Broncos Mid-Season Report Card

There haven't been a lot of big plays in the passing game, but that has been the Denver Broncos' trade-off for fewer turnovers. Jake Plummer hasn't thrown an interception in six straight games, an impressive streak for a player who has been mistake-prone for most of his career. Read our mid-season report card to see how the passing game stacks up.

REPORT CARD AFTER 8 GAMES

PASSING OFFENSE: B -- There haven't been a lot of big plays in the passing game, but that has been Denver's trade-off for fewer turnovers. Jake Plummer hasn't thrown an interception in six straight games, an impressive streak for a player who has been mistake-prone for most of his career. The Broncos have had moderate success passing the ball -- Plummer has 12 touchdowns and is on pace for about 3,300 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- Mike Shanahan has usually avoided a tailback committee, but this year Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell have complemented each other very well. Anderson is running hard and is averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Bell has been the big-play threat, and has 562 yards and five touchdowns despite having only 80 carries.

PASS DEFENSE: D -- The Broncos have given up a lot of passing yards and big plays this season. Champ Bailey has dealt with shoulder or hamstring injuries from the first play of the second half of Denver's season opener. That hasn't helped. The Broncos have turned to rookie cornerbacks, who have played well, but they're still rookies. How they hold up in the second half of the season will be worth watching.

RUSH DEFENSE: B -- Denver has rushed for almost twice as many yards as its opponents this season. The Broncos held down Jacksonville's Fred Taylor, Kansas City's Priest Holmes and San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson already this season. Washington's Clinton Portis has 103 yards against Denver, and he is the only back to top 100 yards against the Broncos.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- The Broncos have been consistent covering kickoffs and punts, and that's an improvement over last year's problems. Punter Todd Sauerbrun hasn't caused any problems, and he has been a significant upgrade for the team. Denver could be even better on special teams if rookie returner Darrent Williams started breaking some long plays. Jason Elam has been in a strange slump, but he should recover in the second half.

COACHING: A-minus -- The only real flaw has been the Broncos' problems in the second half. Other than that, Mike Shanahan has done all the right things; from his tailback committee to keeping Jake Plummer out of vulnerable situations. Defensively, the Broncos have blitzed a lot this season and it has hurt them at times, but that is their identity. They just need to bring down the quarterback more often.



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