After three preseason games, the only certainty surrounding the Broncos is that there is none.
They have shown good things. They have things upon which to improve. They have played well at times. They have played poorly at times.
Perhaps the most certain thing with the Broncos is that they are losing key players to injury.
Quarterback Kyle Orton hurt his finger against the Bears. Guard Chris Kuper came out of that game with a leg injury. Wide receiver Jabar Gaffney didn’t play against Chicago because of what some reports are calling a thumb injury. Back-up quarterback Chris Simms is trying to recover from an ankle injury. Running back Knowshon Moreno is getting his banged up knee back to full strength.
This sounds like a great time to take a deep breath. Then we simply must wait and see.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to sugarcoat what has been an inconsistent three games this preseason. It is clear the Broncos have plenty they need to work on and the time until the regular season starts is drawing short.
But regardless of what the Broncos have shown this preseason, the fact is, I don’t yet have any idea what kind of team they will have when the regular season gets going on September 13th against the Bengals.
I look at the offense and when healthy, I see a lot of talent. I see a really good offensive line. I see a deep and talented corps of running backs. And I see good, solid wide receivers, even better than that if Brandon Marshall is producing like we know he can.
But I also see a lot of red M*A*S*H crosses, too. Every NFL team has to stay healthy to have a chance to be good and right now, the Broncos are not healthy. So I wait…and hope the injured players get better soon.
I look at the defense and see improvement over the course of the first three preseason games. I see more pressure on the quarterback. The number of sacks is up. It looks like the Broncos are making a pretty good transition to the 3-4. I see some young players who seem to be getting the hang of things and look like they will be able to contribute.
But I also see a unit that has yet to force a turnover. The Broncos have given up some really big drives. They have surrendered 27 points in each of the last two games.
In the bottom line world of the NFL, the final score says it all. And on that front, the Broncos have not had a good preseason, with the game against the Bears being the latest example.
But I also remind myself that this is still the preseason. And we all know what that means. Need I dust off the stat that showed the 2008 Detroit Lions went 4-0 in games that didn’t count?
I’m an optimistic person. And I don’t wear glasses, let alone ones that are orange and blue. I wish I had a sense of what this season might bring. The schedule appears to be tough. The challenges with injuries appear to be mounting.
While I’m not going to pretend I think the Broncos are a lock to make the playoffs, I’m also not ready to say I think they’ll only win a handful of games. I just don’t know. I am, however, really looking forward to finding out.
In the meantime, I’ll take another deep breath and simply wait and see.
Have your expectations for this season changed during the preseason? If so, how? I’d love to get your thoughts.
Also, please be sure to vote for your 50th anniversary Broncos team. You can do that at www.denverbroncos.com/50th by this Friday. I’ll share my team with you this week.