After eight games the halfway point of their season the Broncos have shown themselves, at their best, to be hardworking opportunists with level heads and a quality outlook.

But they also have shown themselves to be limited offensively, spotty on special teams and in some trouble defensively if the push-and-shove teams get the running game going.

And it would be a mistake for them, with eight games to play, to cling to the idea that being in first place in the AFC West right now will somehow fix those things.

It was the error in the ways of the 2008 Broncos, that during their historic collapse down the stretch they continually grabbed on to the ideas of "still a lot of football left to be played" and that they were a first-place team until they weren't in the season's final week.

Yes, the Broncos are in first place, but they will have to play better to stay there.

Key matchup

Having felt the sting of two quality rushing offenses over the past two games, the Broncos will have a chance to push back Sunday against the Redskins.

Because of a long list of injuries, the Redskins will start their fifth combination this season on the offensive line.

Tackle Mike Williams was added to the list with a ligament tear to his ankle after Washington's loss to Atlanta this past weekend and is the third starting offensive lineman who will miss a game.

The most likely shift would be to move Stephon Heyer, who had been filling in for the injured Chris Samuels at left tackle, back to his original right tackle spot to fill in for Williams, then play former Bengals first-round draft pick Levi Jones at right tackle.

The Redskins come into the game 24th in the NFL in rushing offense and are likely to be without running back Clinton Portis.

Portis suffered a concussion in the loss to the Falcons and is not expected to play against the Broncos.

Jeff Legwold: 303-954-2359 or jlegwold@denverpost.com

baja
11-11-2009, 09:53 AM
Good observations, here it is in a nut shell;

Time reveals things in the NFL. The more teams play, the more is uncovered about them. After eight games — the halfway point of their season — the Broncos have shown themselves, at their best, to be hardworking opportunists with level heads and a quality outlook.

But they also have shown themselves to be limited offensively, spotty on special teams and in some trouble defensively if the push-and-shove teams get the running game going.