Broncos Season Report Card

The Denver Broncos coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for getting a tough win at New England. That gives the Broncos momentum for the rest of their season. The first game after the bye is a tough test, however, with a home game against Baltimore.

REPORT CARD AFTER 3 GAMES

PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus -- Jake Plummer had a good game right before the bye week, which moved up the grade. The first two games were miserable. Plummer made too many mistakes and the offense wasn't going anywhere. He played a good game against a tough New England team, which might get him back on track for the rest of the season. Javon Walker is showing he is healthy and could have a big year.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A-minus -- The Broncos, not surprisingly, are running the ball well. Tatum Bell has taken over as the featured back after rotating with Mike Bell the first two weeks. The only reason the grade isn't a solid A is they only have one rushing touchdown in three games. That should improve steadily as the season goes on.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- The Broncos simplified their defense, bringing fewer blitzes and more four-man rushes. The results have been the same, if not better than last year. The defensive line is getting decent pressure, which means the coverage is better. The Broncos haven't allowed many big plays. Champ Bailey is playing very good football. Opposing teams aren't throwing his way much, out of respect.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-plus -- The Broncos allowed some tough yards to Steven Jackson and Larry Johnson, then pounded New England's running game in a convincing win. The linebackers are flying around and making plays. Defensive tackle Gerard Warren has more freedom to make plays this year and has responded by playing very well the first three weeks.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F -- Statistically, Denver has perhaps the worst special teams in the league so far this season. Their return game has been terrible. Punter Paul Ernster has been a nice surprise filling in for Todd Sauerbrun, but the coverage teams haven't been great. The one reliable asset Denver has on special teams is Jason Elam, who is having another solid season.

COACHING: B-plus -- Denver looked flat for some reason against St. Louis, and then was conservative in a tight win over Kansas City. But the coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for getting a tough win at New England. That gives the Broncos momentum for the rest of their season. The first game after the bye is a tough test, however, with a home game against Baltimore.



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