We will assume that 17 divided by 4 is still 4 in that we'll still consider the final game last night of week four is indicative of the old quarter pole and calling the NFL teams to see who they are for their respective seasons. Let's do a quick review in standings and the teams:
Patriots and Jets are on the same 1-3 track, yet you get the feel that the Jets have a faster team speed, better defense and Zach Wilson like RW is showing hope that Mac just is not right now. Patriot's losing their best defensive player Judon is obviously yet one more straw on Belichick's back. The Bills and Dolphins at 3-1 are both exciting teams to watch - my fave UW QB in the NFL, and as far as I know the only starting QB ever in the NFL from UW Josh Allen is showing out from the debacle in the Meadowlands - he's throwing with like an 80% completion rate - absurd. The Dolphins have the team speed few do in the NFL to matchup and can run the table if get hot - a streaky team don't wanna catch on a hot streak - just ask the Broncos.
Can anyone deal with the Ravens - am a BC guy along with UW so the Zay Flowers rookie year just making defenders look silly has been a blast to watch - he's doing in college so far the same thing in the NFL & the Ravens finally found a receiver of consistency and consequence besides their TE. Browns are gonna be tougher as they deal with the loss of Chubb and get their defense into a dominant stance with a pass rush to be in games and a QB finding himself again in the NFL. The Bengals and Steelers are both unexpectedly falling off, the Steelers can right the ship with their pass rush but losing Cam Heyward has affected TJ Watt's ability to get to the QB being doubled, chipped and tripled. The Bengals might be playing for 2024 shortly.
Wow, can I take a bow now on CJ Stroud, called him the top QB dawg in the draft but expected Young to be gone #1, am gonna guess a lotta Carolina fans are gnashing their teeth at the moment. We won't know for sure until 3-5yrs down the road, but nothing has changed my opinion on Stroud. Richardson for the Colts isn't chopped liver either, as he's shown Josh Allen type tendencies - big, strong, fast and a gambler - he'll be fun to watch. All of this before we get to the "old guy" in the AFC South Trevor Lawrence - with this division knotted at 2-2 it's going to be exciting to watch and don't discount Vrabel of the Titans, he just knows how to coach and lead men in the NFL.
The KC team looks vulnerable this season - Mahomes isn't as dynamic without the full complement of skill players and Kelce being hobbled. The Chargers are such a disappointment if you're a powder blue fan - Herbert is still a top shelf in the top ten or even top five QB's in the league, yet WR Williams goes down, Eklar's been banged up and the defense isn't improved - they're not looking like a challenger to the Chiefs as was expected. The Raiduh's are a mess, they beat the woeful Broncos, lost to the phenomenal Bills and then lost to the mediocre Steelers and Chargers - my guess is by the bye week McDaniel's could be looking at his next gig as OC back in NE or as the new Patriots HC in 2024. Now for the Bronco's getting off the Schneid with a win and having a tumultuous time in Chicago. What a way to get a win - yet in the NFL a win is a win no matter how it's done or looks. My guess is the Raiduh's and Broncos will fight hard to get to 7 wins which is what I predicted as the worst for the Broncos in 2023, as my prediction of a best-case scenario of 9 wins is all but out the window.
The Iggles are rounding into form - hellacious front seven on defense, the big boy club in the trenches with Davis, Fletcher and Carter just working over the O-lineman and making QB's lives complicated in the NFL. Hurts is getting his groove, Brown's gonna beat up a lotta DB's and they're just gonna be a tough out. The Cowboys have some issues with Prescott, yet their defense is what's the savior so far this season - losing Diggs sucked for them but Parsons has raised his level of play to potentially DMVP. Never been a big fan of McCarthy but he is consistent and they're getting the ball out faster than under Kellen Moore as the OC. The Commanders are just a tough nut - is Howell an NFL QB1, so far, he's doing all he can to earn the QB1 gig. That defense will keep them in games, they're right there with the Iggles front seven being a dominant factor. The NYG just look horrific - they cannot keep their payday QB1 from getting drilled. Watching the MNF game last night realistically see Jones going through what RW did last year getting sacked well over 50 times - Jones could actually be sacked over 60 - the G-men have no ability to pass protect and injuries to Thomas and a banged-up Neal are not helping.
