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Ultimate Fan Guide 'bye week' edition: Broncos looking mostly good so far

Just because the Broncos aren't playing this week is no reason not to talk about them. There's no game to project, but the Lattimore family chimes in with its assessment on the team thus far and what to expect for the next 13 games.

Justin Edmonds

It's a bye week and there's no "game" to project, but that's no reason to stop the ultimate fans from talking Broncos, right? Plus, it seems unfair to wait a whole extra week for the prodigal fan to state his parting shots:

The bottom line is we saw massive improvements from this team since the Super Bowl. That, my friends, is the progress we were looking for.   -the prodigal fan

First, I just want to say, "I told you so!" Lol. In all seriousness though, this game went both pretty much as I expected, and yet a little better than expected. I was predicting a close loss for us, which it was, but I didn't think we would force OT, nor that we would have a chance to win late that we would let slip away before coming back to tie. I am very encouraged by what I saw here.

The bottom line is that we saw massive improvements from this team since the Super Bowl, on both sides of the ball. On defense, we limited the running game, contained Percy Harvin, and forced turnovers. The defense played a great game against the defending champs in their own house.

On offense, it was too little, too late, but still showed that we were able to adjust to Seattle's defense and get points when we had to have them. If this game had played out in Denver or even a neutral field, I feel strongly we would have won.

That, my friends, is the progress we were looking for.

Yes, progress. Let's hope the Broncos offense starts the first quarter against the Cardinals the way it finished that last drive against the Seahawks and holds it to the end of the game! THAT would be progress.

Bye Week? No problem

Since I had no takers on my last-minute call last week for an Ultimate Guide recap version during the bye week, I called on the best Broncos fans I know - my family.


These are the awesome people who have been planning weekends, vacations, wardrobes and Christmas gifts around this team since before I can remember.

Sunday afternoons growing up were Broncos games and that was all. (well, that, and often a lot of screaming at the TV and then a lot of jumping up and down in sheer joy, pretending we weren't really all that mad after all)!

These are also the people I text incessantly during all Broncos games, and we are still screaming at the TV, cursing the play calls and the refs (sorry about those, mom!) and then jumping up and down pretending we weren't mad.

Like last Sunday for example:


So this week's Ultimate Fan is brought to you by the Lattimore clan who love the Broncos as much as each other...and on occasion, more! (p.s. - my mom uses a lot of smiley faces!)

MHR: Looking at the first three games, how confident are you that the Broncos can repeat as AFC Champions? What does the team need to do in order to get the AFC crown an eighth time?

Laurie's brother, John: I'm cautiously optimistic - running game has to be more dominant. Our defense is excellent when they are fresh and when other teams need to throw in order to catch up. The running game can help make that happen.

Laurie's sister, Diana: I think the team has improved each week so as long as we stay healthy, I'm pretty confident that Broncos can conquer the AFC again.  The offense needs to continue protecting Peyton and being in the right position on every play.  The D needs to not be on the field the entire game but also not lose stamina after big plays.

Laurie's Dad, Dan: Stay healthy, be lucky, and beat San Diego at least once. Then they will have to deal with Indianapolis and New England in the playoffs.

Laurie's Mom, Bonnie: Very confident.  Needs to play well at both offense and defense! :)

MHR: What has been your favorite aspect of the team's play so far this year?

John: Secondary - we look much improved there, safety play especially.

Diana: Watching Peyton make great plays with his laser-rocket arm!

Dad: Stronger defense.

Mom: Improved defense...but not yet stellar!

MHR: Least favorite?

Bro: Running game/ mentioned above. I think this will come around but not there yet.

Sis: Having a near heart attack every week!

Dad: Inability to stop third down plays.

Mom: Giving me heart failure each game so far!!!

MHR: The San Diego Chargers are 2-1 and beat the Seahawks at home. Cincinnati Bengals are a surprising 3-0, while the Indianapolis Colts are an astonishing 1-2. Meanwhile, the New England Patriots and NY Jets are struggling on offense. Which AFC foes do you think will be the most problematic for the Broncos down the stretch?

Bro: Chargers will be our divisional trouble. Jets are a joke...are you serious? Patriots will be the biggest playoff foe.

Sis: I think the Chargers and the Patriots can always be problematic regardless of struggles.

Dad: San Diego is a must-win at home. New England is always a threat for us.

Mom: Pats

I'm optimistic the Broncos will make it back to the Super Bowl, but I believe the Seahawks will fall because they are jerks and that catches you eventually!   -John Lattimore, Laurie's brother

MHR: Many analysts commented that the Seahawks-Broncos game was a contest between the two best teams in the league. What makes you think - or not - that these two will be in the Super Bowl again?

Bro: Those are two separate things. I think the Seahawks are the best team overall. They have the best defense and a really good offense that improves every week. The mobile QB who doesn't make mistakes is huge! Broncos are at least top 5, but offense has to control time of possession in all games.

The Seahawks and Broncos have the two toughest schedules so odds are against it...I'm optimistic the Broncos will make it due to Peyton's sheer will, but I believe the Seahawks will fall in the playoffs because they are jerks and that catches you eventually :)

Sis: I think you've got a great offense and a great defense in these two football teams so definitely possible they both end up in the big game again.

