Broncos vs. Titans: Is Josh McDaniels' Job on the Line This Week?
The Denver Broncos are off to a rocky start this season, but does that mean that Josh McDaniel's job is on the line this week?
That shouldn't be the case, but McDaniels could be at risk in the near future.
Denver fell in their opening game at Jacksonville, 24-17; a loss that now seems much worse than it did at the time. The Broncos followed that up with a strong effort in their home opener, a 31-14 victory over the Seahawks.
Last week, the Broncos had a chance to move into sole possession of second place in the AFC West with a win over the Colts, but they fell short, 27-13.
The Broncos had plenty of opportunities to win the game, but they were unable to find the end zone on any of their five red zone opportunities.
Quarterback Kyle Orton is off to a hot start for the Broncos this season, as he has connected on 83 of his 125 pass attempts for 1,078 yards and four touchdowns. Orton is currently second in the league in passing yards, just nine behind Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, and he also ranks in the top 10 in completions, completion percentage, yards per attempt, and quarterback rating.
While Orton has had no problem moving the Broncos through the air, the Denver running game has not been up to par this year. The Broncos are averaging just 67 yards per game on the ground, the third-worst in the league.
Denver's struggles on the ground were compounded once again this week when running back Knowshon Moreno was ruled out for a second straight game with a hamstring injury.The Broncos will rely on their newly acquired running back Laurence Maroney to carry the football once more this week in Moreno's absence.
McDaniels reluctance to use first-round draft pick Tim Tebow this season has come as somewhat of a surprise, as Tebow has yet to attempt a pass, but he does have two carries for two yards this year. Given the Broncos troubles on the ground, as well as in the red zone, McDaniels would be smart to take advantage of his rookie quarterback's abilities.
Tebow is clearly not going to be able to have his way in the NFL like he did in college, but he is another weapon that the Broncos should think about using when the team closes in on the end zone. Tebow's tough running style and ability to make something happen on broken plays give the Broncos an option few teams have at the position.
The Broncos schedule doesn't get any easier after this week as they travel to Baltimore next week before returning home to take on the Jets. If Denver loses this week to the Titans then a 1-5 start could become a real possibility, and at that point McDaniels could see his opportunity as the Broncos coach slipping away.
Denver will have their toughest test so far this season when it comes to moving the ball through the air against the Titans. I believe they will be able to do enough to put some points on the board, so the key will be the Broncos defense and their ability to slow down Tennessee's All-Pro running back Chris Johnson.
Johnson has been mostly held in check this season, but as he has shown it takes just one run for him to go the distance. The Broncos defense will need to put the game in the hands of Titans quarterback Vince Young, and if they can do that they will have a very good chance to win this game.
I believe ultimately the Broncos defense will do enough to slow down Johnson, and Young will be unable to win the Titans the game. Denver needs to be creative with their offensive play-calling this week and get the ball to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas as often as possible.
McDaniels and the Broncos have a tough road ahead, but I see them getting a win this week over the Titans, 27-20.
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