The Broncos have been the talk of the NFL this week. From Coach Shanahan’s decision to go for two, to Brandon Marshall 18 receptions, Jay Cutler’s NFL-best 650 passing yards, and the emergence of first-year receiver Eddie Royal. The Broncos have captured themselves some attention.
Head Coach Mike Shanahan was quick to warn his players about basking in early season successes.
“I think after a game that you play and you win — especially a tight game when you meet a team like San Diego — the players get a chance to enjoy it for a day,” he said. “You come back to work and you understand how tough of a business this is. I could go through a lot of the stats with 2-0 teams since 2000, how many teams have been in the playoffs, how many teams haven’t. This is a week-by-week business and if you get too carried away with yourselves you can go back very quickly, as we proved last year.”
Photo: Jake Grilley
This week the Broncos attempt to keep their early season momentum going against New Orleans.
The Saints are an unfamiliar opponent for the Broncos. The teams last met during the 2004 season and New Orleans hasn’t played at Denver since the inaugural game at INVESCO Field at Mile High in the 2001 preseason.
The Broncos might not get to play the Saints very often, but Jay Cutler said New Orleans is a team that you have to be prepared for.
“They are a good team,” he said. “I think they are a little underrated right now and people are overlooking them, but it is two games into the regular season. Missing a few guys defensively, it is a totally different scheme for us. It is a lot of cover-2, a lot of quarter. We are coming off of a strictly man game vs. Oakland and a 3-4 game with the Chargers. It is a totally different scheme for us and we have to prepare and get back to what we were doing in OTA’s against our defense. We are excited for it.”
Photo: Jake Grilley
Part of Denver’s game plan on Sunday is to attempt to slow down the Saints offense and its two most explosive players, running back Reggie Bush and quarterback Drew Brees.
Photo: Getty Images
Shanahan said a player of Bush’s caliber is a constant home-run threat.
“Since he was in high school and college, everybody can see that when he has the ball in his hands he has a chance to go the distance,” he said. “He has exceptional balance, he has the ability to make the big play and just like (Chargers RB Darren) Sproles last week, you give him one step and he’s a little bit faster and a little bit quicker than the defenders. All of a sudden what looks like a 10-yard play is a touchdown.”
Part of what Shanahan believes makes Brees a dangerous player on offense is his ability to deliver the football under pressure.
“Everybody worries about not getting pressure on this kid,” he said. “Usually when you get pressure, he can get rid of the football. He has been doing it very consistently and he is probably one of the most productive guys over the last couple of years in New Orleans in what he has been able to do — completions, touchdowns, percentages — all the things you evaluate a quarterback on. He’s good.”
The Broncos know it is still too early to make any predictions on how the season will be unfolding, but Sunday’s game against New Orleans will bring the team one more game closer to some answers.
One thing that the Broncos have been able to take away from their two wins is confidence.
“My job is getting easier week by week with these guys,” Cutler said “With Brandon (Marshall) back and the way that Eddie (Royal) is playing and Tony (Scheffler) and Daniel Graham. We have (Brandon) Stokley coming in there on third downs, the line is playing well and the backs are protecting and getting out when I need them.”
-Jake Grilley, DenverBroncos.com