Cutler's Got The Arm, Can The D Make The Stop?
Although only two games into the season, the Denver Broncos sit atop the AFC west division with a 2-0 record. Even after steamrolling the Raiders, it seemed all everyone could say was that "it was only the Raiders." Fine, that's fair statement; the Raiders are young, and not very good, point taken.
Instead of gloating about torching the Raider's in week one, what Broncos fans and and the media alike could do was to bring out the positives of the game. This is what they were:
1) QB - Jay Cutler looked good. No, he actually looked really good (Pro-bowl? fine too early, I can dream though). Beyond a having a good arm (good arm? this dude straight up has a rocket launcher attached to his rotator cuff) his decision making was much better than it has been, and he really showed what type of leader he is on the field.
It is also truly amazing, the seams and windows this guy can, and will, throw the ball into. He makes it looks so easy, and as I've kept saying to all those who hated on their win, it's not like Gibril Wilson and DeAngelo Hall are not talented corners. They are very talented, and without Brandon Marshall, Cutler still managed to put on a pretty decent aerial show.
2) Defense - Our defense exists, it seems as if they are not a wide open, gaping hole anymore, that's good. Last year, run defense was our main downfall and letting up almost 150 yards on the ground against the Raiders (even though McFadden looks legit) is unnacceptable.
To be honest, if you just look at Jamarcus Russell's numbers, they weren't all that bad either (17/26 180 2TD) granted his 2 TD came in the fourth quarter, regardless, he played well. The positive that we can take out of this is that even though our defense let up about 300 yards of total offense, what they did well was not let up the big play early on. That gave our offense the chance to put up big numbers early on, get out to a lead. And that's what this team needs.
3) WR - The rise of Eddie Royal? With the absence of Javon Walker (to the Oakland Raiders), and suspension of Brandon Marshall, it looked as if Cutler's only reliable targets Week 1 were going to be slot receiver Brandon Stoakley and his go-to TE target Tony Scheffler.
That wasn't the case, as Cutler and Eddie Royal connected nine times for 146 yards in the air and a TD. Solid first game for the 5-10 180 lb rookie out of Virginia Tech. My man looked good, and good enough to the point that Gibril Wilson and DeAngelo Hall, previously mentioned, had no idea how to stop our passing game.
4) RB - The running game is still solid, and Michael Pittman has big biceps. Just kidding, (no I'm not his arms are gigantic) but logging three red zone TD's in just two games, it looks as if he is an unstoppable threat 1st and goal.
This makes me excited, even more excited is that it also looks as though Cutler's just as deadly as Pittman in the red zone—awesome. Along with Pittman, second year backs Andre Hall and Selvin Young are doing what we thought they would do—run us down the field, and keeping the opposing defense honest, so Cutler can make the big plays, I couldn't ask for more.
So now what? Let's switch gears to Week 2 where the Broncos hosted the Charger's at Mile High.
Wait, what fumble? Forget that let's go for two...really? What we needed here against the chargers was a win, and we got it.
All four aforementioned postives in week 1, held up in week 2. This was very promising, and as some areas stayed the same, yes, some areas actually got better. How, you ask?
1) QB - Cutler...Still good, and still really good. Top offensive fantasy player in the first two weeks, and guess who has him on their fantasy team...Me.
2) Defense - In regards to our defense, they also played well, and I can take positives out of this. Number one, I couldn't be happier that Champ intercepted one of River's passes. Champ's still got it, and has proved that thus far.
The problem here with the defense was that they did let up a couple big plays, as did our special teams, and to one guy; Darren Sproles. He played out of his mind, so other than a couple huge plays he had, I was OK with our defense. But again, the big plays will be our downfall, thankfully they weren't in this game.
3) WR - Brandon's back, and in a big way. B Marsh absoltuely torched the chargers secondary connecting with Cuter 18 times, for 166 and a TD! Couldn't be happier that he's back, and even better. And guess who else was back this week, Eddie Royal, along with Cutler's comfort targets Stoakley and Scheffler, as Scheffler had a career receiving game. All in all, the passing game and the receivers in it both look unstoppable.
4) RB - Andre Hall and Selvin Young essentially flip-flopped yardage totals from the first two weeks, and Pittman still had his goal line score. All in all, I was more than pleased with the running game, as it can only get better.
The end of the game proved to be monumental, not only because there was a controversial call down in the red zone, but after that controversial call (that was obviously a fumble) Shanny decided to go for two, and we got it.
Proving to be one of the gutsier, crazy calls a coach can make, the team clearly rode the confidence wave of both their head coach and on field captain, Shannahan and Cutler respectively.
What we're left with is this: Can the defense hold up?
This was the question going into the season, and will be the question throughout until the defense can prove they can continually get big turnover's to get the ball into Cutler and our running back's hands. This is what we need plain and simple, as I have previously illustrated, all Broncos fans should have the utmost confidence in our offense to not only get us into the playoffs, but take us very deep. All we need is the defense to match it.
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