Brandon Marshall's Record Game Encouraging, but Also Concerning

Sayre BedingerSenior Writer IDecember 15, 2009

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 15:  Eddie Royal #19 of the Denver Broncos prepares to receive a kickoff during the game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on November 15, 2009 in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins won 27-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

In Sunday's loss to the Colts, Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton completed 21 of 28 passes to wide receiver Brandon Marshall for 200 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick.  To the rest of the receivers and running backs, he completed six of 13 passes.

Marshall's reception rampage is encouraging for Broncos fans.  Somehow, their big play receiver is getting open at least 20 times a game, nearly 30 times on Sunday.  But where does that leave Denver's other playmakers at receiver and tight end?

Is no one else getting open?

Despite the fact that most Denver fans loathe former quarterback Jay Cutler, I have to give the guy credit where it is due.  Not only is Cutler a key part of Denver receiving a likely top 10 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, but he also proved that Mike Shanahan built an elite core of offensive weaponry by distributing the ball to every receiver the Broncos had.

He even found a wide open Nate Jackson at times, so go figure.

One face that has disappeared this season is sophomore receiver Eddie Royal, who has some of the surest hands in the NFL.  Royal has been the Broncos' primary return man, and has been about as ineffective offensively as a practice squad player. 

There were high expectations for Royal who caught 91 passes as a rookie.  This season, he has 34 receptions for 317 yards, and no touchdowns.  In fact, the only time Royal has found paydirt this season was on a Monday night matchup with the Chargers where he took back a kickoff and punt for touchdowns.

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Royal has game-breaking speed.  He is a great route runner, allegedly.  He has sure hands.  He is a non-factor.

How about Brandon Stokley and Tony Scheffler, two of the Broncos' best playmakers from last year? 

Give credit to Stokley for making things happen when he catches the ball, which for some reason is very rare.  Stokley is averaging less than one catch per game with 12 on the season, three of which have gone for scores. 

Scheffler also has made the most of his opportunity, catching 28 passes for 342 yards and two scores of his own.  Still, those numbers are the lowest for Tony since his rookie season in which he only played significantly on offense for five games.

The second leading receiver on Denver is Jabar Gaffney, who was a nice pickup for Denver.  Gaffney has 32 catches for 442 yards this season, which are about par for his career.  He has yet to score a touchdown though, which is unfortunate for how consistent he has been.

And how about Peyton Hillis?  Hillis is arguably the biggest fan favorite in Denver since John Elway or Rod Smith.  The second year player out of Arkansas has only run the ball 12 times this season, a number which Bronco fans thought would be much larger heading into this season.

Hillis had some issues early this season with fumbling, and may have found himself in Josh McDaniels' dog house.  Couple that with a concussion and you have a disappearing fan favorite.

While Brandon Marshall is the focal point of Denver's offense, it would certainly be nice to see these other weapons get involved.  The Broncos are simply too talented on offense to let all of it go to waste.

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