Behind Enemy Lines, Part I

Our Scout.com experts, Michael Schon John of Broncos Update and Matthew Postins of BucsBlitz.com, go Behind Enemy Lines to take a closer look at Sunday's Week 3 matchup between the Saints and Broncos at Invesco Field. Let's begin this three-part series with five questions from Matthew to Michael.

Matthew Postins: Let's start with QB Jay Cutler. After he revealed his bout with diabetes, I think some people might have cut him some slack for last year's lack of development. But talk about the first two games of this season and answer these two questions: Do you think his diabetes had a significant impact on his play last year and what other progressions have you seen in his game this season?

Michael John Schon : Diabetes definitely played a role last year, and unknowingly we all chalked it up to second-year growing pains, which were also quite evident. Once the news broke it began to make sense, and the question then turned to how well he would be able to handle it this season. So far he's handled it great, and two weeks in he's leading the league in total passing yards and pulling down a 325 yards per game average. He's got the swagger, he's got the confidence and he's got the arm — and despite having the worst haircut in the league, the Broncos are expecting a breakout year.

Matthew Postins: Everyone is making a big deal out of the blown call, obviously. But there's just as big a deal being made about that 2-point conversion call by head coach Mike Shanahan. That's a gutsy call to make that early in the season. What do you think prompted that? Is the offensive explosion making him more confident?

Michael John Schon : In the post-game press conference he claimed it was a gut feeling — in reality it was probably a matter of not having any confidence in his defense that made the call a whole lot easier. At that stage of the game Phillip Rivers was pretty much blowing up the Broncos secondary and there were no signs he was about to slow down any time soon. Shanahan's got a world of confidence in his offense; I think it was the idea of a coin flip he did't like.

Matthew Postins: Brandon Marshall caught 18 freakin' passes last week? Geez. That could be bad news for a Saints secondary that's just plain decimated by injuries right now. Was this just an anomaly, seeing how it was Marshall's first game this season, or do you sense a trend between Cutler and Marshall where this could be a career year for the two?

Michael John Schon : Marshall is definitely Cutler's go-to-guy and coming off his one game suspension, the game plan was to get him involved early and often, although 18 catches caught everyone by surprise. I expect a little more balanced attack against the Saints, with Eddie Royal, Tony Scheffler and Brandon Stokley sharing the load. Then again, maybe he'll be gunning for 20 this week — who knows. Nothing surprises me anymore.

Matthew Postins: Do the Broncos play defense? I mean, at all? They're ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in all of the major categories. The Broncos have been trying to re-make their defense for years. Is there a chance this group is underachieving, or will this be a season-long trend?

Michael John Schon : The Broncos play defense about as well as my teenage daughter cleans her room, and to be honest I cantt remember the last time either one of them did a decent job. Look for Coordinator Bob Slowik to be this year's scapegoat until he finds a way to stop gift-wrapping career-like numbers for whoever happens to visit. I'd like to think they're a work in progress, but then again, I haven't seen any progress. Excuses aside, the Broncos are not a very good defensive team.

Matthew Postins: Which defender will have the bigger impact on Sunday's game: Elvis Dumervil or Champ Bailey?

Michael John Schon : I'll roll with Champ on this one simply because I think Reggie Bush is going to rip it up and it'll be up to Bailey to chase him down once he breaks the secondary. Last week the Broncos "D" gave up 317 all-purpose yards to Chargers backup Darren Sproles (who?). If you're a Reggie Bush fan, you may want to set your TiVo.


Matthew Postins is the editor and publisher of Saintsinsider.com

Michael John Schon is the editor and publisher of Broncosupdate.com


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