Broncos Report Card - Week Three

They may be undefeated, but Denver has miles to go before they can be considered a legitimate contender.

OFFENSE:
After a near benching in game one against St. Louis, Brian Griese has taken control, spreading the wealth among a talented group of receivers. Against Buffalo, Griese connected with eight different players, for a total 211-yards.

Rod Smith, Griese's go to guy, finished with 7 catches for 94-yards and one touchdown. He was instrumental in Denver's final drive, not only by catching the 26-yard touchdown strike but also by keeping the drive alive with a key fourth down catch on the Bills 37-yard line. At this stage, Smith is certainly one of the top three receivers in the league.

The major complaint against the offense has been its habit of playing "just good enough" to win. Through the first three games of the season they have yet to show play up to their potential, and at times look somewhat disoriented. Despite being undefeated the fact that they have been fairly slow out of the gate brings their grade down to a C.

DEFENSE:
Facing Drew Bledsoe, the league's number one rated quarterback, was no easy task, but the Broncos "D" answered the call, holding the high powered Bledsoe air-attack to 283-yards on 27 of 41 passes. While that figure may be considered high, the fact that they yielded only two touchdown passes to one of the NFL's top offense's is quite an accomplishment.

The Bills lone rushing score, a second quarter Travis Henry 1-yard touchdown run, was perhaps the only snag in an otherwise exceptional defensive package. Denver virtually shut down the running game of its first three opponents, and Buffalo was no exception, gaining a mere 39-yards for the afternoon. Combined with St. Louis (32-yards) and San Francisco (71-yards), the Broncos have yielded a grand total of 142-yards on the ground.

The biggest complaint to date is the amount of penalties accumulated on a regular basis. Currently Denver ranks dead last in the NFL for penalty-yards, giving up a total 240-yards on 26 penalties. This lack of discipline alone drops the Broncos defensive grade to a B-.

SPECIAL TEAMS:
Denver's poor special teams' performance last Sunday reiterates the face that they made a HUGE mistake in releasing long snapper David Diaz-Infante on the final day of cutdowns. With Matt Lepsis sidelined due to a hamstring injury they have absolutely no depth at the position, and the end result nearly cost the Broncos the game. Final grade C-.

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