The Vikings may have surprised everyone else being a playoff team last year and 1-3 right now - quite frankly was expecting a drop off as didn't buy into them last year. They have Justin Jefferson and... yeah, that's the one guy the NFL DC fear, as Thielen is gone, and Jordan has had his moments but he ain't Thielen yet. Cousins is a guy I've always felt is overrated as a QB1, and don't see him turning it around. The Packers QB is showing NO Love to the NFL, I like him, he's a guy that has earned his shot and he's proving it - am excited to see where he goes with it. The Bears are in tears - how do you not lose the lockerroom with the coach I cannot speak for or spell his name - what a moron. This is Dan Campbell's world right now - the Lions have quality players littered all over the roster and have hit on the draft fairly well. Goff is playing outta his azz and the RB Gibbons looks like the real deal as a multiple position threat - I like this team to make some noise in the playoffs this season and get through the first round potentially - solid squad.
Wasn't this supposed to be the Saints division in 2023 - with Carr coming over in FA this was a write in for second place - right? To be honest, I had the Saints taking this division and they still can, yet doesn't bode well for Carr with a right shoulder injury going through the season - just ask RW on his 2022 banged up body season. Speaking of RW, would anyone be complaining about him had he been blessed with Baker Mayfields make it or break it deal low on the cap cost and showing out - hell no - that's what the Bucs fan is so excited about too. I don't know if they can sustain this the whole season, but they've got some jump, unlike the Falcons QB Ridder who is like the Patriots Mac a guy that looks like an NFL QB yet befuddles the coaches and of course their fans. The Panthers are getting their groove right now with Young and gonna be a long season - get the rookie his snaps and experience for 2023 & 2024 akin to Lawrence's rookie season. Am gonna still say am concerned about a small QB in Young that have to tear out half the playbook for in order to make it work - am not sure this ever goes the way of being a consistent NFL QB1.
Anyone not believing in the 49'ers at this point - and as a Bronco Fan we have to have a small glint in our eye for them too as John Lynch did work as a Bronco and Shanny Jr cut his teeth under his dad's wing and shows that lesson well with the modern-day zone running game. The Dolphins McDaniel's didn't learn that at Yale - it was while working with Shanny Jr in SF - with Debo, Ayuik, Kittles and Mac this is an embarrassment of riches for Purdy who after game one could see is back on point after his offseason elbow surgery. This team is formidable and have already stated my SB team outta the NFC conference. We will see if a moron am I, or not as of course relies upon team health, and in particular Purday not a real raw-boned athlete to take on the punishment a full season - he's bigger & stronger than Young, has a similar mind as a point guard QB in the basketball in cleats game and an advantage over Young in stronger arm and more plays available to utilize. They have a solid backup now in Darnold, yet he ain't Purdy driving the 49'ers offense. Predicted Nucua would be drafted and loved his game at BYU, yet who could possibly predict the record setting 39 catches in his first four NFL games - Kupp who - the reality is this kid is special, he's a all-hands receiver that can get open with just average speed, and a bigger body that would think. The Seachix are the beneficiaries of the Broncos with the full draft stock of young players that will put them in the forefront of the NFL - just not in 2023 - they'll be good, maybe sneak into the playoffs, yet doubt a SB run - yet - it's coming - thx Broncos. The Cards Dobbs is a blast to watch - he's a smart kid, an engineering major in college, accurate and a better athlete than given credit for - that's a team that could be a spoiler at some point.
Bronco's Game Takeaways in Chicago - Snaps Matter:
- Snaps matter - watching the young players get onto the field and they're literally unfolding from the cocoon phase into butterflies. Turner-Yell was horrible in the first half and blossomed into a serviceable NFL safety in the second half. It takes playing time in an NFL regular season game to get the speed of the game down and whether can compete or not.
