The Kansas City Chiefs go inside the enemy camp this Sunday when they travel to Denver to take on the Broncos.
Earlier this week, Arrowhead Addict went inside the enemy camp to get a better idea of what the Chiefs are up against when they take on the Broncos. Kim Constantinesco, Fansided’s Broncos blogger was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. Check out her Broncos site Predominantly Orange.
AA: The Broncos are 3rd in the NFL in passing yards per-game but dead last in rushing yards. What has been holding the Broncos back on the ground this season?
PO: At first the injury bug caught the ground game off guard. The preseason and the first few games of the regular season saw a rotating offensive line and backfield. Pro Bowl left tackle Ryan Clady didn’t practice with the team during training camp because of an off season knee injury. Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter also missed most of camp and a couple of regular season games with injuries. Factor that in with three rookies on an offensive line that is constantly rotating, and the rushing attack hasn’t had time to gel as a unit. The blocking has been subpar and the team has backs that dance around in the backfield instead following their blockers and of shooting the open gaps. With the kind of performance that Kyle Orton has had this year, one would think that his throwing capability would force teams to play the pass, enabling the Broncos’ ground game to explode for a big run here and there. That hasn’t happened yet and that’s the frustrating part.
AA: A lot of people made fun of the Broncos when they brought in Kyle Orton to be their QB but he appears to be playing at a very high level this season. Since you watch him every game, tell us, is he merely a product of the system or do you think he could be a longer term answer for the Broncos?
PO: Kyle Orton is a very good quarterback. In his second year as a Bronco, he’s had time to learn Coach McDaniels’ very complex offense, he’s become more familiar with his receivers, and he worked hard in the off season to get stronger. One of the only problems the Broncos don’t have right now is at quarterback. Whether or not he’s the long term answer remains to be seen. I think once the Broncos get their act together on the ground, it will be easier to evaluate Orton’s potential for long term success. Imagine what his play action would be like with a running game? Prior to his year and a half in Denver, Orton was a QB you could thrown in to win a game. He wouldn’t have Peyton Manning-like numbers, but he wouldn’t turn the ball over either. That’s what McDaniels saw in him and I guess that’s the type of player that fits the system. However, when the system breaks down, Orton is mobile out of the pocket and can find the receivers downfield or pick up a new set of downs himself.
AA: Now a year and a hald into the Josh McDaniels era, what are your thoughts on your head coach? Do you feel the team is heading in the right direction and is simply going through the growing pains of a culture change or are they being lead by the wrong guy? Which way is the arrow pointing?
PO: Life was bright and sunny during the beginning of last season. Even a torrential downpour couldn’t rain on Denver’s 6-0 parade. That was the problem right there. The Broncos started celebrating too early and then finished 2-8 after that. Going 4-14 since the undefeated start to last season has fans calling for McDaniels’ head on a platter. The firing of Mike Shanahan was supposed to be overshadowed by an improved playoff-bound Broncos team. It didn’t happen last year and it looks like it’s not happening this year either. Many talented players were asked to pack their bags during two “cleansing” off seasons. Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Tony Scheffler, and Peyton Hillis moved on, and McDaniels and crew haven’t really brought anyone on board that can help the team out. There have been so many transactions that the Broncos haven’t been able to gel as a team. Even compared to last season, personnel (player and coaching staff) has changed significantly. Thus, no one really knows the identity of the team. One thing is for sure: no identity equals no winning culture. I’m a fan of the three strikes and you’re out rule. Give McDaniels three seasons and off seasons to steer the ship into the playoffs. If mediocre continues to be his mode of operation, then he can be the one to pack his bags after one more season.
AA: Who are some young Bronco players that may not be all that well known yet that the Chiefs should watch out for Sunday?
PO: Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is a fun guy to watch. Many people forget that he was the Broncos’ first draft pick in April. He’s got Brandon Marshall-like size and can run after the catch. He’s currently the Broncos 4th leading receiver. Corner Perrish Cox is another rookie that’s stepped up this year. He’s had to play opposite Champ Bailey quite a bit because Andre Goodman was dealing with a thigh injury. As you can imagine he’s been tested a lot this year because nobody want to through in Bailey’s direction, and he’s got ten pass deflections on the year. Both of these rookies also step up to handle kick returns.
AA: If Denever continues to lose, do you think we see Tim Tebow starting at QB by the end of the season?
PO: I don’t believe that Tebow will ever start at QB this season. He will definitely see some action should the Broncos continue to lose, however. Josh McDaniels has stuck by his belief that Kyle Orton is the Broncos QB, and if he begins to start Tebow, the media and fans will make such a big deal of it and assume that Orton’s days are done. McDaniels doesn’t want to people to think that he’s lost confidence in Orton.
AA: Finally, what is your prediction for Sunday’s game?
PO: Broncos 24 Chiefs 21