After beatdown of the Jets, now it gets real for the Broncos

Sep 28, 2021, 6:34 AM | Updated: 9:55 am

Drop the Mike...

• They did what they had to do. The NFL scheduling gods gave the Broncos a break and to their credit, they took advantage of it. Three softies to begin the season. Three wins. This was a chance to have a meaningful season. Now, we see what they do with it.

• Don’t put me in the “Yeah, but” crowd. I’m not downplaying three wins, two on the road, and all with a winning margin of plus-10. I’ve seen too much losing around here the last five years to just shrug my shoulders at routine 26-point shutouts.

• I see the Ravens’ game is being portrayed as the Season Opener 2.0. I get it. It is. Now, it gets real. Now, we find out if this team has the chops to win 10-11 games and make it into the playoffs. Having three wins already banked is a great start. Next, we begin to find out if they have another 7-8 wins in them.

• There’s no doubt this roster depth has been built up which means credit to George Paton and John Elway. I’ve been a staunch Elway critic and it was time for him to step aside, but he should take a shared bow for the Broncos’ ability to withstand this rash of injuries. Boo boos have thinned the Broncos secondary, receiving corps and o-line, but the “next man up” theory has held – so far.

• Speaking of which, my resident o-line expert, Stink, hinted strongly that the injuries to Graham Glasgow and Dalton Risner may not be the worst thing. By installing Netane Muti and Quinn Meinerz at guard, the Broncos may have more physical players to power the run game.

• This run game needs to do more. It hasn’t been bad, but I’m left feeling it should be better. The good news is Pat Shurmur is staying with it with the belief it will eventually pop. The bad news (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) is I wish Shurmur wasn’t being so conservative. Mr. Throw It 45 Times to the Detriment of Drew Lock is sticking with the run game to the point Teddy Bridgewater is only throwing it 25 times. That’s okay, but I’d like to see this offense be more explosive.

• I know, I know. We spent months preaching if only the Broncos QB could be safe with the ball, score about 24 points per game and allow this defense to be fresh and dominate we’d be happy. Teddy has done that perfectly. Now, I want more! I’m getting a bit greedy. I want to see evidence this offense can put up 30-plus and beat a team 34-31 if they have to.

• Tough news for K.J. Hamler. He’s out and Jerry Jeudy is out. Allow my criticism of Elway to rise up here. Just more reasons why it was so stupid to take wide receivers one-two in the draft. No disrespect to Jeudy and Hamler, but I don’t see the Broncos being crippled by their absence. Wide receivers play a dependent position and you can find other productive WRs in many other spots. See: Tim Patrick. All he does is make the most of his opportunities and I feel very confident in increasing his workload while the Broncos wait for Jeudy to return.

• Watching Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson these last two weeks is a reminder when you draft one of these “Can’t miss / got to have one” first-round QBs you better be sure you have a good team around them – or at least the building blocks for one. These guys can get ruined quickly if they are asked to do too much too soon and take a physical and emotional beating in the process.

• For what it’s worth? I think the Broncos beat the Ravens on Sunday.

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After beatdown of the Jets, now it gets real for the Broncos