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Old 10-21-2009, 05:28 PM   #1
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Default 10 reasons the Broncos will win the AFC West and could be a force to reach the Super

10 reasons the Broncos will win the AFC West and could be a force to reach the Super Bowl

Six weeks ago an editor suggested all of the Examiners covering the AFC West, write a story on how their teams can win the division.
About five minutes later, winded from laughing so hard, I dutifully started writing the story. Though I never believed the Denver Broncos had a chance to win the AFC West, I argued my point vigorously.
Six weeks into the season and a lot has changed on the NFL landscape. Josh McDaniels has his Broncos off to an improbably 6-0 start, 3 1/2 games ahead of second-place San Diego (2-3).
So, here are 10 reasons why I believe the Broncos will, indeed, win the AFC West and could be a force to reach the Super Bowl. And this time I'm serious.

1) The defense is for real. Coordinator Mike Nolan has done a remarkable job of assembling a unit of seven new players and four returnees on the starting 11. He's also mixed in a collection of castoffs (Vonnie Holliday, for one), draft picks (Robert Ayers, Alphonso Smith, Darcel McBath, etc) and role players (Jack Williams, Wesley Woodyard, Darrell Reid) who all have made contributions.

2) Team first mentality. Do you need proof? How about this: The defense has outshined every phase of the Broncos' team, but four players have won AFC player of the week honors -- two on special teams (Matt Prater and Eddie Royal), one on offense (Kyle Orton) and just one on defense (Champ Bailey). This, despite the fact, defensive end-linebacker Elvis Dumervil leads the NFL with 10 sacks. The Broncos have "bought in" to what McDaniels and his staff are telling him. That trust and faith go a long way, especially when you're talking about a 33-year-old rookie coach.

3) Overcoming obstacles. The Broncos have managed to overcome injuries (Orton's sliced finger causing him to wear a glove the first four games, RB Correll Buckhalter missed the Patriots game with a sprained ankle, Brian Dawkins missed much of the first half vs. San Diego, etc.). WR Brandon Marshall finally gained a grasp of the offense and is healthy after off-season hip surgery. His preseason tantrum and subsequent suspension seems to be a horrible memory.

4) The Marshall and Cutler debacles. Josh McDaniels lost some points for the feud and ensuing trade of Cutler. But he seemed to gain respect among his players when Marshall acted like a 5-year-old in the preseason. The two-game suspension got the players' attention and many, especially veterans like Bailey, Brian Dawkins and Daniel Graham, supported McDaniels' decision. When the season is over and when the Broncos have reached the playoffs, that move alone could be the single most important point of Denver's season.

5) Orton's development. A horrible preseason opener (three interceptions) and less-than-impressive follow-up at Seattle, and Broncos fans were calling for Orton's head. After injuring his finger in Game 3 of the preseason against Cutler's Bears, fans were even more anxious. Without that miracle catch
San Diego Chargers defensive end Larry English tackles Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton for a 2-yard loss during the first quarter Monday night. It was the only sack the Chargers had on Orton in the 34-23 Denver victory. Orton has been sacked only nine times this season, one reason the Broncos are unbeaten at 6-0 heading into the bye week. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
by Brandon Stokley against Cincinnati in the season opener, Orton might have been mauled at the airport when he returned from Cincy. But game after game, even though wearing that glove the first four games, Orton's play improved, as did his confidence. Orton is the eight-ranked QB in the NFL. He's completed 64 percent of his throws with an exceptional 9 touchdowns with just one interception -- and that came on the final play of the first half against New England on a Hail Mary heave.

6) Adjustments. McDaniels and his staff have made nearly all the right moves from game to game and half to half. Witness Eddie Royal's two returns for touchdowns only a week after McDaniels chewed out special teams coordinator Mike Preifer for a Denver penalty that negated a New England punt. Sure, Darren Sproles also returned a kickoff for a touchdown Monday night, but Royal was all of Denver's offense against the Chargers in the first 30 minutes. His two TDs were the difference inthe 34-23 victory. Like many previous games, the Denver defense stiffened in the second half. The Broncos have allowed just three points in the second half since the Bengals game and none in five fourth-quarter efforts since the opener. Elvis Dumervil said that's no coincidence. "We're prepared that way, from OTAs, offseason training, minicamp, training camp to finish strong and be the most well-conditoned team," Dumervil said after Monday night's victory. "And I think that is showing. The guys love the game and it means something to them and so we were able to come out and finish the game. That's the most important thing, to finish the game."

