A Staffer Round Table: Broncos Week 1 Review and Week 2 Preview

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 12: Even these two don't mind having a friendly football discussion. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Last weeks round table was a big success so we decided to keep it going. I also got a lot of good feedback on how to make it easier to read and respond to, so that you can get more involved. One thing that was talked about, and I liked, was more member involvement in the round table. Due to the way the round table is done, it would be hard to directly involve members. So with this in mind, what we are going to do is if you want to submit a question to the round table for us discuss, email me your questions anytime between Monday, September 19th to Wednesday, September 21st. My email is maxwellsdemon13@yahoo.com and include MHR round table question in the subject line. I'll do my best to choose a few good questions to add next week.

Hope you enjoy this weeks discussion, and here is the list of this week's topics:

- Question 1: So first thing, we have to look towards week 2, we are all looking for Orton to improve. Besides QB play, what area do you think needs to improve the most?

- Question 2: What do you feel Denver needs to do to improve the running game or balance the offense?

- Question 3: We did see a lot of empty sets against Oakland, do you feel that will continue next week, or was it a cause of a struggling running game?

- Question 4: We saw a lot of QB's have terrible games last week, Big Ben, Freeman, Ryan, Orton, Eli, and Bradford. Do you see Cincy as a weak defense that Orton can bounce back against?

- Question 5: We did struggle against the run, and Cincy is another run heavy team, what does Denver have to do to contain Benson, outside of fighting him in a bar?

- Question 6:  Another area of concern of me after rewatching the game was pressure. Going into the season the pass rush was the most hyped part of the team and it didn't quite live up to that hype. Ayers was solid now at DE in containment, and Miller played very well, but Campbell played mistake-free and wasn't pressured much of the game. What do you see Denver doing to improve?

- Question 7: There were countless times I was shouting "screen, screen!" on offense. I do think that using the screen more would improve compliment the passing game and substitute as a run game. Thoughts?

- Question 8: Penalties, we committed 9 for 91 yards. Walton and Franklin seemed unhinged at times. Fox is known as a discipline guy, as a steady guy, We didn't seem that way last week, do you look to the coaching staff for that at all, and do you feel there needs to be a change in how preparation is handled this week?

- Question 9: Predictions out for Cincy, who has a big game in week 2 and any other predictions.

 

