Don’t worry, we’re all waiting on the Broncos to give us a reason to watch again
I’m trying. You’re trying.
We’re all trying.
But it’s such a trying experience — this waiting on the Denver Broncos to become a real football team again.
We all watched in horror two weeks ago as the newest (albeit likely temporary) savior-in-the-making, quarterback Kyle Orton, threw three ridiculous interceptions in a preseason loss at San Francisco.
We also watched in stunned disbelief as he lobbed with his off arm, his left, another end zone pick last week at Seattle.
Bad decisions, all.
Yet much remains to be determined when it comes to Mr. Orton and, to be fair about it, he was outstanding the rest of the way against the Seahawks.
It’s not Orton I’m worried about when it comes to the Broncos.
It’s, well, everything else — and I mean everything.
Let’s start with the running game; it’s nonexistent.
Let’s talk passing game; it’s 3 yards and a cloud of dust. Name one time the new Denver offense has tried to get the ball downfield in the two previous preseason games. I can’t recall it. All I’ve seen is a bundle of backs and receivers trying to get open roughly 3 to 7 yards from the line of scrimmage.
Maybe it’s a shell game. Maybe new coach Josh McDaniels is hedging his bet repeatedly, hiding his aces. Maybe Denver’s offense can and will go downfield. Maybe not.
Don’t know yet and we won’t know until the Broncos open the regular season in Cincinnati.
Let’s talk defense; it’s disorganized and, while appearing to be slightly better than recent past editions, both Seattle and San Francisco have been able to get necessary yardage virtually at will. The Bronco D has been terrible on third down, even third and very long.
Not a good sign.
I also was stunned last week to watch the mass confusion play after play, players stumbling over each other just prior to the snap count, totally flummoxed by the complications of the new 3-4. There are only two more preseason games to fix this.
Let’s also talk depth; it’s there at some positions (the offensive line and, maybe, pending
the Brandon Marshall situation, at wide receiver), but missing elsewhere.
What happens if Chris Simms can’t go as backup to Orton? We got a good glimpse of that last week at Seattle. Lord help us all if Tom Brandstater, the rookie from Fresno State, has to play in the regular season.
What happens if Champ Bailey goes down again on the favored passing side of most QBs in the league? It’ll be three old guys and a rookie in the secondary.
What happens if Correll Buckhalter and LaMont Jordan, and not Knowshon Moreno, are forced into carrying the load at running back the majority of the year? It’ll be a yard-and-a-half and a cloud of dust.
Yes, it is still early and the Broncos are still tied for the lead in the AFC West. Preseason doesn’t count for anything other than getting ready for the real deal.
But last week’s performance against Seattle was disarming.
At this point, there is just no way to conjure up images of this Bronco squad competing against the Patriots, Steelers, Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, et al.
In previous seasons, Denver would have made mincemeat of the 49ers and Seahawks in preseason, regardless of site.
They certainly did not do that this time around, instead showing that they are of somewhat the same ilk as those two very mediocre-to-bad squads, maybe even lesser.
Will McDaniels and his new-fangled squad keep trying?
Sure they will.
Tonight, all the focus will be on Jay Cutler’s return and Orton’s play against the Bears.
Much will be made of the comparisons of those two QBs for the next several days.
Let’s move on. Think instead of the problems mentioned above with Bronco nation.
I’m afraid, from what I’ve seen so far, that for all of the trying on Denver’s part, the collective effort will be no more than the big, bad wolf huffing and puffing toward the brick house: lots of effort, little in the way of results.
Let’s also hope against all hope that Orton is Denver’s quarterback for the next three, four, five years, and it’s not Sam Bradford or Colt McCoy, because you know what would have to happen for one of those two to show up in a Denver uniform.