Dad: They are both certainly top 4. It is really difficult to have two teams go through the season for a rematch at the Super Bowl, so I doubt that will happen.

Mom: Both show promise on both sides of the ball-Broncos more improved. :)

MHR: Broncos have an early bye week this year. What is the key to sustaining their health, intensity over the next 13 weeks and keep winning?

Bro: Running game, running game, running game.

Sis: Mental work is going to be key along with being smart about the intensity of all the practices.  Overtraining with under-recovery is a recipe for injury, so they have to be smart about that.

Dad: Take a day off from practice every now and then.  If the team is up by three touchdowns or more in the last half of the fourth quarter, rest some starters and don't worry about stats or records.

Mom: Keeping to strengths in game plan.

MHR: Looking ahead, which game on the schedule is going to be the toughest? Which game do you think could be overlooked but needs to be taken as seriously as the rest?

Bro: Cardinals this next week are sneaky good! Bills and Rams should not be overlooked, both play great defense and we play the Rams on their Turf...we never play great on turf. Again, Jets are a joke. We could lose, but they stink. Chargers, Bengals and Pats are all tough games.

Sis: All of them.

Dad: Don't overlook Buffalo Bills on Dec. 7.  Toughest game will be Chargers in San Diego Dec. 14 or Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 22.

Mom: Has to be Patriots. We always end up playing them - probably because it is such a great TV draw - and always in New England! :)

Season predictions:

Ultimate Fan Manning TDs INTs Game PFM hits TD record # Sacks this season Most INTs for D # of offsides calls Season record
Bro 41 9 Game 7 - Chargers 56 (for Al Wilson) Rahim Moore 30+ 12-4
Sis 36 6 Game 6 - 49ers 40 Rahim Moore 12 14-2
Dad 30 4 Game 8 - Patriots like to see 45 T.J. Ward not as many as in KC game 13-3
Mom 35 5 Game 6 - 49ers 42 Aqib Talib better be none! 13-3

The Favorites...

Favorite team to watch the Broncos play?

Bro: Pats and Chargers - sacking Brady and Rivers is so fun!

Sis: Patriots

Dad: Kansas City because I've enjoyed the rivalry throughout the years, even when they were the Dallas Texans.

Mom: Pats because I want to beat them so badly each year! :)

Team you most hate for the Broncos to lose to?

Bro: Seahawks or Pats because the Hawks are punks and Pats are never out of the game.

SisRaiders because they are in our division and because they are the Raiders!

Dad: Oakland Raiders. I've disliked the Raiders from the beginning and they haven't gotten any better and neither have their fans! They are just mean.

Mom: Pats, because Brady lucks out a lot.

Favorite Broncos player on the current roster?

Bro: Peyton, of course

Sis: Peyton

DadPeyton Manning because of his leadership, character and hard work.

Mom: Stupid question...just ask my grandsons! :)


Favorite Broncos player of all time (and why)?

Bro: I have 5 - Steve Watson - hands, Al Wilson - passion, Eddie McCaffrey - willingness to take a beating, Peyton - all around (plus he went to UT - Go Vols!), and Tim Tebow - for his inspiration and "all he does is win"

Sis: Eddie Mac because he could take a hit and get back up, and Terrell Davis because he was such a badass running back (and we could use that right now!)

Dad: This is tough. There are so many - Craig Morton, Randy Gradishar, Rick Upchurch, Shannon Sharpe, and Tom Jackson, but I guess the one that had the most impact on Bronco success was John Elway. I do think Craig Morton deserves some credit for leading the Broncos to its first Super Bowl and moving them into serious consideration as a quality NFL team.

Mom: I already told you - Peyton... because he's a role model. (*editor's note: how about that? she's even scolding me in print! such a mom!)

Favorite Broncos game ever played?

Bro: Beating Favre in Super Bowl XXXII

Sis: The Drive

Dad: The AFC Championship game against Cleveland when John Elway directed "the drive" to win.

Mom: Beating Ravens last year at the start of the season but also loved the Super Bowl when Elway won MVP

Favorite thing to eat/drink while watching a game?

Bro: Easy - bratwurst at the game!

Sis: It usually involves chocolate.

Dad: Too nervous, I can't eat or drink during the game.

Mom: Are you kidding? My stomach is always in knots and am sure my heart will fail any minute.

The Lattimore ‘Hall-of-Fame Broncos' team:

QB: Tie (seriously, two chose Elway "when he could still scramble" and two said guess who!)

WR: Rod Smith, Rick Upchurch, Ed McCaffrey, Demaryius Thomas, Brandon Marshall

RB: Floyd Little, Terrell Davis, Mike Anderson

TE: Shannon Sharpe (this is the only's been a weakness for the Broncos)

OL: Tom Nalen and Mark Schlereth of the 1998 and 1999 championship teams; Bobby Maples (center) from first Super Bowl team (history note from dad: Maples played running back at Baylor in the early 1960s);

Defense: You can't argue with the Orange Crush - Randy Gradishar, Tom Jackson, Paul Smith, Barney Chavous, Rubin Carter - plus John Mobley (extra linebackers allowed on our team!), Al Wilson, Karl Mecklenburg, Steve Atwater, John Lynch and the current safeties (best we've had in a long time).

Kicker: Jim Turner (dad's choice); Jason Elam (rest of the fam's)