The Drew Lock Train is set for departure.
Are we in for an initial smooth ride? Or will it take some time to get up speed? Perhaps a combination of both as the Denver Broncos open their season in the second half of the Monday Night Football doubleheader against the Tennessee Titans, and will do so without Von Miller.
How will the loss of Miller impact the opener against the Titans? Before the injury, Denver was a PK or +1. Now, some sportsbooks are at +2.5. Despite the fact the Broncos have won seven-straight home openers and are 28-6-1 all-time at home in Week One, the hill is a little steeper now.
On the MHR Radio Podcast, Adam Malnati and I had to re-record the podcast because of the Miller injury. We wonder how significant this is and where the Broncos go from here. We’re also still in disbelief that football is back, though Miller likely being out for the season puts a damper on it. This is par for the course in 2020.
Here are the MHR staff’s keys to Monday’s game.
Set the tone for the game and the season with a fast start. It may sound cliche, but we need cliche right now. That is even more vital now that Miller is out. Whether it’s offense or defense for the Broncos, punch Tennessee in the proverbial mouth. That will build Denver’s confidence and get the team even more amped. It will also remind the Broncos that it’s football. — Ian St. Clair
Being assignment sound
This is a bad first game to be missing Todd Davis, but a great test for his replacements at linebacker. Denver will need to be sound in its run fits to slow down Derrick Henry, as well as mitigate the effect of play action, which the Titans will employ plenty on Monday. — Jeff Essary
Take advantage of matchups
Plan around matchups between the Broncos offensive line and Tennessee’s defensive line. Jadeveon Clowney will barely know the Titans’ playbook, but he doesn’t need to if all they want him to do is abuse Elijah Wilkinson and get after Lock all night. The offense will have its struggles, especially early in the season, but what can be done to mitigate the issues shouldn’t be. Giving Lock decent and, more importantly, reliable pockets will be a big part of that. — Taylor Kothe
The 2020 season is his moment to break out. John Elway and the Broncos have done everything they could to surround him with enough talent to succeed in the NFL as a young quarterback. It’s now on Lock himself to prove to everyone that he is here to stay for a long, long time. — Tim Lynch
I know that sounds simplistic, but the biggest issue Denver has had since 2015 has been putting points on the board consistently. All of the talk this offseason about weapons and Lock means that now is the time to actually put points on the board. Now that Miller is out, scoring points is even more imperative. — Adam Malnati