3-0, but plenty of room for improvement

The Denver Broncos aren't fooling themselves. They know there's work to be done, some things offensively and especially defensively need to be cleaned up, but it's a lot easier to handle sitting on a 3-0 record.

Denver beat division rivals San Diego and Oakland to start the season, then topped the Saints in a 34-32 thriller on Sunday. The defense gave up more than 30 points for the second straight week and 502 yards to the Saints, but there was some relief it didn't cost them a game before they head to Kansas City this week.

"We're going to keep on working on the things we do poorly," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "It's nice, though, to be able to give up 32 points and still win the football game."

The Broncos gave up 38 points against the Chargers in Week 2. Denver's defense has been susceptible to big plays. They began this season playing a safety in the box on many plays in an effort to be better against the run, which has opened up other holes in the defense.

"Sometimes you give up one thing to be stronger at another," linebacker Boss Bailey said. "You got to try to have that balance and that's what we're doing right now is have that balance so we could stop it all."

In the last two weeks against Denver, Philip Rivers had 377 yards passing and then Drew Brees put up 421. The Chiefs might not have the offense to exploit Denver's secondary, but it could be a concern in the long term.

Denver's offense has been carrying the team, and it played well against New Orleans. However, there were some miscues, such as a Jay Cutler interception in the first half that allowed the Saints back in the game, and a fumble by Tony Scheffler in the fourth quarter that was almost devastating.

The Broncos will take the results, though. After going to Kansas City this week, the Broncos have home games against Jacksonville and Tampa Bay before going to New England. As long as the mistakes don't cost Denver too much, it could have one of the top records in the AFC going into the bye week.

But to get to that point, the Broncos know they can't continue to give up so many yards and points and hope to pull out close games.

"We're living on the edge," Cutler said.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "A little luck doesn't hurt us." -- CB Champ Bailey.

LINEUP WATCH: The Broncos didn't ditch their high-powered pass offense or their running back committee, but Selvin Young got a bigger workload against New Orleans. He had a season-high 11 carries for 65 yards, but was still splitting time with Andre Hall and Michael Pittman. But Hall and Pittman had 11 combined carries against New Orleans. Young has a good yards-per-carry average and could get a few more carries than Hall or Pittman. Still, Young's production will be limited because Pittman is getting the goal-line carries. Pittman scored a short touchdown for the third straight game against New Orleans.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--LB Jamie Winborn played some against New Orleans as Denver used a 3-4 defensive alignment for the first time this season. Previously, Winborn had played well when filling in because of injuries.

--DE Jarvis Moss was active against New Orleans. He had one tackle. Whether he is active from week to week could depend on whether the opponent is a passing team.

--DE Tim Crowder didn't play against the Saints. The 2007 second-round pick hasn't made the progress the team hoped for in his second year.

--WR Darrell Jackson didn't play against the Saints. He has a calf injury. He was replaced by Cliff Russell, who was signed this week.

--WR Brandon Marshall had another big game, with six catches for 155 yards. He isn't seeing a whole lot of double coverage because the Broncos are spreading the field and have other weapons.



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