Do the Denver Broncos Have Reason to Worry?
I know this is only the preseason. But preseason or not, are the Broncos showing deficiencies that will arise in the regular season?
Kyle Orton's Long Ball Accuracy
Orton has attempted four 40-plus-yard passes this preseason. One drew a pass interference call. Another was close but didn't connect. The other two, thrown last night, weren't even close.
Last year, opposing defenses picked up on this deficiency, and Denver began its 2-8 skid. Orton is deadly accurate within 20 yards. But the long ball is a critical piece to those offenses that average over 21 points per game.
Lack of a Ground Game
Okay, this point is premature, as Denver has had to go to the street to get healthy running backs. But up until midway through the third quarter, Denver had like 25 yards rushing. Detroit dominated the line of scrimmage. Last week's outing against the Bengals yielded the same results.
Pass Protection/The Left Tackle Position
With any luck, Ryan Clady will be back for the season opener. Until then, it's D'Anthony Batiste and Tyler Polumbus manning this position. Last year, Polumbus demonstrated that he's not the man for the job, giving up at least one sack per contest. Batiste doesn't look much better thus far.
The Bronco front office retooled a deficient area coming into the offseason, that being the defensive line, with Jamal Williams being the big catch. It's a gamble, seeing that Williams is in his mid-30s.
Again, I know it's preseason, but both the Bengals and the Lions ran with impunity against the first team Bronco defense, clearly dominating the line of scrimmage.
Minimal Pass Rush
Nobody on Denver's defensive unit, or possibly the entire league, has the versatility that Elvis Dumervil brings to the game. He can do it all, from sidestepping O-linemen to bulling right through them. He will be sorely missed.
Mario Hagan, Jarvis Moss, and Robert Ayers are expected to pick up the slack. Hagan is an outstanding middle linebacker. It is unknown if he will be effective at rushing the passer.
Moss is still threatening to have a breakout year and showed some good quickness last night by head-faking his man and getting to the quarterback quickly on one occasion. Moss will have his chance to make his mark this season.
The Denver Post wrote a story after the game about how Ayers finally got in the sack mix. Statistically, this is true. However, the sack the Post is referring to was a coverage sack. If you look at Ayers' play, he is getting pushed around. For the most part, Matthew Stafford had a lot of time last night to find and hit his receivers.
Is Brady Quinn any better than Chris Simms? Without going on and on, if Orton gets injured, this pass-first offense is in trouble.
Additionally, any injury to other key spots, such as defensive back or D-line, will spell trouble.
On the bright side, Eric Decker and Matt Willis look great.
Agree? Disagree? Did I miss something? Haters—I am a Bronco fan, so take it easy...just expressing concern...