Expectations were high for the pass rush of the Denver Broncos in 2012, and they haven't hit the mark through three games. It's still early and there is certainly time to improve, but the more games that pass, the more it becomes a concern for head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.
Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post says the Broncos need to intensify the pass rush to improve on third down. The Broncos allowed opponents to convert third downs just 39 percent of the time in 2011 compared with the 50 percent conversion rate so far in 2012.
Although the pass rush can certainly help on third downs, it doesn't tell the whole story.
The Broncos were 10th in the league in sacks in 2011 with 41 sacks. Through three games in 2012, the Broncos are also 10th in the league in sacks with seven and on pace for about 37. The Broncos could get back on track with one or two good games.
So while you can attribute some the struggles on third down to the pass rush, it's hardly the only reason the Broncos are struggling with their third-down defense.
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Legwold also says the Broncos have seen just how much experience counts on offense.
Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Darrius Heyward-Bey's neck injury is not severe.