News out of Denver suggests that there may be more turmoil on the defensive side than we all thought. That's bad news considering all of the defensive woes we already know about. Recent statements made by players such as D.J. Williams and Nate Webster hint toward the fact that there is mass confusion amongst this unit (again). Williams made an interesting statement after the embarrassing loss to NE that seemed to sum it all up. This defense lacks an identity. Perhaps it's due to the constant switches in defensive schemes. Are these guys a 3-4 defense or 4-3? If DJ doesn't know that's a scary thought considering he's a defensive captain and leads the team in tackles.
The crafty Dolphins are coming into Mile High this week feeling confident after they upset the up-and coming Bills. With their Wildcat formations and spread offensive alignments, they can really get going and Denver's defense could be in for a long day. Running backs Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown have been headaches for opposing teams while Chad Pennington's game management has been solid enough to lead the team to a respectable 3-4 record.
Physically the Broncos match up well with most of their speed coming from the linebackers and small defensive ends. The spotlight will be on CB's Dre Bly who has struggled all year and Karl Paymah who is filling in for an injured Champ Bailey. Rookie corner Jack Williams could see an increase in playing time specifically in Nickle and Dime packages and could provide a spark in the pass defense. Williams is a ball hawk who reminds me of another undersized but tenacious Williams, the late great Darrent Williams (R.I.P 27). Another key matchup will be Broncos DE Elvis Dumervil going up against the 1st overall pick in the 2008 draft, rookie LT Jake Long. I'll save the Broncos safety play for another post but that's also a major concern.
Offensively, the Broncos have to get it together. Rookie RB Ryan Torain is looking to make his NFL debut and coming off an elbow injury that has sidelined him since training camp, Denver hopes that he will ignite this once potent offensive attack. The key to success for the Broncos will be ball protection and time of possesion. If they turn the ball over early, I don't expect them to bounce back since they have not proven they could do so in games against KC, Jacksonville, and NE. Look for Brandon Marshall to have a big game if Brandon Stokely is back in the lineup.
Denver tends to have success coming off the bye week. If they can continue that trend there is no reason why they shouldn't beat a team that won 1 game in 2007. Having said that, if the Broncos lose this game. We all know what to expect the rest of the year. Hopefully they can turn in around and create some momentum heading down the stretch with a win. The question is which Broncos team will show up this week or better yet, will they show up at all?
- ALL Day