The Broncos has come out of the gate strong, but we're finally to the part of the season where we'll soon know what they're really made of.
Reasons they may be a mirage:
- Last year, the Bengals (#30), Browns(#31), and Raiders(#32) were the worst ranked teams in passing offense in the league. Denvers #2 Ranking this season is in part to just how bad those teams are in the passing game. We'll know more soon as the Cowboys (#12), Patriots(#2), Chargers(#3), and Ravens(#5) are all among the league leaders in passing so far this year. The real test of a passing defense will come a bit later against the Colts.
- The wins against the Browns and Raiders weren't against good football teams. I don't know that I've ever seen a QB struggle as much as Russell is without being benched. The Browns look to be one of the favorites to land the #1 draft pick next year. The current Raiders coaching staff seems out of touch with today's NFL.
- It took an 'immaculate deflection' to beat the Bengals in a game that was stacked up in Denver's favor. The Bengals were at a serious disadvantage in preparing against the Broncos since they really didn't know anything about how the Broncos intended to use personnel and scheme. I also tend not to count season openers too heavily because all teams are excited, fresh, and usually mistake prone.
- Against the Bengals defense (which I think is a top 10 NFL defense) the Broncos offense was anemic (not amoebic). It was the first week and the Broncos will and have gotten better, but at the time they never really even challenged into Bengals territory. They'll be playing the Cowboys (#8), Patriots(#10), Chargers(#25), and Ravens (#5) next. We'll see just how ready the offense is to compete.
- It is exciting to see quality tacking! I think Nate Webster averaged missing more tackles in a single game than the Broncos have missed so far this season.
- Safety play is at a much higher level than last year and I think it is letting other players play more aggressively knowing they've got solid tacklers behind them.
- The 5 man base defensive front is overpowering offensive lines, and with Davis and Williams in the center, teams are not able to run inside. I think the Raiders were a good rushing attack test and the Broncos got an 'A' grade in shutting them down.
- I'm confident at this point that the Broncos have a defense capable of keeping teams scoring totals down in the 17-24 point area. This is a huge improvement over a defense last year that couldn't stop the rush and gave up way too many big plays.
- I've not confident at all in the offense at this point. They've shown they can move the ball against bad teams, but I haven't seen much that makes me confident they can score 24+ against better defenses.