Three NFL games have come and gone in the Manning era.
The games were against three of the better teams in the league and the Broncos have managed a 1-2 record. The Broncos have started slowly in the win column just as they seem to do during games.
This raises the question, what's wrong with the Broncos?
In my opinion, the Broncos defense has kept the Broncos in the game during their two losses. They have came up with stops when they were needed. The offense has not been able to put up the effort early in games that is needed to win.
Let's take a look at the Denver offense and see what's wrong with it. We need to see how the offense stacks up to others in the league.
NFL.com puts Denver's offense at 14th in the league in passing and 23rd in rushing. The Broncos need to improve their rankings in these categories if they want to compete with the upper-echelon of the NFL. The Broncos have put up 25.7 points per game through the first three games. While this looks to be impressive, the Broncos defense has also allowed 25.7 points per game. The offense needs to take the burden of improving upon themselves. They have the playmakers needed to get the job done.
The Broncos have averaged 258 yards per game through the air and 90.3 yards on the ground. This shows that Denver is relying upon its passing game to get the job done. While this is be expected with Peyton Manning under center, the running game needs to make bigger plays. The Denver running backs need to break a few plays during games and that will allow Manning to throw more. On the other side of that, the amount of drops that Denver's receivers have had is inexcusable. While they are a young group, they need to make sure they secure the ball and complete their catches.
Who's to blame from the slow start?
In my opinion, the play calling for the Broncos has been somewhat questionable. During Sunday's game against the Texans, the Broncos were still running draw plays with eight minutes to go in the third quarter. When a team is down by 20 points after half time and their starting running back is injured, it needs to abandon the running game. Manning received a large sum of money in the offseason; give him the responsibility of the running the offense. Manning, at times, appears to be frustrated with the lack of effort by his team or possibly the play calling from the sideline.
The Broncos need to unleash Manning and allow him to take chances. As we saw against Atlanta, Manning can make mistakes at times and turn the ball over, but Denver needs a spark early in the game to establish itself. Denver needs to make big plays a priority early on the game in order to gain the edge against teams. The Broncos can't play from behind all the time and expect easy wins to come from that.
The Broncos offense needs to make sure it jumps on Oakland early Sunday. If the offense can do that, the defense can play loose and make plays against the Raiders.