Nick Athan (Warpaint Illustrated) - Some are speculating around the league the offensive system in Denver doesn't fit Quarterback, Peyton Manning. Through the pre-season and one game into the regular season, he's not been his old self. Is the new offense that Gary Kubiak has installed a matter of trying to fit a round peg in a square hole?
Ched Jensen (Mile High Huddle) - I wouldn't go that far, although there have definitely been some growing pains. The biggest issue for Manning in Week 1 was his offensive line. They gave up a whopping 4 sacks—an unheard of number in the Manning/Denver era. It's a unit that features two brand new starters and an accomplished veteran in Evan Mathis, who's only been with the team for a few weeks. In time, they'll gel and when they do, Manning's performance will solidify.
Manning described the offense as "a work in progress" after the Ravens game. He was a little salty. Broncos fans booed the team in the third quarter and it obviously didn't sit right with Peyton. Timing with his receivers has been an issue for Manning, within the new offense. If he's still struggling in October, sound the alarm. For now, there's nothing to see here.
Nick Athan (Warpaint Illustrated) - I argue the Denver Broncos have the best defense in the NFL. What has been the guiding force to their resurgence as a top shelf unit?
Chad Jensen (Mile High Huddle) - Wade Phillips. The Broncos had a top-5 defense last year. But it didn't FEEL that way. Very rarely did they make a play that was the deciding factor in the game. That's on Jack Del Rio. He was a good coordinator but he put too much cerebral pressure on his unit and it slowed them down.
Under Phillips, the scheme has been boiled down to a point where the players know what they're doing and they can just get out on the field and react. And to steal from you, Phillips doesn't approach the juxtaposition of personnel and scheme by fitting a round peg in a square hole. He finds out what a player does well and schemes around it.
The Broncos are so talented on defense and their depth will surprise a lot of people this year. Switching to the 3-4, Phillips' forte, was a good move from a personnel standpoint. Getting Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan on the field together is genius.
Nick Athan (Warpaint Illustrated) - Over the last two years, John Elway has been very active in free agency. Though the team didn't punch the Super Bowl ticket last year, he appears to be entering the final window with Manning at the helm of the franchise in order to bring another Super Bowl to the fans. If they fail in that quest this year, does Elway take a different approach in 2016?
Chad Jensen (Mile High Huddle) - It's hard to say. I think that depends on how their season ends. If it ends with a whimper, like last year, with a hobbled and ineffectual Peyton, then yes, I think the Brock Osweiler era officially begins in 2016. If Manning plays well within the new system and the Broncos go deep into the playoffs, I see him coming back and playing out the fifth and final year of his Broncos deal. If he's healthy.
Elway was actually rather subdued in free agency this year. His biggest signing was Darian Stewart, who many pundits considered to be a third tier FA. He sealed the victory last week with an interception in the endozne. Elway's savvy has been in free agency and although he's no chump in the draft, he needs to be able to prove that he understands how to evaluate and pick offensive linemen. That's why Ty Sambrailo's rookie season is so crucial for the Broncos.
Nick Athan (Warpaint Illustrated) - Who wins Thursday Night and what's the final score!
Chad Jensen (Mile High Huddle) - Broncos 24 Chiefs 13