Broncos Fanzone: Interview with James Hernandez


Sep 13, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos fans cheer during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos are 6-0 and are in the bye week. This is a shame that fans will not get to see their team play. However, it is for a good reason. With injuries to key players, it is important for them to get some extra rest before the second half of the season starts.

How has the team looked during the first half of the season? Well, the defense has been stellar by forcing turnovers, getting quarterback sacks, and even scoring touchdowns. Special teams has been solid with Brandon McManus going 16-for-17 on field goal attempts and perfect on extra points.

However, the offense has had its struggles. Peyton Manning is human as he has thrown seven touchdowns and ten interceptions. The running game is slowly getting things on track. Tight ends are not being utilized as much as we hoped this offense would. One thing is that Demaryius Thomas needs to work on catching the football.

Hopefully, they will work on some of these things during the bye week. But for now, let us do a recap of the 2015 season. And I brought someone along to help with that.

In this week’s fanzone, I sat down with James Hernandez. He is the owner of the 5280 Shirt Shop, who helps keep the Mile High so Fly. He has a lot of t-shirts, sweatshirts, and awesome accessories for fans of the major Colorado sports teams.

So, my first question for James had to deal with Manning and the offense. Should he get the blame, does it fall on Coach Gary Kubiak, or is there someone or something else that should take the blame? He gives me quite an interesting insight on the situation.

I’m sure there is some shared responsibility between Manning and Kubiak when it comes to subpar performance of the offense. In my opinion, Manning is a creature of habit and is all about timing. With the new offensive scheme and the added/forced day off for Manning, he is out of sync for what he has done during his career.”

With that said, this makeshift offensive line is still trying to figure out who they are. That insecurity has Manning trying to do too much, which is leading to the interceptions in my eye.”

Sep 27, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) talks to head coach Gary Kubiak (R) during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Valid points James. The new offensive scheme might have thrown him off of his game. He is not yet used to the zone blocking scheme offense. Some are even asking for Kubiak to throw his offense out the window and let Manning work from the offense that he is comfortable with. It will be interesting to see what they decide to do.

With the season halfway finished, I wanted to ask James who his MVP for the Broncos is at this point of the season. He had multiple choices for the most valuable player award.

The MVP has to be the entire defense. A few stand outs for me are Von Miller, Demarcus Ware, (pre-injury) and who can forget Chris Harris Jr. That guy is unstoppable. NO FLY ZONE!”

Oct 11, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (25) scores on a 75-yard interception return in the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Agreed James. For me, I would have to add Aqib Talib to that list as well. His two pick-sixes against the Ravens and Browns are what helped the team win the game. Plus he leads the team with interceptions with three of them. Whenever Talib has an interception, he can change the entire outlook of the game.

So, coming out of the bye, the Broncos have a tough stretch of games featuring teams that were in the playoffs last year as well as four more games against division opponents. The good thing is that the Broncos have six of their final ten games at home. I asked James if having the majority of their games at home will benefit them.

I’m not sure if it motivates them as much as it gives them an advantage. Playing at home and sleeping in your bed are BIG comfort factors and so much easier on a personal schedule.”

Now with the Broncos having one of the toughest second half schedules to be played, I am glad that six of the ten games are at Mile High. Yes… I still call it Mile High!”

Yes James! I am glad that you still call it Mile High. And playing at home does provide a solid advantage. Especially since the Broncos get Green Bay, New England, and Cincinnati at home.

With no game this weekend, this is where I would call for an X-factor. Instead, I asked James who he would want to see breakout in the second half of the season. There is one position that he had in mind.

I’d like to see someone, anyone who plays the running back position to break out. I’m not sure this offense is the right fit for the personnel the Broncos have in place today. So, let’s go with anyone that can run the rock.”

Oct 18, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (23) carries the ball as Cleveland Browns defensive end Randy Starks (94) defends in the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Agreed James. They showed a bit of what they can do last week against the Browns, so hopefully this will give them the boost that they need. I personally want to see Ty Sambrailo continue to press and get better on the blind side for Manning once he returns from his injury.

With no game this weekend, I wanted to ask James how he thinks the Broncos will do the remainder of the season. It is going to be a tough stretch, but he sees the Broncos still fighting on and finishing strong.

Predictions are always tough, but let’s go 13-3. That is what I called at the beginning of the season and I’ll stick to it. I see the Broncos winning seven of their final ten games with losses to the Packers, Colts, and Steelers. On a positive note, we sweep the AFC West this season with momentum after beating the Chargers at home for the playoffs.”

Good predictions James. And thank you for taking the time with us to talk Broncos football. Follow James on Twitter at @5280shirtshop and make sure that you purchase some awesome gear from his store! Go Broncos!

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