Nov 1, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos fans holds up a team logo in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos defeated the Packer 29-10. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Alright everyone. The Denver Broncos will have a mini reunion this Sunday when they travel to Solider Field to take on the Chicago Bears.
This will mark the first game for John Fox against his former team. Former Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler will also face off against them for the first time as he was injured in the 2011 meeting.
There are many storylines to this game, including the first NFL start of Brock Osweiler’s career. The question is how will he perform in his first meaningful game? It will be something to see if the Broncos can use this game to find out if he really is the quarterback of the future.
For this edition of the Broncos Fanzone, I have brought along a great former colleague of mine and all around great guy.
Ian St. Clair is a lifelong, third generation Broncos fan. His articles are worth a read every single time. A former co-editor here at Predominantly Orange, he now works as a Broncos columnist and co-editor over at BSN Denver.
So, I got to talk to Ian and get his takes on the state of the Denver Broncos as well as this Sunday’s matchup against the Chicago Bears. I begin by asking Ian on the Broncos offense since the Packers game. Since then, the team has not looked like themselves. What is going on Ian?
Nov 1, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson (22) runs with the ball against Green Bay Packers cornerback Casey Hayward (29) during the second half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 29-10. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
“Complete lack of running game, which isn’t new for the offense. Paired with the fact the Broncos got down early in both the game against the Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs. When that happens, the offense becomes predictable.”
“However, people forget the offense was phenomenal in the second half against the Colts. What let them down in that game was the defense.”
Very good points Ian. The running game has yet to find a consistent trend. While they have shown some flashes of greatness in a handful of games, it is still a struggle to get it going consistently. Now with Osweiler playing on Sunday, they are going to be relied upon more than ever.
Speaking of Osweiler, he will be making his first start of the season. The big question here is have we seen the last of the Manning era in Denver? What are your thoughts Ian?
“If Osweiler plays well, it’s hard to see the Broncos going back to Manning. If the offense finally lives up to what Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison expect and want, I don’t see Manning playing again.”
“But it is not just Osweiler. As Kubiak said on Wednesday, the whole offense and team need to play better. This is the Broncos’ fresh start, and I’m excited to see how they respond.”
Exactly. It does make us wonder if the Manning era would come to an end. It is apparent that Father Time has officially caught up to him. But at the same time, we will get to see on Sunday if the future is bright with Brock Osweiler.
One thing that caught my attention was former Bronco great Terrell Davis mentioned this on the NFL Network. “If Osweiler does well on Sunday, he should start against the Patriots.” This is quite interesting because next week’s contest against New England is huge for the playoffs.
I asked Ian if Osweiler gives the Broncos the best chance for home field advantage in the AFC. He had this to say about that.
Nov 15, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) throws a pass during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Chiefs won 29-13. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
“Not if Denver can’t run the football and the defense plays as bad as it did against Indianapolis. Fans need to pump the breaks when it comes to Osweiler. Yes, he is in his fourth year, but this is his first start. For all intents and purposes, he is a rookie.”
“The practice reps are great. Learning under Manning is wonderful. But he hasn’t started a game since 2011. If the Broncos want to get homefield advantage, or even a first-round bye, the whole team has to perform better.”
“The offensive line has to run and pass protect. Recievers and tight ends can’t drop passes and at least attempt to run block. The defense must play as it did prior to the Indy game. It was better against the Chiefs, but enough with the stupid penalties.”
“Get off the field on third down. Get after the quarterback and create turnovers. This isn’t just about Osweiler. He doesn’t have to be Manning of 2013, just not Manning for most of 2015.”
Valid points Ian. I, myself, am sick to my stomach about the Broncos defense not getting off the field on third down. It makes me ill when the Broncos defense does so well and forces a third and long, only to allow a big gain on that crucial down. I agree that the team, as a whole, needs to play better.
Nov 15, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Bears head coach John Fox looks on as his team plays the St. Louis Rams during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. Chicago defeated St. Louis 37-13. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Looking ahead to the game, the Chicago Bears are no pushover. The team has looked solid in the last couple weeks. I mean, hey, they have beaten every one of the Broncos’ divisional opponents this season.
I asked Ian what it will take for the Broncos to prevent the Bears from completing the AFC West sweep.
“Pressure Jay Cutler, get off the field on third down and limit the big plays on defense. In terms of the offense, run the ball and don’t turn it over. If Denver can get balance on offense, you will see something fans haven’t seen this season – an offense that controls the game.”
Very true. Those are key components in order to get things going and to come away with a win in Chicago.
So, with every other guest I have had, I asked Ian for a prediction and any bold ones he might have for this game.
“For the first time this season, the Broncos offense will not turn the ball over and force Chicago into four turnovers. Von Miller will get three sacks, Osweiler will throw for 285 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-10 win.”
“Oh, and John Fox will get caught off guard by the opening kickoff and have Cutler take a knee on their first possession.”
Ah, good old Take a Knee Fox. Would not surprise me at all. Well, thank you Ian St. Clair for taking the time out for this interview. If you want to see what Ian is up to, check out his Broncos articles over at BSN Denver. Go Broncos!