7) The schedule. Yes, THAT schedule. Even with two tough opponents coming up after the bye week -- at Baltimore on Nov. 1 and another Monday night game on Nov. 9 at home against the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers -- the Broncos look like winners and won't be scared of any team. Plus, three of the next five are at home and the other road game is against the Washington Redskins, who could be well into their lat-season swoon by Nov. 15. Don't forget, the Broncos have two games against the hapless Kansas City Chiefs and games at home against Oakland and San Diego. Nothing's a given, of course, but Denver could win six of their next 10 and that should be plenty to win the AFC West.

8) Confidence. The Broncos have built up their confidence game by game. But the bye week comes at a perfect time, allowing the team to enjoy the victory over the Chargers while not getting a big head over it. You can bet McDaniels will be prepared when the team returns to practice Monday and focused on the Ravens. One game, one opponent is the mantra McDaniels preaches and you can bet that won't change next week. "We didn't put any expectations or boundaries on our football team," McDaniels said after the game. "We also know we haven't done anything yet. We're 6-0 which is a great start. We have a lot of work to do and a lot of improvements to make. But we're far from perfect and we've got (to play) a lot better."

9) Turnover margin. Another mantra McDaniels has ingrained in his team is winning the turnover battle. Denver has done that in five of the six games. The Broncos are a plus-7 in turnover margin and their only game when they lost the battle was against New England, 2-1. One of those turnovers was Orton's meaningless Hail Mary throw. The defense has made big plays to get turnovers, no doubt. San Diego QB Philip Rivers was sacked five times and he fumbled three of those, though two were recovered by the Chargers. But the single factor in winning the turnover battle: Kyle Orton. While Jay Cutler was known for his gunslinging mentality and somewhat carelessness handling of the football, Orton has been the anti-Cutler: no fumbles and just the one interception. Answering a question about why the offensive works so well for Orton, the quarterback said: "To get here and to get with Coach and to work on my craft as hard as I have the last six or seven months and to get into a system that fits me. I really think this is a great system for me."

10) Strong up front. It starts with the interior line on offense and the front seven on defense. LT Ryan Clady is having a Pro Bowl-caliber season and part of the reason Orton has only been sacked nine times. Denver is tied for seventh with Dallas for the least sacks. "It's not just the quarterback," Orton said. "It's the entire offense. The offensive line has done such a good job of keeping peoples' hands down. Obviously when the offensive line has done played as well as it has, it gives me a lot time to read the coverage and make the right decisions. " Defensively, the Broncos have allowed the least points in the league -- 66 for an 11.0 average. Denver is second to the Giants in yards allowed (262.5 to New York's 257.7) and tops the NFL in third-down stops (opponents are 21 of 78 against the Denver defense, 27 percent).

http://www.examiner.com/x-2549-Denve...the-Super-Bowl

Last edited by baja; 10-21-2009 at 05:30 PM..
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Old 10-21-2009, 05:43 PM   #2
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Doom - That's the most important thing, to finish the game."
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Old 10-21-2009, 05:46 PM   #3
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Old 10-21-2009, 05:48 PM   #4
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Nice post!
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Old 10-21-2009, 05:50 PM   #5
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"offensive line has done such a good job of keeping peoples' hands down."

interesting.
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Old 10-21-2009, 05:59 PM   #6
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This article makes me wonder -- How come Dumerville hasn't been made a player of the week? I know individual crap like that doesn't matter, but how many multiple-sack games does the guy need to have?
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by orinjkrush View Post
"offensive line has done such a good job of keeping peoples' hands down."

interesting.
I thought so too, hope the opposing DCs don't read this
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:07 PM   #8
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Yup, we all pretty much know all of that stuff already. But thanks for posting it up anyway.
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:09 PM   #9
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Yup, we all pretty much know all of that stuff already. But thanks for posting it up anyway.
I know, I posted it to show the recognition we are getting outside of Bronco fandom.
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:13 PM   #10
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Screw the SB. The only thing that exists is the Ratbirds in two weeks. Beyond that is the Void.
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:19 PM   #11
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Screw the SB. The only thing that exists is the Ratbirds in two weeks. Beyond that is the Void.
This is a game I thought we had no chance of wining at the beginning of the year now I think we have a great chance and even should win against that suspect D My money is on McD being able to figure out a way to beat that secondary.
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:32 PM   #12
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This is a game I thought we had no chance of wining at the beginning of the year now I think we have a great chance and even should win against that suspect D My money is on McD being able to figure out a way to beat that secondary.
I agree. I think the Broncos can score on this team. I'm expecting a break-out offensive game. The Ravens are strong against the run, not so much against the pass. I think it's really time for Orton to gel with his receivers. This might look like one of those "Brady" games where all the receivers get touches. That's what I'm hoping for.
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:33 PM   #13
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Ya me too
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