Michael Schon: I'm not really sure there's enough space in this column to go over all the reasons the Broncos defense stinks (how many times have I actually said that this season?). Everybody's got an opinion — is it the wrong defense for the personnel or the wrong personnel for this particular defense? Either way it's a clusterbust and right now it's scramble time to try and figure it out. Denver simply does not have the correct players for the type of defense they need to employ. Look at it this way, as my buddy Jim Armstrong pointed out, the NFL's winningest team in the past decade is favored by only three points over a team that won a grand total of one game in 2007. Figure that one out …
Q: Just how bad is the defense going to get now that Champ Bailey is out for a month?
MS: Can it really get any worse? Wait a minute, I take that back. In reality, Bailey was about the only saving grace and his absence will definitely be felt. Dre Bly is struggling and will obviously be a target come Sunday. The constant shift from a 3-4 set to a 4-3 set has everyone confused, lame zone coverage is giving up a mile of real estate and nobody seems to have a handle on how to actually tackle anyone. Only two teams in the NFL, Kansas City and Detroit, with a combined record of 1-13, have worse defensive statistics than Denver. I think I'm getting a migraine.
Q: Is there any pass rusher on this team the Dolphins should worry about?
MS: A year ago I would have said Elvis Dumervil, but depending on which alignment the Broncos bust out with, he may not even start …so what do I know? Maybe it's Jamie Wilborn, maybe it's John Engelberger, or maybe it's the water boy — I guess it all depends on your version of worry.
Q: Who is the one player the Dolphins need to be aware of on defense now that Bailey is out?
MS: I've got a hunch that MLB Nate Webster is gonna have an impact. He'll be covering the absence on the left side of Boss Bailey as well as be taking on the heat across the middle. Chances are he'll make SportsCenter, if only for the fact that Denver's the hot topic right now as far as disappointing division leaders.
Q: How surprised are the folks in Denver at the job done by former Dolphins training camp placekicker Matt Prater?
MS: Matt Prater came in under the same mountain of pressure Brian Griese and Jake Plummer had to deal with — replacing a team legend. Pretty much every sports personality in town was ready to crucify the guy simply because he wasn't Jason Elam. Then the guy started to nail it — from 50+ out and suddenly he's the toast of the town. Thirteen of fourteen through the first seven games including four of four past midfield — I swear the guy will have his own car dealership before the season's up at this rate.