Not only does Denver have a hot Chargers squad coming to Sports Authority Field at Mile High, but it's also facing an already sizable climb if the Broncos have any illusions of competing in the AFC West. The Bolts are off to a 3-1 start and the Oakland Raiders, having already won a significant victory today given the passing of owner Al Davis, are sitting pretty at 3-2.
Meanwhile, the pride of Denver is sitting in the cellar at 1-3.
Translation: the Broncos need to start winning right away if there's any hope of salvaging the season. Thanks to an early pick-six and an effective running game, that's not out of the question against San Diego.
Here are five halftime adjustments Denver needs to make to steal one at home:
1. Cut Out the Turnovers
You can say it virtually every week so I'm gonna—you can't give the other team the ball.
Especially when you're trying to pull off the upset.
Yet that's exactly what Denver quarterback Kyle Orton did with a brutal decision to throw while being pulled to the ground by the San Diego pass rush (Shaun Phillips to be exact). Turnovers are bad; dumb turnovers are even worse.
Can't have any more of those.
2. Give Tim Tebow the Reigns
I'm not a Tim Tebow true-believer, but Orton isn't looking very good thus far. He hasn't been asked to do much and he's done even less, so why not give the blindly faithful what they want? The boos are irritating given that the disappointing passing game isn't all on Orton; it's not as if he's missing wide open targets.
Regardless, the game is still relatively close, the opposition is still playing hard and it's a tough defense—let's see what the kid can do and put all this nonsense to rest.
3. Ride Willis McGahee 'Til the Wheels Come Off
Very little is working for the Denver Broncos on offense, but running back Willis McGahee is having a nice afternoon. Combine that with the ineffective passing game and a pretty solid effort by the D, and exploiting the running game makes even more sense.
It's been working, it eats the clock and rests the defenders—call it an adjustment away from an adjustment.
4. Finish Tackles
This one's plagued both teams so maybe it's a matter of animosity—division rivals have a special contempt for each other so maybe everyone's trying too hard to deliver the wood while playing less attention to fundamentals like wrapping up.
Either way, the Broncos have gotten to the ball carriers and aren't playing terribly on defense, but they've been giving up too much yardage after contact.
5. Use Some Trickeration
I don't know if that's a real word, but the Broncos are going to have to get creative if they're going to stay close to San Diego and eke out a victory. Conventional weapons aren't working other than McGahee so time to open up the bag of tricks and possibly catch the Chargers napping.