After two weeks of football, we have learned quite a bit about this Denver Broncos team. From a gut check win over the Carolina Panthers to a dominating defensive effort in the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts, we now kinda know what this football team is in 2016.
Here is what we have learned.
1. Broncos defense is elite, but not quite as good as they were when 2015 ended
After getting gashed by Panthers in Week 1, the Broncos defense crushed the Colts running attack. Frank Gore was unable to find any room to run and finished with a paltry 13 carries for 44 yards.
However, the No Fly Zone and the pass rush is absolutely as dominant as it ever was in 2015. The Broncos have eight sacks thought two games against two quarterbacks that are usually very hard to bring down in Andrew Luck and Cam Newton. Add that to the secondary’s work against these two elite quarterbacks and you start to see just how good this defense is.
Cam Newton & Andrew Luck's passing stats vs Denver's Defense:— Jayson Braddock (@JaysonBraddock) September 19, 2016
Cam 54.5% 194 yds 1 TD 1 INT
Luck 52.5% 197 yds 1 TD 1 INT
@JaysonBraddock @shanehall31 Versus not Denver:— Luke Hall (@OakTreeStatus) September 19, 2016
Cam 60% 353 yds 4 TD 1 Int
Luck 66% 385 yds 4 TD 0 Int
The Broncos defense still has some kinks to work out, though. That’s why this version isn’t quite as good as the one that won the Super Bowl, but by midseason they might just be better.
2. Broncos offense is a heck of a lot better than you think
The Broncos have the fourth best rushing attack in the NFL after two weeks, averaging 141 yards per game. They are 26th in passing, but why pass when you don’t have to?
Gary Kubiak’s system is slowly coming together. Andy Janovich is still a work in progress as he missed on a few blocks in the running game, but every time he did you could tell by his body language that he was angry with himself. He’ll get better, which means this running game with C.J. Anderson will get better.
The offense is around Top 10 in many key categories; from third down conversion rate to points per game (albeit with a little help from that otherworldly defense).
The good news here is that the Broncos offense can only get better as Trevor Siemian continues to grow as a quarterback. As long as this team keeps winning, they can afford to keep working with him to improve in the passing game.
Speaking of the passing game...
3. Trevor Siemian is good enough for this Broncos team
That’s right. He is good enough. Compare him to Kyle Orton all you want, but Orton with this defense would have been good enough too. With this defense, Siemian doesn’t need to inspire confidence he just needs to be good enough and good enough he is so far.
Plus this stat line looks good.
Trevor Siemian (picked 250th overall) is about to take down his 2nd #1 overall pick in as many weeks. Cam Newton, now Andrew Luck— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) September 18, 2016
Fans should stop worrying about the quarterback, but the quarterback isn’t the position driving this team to victory. All the Broncos need from Siemian is to be better than Brock Osweiler and Peyton Manning were in 2015. So far he is.
The one concern is turnovers. The Broncos should have blown the Panthers out and should have never had the Colts game in question late.
Trevor Siemian's 3 interceptions in the last 6 quarters have all taken place in scoring range.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) September 18, 2016
I am confident that Kubiak and the coaching staff is working with Siemian to try and clean up these mistakes inside scoring position. If he can limit these kinds of costly mistakes, then this offense is going to start obliterating opponents.
This is a good problem to have and to solve.