View Full Version : Broncos Buck The Cowboys

Broncos Mtnman
08-17-2008, 07:46 PM
In the second "meaningless" game of the 2008 season, the Broncos showed some improvement in many of the areas of concern from last year.

After playing a somewhat lackluster game against the Houston Texans last week, the Broncos were able to put together a much better performance against the other team from Texas.

The first team offense played "lights out" against the first team 3-4 defense used by the favorites to represent the NFC in this year's Super Bowl. Jay Cutler had plenty of protection from the revamped offensive line, and even the running game was stronger thanks to their improved play.

While the defensive line still seems to struggle putting consistent pressure on the QB, there was enough "in-your-face" play by the front four to keep Tony Romo on edge and forced him to play a mostly short passing game. The defensive line also continued to display improvement against the run.

The game seemed to expose a lack of depth in the Broncos secondary. Foxworth was outplayed as he filled in for an injured Champ Bailey. Until the defensive line starts applying consistent pressure, Broncos fans better hope Champ doesn't miss any playing time.

For the rest of my observations, let's take a look at this week's highs and lows....

Highs :2thumbs:

1 - Jay Cutler. For the second week in a row, Jay's number one on the list. He demonstrated great control of the game and made all the right decisions. Against the 'boys first team defense, Jay would complete his first 12 attempts before throwing an incompletion (a dropped pass by Stokely). He led the team to TD drives on 2 of the first 3 drives. He also showed a great 2 minute drill, leading the team to a missed FG attempt as the first half came to an end. He's looking very strong.

2 - Eddie Royal. As of now, he's earned the starting job as the #2 receiver. He made a catch good for 35 yards on the first TD drive of the game and would later make a great catch in traffic for 32 yards on the second TD drive. The rookie is looking very strong.

3 - Offensive line. As mentioned above, the O-line showed great improvement over last week. Pass protection was very strong and the run blocking was better as was evidenced by the improved yards per carry by Young and Hall.

4 - Young and Hall. While they don't seem to fit the "typical" profile of an NFL running back due to their small size, they demonstrated a strong running game. One impressive play was the goal-to-go TD by Hall. He may be small, but he showed a great ability to "put the hurt" on the other guy.

5 - Red Zone. The first team offense was 2-for-2 in the Red Zone, earning a TD on both opportunities. As we all know, this is one of those areas vital to being a better team this year.

6 - Special teams. While Prater would once again miss his first FG attempt, he would make the next 3. However, one of the really nice things to see from him was the touchbacks on his kickoffs. I mentioned last week that we would see him do this in home games and he didn't disappoint. I think he's going to be very good.

Another area where special teams was strong was in the punting game. The competition between Kerns and Paulescu is strong and I don't think the Broncos will go wrong with either one of them.

7 - While no one play stands out, the first team defense shut out the first team offense of the Cowboys. Overall, they only gave up a FG in the 30 minutes they were on the field. I'll take that any day of the week.

8 - Michael Pittman. Sure, it was third team time when he was on the field, but he fought hard for every yard he gained behind the third team line who failed to produce the running lanes necessary with the Broncos running schemes. His stats were unimpressive, but his heart was unquestionable.

Lows :2thumbsdown:

1 - Second team O-line. As strong as the first team was, the second team was equally weak. Poor pass protection and run blocking was the norm. I noticed alot of this in the fourth quarter. Pittman had nowhere to run and Ramsey was under pressure most of the time. Since these guys are the backups for the starting line, this is an area of concern for me.

2 - Patrick Ramsey. While the pass protection wasn't there for him, his passes lacked crispness and accuracy. He failed to lead the team to any TD scores. There's a significant drop off when Jay isn't playing.

3 - Foxworth. As I mentioned above, Champ's absence was obvious and it was mostly because of Foxy. I know the coaches claim he's having a strong camp, but he was burned badly on several plays and seemed to be "out-classed" by the Cowboys first team receivers.

4 - Cliff Russell. Maybe he wasn't used to seeing passes come to him when he played in Miami, but he was unimpressive when he was on the field, dropping more than one of the catchable passes thrown his way.

5 - Jarvis Moss. He was on the field when Dallas was playing it's third team offense and he failed to record a tackle, pressure or sack. I hope I'm wrong, but he's looking more and more like a disappointing first round draft pick.

Being a season ticket holder, it was fun being at a game again, even if it was preseason. And it's always a good thing to win, especially when it comes against a team like the Cowboys.

The work in progress continues, but there was definitely improvement over last week. Let's hope it continues on Friday when the Packers come to town.

Requiem / The Dagda
08-17-2008, 07:52 PM
Thanks for the good read Mtn_man.

08-17-2008, 08:03 PM
Good review Mtn! My general feeling is that the passing game is coming together better then expected. While the run game is developing slower then anticipated. The defense is also laging, but the injuries may be the problem their.

Broncos Mtnman
08-17-2008, 08:45 PM
Good review Mtn! My general feeling is that the passing game is coming together better then expected. While the run game is developing slower then anticipated. The defense is also laging, but the injuries may be the problem their.

I think you're right about that.

I was watching through my binoculars most of the game and the O-line is still stuggling with opening those cutback lanes our running game is notorious for. This is clearly the reason the running game is behind the passing game right now.

As far as the passing game is concerned, Jay is demonstrating strong leadership on the field and he's not making bad decisions. The pass protection is giving him the time to check down his receivers and he's learned under Shanny's offense to take what the other team gives you.

Eddie Royal is probably the biggest surprise in camp so far. He's playing like a veteran already and Jay shows alot of confidence in him. That second pass play in traffic to him was very impressive. The slightly undersized Royal just went up and took the ball from the defender.

I'm very excited about the passing game. We haven't seen play like Jay is giving us right now since the days of Elway.

08-17-2008, 08:53 PM
Nice article.

Jay was pretty much on the mark his whole time on the feild. Hall was impressive as was the pass protection. The biggest diffrence i noticed with Harris this week from last was he was much better off the snap. He did a good job of quickly getting his body in position to battle defenders in pass protection, and he did a good job of staying on his man in running plays giving the RB a chance to make a move.

There was one play where Moss got some pressure up the gut on a stunt. He was all in the QBs face. The QB was forced to throw off his back foot and it was incomplete. I can't remember if was Romo or Johnson but it was during the 2nd quarter i beleive. But other than that, you did'nt hear or see much more of him.

He's not near as consistent as we would like for him to be right now no doubt, but hopefully the defensive coaches are finding more and better ways to best use the skills he has now. Like his quickness on stunts.

He just does'nt look that strong right now. He's not physically moving guys out of the way or driving them back with muscle. I guess there's only so much leg work you can do with recovery from a broke bone and a protective boot on during the off-season. But he definitely needs to get stronger in his legs.

If he had'nt of got injured last season and his progress was this slow, i would be alot more concerned about his growth. He is coming off a injury so i'm going to be a little more patient on this one.

08-18-2008, 02:04 AM
Thanks Mnt_man for providing a good coverage of camp and pre-season that doesn't exist here (I mean at home).

Jay is the man for sure. And I hope the way he's dealing with diabete will become an inspiration for the whole team. A team that plays heart and guts is always far better IMO.

I was concerned about our D. It seems our DE made a good job against Dallas. What is your analysis about that?
I've also read some reports mentionned that Niko didn't have a good day. Do you feel Webster is better?

Our DB without Champ is not the same. Anyway, I think D starts with the line. And I hope we'll improve (and that we had already improved) in that area.