Can the Broncos finally become stone cold killers?
Not quite, and this was likely what perturbed Broncos Country this past week. The Broncos scored on three straight possessions from the 2nd to 3rd quarter and built a 24-10 lead. This is the juncture at which many fans wanted to see the offense turn out the lights against this Jets defense. Costly mistakes and a more conservative approach however kept that from happening. From the defenses' perspective, they did a fantastic job in the 2nd half of the game, the outcome never really felt like it was in peril. I suppose we can wait another week for the Broncos to become the stone cold killers we hope they can be.
Will the Denver Broncos try to fit a square pet into a round hole?
This concerned the running game and whether or not Denver would try to establish it despite facing a team that has excelled in shutting it down. The Broncos passed the ball 33 times and ran the ball 32 times. They clearly had designs to come into this game and try to establish the running game. It didn't play out like that at first though and it might have come about more due to necessity than anything else. Rex Ryan had a great plan against the Broncos passing offense. A lot of max zone coverage, linebackers chipping WR's, overload blitzes to get Peyton Manning moving off his mark. It did well at first and the response from the Bronco offense was to run the ball against a 3-man front playing max zone. Then as the game progressed, they used reserve tackle Paul Cornick as an extra blocker in a 3-TE look with success. The Broncos are not likely to run the ball with consistency when they are in 11 personnel, but they have shown the ability to get the job done behind heavier looks. Another plus to this approach is that the playaction game is always in play.
Does Rex Ryan have anything left up his sleeve?
He sure did, but just like most smoke and mirrors, the novelty wore out fast. After watching Peyton Manning for close to three seasons now in detail, the schemes that give him the most trouble are those that play a lot of zone coverage, and those that are successful in moving the pocket. Rex Ryan tried both strategies and they contained a relatively stagnant Broncos offense for about a quarter and a half.
Who will cover Eric Decker?
For the most part it was Aqib Talib. He was targeted 7 times and allowed 5 receptions for 41 yards. Though he was also credited with Decker's touchdown reception, there's not much he could have done as he was the victim of a well executed pick play. Outside of a 15 yard WR screen Talib held Decker on checkdown status never allowing the dangerous receiver a huge play downfield or a lot of YAC.
How will Franklin, Ramirez, and Vasquez handle the interior DL for the Jets?
They all struggled to some extent though Manny Ramirez had a tough game with a three play sequence he'd rather forget. It all started with a bad snap, that actually wasn't his fault. Manny had been tapped by Louis Vasquez and Manning's movement forward towards the LOS triggered the snap. That's not on Manny. After that his man beat him against the run, then beat him for an uncontested sack on Peyton Manning.
Orlando Franklin provided the biggest holes in the running game as Ronnie Hillman averaged 9 yards per carry off of LG.
How will the Broncos split their carries?
It was clear that Ronnie Hillman was the feature back regardless of field position. Thompson did see a few more snaps in the redzone but that's to be expected going forward.
McManus faces 2nd test of the season, how will he look?
McManus nailed a 37-yard field goal, converted every extra point, and was 4/6 hitting touchbacks on kickoff attempts.
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