Ed Thompson: We know the Broncos have only allowed two touchdowns
all year, but if you had to point to a weakness in that defense, who would you
go after if you were the Colts?
Michael John Schon: I can't really point out any weaknesses; I would just try to play to my strengths. You have to avoid the obvious and stay away from Champ Bailey. Darrent Williams can hurt you, but not on the level of Bailey. I would also try and utilize a strong rushing attack, and chew as much time off the clock as possible. Time management will play out huge in this one.
ET: With Tatum Bell averaging 4.7 yards per carry so far this year,
why is the Denver offense struggling to put points on the board?
MJS: Stats can be a little deceiving - the 4.7 yards per carry is good enough to land him at third best in the league, but he drops to twenty-fifth when it comes to scoring touchdowns. Believe it or not, as sorry as the Broncos offense has played lately, they're still the fourth-best rushing team in the NFL -- yet they rank second to last in total points scored - figure that one out. It boils down to the simple fact that Plummer and Co. have not been able finish the dance, and against a team as explosive as the Colts, that could spell disaster.
ET: It doesn't look like the Denver tight ends catch many passes. Is
that by necessity for blocking, the talent level, or is it just the preferred
MJS: Probably a little of all three. Offensive struggles have mandated a drop-back approach for the tight ends, protecting Plummer and assisting on the run block. On the receiving end, rookie Tony Scheffler (pictured, right) has been inconsistent at best and Stephan Alexander has accounted for a total five catches all year. With offensive left tackle Matt Lepsis out, I doubt either one will get much a chance to improve those stats.
ET: The Colts have allowed a few big returns this season. How's
Denver's returns game faring so far this season?
MJS: Definitely an area of concern - Shanahan tapped the well again and brought in Quincy Morgan, but there's been little, if any, improvement. Last week Morgan lit it up for a whopping 12-yards against his former Browns team. To answer your question - something slightly above abysmal - twenty-fourth in the league in kickoff returns with a 7.0-yard average.
ET: What's the mood amongst the fans and the media in Denver? Do
they believe Denver's defense will hold off the Colts this time?
MJS: This is the best defense that the Broncos have brought in against the Colts in more than a decade. On the flip side, that defense can only truly be measured by playing an offense as explosive as the Colts. As the saying goes: You can't be the best, till you've beat the best. Sunday the Broncos will find out who's really the best.
Michael John Schon has covered the National Football League and the Denver Broncos for the past ten years. As a member of the Pro Football Writers Association he has published and syndicated columns to both newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and Canada. His syndicated radio broadcast: "Schon Live" airs weekly on various radio stations around the country. Schon can be reached at Schon@prostarmediagroup.net