Name Comment
Topher D. Question 1: So first thing, we have to look towards week 2, we are all looking for Orton to improve. Besides QB play, what area do you think needs to improve the most?
Jess If Orton is going to have a chance at righting his wrongs from week one, he's going to need some run support. We have to get that going or we're dead in the water.
  Is that too general?
Tim L. Run support? Try offensive line. If the OL starts clicking, the running game will have holes to run through!
Kirk D. The trenches on both sides of the ball
Tim L. I'd throw manliness in there. The Raiders looked more manly than the Broncos did last week - it made me sick.
Topher D. I'd agree with the trenches, and while the offensive line played poorly in run support, I wasn't seeing good vision from Moreno or McGahee
Kirk D. The Raiders did to us what Dennis Allen wants to do to other teams
Jess P. I think we need to score more points.
Kirk D. Front 7 domination
Jeremy B. I want to see Kuper play like a 7mil/year guard
Tim L. Beadles was terrible - love him on Twitter, but the only pancakes I saw was him getting pancaked
Topher D. Agreed, and I would agree with you Jeremy, Kuper looked almost as out of place as Walton, Beadles and Franklin.
  It also seemed the Raiders just played faster than we did, was I the only one who saw that?
Tim L. I'd say the Raiders D was fast, but until injuries forced the 2010 Broncos defense on the field late in the game, the Broncos D looked faster than the Raiders O.
Topher D. Question 2: What do you feel Denver needs to do to improve the running game or balance the offense?
Kirk D. Discipline and maybe a sense of urgency
Jess P. We're in danger of (what Tim said about 2010) happening this year. If we can't sustain drives with the run (that's on the O Line and RBs), we're going to hurt defensively... Not to mention the injuries we'll incur as a result.
Tim L. EXECUTE. The saddest part of the loss to the Raiders was that we had lots of open wide receivers. If Orton had been on his A-game I think he would have torched the Raiders so badly that they would have been forced out of their 5 man front, which would have opened up the run game. If only...
Topher D. So Tim, an improved passing game to set up the run?
Tim L. By execute, I am talking about Kyle Orton and the offensive line. I think the rest of the offense will work out if those two areas execute the way they were supposed to.
Topher D. So the running woes were due more to the line than to the backs?
Tim L. Depends on what other teams do. Oakland dared Orton to beat them over the top. If he had, then we could have run the ball more effectively. If Cincy plays max pass protect, then we should be able to run.
Jess P. Lost in all this Orton mess is how poorly Moreno played. I'd like to see more of McGahee and Ball. I'd like to see an expanded role for them.
Tim L. From what I saw, the Raiders D was pushing the line back several yards on every play...what kind of rushing lanes could there have been?
Kirk D. I'd like to see less penalties and making the run blocks. The O-Line needs to impose their will
Jess P. I'd like to see more out of Orlando Franklin than just the penalties.
Topher D. I do have to say the Raiders D were at the top of their game
Tim L. If I wanted to play the blame game - this loss is mostly the offensive lines fault.
Topher D. Question 3: We did see a lot of empty sets against Oakland, do you feel that will continue next week, or was it a cause of a struggling running game?
Jess P. I think that was due to the rain. My folks at the game said the concourses were packed with people watching on the little TV screens.
Kirk D. We had so many 3rd & 15's. It is very difficult to keep converting those. Still, a 6/13 (46.1%) conversion rate isn't going to lose the game for you.
Jeremy B. regarding the empty sets, we also saw a lot of shotgun, I think it was just part of the adjustments, especially once Denver saw the 5 man front. the empty sets started getting the nickle package on the field for the Raiders. Also, remember we faced a LOT of 3rd and longs....that is empty set territory.
Topher D. Question 4: So we saw a lot of QB's have terrible games last week, Big Ben, Freeman, Ryan, Orton, Eli, and Bradford. Do you see Cincy as a weak defense that Orton can bounce back against?
Jess P. I don't see them as weak, but I think there's every opportunity for Orton to bounce back. He needs to... or else.
Tim L. They gave Colt McCoy issues and were stout against Hillis. With all the injuries this week, I have a feeling the Broncos will end up dropping this one too. Our only saving grace is Andy Dalton is starting, rookie QBs can be rattled by a good pass rush.
Topher D. I do think Cincy has a weaker front seven, but a better secondary, hopefully that will mean less pressure
Kirk D. Last time we played the Bengals, it took a miracle
Troy H. But we also held them to a touchdown, too. I think it's going to take that kind of defensive effort to have a shot at them.
Jess P. If only we had someone on the team known for dabbling in the miraculous...a
Kirk D. Well they let Jonathan Joseph leave for Houston and replaced him with Nate Clements from the Niners. That isn't an improvement. Clements had better support up front in San Francisco
Topher D. Question 5: We did struggle against the run, and Cincy is another run heavy team, what does Denver have to do to contain Benson, outside of fighting him in a bar?
Tim L. The Broncos D is getting some bad rap here. They gave up a couple of 15-20 yard gains early on, but stiffened for the most part. Then the injuries began to mount and we suddenly had the 2010 defense back out there. Nightmare. Many of those guys will be out this week, so I am not optimistic - thought I do expect people to kneejerk over the run defense until the starters get healthy again.
Topher D. I just rewatched the game Tim, we struggled stopping the run in the backfield, though we did do better at stopping the big runs later.
Troy H. I'd say that "fighting him in a bar" would be option number 1. Option number two is maintain gap discipline. We can't allow him to reach the second level of our defense without resistance. Penetration and gap discipline are the key to any run defense, but it will be especially important with the power of Cedric Benson.
Jess P. I rather just fight him in a bar.
Topher D. Haha
Jess P. I didn't see anything on Monday that leads me to believe that we're going to contain him. I did like seeing what we did in pass protection. To win, we'll have to get after the QB (Dalton or otherwise) and capitalize on mistakes.
 
