The Broncos have lost two in a row — is it panic time?
October 18, 2016
Broncos Nation appears to be a bit concerned after consecutive losses to the Atlanta Falcons and the San Diego Chargers.
We said in this space last week that a loss to Chargers would be cause for a "little bit of panic." We're going to assume you've gotten over that by now as it's been nearly a week.
A brief breakdown of why the Broncos have struggled the last two weeks.
• Young quarterbacks: Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian haven't looked too hot, which is not surprising because we told you that essentially rookie quarterbacks don't do too well in the NFL. Denver is not the only place this is happening. Remember how awesome Carson Wentz was after three weeks? Well, the NFL has caught up with him the Eagles' two recent losses.
• The offensive line has sprung a leak: Everything is intertwined in the NFL, so we can't put it all on the QBs. Against the Falcons, Lynch didn't seem to have that internal clock, that after a few seconds, it's really time to get rid of the ball, taking sacks. That's completely understandable from a kid in his first start.
The O-line, however, does need to take the blame for the Chargers. Holy, holding penalties, Batman.
• Where the running game go?: Again everything is intertwined. The quarterback doesn't play well and the offensive line is having issues, and probably the running game is going to have problems.
• The defense hasn't played absolutely sublimely the last two weeks: The D hasn't been bad. It just hasn't carried the team like it did against the Colts, when it produced two touchdowns from turnovers. Expecting that every week is unreasonable.
The rumor mill is churning, and though blockbuster NFL trades are rare, there is talk of Tony Romo to Denver with Dak Prescott leading the Cowboys to a 5-1 start.
If I'm the Cowboys, perish the thought, I don't know if I do that. Prescott is a rookie quarterback. I'm anticipating he falls back to earth and Romo is a nice insurance policy.
From the Denver perspective, general manager John Elway never intended to start this season with Siemian and Lynch. Again, the Broncos heavily pursued the Niners' Colin Kaepernick and brought in Mark Sanchez, essentially handing the latter the starting job until Sanchez reverted to being Sanchez.
Romo makes sense in that he's a veteran. The Broncos do have room for about a half of a season of him under the cap. (Sporttac.com says that Broncos have $9 million of space, and Romo's earning $20 million per year. It wouldn't be stretch.)
It depends on what Dallas wants, and how much risk Denver wants to take when it comes to taking on a guy who seems to have perpetual injury issues.
If the Cowboys want a sixth- and/or a seventh rounder, roll the dice. If they want high picks or help with the pass rush, I'd hesitate.
The trade deadline is Nov. 1. Like sands through the hourglass ….
The Patriots remain the class of the AFC, and they get the Steelers this week without Ben Roethlisberger, which is a break. The Steelers should be able to survive life without Big Ben, so they stay in this category.
The Broncos are hanging on here, but a loss in the Brock Bowl on Monday night would warrant full-blown panic.
In the NFC, it's the Seahawks and Vikings. Yes, the Seahawks got away with a very questionable no-call pass interference against the Falcons this week. But that sort of stuff always seems to happen at CenturyLink Field, which is simply an evil place for visitors. The race for homefield, as such, in the NFC between the Seattle and Minnesota, which had a bye last week, will be key.
Keep an eye on …
Dallas did make a statement in Green Bay, but we're hesitant to pull the trigger. The Raiders did revert to Raiders form last week. The Bills have won four straight since their 0-2 start.
The Bears really lost to the Jags in Chicago? The Browns continue their quest for 0-16. I literally took a nap during the Jets-Cardinals game and learned all I need to know about the J-E-T-S. And, yes, my beloved Niners.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.