- Speaking of young players needing snaps - this season the Broncos are going nowhere - let Sanders play - yeah, he looked a step late and sometimes totally confused - yet he needs snaps - he needs to get the physical nature of the game down so he's not a liability.
- McLaughlin is the guy that BroncoFan looks at the coaching staff and says - I told you so and WTF were you thinking anyway. I have high hopes for JaVonte yet he looks more like Dobbins last season coming back early and just no wiggle or dynamic steps - let McLaughlin take snaps. We don't need to go on about Mims Jr - he's on everyone's radar now as he's got the ability akin to Zay Flowers for the Ravens - Flowers does it more horizontally in space just making big play after big play and for Mims Jr it's all about going vertical - they're both a blast to watch this 2023 season and both could be in the ROY voting too.
- Bonito was unblocked on a couple of sacks and so what - that happens as the good news is he's figured out the best way to a sack in the NFL is a straight line. Let Bonito get snaps - yeah, he got dawged on the ability to set the edge as Herbert a non-descript RB was given alleys on the right side due to Bonito not able to set an edge - he needs to be able to knife through blockers ala Von Miller rather than be pushed outta the way.
- Coopers gotten slimmer while Bonito's gotten bigger - they almost look like twins now which is outstanding. Cooper when first came into the Bronco's camps looked a bit pudgy and he could chase horizontally but didn't have that quick step to go vertically against NFL athletes. That's changed, he's on it and is a wrecking crew himself now coming straight up the alleys into the QB or ball carrier's facemask.
- Youth must be served - yeah Courtland Sutton had a game, his slant for a TD cracked me up as where was the help for the defender behind Sutton, am guessing a blown coverage as nobody was in the picture once Sutton crossed his face as was expecting help is my guess. He was so wide open I could've made that throw - I think. WR Humphrey had one instrumental catch at a critical moment and of course Javonte & Perine though nothing great did their job in not turning the ball over. The O-line actually gave RW some time, and he used it to his advantage - he's no longer able to get away from two oncoming tacklers, yet this season doesn't go down as often with one guy in his sights as has shown can defeat a one-on-one tackler more often than not which wasn't happening last year. I like the vets and Singleton played fairly well yet youth must be served - let's push the young guns into the games as much as possible.
- The DB's are a struggling unit at this point - the zone concepts are not what their strong suit is as play faster in man and man-zone. This week saw more of a return to that and started to see in second half with Turner-Yell in particular a choosing of paths to zone coverages and gaps coming up and laying on some hits. His stop on the running play in particular was a classic modern day form tackle not hitting above the shoulder pads, right into the chest and midsection folding the RB and dropping him for no gain on the play. Am excited to see if Moss can come in and add something to the DB unit whether in zone or man.
- RW is making his mark this season in the NFL - don't blame him for being 1-3 at this point and doubtful going to get to my worst scenario 7-10 record. He sold out in the off season, looks like he's in top form for what's left in the tank and is making better decisions than last season - he's also able to avoid being bagged like a King Soopers grocery boy every other pass play this season. He's not seeing the field or making in game adjustments that you'd like to see, yet he's able now to go to a second read which was about impossible in 2022, as he just didn't get Hackett's offense. if he wasn't on such a ridiculous contract with sucking up such heavy cap space wouldn't be much of a question about 2024 and going forward - I'll discuss it more Thursday why think the keep or send RW packing is fraught with details and like the 50/50 ball it's up in the air.
- Let's not forget this was the Bears - that their HC is an absolute moron, putting Fields into shotgun with the RB five yards behind the LOS and then actually handing off to said RB and taking the ball outta Fields hands - dumb - dumb - dumb. Yet it wasn't all about that play - the Broncos were discombobulated in the first half - yet the second half the D showed itself and some backbone as they bowed up and forced punts not allowing points. It's a start and gotta start somewhere - two years from now we may remember this game somewhat as a turning point in the Broncos fortunes.