Troy H. I'm near Cincinnati, maybe I can try and get him before he gets on the plane?
Kirk D. I agree with the premise, Punch him in the mouth. Just on the field.
Troy H. Jess, what say we stack the box and dare them to throw the ball?
Kirk D. Which means stopping Benson
Topher D. I'm with you Troy, I do think we have solid enough, though hardly perfect, coverage to stop Dalton or whomever may start. down.
Kirk D. The Bengals Offensive line struggled last season, and didn’t get much of an upgrade.
Tim L. Chris, I recall midway through the 3rd the D had given up 82 yards rushing. Considering we gave up like 600 yards in two games last year - I felt good about our starting run defense. I'll make no claims they are Top tier. ;)
Topher D. Question 6: Another area of concern of me after rewatching the game was pressure. Going into the season the pass rush was the most hyped part of the team and it didn't quite live up to that hype. Ayers was solid now at DE in containment, and Miller played very well, but Campbell played mistake-free and wasn't pressure much of the game. Doom seemed to get blocked too often. What do you see Denver doing to try and get after Dalton.
Kirk D. Stop the run
Tim L. I don't think Doom is playing this weekend, is he? Jason Hunter is a role player, but he seems to have a nose for finding and sacking the quarterback. I'd like to see him more in passing situations too.
Troy H. Get some 3rd and long situations. The Raiders running game kept them in 3rd and manageable situations. Like Kirk said, "Stop the run". If we stop the run on first and second downs, they'll be in third and long and either A)get sacked or B)Run a draw or screen for minimal gain.
Jess P. It comes back to execution for this one. Either we dominate at the line or we get dominated.
Kirk D. Bingo
Jess P. We need to be very Cesar Milan about this.


John B. Just a FYI... Dalton is about 75% not going to play
Topher D. Thanks for that update John, I wasn't sure if he was probable or questionable
Tim L. Which sucks for the Broncos, cause the better player is the veteran.
John B. Extremely questionable at best
Kirk D. That's what I thought.
Tim L. The one aspect of the defense that has really improved was third downs too. The Raiders were 5/14, so getting off the field is getting better. Injuries on D really hurt the team.
Kirk D. Bruce Gradkowski has never played against the Broncos. He's not a pushover, but I think he is more than a serviceable back up
Topher D. Question 7: Okay moving backwards real fast, there were countless times I was shouting "screen, screen!" on offense. I do think that using the screen more would improve compliment the passing game and substitute as a run game. Thoughts?
Kirk D. We didn't have a chance in the last game, the screens were penetrated against and our own OL got in the way
Tim L. Chris, I don't think Orton is scaring a lot of people right now and a screen pass is exactly the nice little "safe" play the opposing defense will be looking for. I'd rather see Orton go vertical in this game...DEEP!
Troy H. Absolutely, especially with Knowshon Moreno in the game... if he's going to be in the game, that is. On the infamous "Orton Fumble" drive, Moreno had a reception on a swing pass that helped kick start the drive. Having blockers out in front of him would only help create the opportunity for explosive plays. But like we are all aware, Orton isn't great at screens. It would be a great weapon if he was better at them.
Kirk D. The passes to Moreno in open field are some of the most successful plays we run
Jeremy B. We ran a lot of screens. Franklin had a holding penalty on one, they had an incomplete on another. factor in some of the drag screens (which don't really look like a screen is expected to look) and I would say it was a part of the game plan.
Jess P. I couldn't handle the run, screen, incomplete pass, then punt (on 3rd and 13) scenarios from last year. It that sequence of events that damaged Orton in the eyes of the fans... Even when it worked, it wasn't the exciting brand of Broncos football we're used to.
  (So I say ick on the screens)
Topher D. I don't like it either Jess, but without a run game, it's all we got.


