I’d be the first one to tell you that I didn’t expect the Denver Broncos to shoot out of the gate as fast and strong as they have so far. Granted it’s only week 2, but I’m very impressed and somewhat shocked. I knew Denver had a great defense going into the 2017 season and compared them to the Houston Texans who also have an excellent defense. The difference is I underestimated how good Trevor Siemian actually is!
This is Siemian’s 3rd season in the league and he has had to compete for the starting quarterback job since his arrival out of Northwestern. Obviously he wasn’t going to replace the living legend Peyton Manning as a rookie — especially as a 7th round draft pick. Good thing too because the Broncos won the Super Bowl in 2015 and Brock Osweiler had already secured the backup role for Manning.
After Peyton’s retirement, the job seemed to be up for grabs as Denver scrambled to find #18’s replacement when Brock Osweiler departed for Houston. Ironically, Brock is back with the Broncos but that’s besides the point. In 2016, the Broncos drafted Paxton Lynch with their first overall selection as John Elway believed he could be the future franchise quarterback. Poor play and injuries have hampered that belief thus far.
Denver was so desperate they actually went out and traded for Mark Sanchez. That was a bust and the defending champions found themselves in quite the conundrum. However Trevor Siemian impressed the coaches enough to win the starting job and actually helped the Broncos start the 2016 season at 4-0. He got hurt during their 4th game and had to miss significant time which led to the reigning champs missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
Siemian found himself in a QB battle during this years off-season, but again won the job by outperforming the competition. The idea was for Siemian to play smart ball control football and for heavens sake just don’t turn the ball over. So far so good! He’s got 6 touchdown passes and 2 interceptions to begin the 2017 campaign. He went for 18 TD’s and only 10 picks last year. Looks like he’ll throw for more TD’s this year, but like his predecessor, he needs to have the goal of single digit INT’s for the regular season.
Denver is 2-0 early in this 2017 NFL season winning a division battle week 1 against the Chargers where the final score doesn’t indicate how much the Broncos dominated that game. Then against the Cowboys, Siemian showed the NFL universe that he doesn’t need to be a “game manager.” The kid can play and he’s an athlete. The Broncos lassoed the Cowboys on Sunday at Mile High in Denver by a final score of 42-17. Siemian threw 4 touchdown passes in the victory.
Granted the Broncos QB still has much to learn in going through his progressions better, but he’s on the perfect team for that to happen. He has excellent receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders combined with a one-two punch at running back as C.J. Anderson returns to form and Jamaal Charles looks like the player he was a couple of years ago. Here’s a fun and amazing fact: Jamaal Charles is the NFL all time leader in yards per rush at (5.49). That’s better than Hall of Famers and all time greats Jim Brown and Barry Sanders.
But the backbone of this team is the defense led by Von Miller who recorded his first sack of the season against Dallas on Sunday. Helping Miller up front are newly acquired Domata Peko who’s just a beast along with veterans Brandon Marshall and Derek Wolfe.
Then there’s the “no fly zone” that Denver adopted in the 2015 season that has lived up to its name. The Broncos have a fantastic secondary led by perhaps the best cornerback tandem in the league with Aqib Talib and Chris Harris, Jr. These guys allow Von Miller and the front seven many opportunities to get after the quarterback.
Denver also has a distinct home field advantage playing a mile above sea level where opposing teams have trouble adapting to the thin air. The stadium is very loud and very loyal. They have championship pedigree and even more of a hunger for the post season since last years debacle.
The Broncos have started 2-0, but so have the Raiders and Chiefs who both look very strong again. Denver takes on Oakland in weeks 4 and 12 as well as the Chiefs in week 8 and again in the regular season finale. The divisional games they play against Oakland and Kansas City will determine the outcome of the AFC West which looks like the best division in football. The road to the Super Bowl in Minnesota is a long one, but one that can be attained by the Broncos. Yes, they’re for real!