It’s still confusing why the two teams that played in last February’s Super Bowl were selected to “enjoy” their bye week so early in this season. But with that said, the Denver Broncos were a little banged up so maybe this is what the doctor (and the NFL) had in mind.
That being said, the Broncos also are in desperate need of “re-thinking” their running game. It needs to improve immediately. Quarterback Peyton Manning needs help moving the ball. And the defense needs help staying off the field. As Broncos’ fans we all saw what a pass-only attach can do last season. Yes, it’s exciting. But it’s also like dancing on the edge of a cliff, one misstep and the whole plan takes an awfully long drop.
The rest of the season starts this afternoon in Denver against the Arizona Cardinals. We will see if the running attack and the defense used the time off wisely.
Of course, Manning’s next touchdown pass will be his 500th. Of the two quarterbacks in the 500 club Manning will get his milestone about 50 games faster than Brett Favre. Favre owns 509 touchdowns, meaning Manning should soon hold the all-time record in the next two or three games. Think about how offenses have changed over the last 20 years – John Elway finished his career with just 300 touchdown passes
So even though Manning passes the football like he doesn’t need the help. The Broncos’ running game remains a disappointment. And the Cardinals’ rush defense ranks fourth in the league, allowing 71.7 yards per game. The Broncos’ ability to convert second and third-and-shorts will define whether they run well Sunday.
Passing against the Cardinals defense is a chore in itself. Arizona’s defense is stealing from Seattle’s blueprint. The Cardinals will challenge short routes, making Denver to throw deep. Cornerback Patrick Peterson is a stud, but he can’t cover Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Wes Welker all by himself. It’s time for Thomas to get off the hook and start his 2014 Pro-Bowl campaign.