Let’s just start out with something cathartic: the end of this game was some straight up bullshit.
The hapless Chicago Bears were handed a huge chunk of 15 yards by the refs for what was, in essence, Bradley Chubb doing his damned job and then in the strangest thing I’ve ever witnessed in the NFL, the refs put a second back on the clock after the game ended when the derptastic Bears QB was making timeout signs in the middle of the field instead of getting in front of a ref to do it. I watched the replay ... there’s no way a player is able to get a timeout called before that clock expires unless we are now using the review system to officiate timeouts without the necessity to involve the refs on the field whatsoever which isn’t anything I’ve heard or read about.
To the NFL refs, the NFL commissioner, and anyone associated with “the call from New York:” screw you sideways with a splintery 2 X 4.
Now that that is out of my system, let’s move on with the No Bull Review.
I know we can all gnash our teeth about the red zone issues, the ineptitude of some of our players, and the raw lack of actual points on the board, but let me encourage you all out there in Broncos Country to chill. This offense is still finding its legs, but what I see is a team putting it together week by week and there is definitely a lot of positives to build off of.
The play calling in Week 2 was better (regardless of the execution, which is the main problem in the red zone). The passing game looks to me to be very strong as well. Add to it that the running backs are able to make really good things happen when the rest of the team blocks well and you have the foundation for a very good NFL offense.
Honestly, the Broncos are ahead of where I thought they would be heading into the season, and I for one think a couple of tweaks can get the wheels really churning in the right direction (though I’m not confident at all that the team will actually make the necessary changes).
Joe Flacco had a couple of throws that he absolutely wants back. They were dangerous, bad throws and one of them cost us a score that got intercepted.
That being said, he has really impressed me with his ability as an actual NFL quarterback. I saw a good handful of times him progress through three reads before he threw the ball. That’s two more reads on average than any quarterback we’ve had in three years, ladies and gentlemen.
His throws aren’t the laser accuracy of Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, but the guy does get the ball where it needs to be at an above average level for the NFL and he seems to be building report with both Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders, which bodes well for the season.
We have three problems currently with our offensive line in order:
1. Garett Bolles pass blocking is the most atrocious thing I’ve witnessed since Ty Sambrailo trademarked the butt block technique right before he got traded off the team.
2. Our Tight Ends are woeful at run blocking.
3. Ron Leary is playing sloppy when he’s asked to run block.
The space there is to let you know how many factors worse item number one is from the other two.
I know many of our fine writers here at milehighreport.com have put Bolles on blast over the past two weeks, but it can not be said enough: this guy is not an NFL quality player. I don’t care what nonsense the coaches, players, or front office want to use as sound bites to rally around their only real option at left tackle. Let me tell you what all of that is:
I honestly have nothing bad to say about either Royce Freeman or Phillip Lindsay. Both of these cats are getting everything they can out of every opportunity they have. I think they cause problems for defenses with their differences in talent and God-given abilities. Hopefully Mike Munchak can get more out of our line and tight ends as the season wears on so these two can work some magic.
Sutton and Sanders are the stars of the whole Broncos team so far this season. Both of them are playing at an extraordinarily high level and look like great NFL WRs. Sanders is as quick and shifty as ever coming out of his breaks and Sutton is really rounding into form as a route runner with both size and speed who can be a real No. 1 option for an offense.
Again, I liked the progress here from Week 1 to Week 2. I know there are still issues with the run defense, but until this team gets Todd Davis back, they are just stuck with what it has. There’s too much of a lack of talent at ILB for them to really turn a corner and become a dominant defense.
Bradley Chubb is playing like a beast. He’s setting the edge well in the run game (the majority of the time), doing decent in his zone coverage, and is getting pressure on the few opportunities this team creates for a decent pass rush.
Von Miller I can’t say the same for. He’s doing a very good job in setting the edge and covering in zone, but this defense so far doesn’t seem to be one that lends itself to him being used at a high level as a pass rusher. The first problem is that the defense isn’t creating enough long distance situations where he can flat out pass rush (so he has to slow down and hold the edge by design). The other problem is that he looks too low on energy when those times come to be able to be who he is. I think Denver not rotating him out more is a big negative and one I hope it can adjust as the season wears on and Malik Reed and Justin Hollins can contribute more.
While the line is doing a decent job up front holding space (which is what it seems to be being asked to do more in this defense from what I’ve seen), the inside linebackers are woeful and the No. 1 problem with the defense. Josey Jewell still looks like a guy who can’t move horizontally well enough to play at a high level in the NFL. Corey Nelson’s problem is his instincts (which Jewell at least has) are usually bad. There’s a reason he’s been in the league for five years and the Broncos were able to get him right as the season started, people.
Todd Davis honestly is the biggest hope this team has for a significant improvement in the defense. He’s the only complete package at inside linebacker that the Broncos have.
We also saw Justin Simmons completely ball out from the safety position in this game. I thought he looked phenomenal and if Denver can do anything at all to create more bad situations for teams he is going to create some turnovers for this defense.
I’d say the same thing for Kareem Jackson, but sadly as I went back to the film, he’s one of the two guys who absolutely blew it on the last passing play from the Bears. He let the only guy on the right side of the field get behind his zone and run free.
And let’s add to it that while some might say Isaac Yiadom made a step forward in this game, that’s nonsense as well. He was afforded some much needed constant safety help and on the last play of the game he decided to pass his guy off to Jackson instead of staying with him on a play where the only thing we can’t do was give up chunk yards. You don’t have to worry about a guy underneath in that situation if you have any understanding at all of situational football.
And while it isn’t anywhere near as bad as the other two, you do have to give Chris Harris Jr. his dose of derptitude for touching the guy down. Had he just held off for one stinking second, the game is over and there’s nothing any ref or dude sitting in New York can do about it.
Colby Wadman sucked. I honestly don’t care that much because punting is the least of this team’s problems, but I had noted to check the stats on him as his punts looked poor to me. His average in the game was a flat 40 yards with a net of 34.6 yards. If you didn’t know, that is well below average ... as in would have gotten him darn near last place in the NFL in 2019.
I know this one hurt, Broncos Country. Our fan base is starving for success. I get it.
I’m still in a place right now where I have faith in this coaching staff, though. I can see actual adjustments and progress being made. I think Vic Fangio is doing an amazing job making chicken salad out of what he’s been given to work with on defense (big holes at ILB, CB, and depth all over).
I loved the fight I saw in the team. I like that the offense is working hard to get it figured out and I can tell they are all super frustrated with the mistakes that keep holding them off the scoreboard.
I mentioned those tweaks at the start of my review. Let’s circle back to them now to wrap this up:
- Bench Garett Bolles as soon as Ja’Wuan James is healthy. I don’t care whether you put Elijah Wilkinson at left or James. He is the No. 1, biggest hole on this team and he needs to not be on the field on game day.
- Either coach up a tight end to actually be a functional blocker or get Andy Janovich healthy to take their place. The tight ends look atrocious in that area of their jobs.
- Reach deep in your bag of tricks if you are serious about winning and trade for a corner to replace Yiadom and a ILB to replace Corey Nelson and move Josey Jewell down the depth chart.
What do you fine ladies and gentlemen out there in Broncos Country think? Will John Elway have the stones to do No. 3? Can Fangio put his foot down on Bolles and get him off the field despite Elway wanting his draft picks to pan out come hell or high water? Hit me up in the comments and let me know what you think.