After eating myself into a Thanksgiving Day food coma, I drudged through the last few Bronco films. I came to the conclusion that this team lacks an identity, and their 3-7 record is a direct reflection of their inconsistency. A Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality, from game to game and even within a game, I saw inconsistent play on both sides of the ball, but flashes of a very good team.
I like Kyle Orton since his days at Purdue and with the Chicago Bears. A right armed quarterback that spins a good ball with velocity and accuracy. He can stick the ball on the receiver; throw over the top or to an area away from the defender. Working a high percentage from the shot gun formation, seventy percent of the offense is through the air.
The three headed monster receiving corps of Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal have very good production with receptions and total yards after catch. Tight end Gronkowski is a second year player that is starting to deliver as a blocker and receiver.
Running back Knowshon Moreno is in his second season, lacks great production as a runner, but his natural receiving skills in space on screens, outs, check downs and swings with good burst, COD and feet to string together several elusive moves, while moving north and south. The backups are tested and proven running backs with past production in Correll Buckhalter and Laurence Maroney (a native St. Louisan).
Their offensive line is anchored on the edge by the two Ryan’s, Clady and Harris, rookie offensive center JD Walton and the enforcer at guard Chris Kuper.
The linebackers and secondary are the strength of this defense. The secondary is led by veteran playmaker Champ Bailey, rookie Parrish Cox and Brain Dawkins. The defensive bell cow is middle linebacker D.J. Williams, along with Mario Hagens, Robert Ayers and Jason Hunter.
The front four are the weak link of the defense, or the group that lacks stellar numbers, despite having size and athletic movement laterally. LDE Kevin Vickerson, NT Jammal Williams and RDE Justin Bannan. While the front has big name players that were productive early in their careers, they are not playing well together, despite spotty individual performances.
Denver will bounce back and forth between 3-4 and 4-3, forcing their opponents to prepare for both fronts. They also have the advantage in personnel match-ups. A team offensively that has better athletes per position, but lack consistent performance. Defensively, they lack consistent pressure and take away ability when studying them statistically and on film.
The Rams have not had success on the road, and will struggle Sunday in the Mile High city of Denver when the Broncos hand them their seventh loss of the season. With three straight road games, Denver, Arizona, and lastly, New Orleans, the clock is ticking on the chase to the NFC West Divisional title and the remaining games are fading off the schedule, each and every Sunday. The difference makers for the Broncos on offense are Kyle Orton, Brandon Lloyd and Eddie Royal producing as a slot receiver. Royal excels as a Punt returner with good production. He has great combination of speed and acceleration and a nose for the goal line.
For the Rams to win on Sunday, they must take advantage of Steven Jackson’s skills (running/receiving) from LOS, and let Sam Bradford throw when needed. Also as Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur was quoted “we try to mix up protections, concepts and spread the ball around so they can’t zero in on us”. Broncos have too many playmakers on offense.
Broncos 23 Rams 20