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1. The Broncos sit at 2-0 on the season, coming off a big, road division win. My question is simple: why are fans so worried right now?
It is pretty simple: our fan base has largely been spoiled by three years of astounding offense. We haven't seen that in either of our wins really. In both of them our team is winning due to our dominating defense. It isn't comfortable to most to see games go down like this and truth be told the offense has looked very poor for the most part. Our line isn't opening running holes and our pass blocking schemes have been exposed early on.
2. How real are the Broncos' offensive problems? Peyton Manning isn't really done, is he?
No, Peyton isn't done. When he can't function as a legit NFL QB, I believe he'll retire. He's no Brett Favre. The problem begins and ends with our revamped offensive line. Much like your team we're lacking cohesiveness up front. We've got two great veterans at guard, a journeyman vet at RT, a 2nd year player at C, and a rookie at LT. They haven't gelled. They are still learning the system brought in by Gary Kubiak. Until they start getting things figured out, look for the offense to sputter and stumble often. Manning is not the kind of player who can be mobile enough to keep plays alive when the blocking scheme falls apart.
3. Denver's defense finally looks like the behemoth most people expected them to be last year. What has changed in 2015?
To say that we upgraded our defensive coordinator would be a huge understatement. Jack Del Rio is a decent DC, but he's a scheme based coach who play calls to stop the run and not give up big plays. Wade Phillips is almost his polar opposite. Phillips schemes an aggressive, attacking defense that creates turnovers and makes big plays. He also adjusts his scheme to fit his players. That's the biggest key. Denver has had really impressive talent on defense for years, but we've not played to their strengths. That has changed finally and it is paying big dividends.
4. Are there any weaknesses to this Broncos defense? Is there a way to contain their devastating pass rush?
I thought our safeties would be a problem this year, but they are not. I thought our defensive line depth would be a problem especially with us missing Derek Wolfe early this season, but it is not. I thought our ILB duo of Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall would have injury troubles from this off season that would set them back, but they have yet to show signs of it. I'd love to tell you a weakness, but I don't see any glaring holes (it has been ages since I could say that with a straight face as a Bronco fan).
To slow our pass rush down, you MUST establish the run and keep your team out of obvious passing down situations. Both the Ravens and the Chiefs have failed to do that and have paid over and over for it. Double team Von Miller and you get Demarcus Ware flying in there and vice versa. Our interior pass rushers are legit as well. You have to keep them from being able to pin their ears back and fly to the QB.
5. Who is a player ready to break out for the Broncos offense?
While there are a few honest answers to this, I'm going to go with Ronnie Hillman. He won't break out big unless the line starts getting him more consistent holes, but he's really impressed me with his running this year even more so than C.J. Anderson. Some of us even think he may take the starting role sooner rather than later.