RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus -- Michael Pittman has been a bright spot after Selvin Young failed to take hold of the every-down role. Pittman has run hard and has been very good in short-yardage situations. One problem with the running game has been a lack of big plays. The Broncos have had only two runs of 20 yards or more.
PASS DEFENSE: F -- The pass defense could be in a lot of trouble for the next month or so without Champ Bailey, who has a groin injury. With Bailey playing for most of the first seven games, the Broncos allowed just less than 73 percent completions and had only two interceptions. Opponents have a 109.1 passer rating.
RUSH DEFENSE: D -- The Broncos have struggled to stop the run as well as the pass. Opponents are averaging 5.4 yards per attempt on the ground. The team has tried running 4-3 alignments, 3-4 looks, but none of the tweaks has been a magical solution. The worst might have been at New England before the bye, where Patriots RB Sammy Morris had a career-high 138 yards by halftime.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- The special teams have been quite good thanks to good first halves by K Matt Prater and P Brett Kern. Prater had only four previous NFL field-goal attempts and Kern is a rookie, so their steady play has been a fine surprise. The return game hasn't broken any big plays, but the Broncos have been decent in coverage.
COACHING: C -- Despite all their problems, the Broncos have a 1 1/2-game lead in the AFC West over San Diego, which also has issues. Denver surprised teams with a spread passing attack in the first few games, but injuries have been a hindrance. The defense has struggled all season, and the Broncos need to figure out a solution.
Broncos Update Community Forums