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To beat the Bears, Broncos’ offensive line must be a brick wall

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But after Monday’s performance against the lowly Raiders, you can bet the Bears’ Front 7 is drooling at its opportunity.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country!

I’m not gonna lie. I was UNhappy on Monday night - not just because I really thought the Broncos would win but because the performance was such a huge letdown from my expectations.

But after some deep breaths and considering the film breakdowns by our own gurus Jeffrey Essary and Joe Rowles this week, I have stopped hyperventilating and have tempered my expectations back to reality - or at least closer to reality.

Rome was not built in a day and neither was a vaunted Broncos defense or stellar Broncos offense.

So I’ll be patient and recognize that it will take a little time - maybe even a few seasons with a few more additions (cough, ILB, cough) - to really showcase a true Vic Fangio defense in Denver.

But if there is one coach who needs to hurry the &$^% up and get a group of players up to snuff and do it now, it’s Mike Munchak.

That Front 7 out of Chicago is no joke, and if Broncos don’t want Joe Flacco in the ER by halftime, Munchak needs to work some Hall-of-Fame voodoo coaching magic to get this line in check.

Because if the Broncos’ success Saturday revolves around one thing, it will be the ability of the o-line to stop the pass rush that could come from a multitude of players - Akiem Hicks, Roy Robertson-Harris, Leonard Floyd, Khalil Mack...the list seems endless.

Fangio didn’t seem worried when speaking to the media, but those pressers are like political polls - they provide some interesting tidbits to take away, but they otherwise mean nothing.

Regarding his confidence in backup Elijah Wilkinson, who will sub for an injured Ju’Wuan James this weekend just as he did for part of the game on Monday night, Fangio basically said it’s all good.

“I think he’s been pretty damn good all training camp and preseason games,” the coach said. “Came in the other day and played well. Had a tough first play, got a little late off the ball, but we have total confidence in him.”

And he even downplayed the fact that Khalil Mack will be lining up opposite Wilkinson and Garett Bolles - a prospect Mack has to be drooling over.

“Obviously, those guys are really good accomplished pass rushers,” Fangio said. “I’m sure we’ll give those [offensive linemen] some help at times, but there’s going to be times like in any game they’re going to have to stand up and be able to block without a lot of help. Those are two tough guys to go against on the edges.”

Although Mack had zero sacks last week in the Bears’ losing effort to the Packers, the outside linebacker did affect 31 of 34 plays, according to one analyst’s calculations.

Joe Flacco certainly knows what Mack can do - and he apparently is just planning to escape as unscathed as possible. Not that I blame him.

“We all know how good he is and what he can do to have his effect on a football game,” Flacco said before adding that he has “confidence in the guys in front” of him. “With players like that, they have all of the ability in the world to do some of the stuff they want to no matter what, and you just have to make sure when those things happen you minimize the damage and move on.”

Is it just me or does Flacco not sound quite as confident as he’d like us to believe?

The good news on the o-line is that Flacco and center Connor McGovern seem to be developing some great communication, which is crucial.

“It’s really good. Connor likes to have a lot of feedback on how things are getting back there, and I think he does a great job getting up to the line of scrimmage and making calls quickly so that we can kind of get the ball snapped and not waste too much time at the line of scrimmage,” Flacco said. “I think we’re getting better and better and we’re going to be able to do more and more things in terms of our cadence and things like that as the season goes on.”

And there’s also commentary out there like this proving that despite the rumors, the Broncos’ o-line is perhaps not abysmal.

Rookie guard Dalton Risner had “a stellar start to his NFL career,” according to PFF, earning an 84.2 overall grade and 80.0-plus marks as a run-blocker (80.3) and pass-blocker (83.3) across 62 offensive snaps. And perhaps most astounding, he allowed 0 total pressures in 35 pass-blocking snaps.

So, Coach Munchak, if you could just spend a little extra time focusing on Bolles this week, maybe even Elijah, we’d all really appreciate it.

Especially Joe Flacco.

Poll

Which position/player will be most important for the Broncos to get a win Sunday?

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    O-LINE (weren’t you paying attention)?
    (322 votes)
  • 6%
    Quarterback
    (34 votes)
  • 18%
    Von Miller & Bradley Chubb
    (96 votes)
  • 8%
    Isaac Yiadom
    (47 votes)
  • 0%
    Brandon McManus
    (4 votes)
  • 5%
    "Shasta"
    (29 votes)
532 votes total Vote Now

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