The bottom line is always the most important factor in the NFL. The bottom line is wins and losses.
From that standpoint, it was a tough day for the Broncos in Jacksonville.
But I don’t think it is the entire story. Because the bottom line tends to dwarf everything else, some of the things the Broncos did well get overshadowed by the fact they lost the game. I understand, that is the nature of the beast and it likely always will be.
At the same time, I don’t think there is any need for the Broncos to think they won’t, at the least, be a pretty good team this year. Sure, I could break down the Broncos’ struggles on Sunday. It was pretty clear they committed some costly turnovers and penalties. They need to do better executing in key situations. The offense, defense and special teams all had breakdowns and some of them came at crucial times.
I’m not, however, going to harp on those things. It’s just too early in the season. That’s not to excuse the bottom line from Sunday. It’s just to say that I’m choosing to accentuate the positive.
I realize that the Jaguars are not a juggernaut and, heading into the season, they were not a team that most people considered among the elite in the AFC.
Still, they are talented. It was a road game for the Broncos on the east coast. And Denver had a great opportunity to win the game.
What did I like?
1 – THE OFFENSE CAN MOVE THE BALL. No doubt they have to be more efficient in the red zone. No doubt they have to clean up the turnovers and the penalties. But the Broncos moved the ball fairly consistently against a Jaguars’ defense that is always talented and physical.
Kyle Orton played well on Sunday. He continues to show me that he can be a very good quarterback and I fully expect him to have a great year.
2 – THE RUNNING GAME WILL BE FINE. Given that he missed the entire preseason, Knowshon Moreno actually played both more and better than I thought he would. That is a great sign. The guys up front have to clean up some things, but Moreno averaged 4.0 yards per carry. That is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Assuming the offensive line stays healthy, it should only get better. That will bode well as the season progresses.
3 – I’M STARTING TO THINK THE WIDE RECEIVER BY COMMITTEE MIGHT WORK OUT. I never thought it wouldn’t work but it isn’t the way most teams go about it. The trio of Jabar Gaffney, Brandon Lloyd and Eddie Royal looks like it could be a potent one. Getting Royal more involved this season is critical for the Broncos and eight catches for 98 yards is a terrific start.
Gaffney has shown he can put up numbers and Lloyd is giving signs that he is going to take full advantage of the opportunity to be a starter. Granted, it’s early but it was a good start.
4 – THE DEFENSE IS A BETTER TACKLING UNIT THAN WE HAVE SEEN IN RECENT YEARS. There were numerous times when the first Broncos’ defender who got to the ball carrier made the tackle. And on several occasions, that prevented the Jaguars from making a first down.
I also saw guys rallying to the football. When the first defender made contact, it wasn’t long before others were there. That was good to see.
Hopefully these traits become a part of the identity of the Broncos’ defense.
The Wednesday before the game against the Jaguars, Kyle Orton said he really didn’t know where the Broncos stood. He couldn’t get a true feel for the team because it is difficult to do that when all they have played is preseason games.
Based on week one, the Broncos are about where I thought they were. They certainly are not a bad team. At this point, they aren’t a great team.
They played well at times against the Jaguars and they struggled at times. I figured the Broncos would improve as the season goes along. Nothing I saw in game number leads me to think the Broncos can’t, and won’t, have a good season.
What things stood out for you from the first game? Thanks for reading and posting your comments.