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Broncos’ offense being ‘good enough’ is not going to be good enough...eventually

Ryan Edwards, Benjamin Allbright and Tim Jenkins give props to the Broncos’ offense and Teddy Bridgewater’s play thus far but discuss what has to improve for Broncos to beat the better teams.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Before Ryan Edwards and Benjamin Allbright got to their usual Monday segment on Broncos Country Tonight with Tim Jenkins to break down the quarterback play, the hosts had a great conversation about where this 2-0 Broncos team really is.

It’s a pretty good team, but it’s not as good as it could be, nor as good as it’s going to need to be to actually compete with the top-tier teams in the league.

Edwards argued that the way the Broncos are playing, “they can compete with anyone,” noting that the defense gave up 83 yards on the Jaguars’ first drive and then didn’t let the Jags get more than 106 yards the rest of the game.

But Allbright is still more skeptical.

“Broncos are a good football team, but I watched that Ravens-Chiefs game, and they are not on that level,” he said. “The Broncos have taken advantage of busted coverages and other teams the way that they should have. They should exploit bad teams.”

Edwards also highlighted that the Broncos had the ball for 39 minutes compared to the Jaguars’ 21.

“And I am here for that. I love it,” Allbright added. “Pat Shurmur is somehow throwing the football and still playing Martyball.”

But both hosts liked Teddy Bridgewater’s take on the team’s 2-0 start when he joined KOA earlier Monday - the Broncos’ offense really has not played a good game yet.

“He’s actually right about that,” Edwards said. “As much as we’ve done our oohs and ahhs over the 77% completion rate, the 300-plus passing yards and no interceptions, they haven’t run the ball effectively all that well, they haven’t been great on third down. ...Against the Giants they eventually had to convert on fourth down because they were terrible on third down, and this last week was unbelievably bad on third down, so this is an easy sell in the locker room.”

Allbright added that Bridgewater is basically saying that “good enough” really isn’t good enough - and that’s the right take to have.

“There are things to improve on. You need to get more push in the run game. You’ve got to not give up those sacks. And 2-of-11 on third down is brutally bad,” he said, adding that against a bottom-tier team, that needs to be more like 6-of-11 at the very least. “They are still a team learning how to win. That’s why I’m worried about the Ravens-Steelers stretch.”

But Allbright is not down on this Broncos team - or even its quarterback [as he reminds Edwards several times a show, he was a skeptic, not a hater, and he is now cautiously optimistic ;) ]

In fact, he sees a way forward to even beating the Ravens and Chiefs and Steelers, etc.

“You just keep improving,” he said. “You go back and look at all the things not getting done right now and you go out and fix those things. And all those little things that you fix add up to one big thing in the end - W.”

Of course a big thing to fix will be special teams.

“That has got to be remedied right away because we talk about the margins. The Broncos are increasing their margins as result of overall play but still not to level where you can beat good teams by giving up kickoff returns,” Edwards noted. “You do that to the Chiefs, you do that to the Baltimore Ravens coming up and you’re going to lose.”

The good news for Broncos Country is that neither Bridgewater nor the rest of the team seem to think otherwise. They know there’s plenty to fix to compete with even the other teams in the AFC West.

Tim Jenkins on Teddy Bridgewater...

So the Broncos’ quarterback is looking pretty good stats-wise. He has more 20-plus yard attempts than any other QB in the league. According to PFF rankings, he has the NFL’s sixth-highest passer rating (minimum 5 attempts) when pressured at 121.9, and his completion percentage under pressure is best in the NFL at 78.6.

Allbright started off asking Jenkins if this is the new Teddy Bridgewater or is he just beating up on bad teams because just going by individual passer rating, Bridgewater had his fourth best game ever Sunday against the Jaguars and his game last week against the Giants was his eighth best game.

Jenkins isn’t quite ready to determine that, noting that he doesn’t want to be the guy to say “oh it’s just Jacksonville or it’s just New York” because it doesn’t matter who the opponent is when you’re talking about a QB going through his progressions. And to Jenkins, Bridgewater is doing his progressions really well.

But the answer will come later when the Broncos offense faces a more complex and organized defense.

“I do think we have to take the offense as a whole with a grain of salt...but I don’t want to come on here and say it’s only because it’s bad teams because he is still making great throws,” Jenkins added. “But I do think there will be slightly more exotic looks coming his way, where it’s not necessarily Teddy getting tested.”

In fact it will be the entire offense - particularly the receivers - reading the looks and knowing the correct route based on the spin the defense may throw in.

Although Jenkins believes Bridgewater still needs to work on not under-throwing his receivers - recalling the near TD for KJ Hamler at the goal line against the Giants and several early passes to Courtland Sutton against the Jags - and he could ding Bridgewater for not choosing the guy running a shallow route on a third-down play that would easily get the converstion, he’s still giving No. 5 some props for seemingly being a different kind of quarterback all of a sudden.

“It’s hard to penalize him because now it’s Teddy Bridgewater Gunslinger taking shots downfield,” Jenkins laughed.

Allbright, who claims he was never “a hater or a doubter” but merely “a skeptic” of Bridgewater’s, admits that now that Bridgewater has shown him something, and shown him something more than once, he wants to see it against better teams before he’s committing.

But Allbright did wonder out loud how committed the Broncos will be to Bridgewater after this season.

“We’ve been on two dates with Bridgewater and about to go on a third, are we seeing a blooming relationship here? Is this marriage material or are we just waiting for Mrs. Right to come along?”

Jenkins, who could see this turning out to be a pretty good year for Bridgewater, asks himself what would it take to pay the QB $30 million - and the only answer is winning a Super Bowl.

So he’d like a longer engagement.

“Sure we could float around the engagement ring, but I just don’t think you have to ask yet,” he said. “You could purchase it, you could put it on the shelf and you could hold off to see how the rest of the season shakes out.”