Despite the Denver Broncos losing on Monday night, it’s not time to hit the panic button.
How are we feeling the morning after, Denver Broncos fans? Look, I understand if there are people who are frustrated with the team, but let me remind you of a couple of things.
The Broncos came into this game without their big stars in Von Miller and Courtland Sutton. They left with a banged up Phillip Lindsay, who reportedly now has turf toe. A.J. Bouye left the game with a shoulder injury.
I get it: Injuries aren’t an excuse. This team, it’s young. There are a bunch of new starters on both sides of the ball, so miscues are going to happen at some point.
Rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy appeared in his first career NFL game Monday night and had a respectable 4 catches for 56 yards. Three of those receptions went for first downs. But the rookie did a couple of rookie things and dropped what appeared to be some easy catches.
Rookie jitters. We get it. But the Broncos were without Sutton, and the passing game went through Noah Fant… in the first half. The Broncos didn’t look Fant’s way in the second half and cited the number of three-and-outs as the reasoning for that. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, as the tight end position is a quarterback’s security blanket and should have been utilized.
We have to give a round of applause to the offensive line of the Broncos. They played a very clean game, not allowing a sack of Drew Lock nor holding penalties. That’s a huge A+ following a year filled with poor offensive line play. The coaching done by Mike Munchak has already proven to be effective, not only for Bolles but even rookie center Lloyd Cushenberry and new Broncos guard Graham Glasgow.
Let’s talk about the shots down the field now. The Broncos have a lot of speed on this offense with Jeudy and will get Sutton and K.J. Hamler back at some point. They took quite a few shots downfield against the Titans on Monday night. It was much more refreshing than passes six yards short of the first down marker but the timing on some of these long passes were just off the mark. That happens.
Head coach Vic Fangio has to learn to control the clock a lot better than he did Monday night. With the clock ticking down while the Titans had the ball and down, Tennessee just strolled down the field while running enough clock that, when Denver received the ball again, they did not have enough time to do much. This was an issue at times last year as well.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Broncos allowed the Titans to roll down the field quite a bit. It is extremely difficult to bring down Derrick Henry. Henry rushed 31 times for 116 yards (3.7 average) and four first downs. This was much worse than the same matchup last year.
At the end of the day, the Broncos continue to be haunted by close losses. Something needs to be done and figured out. If they can, they will have a lot better success, because there are some really great things to work with on this team. Execution needs to occur.