Denver Broncos: Three tricks and treats in the 2018 season
The Denver Broncos have failed to meet winning expectations. Moving on to the second half of the season, who has met expectations, and who has failed?
Heading into the second half of the 2018 season with a 3-5 record, it’s fair to say the Denver Broncos have failed to exceed or even come close to meeting optimistic expectations.
The best case scenario for this team would have involved Case Keenum playing up to the same standard he set in 2017 with the Minnesota Vikings, the team finding a way to adequately replace Aqib Talib at the cornerback position, and the offensive line collectively taking a giant step forward.
Only one of those things has happened.
With Halloween falling right smack dab in the middle of the Broncos’ season, which players have been tricks so far this year, and which have been treats?
Case Keenum, QB
Signing a two-year, $36 million contract, the expectations for Case Keenum were pretty high. Despite the fact that those numbers are pretty middle-of-the-road when it comes to quarterbacks in today’s NFL, Keenum was coming off of a season in which he greatly excelled with the Minnesota Vikings.
Statistically, Keenum has reverted back to the guy he was with the Los Angeles Rams. In nine starts in 2016, the Rams went 4-5 and Keenum had nine touchdowns compared to 10 interceptions.
In 2018 for the Broncos, he is 3-5 through eight games with 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, along with six fumbles (one last year with Vikings, five with the Rams).
Garett Bolles, OT
I’ve been a big defender of Garett Bolles, and after the first two games of the season, it looked like he was on his way to making major strides. Since those first two games, Bolles has looked awful at times and is allowing poor technique habits to spiral out of control into strings of poor play.
Not everything has been bad with Bolles this season, but the former first-round pick has to play with proper technique more often than he is, to say the least.
Bradley Roby, CB
The Broncos traded Aqib Talib this offseason in hopes that Bradley Roby could take over where Aqib Talib left off.
What has transpired could not be more of the opposite.
Talib brought attitude and consistency at the cornerback position, and Roby seems to let one bad play affect him way more than it should. He’s not going to get re-signed at the end of this season playing this way, or the Broncos will be able to get him at a major discount.
Roby is among the league’s worst in terms of receptions, yards, and touchdowns allowed.
Phillip Lindsay, RB
Phillip Lindsay, the undrafted rookie out of Colorado, ranks sixth in the NFL in rushing yards and yards per carry. He’s in the top 20 in all-purpose yardage as well, and looks like a phenomenal find for the Broncos’ front office.
They didn’t have to look far.
Lindsay runs with conviction and is such a naturally talented athlete and football player, he makes it look easy. He’s been one of the best surprises of the season so far.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR
After an injury-riddled 2017 season, Sanders is back to form and looks as good as he did when the Broncos first signed him back in 2014.
Sanders has been the best offensive player on the team through eight games and has played so well, the Broncos simply couldn’t trade him away despite their poor record.
Sanders is on his way to All-Pro status this season if he keeps it up.
Joseph Jones, ST
The Broncos poached Joseph Jones off of the Seattle Seahawks’ practice squad last year, and made a somewhat surprising decision to keep six linebackers on their roster in 2018.
Jones has proven they were right in doing so.
Through eight games, he leads the team with seven special teams tackles and looks on his way to becoming one of the team’s top players in that phase of the game for the foreseeable future. The Broncos needed a special teams ace to show up, and Jones has done so.