So with a new head coach the Broncos have gone 5-0 for the first time since 1998 when they last one the super bowl. Will the team reach such lofty heights this year? I personally do not see it.
For the first time in NFL history 5 teams go into week 6 undefeated. The Broncos are of course one of this illustrious bunch with New Orleans, Indianapolis, New York Giants and Minnesota being the others. If you were to rank these teams in terms of abilities Denver would probably find themselves 4th. Having watched their five games they have been very lucky at times but credit where its due they have done a brilliant job on defence which was our big problem last year as we continually heaped too much pressure on the offence. This year with a new 3-4 defence several players at truly showing their quality. Elvis Dumervil is the best example having sacked the opposing quarterback 8 times so far. The secondary has also greatly improved thanks to Champ Bailey finally having quality around him thanks to Renaldo Hill and Brian Dawkins.
Things are less rosy for the offence but you sense they are gelling together better than in previous years thanks largely to a quarterback who does not make risky throws. This leads to more completions and less interceptions but does not lead to much in the way of excitement due to the loss of Cutler’s powerful arm. This makes us less one dimensional and allows the team to build on its once strong running game. The maturity is paying dividends for the team.
This weekend is for me going to be the one that shows how far we have come, San Diego have been our biggest rival in recent years and have had a rocky start despite still being a quality team. If we can beat them in San Diego this weekend they will have fully earned my trust and belief for the new way of doing things. They have failed to do this so far even with the strengths previously mentioned because of the vast number of penalties given away on both sides of the ball. Last week against New England we had them pinned in their 20 on fourth down when we roughed the passer giving them a first down. We got them into a fourth down position again and guess what… another penalty gave them a first. We will not continue to win if this keeps happening. In our other games we have had a number of lucky breaks. Stokley was the hero when Orton threw a bad pass at the end of the first game of the season against Cincinnati. We were scrappy against Dallas as well. Indeed you could say we should be looking at a 2-3 record. The boys will need to dig deep and start playing more tidily to maintain this run, one slip and I can see the losses building up. The schedule is only going to get tougher from here on out as well. After this week we have Baltimore who are anything but a walkover. This will be followed by a game against the ‘world’ champion Steelers. Of the remaining 11 games we could lose seven quite happily. We need to tighten up as a team to ensure that this does not happen as the last thing we need is to start well and then end with something like a 8-8 or even 9-7 record. We as a team need to aim to be at least 10-6 at the end of the season followed by a strong post season campaign.
You know what, I have decided Orton is the man to make this happen, he is not electric or the kind of guy who turns games but he is aware of his limitations, keeps a cool head and is dependable within his abilities. If the defence can stay strong and he is not overpressured then we have nothing to worry about this season. While I miss having a superstar like Cutler behind centre for the pure thrill of watching him play we need a strong and consistent season to win the fans to the new leadership. We just need to stop the silly penalties.
Are we going to be the champions down the stretch? It would be great but I will not be getting my hopes up, you can never discount Indianapolis with Peyton Manning at the helm (is he the best quarterback ever?) and New Orleans are so great to watch that I hope they win the title one of these years. But a good end to the season and a run to the championship game to be knocked out by Indianapolis would be fine for me.
Bring it San Diego, you are going down… I hope.
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