Jussel: Packers’ past, present success trumps Broncos

The Denver Broncos have been hanging around for half a century, first playing in 1960.

The Green Bay Packers have existed for roughly double that. The team’s ancestors trace as far back as 1896 with semipro ball. Officially founded in 1919, the team started playing in the American Professional Football Association, which later became the National Football League, in 1921.

The Denver Broncos boast of coaches like Dan Reeves, John Ralston, Red Miller and Mike Shanahan.

Packer loyalists need only mention one word: Lombardi.

The Denver Broncos have an owner who loves and lives football in Pat Bowlen.

The Green Bay Packers have more than 100,000 owners.

Denver had John Elway at quarterback.

Green Bay had Brett Favre … and Bart Starr … Arnie Herber at quarterback, the last two Hall of Famers, Favre a certainty.

The Denver Broncos have Kyle Orton at quarterback.

Green Bay has Aaron Rodgers.

The Broncos are 1-2 on the season and searching for answers from top down.

The Packers, originally the Indians (thanks to the Indian Packing Co.), have found the answers — all of them. They won the Super Bowl last season and are currently 3-0 with a test only from the New Orleans Saints, the Super Bowl winner the previous season and still a very, very good football team.

If the Broncos were to beat the Packers today in Green Bay, it would be the biggest upset in the sports world since Buster Douglas knocked Mike Tyson silly back in 1990 in Tokyo.

Although the Broncos aren’t the 42-1 underdog Douglas was, they are getting anywhere from 14 to 16 points from handicappers, meaning the Packers are the betting favorite to win by two touchdowns or more.

So, just exactly why in the world would I waste my time watching this one?

Again, folks, we’re looking for progress here, not a Super Bowl.

Last week, the Broncos showed they are taking steps forward even though they lost 17-14 to Tennessee.

John Fox’s team is starting to show a bit of an attitude on the defensive side of the ball, something that seemingly had gone the way of the dodo the last several years as the opposition simply waltzed over, around and through the Broncos.

Tennessee is a big, obnoxious squad that tries to maul you. They tried to do that to Denver, but were stopped cold in their tracks — on the ground.

Although the Broncos did give up a late game-winning drive and more than 300 yards in the air, the Titans could run for only 38 yards on 23 attempts, 1.7 yards per carry. And that is with Chris Johnson, maybe the most explosive of all NFL running backs, repeatedly trying to crack the Denver line. More than half of the Titan rushing yardage came from punter Brett Kern running 21 yards on a fake punt.

That, folks, is progress and progress where it has most been needed. The Broncos will no longer be pushed around endlessly. And remember, Elvis Dumervil, Marcus Thomas, Ty Warren, D.J. Williams and Champ Bailey, all projected starters, have been out for all or a large part of the season. All but Warren are due back today.

Unfortunately, the return of any or all of those players won’t help solve Denver’s other big problem: the inability to run the football.

It has been the radio talk show topic of the week in and around Colorado, Fox’s decision last week to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1 and the inability to punch the ball into the end zone in that same series that started first-and-goal at the 2. Denver’s game-long attempt to run the ball resulted in only 59 yards on 23 attempts, only 2.6 yards per carry.

The Broncos, especially with Fox’s conservative, ball-control mentality, will not be able to compete with the likes of Green Bay until they can force the ball down the opposition’s throat. We saw Oakland do that the New York Jets last week, making a statement that they are not to be trifled with. Denver needs get to that same place offensively — back to the glory days of Terrell Davis (and a certain quarterback who was obviously always a passing threat) — before it grabs a spot at or near the top rungs of the NFL ladder.

It won’t happen today. Green Bay is simply too good.

Rodgers is much better than Tennessee’s Matt Hasselbeck and will throw for 300-plus yards without breaking much of a sweat. The Pack won’t run much, but they never do.

They will, however, stop Denver’s run and put the responsibility of moving the football into the hands of Orton. And that, as we are finding out, is not getting the Broncos nearly enough points, either by land or by air.

I’ll take my 2-1 record picking with or against the Broncos and say this one isn’t quite as ugly as many would have thought, but another loss, nonetheless.

Baby steps will lead us to Tebow Time … and maybe beyond.

Green Bay 31, Denver 20.


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