~ by Bob Volpe ~
Last Saturday the ax fell on 1,184 NFL(National Football League) hopefuls.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly in Bronco Country continues to stir much debate.
The good: Jordan Taylor (AKA “Sunshine”), Bennie Fowler, and Cody Latimer all made the receiver corps. Fullback Andy Janovich is back
and healthy to open holes for the fine lineup of Bronco running backs. Ty Sambrailo and Michael Schofield, the gapping maw of last year’s O line are gone. Shelby Harris made the 53 on defense after a stellar preseason pressuring and sacking opposing QBs.
The bad: Shane Ray and Carlos Henderson have been placed on injured reserve and won’t be back until six weeks into the regular season. Kalif Raymond was the odd man out in the receiver corps and was waived. He was picked up by the Jets.
The ugly: TJ Ward cut mercilessly. The Tampa Bay Bucs picked him up immediately. Kyle Sloter, who racked up the best stats of any Denver
QB this preseason waived. Sloter completed 31-43 attempts for 413 yards, no interceptions and a QB rating of 125.4. Sloter was picked up
by the Vikings.
The ugliest of the ugly: Broncos sign Brock Osweiler to a one year deal worth $775,000. With some of these moves, especially this
Osweiler deal, you have to wonder if John Elway has been smoking some bad weed. Elway’s response to signing Osweiler was, “We’re excited to have the opportunity to have Brock back. We welcome him back with open arms.” See a therapist John.
The Broncos regular season opener against the LA Chargers will be a home game on Monday Night Football next Monday, Sept. 11th.
The Chargers went 1-3 in the preseason, but don’t let that lull you into a feeling of impending victory for the Broncos.
Philip Rivers has shown he’s not quite washed up yet. When he was on the field. Rivers started two games (three total drives) and went 11-of-12 passing for 141 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Chargers scored a touchdown on each drive that Rivers played quarterback.
The Charger O line is playing well, even with the acquisition of Russell Okung who washed out with the Broncos. Rivers had plenty of time to hang out in the pocket and survey the field for open receivers.
The Chargers receiver corps, led by Keenan Allen, looks healthy and happy. Allen was targeted 5 times against the Rams and caught all five for a total 45 yards. Add Antonio Gates and second year tight end Hunter Henry to the mix and the Charger third down game is something to be reckoned with. Hunter is poised to take off where the aging Gates left off. Last year, Hunter averaged 15.5 yards per reception.
Running the ball is a weak spot for the Chargers this year. While their O line is doing well in pass protection, they are not getting the push to spring their backs.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Chargers claim to have the best pass rushing defense in the NFL. According to a Chargers fan site blog, “Edge rushers Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa made their case for the best pass-rushing tandem in the NFL. With Bosa’s power and hand usage and Ingram’s speed and spin move, the two are going to wreck havoc in the backfield.” Bosa did have a sack and forced fumble against the Rams. Still the Rams managed 23 first downs against the Chargers last week. Perhaps a sign of over emphasizing the pass rush.
Overall, when the Charger starting defense was on the field they only allowed three points to the Seahawks, 10 to the Saints and nine to the Niners, and six to the Rams. Their biggest weakness on defense is against the run.
For Denver in this one, watch for Jamal Charles, CJ Anderson, and rookie De’Angelo Henderson to carry the rock a lot. The Denver run game is the key to victory on Monday night. A good run game will keep the Charger pass rush under control and open up play action passes by
Since 2000, the Broncos have lost their home opener just once (2011).
The official TMJ/Russ’ Place pick: Broncos win 21-14