Fans will be served a tasty treat in Week 7, as Brock Osweiler and the Houston Texans come to face the Denver Broncos. Both teams are 4-2. Both teams have postseason aspirations, giving this game some interesting Conference implications.
And then there's the grudge-match angle.
It isn't easy to make John Elway look a fool. As Denver's general manager for the last five-plus seasons, it's hard to find much fault in his decisions and roster moves. Five consecutive Division titles and a Super Bowl 50 win are the proof inside the pudding.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1719958-3-keys-to-victory-broncos... But, fans might remember back in November of 2011, Elway cut quarterback Kyle Orton. Orton had led the Broncos to a 1-4 start, before Tim Tebow took over and led the Broncos to a series of miraculous wins.
Orton eventually landed with the Kansas City Chiefs, whom Denver drew on the schedule in Week 17. Orton served up his revenge, defeating a Broncos team in Denver, who had their season on the line. Denver was lucky enough to have received a ton of help outside that game and were able to back in to a Division title and a playoff berth.
Elway promptly pressure washed Tebow Mania out of Denver just a couple of months later, ushering in the Peyton Manning era in Denver. With the ugly divorce between Osweiler and the Broncos this past March, Elway and the Broncos are putting in every effort to avoid a similar humiliation.
I sat down with Patrick Starr, the Publisher of StateOfTheTexans.com — part of the Scout NFL Network — to get an insider's perspective on the Houston Texans. Starr is a credentialed member of the Houston media and on top of his duties at SOTT, also hosts a radio show on Houston's SportsTalk790.
MHH: We've heard rumblings that Bill O'Brien and Brock Osweiler have butted heads recently. Is their conflict due to philosophical differences? Frustration? And how is their relationship now?
Starr: I think it is a Jason LaCanfora normal stir-the-pot situation with the Houston Texans, like he's done over the past few seasons. Neither one denied the alleged incident, but with Bill O’Brien’s fiery attitude coupled with Brock Osweiler trying to show he is the answer for the Texans, there should be some fireworks.
The two speak highly of each other behind closed doors and just like any work environment there will be disagreements. It is early in their time together and with the early struggles of the offense, both are pushing for better things. If anything this is a healthy working relationship of two competitors.
Starr: This rise of Jadeveon Clowney started last season. Despite his injuries, he showed flashes of what he had been able to do. So, for us, this is no surprise on the play that Clowney has put together early in the season.
Clowney is now being moved around much like Romeo Crennel did with J.J. Watt and he is responding with the added pressure to be a playmaker.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1719779-lessons-siemian-learned-f... On Monday Night, expect him to move from edge to edge and line up in the middle to be part of a stunt to pressure the quarterback. He has scratched the surface on how good he can be and it is slowly coming together.
MHH: DeAndre Hopkins is arguably a top-5 receiver in this league. However, his numbers this year don't necessarily reflect that. Is this a chemistry issue with Osweiler?
Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz has taken the targets and receptions from Hopkins' totals and has become the option in the middle of the field.
The Texans also know that Hopkins is their bread winner and they have a done a better job of moving him around in the formation either with formations, or motion to get him into space. One thing to watch is how much Osweiler depends on Hopkins on key downs, especially on third downs.
MHH: Former Broncos tackle Chris Clark is seeing a lot of snaps in Houston. Where's he playing on Houston's O-line and how is he holding up?
Starr: Chris Clark has been forced to start at both left and right tackle due to injuries. Clark has won over the coaches with his versatility to move around. He is a the best fit for the swing tackle and trading for him proved to be a better long-term investment than most realize.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1719927-mhh-predicts-broncos-vs-t... Clark should go back to his swing tackle role with both Duane Brown and Derek Newton returning from injury.
MHH: As an expert on the Texans, what do you perceive as their biggest weakness as a team? And are you buying or selling their 4-2 start?
Starr: There are two things that stick out as the Texans weaknesses to this point; the lack of experience as an offensive group, which is leading to some ugly football, and the lack of stopping the run. The issues on offense is due to Bill O’Brien and company resetting the offense two consecutive seasons and now it is Osweiler and company learning how to operate as a group.
The defensive front was going to struggle if J.J. Watt was going to be healthy due to the lack of depth. Now it is now struggling as an entire front seven.
Can I hold on the Texans?
To be honest, when you take away the ugly parts of the Texans offense there has been some impressive moments from Osweiler throwing the football and Lamar Miller running the football. The weapons are there and despite playing some sub-par offensive football, they are sitting at 4-2, which is setting them up well heading into their bye week two weeks from now.
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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