DENVER (CBS4) – “We’re definitely missing some midseason mojo.”
Former Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen summed up the state of the Denver Broncos with those words on the CBS4 program AutoNation All Access on Sunday night.
Following Sunday’s 22-7 loss to the St. Louis Rams, the team has lost two of its past three games. Neither of the losses were close games, and the win came against the Raiders, who have yet to win a game.
At the start of the season it looked like a fourth straight division title was a virtual lock for the Broncos, right? Wrong. The Nov. 30 game against Kansas City at the end of the month looks like it could quite possibly decide the AFC West.
“I’d be a little concerned at this point,” Dreessen said.
Here are five other statements made on All Access Sunday night that Broncos fans probably didn’t expect they’d be hearing before the team surprisingly lost again.
Despite his gaudy stats, Peyton Manning just doesn’t look right.
CBS4’s Vic Lombardi thought this might be part of the problem for the team right now. He asked Dreessen’s opinion on whether it looks like Manning doesn’t have the same velocity and dexterity when throwing the ball. “He looked a little troubled, just not with the accuracy we’re used to seeing from him,” was Dreessen’s response.
Manning has thrown two interceptions in each of the past three games.
After the losses to the Patriots and then the Rams, Manning admitted he played poorly. Rams quarterback Shaun Hill actually finished with a better passer rating than Manning on Sunday. Manning went 34 for 54 with 389 passing yards and touchdown, but the interceptions can’t be ignored. “It appears that when No. 18 has a bad day at the office, the rest of the team has no chance,” CBS4’s Vic Lombardi said. Here’s hoping Manning rediscovers his MVP form quickly.
The O-line can’t protect the A gap.
Lombardi said this fact is leaving the quarterback looking nervous and oftentimes unsure in the pocket. “The line is a bit of a mess. They have lost confidence and Manning looks like he has lost confidence in it,” Lombardi said. Dreessen said the line is having trouble picking up the “stunts” defensive lines are throwing at them. This may partially explain Manning’s bad outing Sunday; he may have felt like he had to get the ball out to a receivers even more quickly than normal. It didn’t help that two of his most reliable targets — Emmanuel Sanders and Julius Thomas — left the game with injuries.
The blame game should start with John Fox.
The visitors’ locker room cleared out pretty quickly after Sunday’s loss, but according to CBS4’s Mark Haas there were still a couple of Denver players left when Fox came in and made the rounds. Haas said Fox tried to reassure the players that were present, saying, “We’ll be fine.” But things don’t seem fine in Broncos Country right now, and Fox has now been outcoached by both Bill Belichick and Jeff Fisher. “There’s all kinds of blame to go around, but I say this one’s on Fox. He’s the head man. He takes the rap,” CBS4’s Gary Miller said.
Fox mismanaged the end of the 1st half.
Of course, Fox would argue with this point, but Miller said he agrees with a fan who tweeted in to CBS4 with a criticism of Fox for not calling a timeout before halftime to give the offense a shot at scoring more points. “Fox mismanaged the clock badly in this game,” Miller said. Dreessen also summed up the second-quarter clock management in a similar way: “I just didn’t understand it. … I think you want to give your team an opportunity there to gain even more momentum going into the half. … Why not try to get more points before half?”
Broncos look one-dimensional too often.
All NFL teams have to deal with injuries by time the middle of the season rolls around. For the Broncos, injuries appear to be really negatively affecting the game plan. “Here’s how I look at the Broncos offense,” Lombardi said. “They have become one-dimensional. They’ve had some injuries. But in the NFL you have to be able to win if guys get injured. That’s just part of the game. You have to find other ways to win.”
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