Jeremy B. Tim, Orton went to the bread and butter deep ball to Lloyd at least three times that I counted. One was on target, two weren't, it was just an off night all around.
  Raiders went with a 5-man front, 3 DTs and a SS in the box... run game wasn't going to happen.
Kirk D. That INT looked like Orton wanted the comeback that we've seen so successful and Lloyd thought fly pattern
Topher D. Question 8: Earlier we mentioned penalties. We committed 9 for 91 yards, that's killer. Walton and Franklin seemed unhinged at times. Fox is known as a discipline guy, as a steady guy, We didn't seem that way last week, do you look to the coaching staff for that at all, and do you feel there needs to be a change in how preparation is handled this week?
Jess P. Regading penalties, they just can't happen. Simple as that. Fox needs to personally beat the crap out of the players that commit them.
John B. The penalties, specifically against the offensive line, go directly to just how bad the Raiders' defensive front was dominating the broncos. It is somewhat expected by a rookie, but when Chris Kuper is getting holding calls, we have problems
Jeremy B. We were having a really hard time against Kelly, Henderson and Seymour in the middle, and Kuper and Beadles caught the brunt of it. Beadles particularly had a hard night, and Kuper would have looked worse without the penalties, hard as that is to imagine. As far as penalties in that game reflecting discipline, I agree with Fox who said after the game that he didn't mind the physical penalties they were getting. Ball and Ayers had the two "bad" penalties, in the sene that they reflected a lack of discipline, but the holding penalties on the OL can often go both ways, and are part of the trench beatdown, a small factor in the trench beatdown. Of the 7 offensive penalties called, all 7 were on the OL, a far cry from the opening weeks last year where we had receivers lined up in illegal formations, and linemen lined up too far in the backfield.
John B. As for the personal foul calls, it plays into what the Raiders have done for years. That's why it should be about winning a game, not getting revenge for last year. Fans want to hear fire and brimstone from the players, but if they get caught up in that, well, you can see the result.
Topher D. Do you think the offensive line will get special attention this week in practice?
Troy H. It's easy for us to say "just don't have penalties", but it's different in the heat of the moment. Those guys were out there playing against a notoriously dirty team, who happened to be a division rival on national television. Penalties are going to happen. Was the 9 penalties against the Broncos an abberation? At this point, I would lean towards yes. Emotions were high. I don't think emotions will be nearly as high against the Bengals. I think that being dominated had to have played a part in it, as well, but not many defensive lines are going to be nearly that physical.
Kirk D. Hard to say whether they lost composure or not. The Raiders generally promote a higher penalized game. They take so many stupid penalties that they find ways to get back at the other team.
Topher D. Walton seemed really pissed a lot
Troy H. Can you really prepare to have fewer penalties?
John B. So you really have to look at the who, what, where and when of the penalties. The holding penalties were killers because it seemed several happened on positive plays. It's hard for an offense to get into a rhythm when they are looking at 1st and 20 all the time
Topher D. Agreed John, some of those penalties were about as anti-"clutch" as a turnover
John B. The facemask that gave Janikowski the shot at the 63-yarder comes to mind
Jeremy B. keep in mind on the penalties guys, it was Oaklnad getting called for the "undisciplined" calls...roughing the passer, late hits, fights after the snap...
Jeremy B. bottom line, if we could cut back on the OL penalties, we can avoid that stutter-start on offense. I tell you, I was most disappointed that the defensive "energy" of the preseason didn't translate to sound tackling from our LBs and DEs....that needs lots of work.
Topher D. Question 9: So lets move on to next week and get our predictions out for Cincy. Who has a big game in week 2 and any other predictions.
  Call me crazy but I say Goodman gets a pick 6.
Jeremy B. well Goodman missed some big tackles at the end of the Raider game (not to dwell, lol) so if he is MVP, that should make up for it...
  I think it will be a pretty conservative, defense oriented game
Kirk D. Brandon Stokely with the last second catch
Topher D. Haha
Kirk D. Decker (again)
Troy H. I'll go with Eddie Royal.
Jeremy B. Is it just me or is Eddie cursed right now?
Troy H. It was a wet night, so I'll cut him some slack.
Kirk D. It could be another wet one too.
  There is a chance of thunderstorms
Troy H. Well, someone give him one of those Orange towels that they handed out Monday night...
Jeremy B. I think McGahee has a nice game, maybe over 100 combined yards. Cincy is the kind of defensive front that he can have success against, wider than the DEs on swing passes and screens and inside the tackles where I think we have a couple of good matchups, basically the polar opposite of the interior Oakland line.
Troy H. I like that pick. I hope we're all right.
Topher D. Question 10: Any last thoughts on week 2?
Jeremy B. More than anything I want to see the offense hit some kind of rhythm, some kind of stride. they are better than they played against Oakland, they need to put something together they can build on going forward.
  It is mostly their ends and the LBs when they get downhill. Inside I wouldn't put their talent too far above ours. I only saw the first half though, so maybe they have depth that helps them hold up as the game goes on.
John B. Unless Week 1 was aberration, I don;t think we should feel great about our O-line against their D-Line
Jeremy B. Cleveland OL is built solid. I'm sure Holmgren is quite happy.
John B. Though, in the end, it was a boneheaded play that killed the Browns
  Cedric Benson is running well, too
Kirk D. 4.8 ypc last week
John B. Until the Broncos PROVE they can throw the ball consistently, and move down the field without the big play, teams are simply not going to let Denver run
Topher D. Agreed, thanks everyone

Thanks everyone!

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