If week 1 taught us anything about the Denver Broncos, it’s that the quarterback competition was far from the only issue with this team.
Heading into the fourth quarter against the L.A. Chargers on Sunday, The Denver Broncos seemed all but certain to win. They had taken a commanding 24-7 lead and were rolling offensively from the jump.
Then, the wheels fell off and turnovers started mounting. Phillip Rivers, promptly remembered how to play quarterback and capitalized on back-to-back turnovers with back-to-back touchdowns.
The Broncos did eventually end up winning the game, albeit in the most dramatic possible fashion. The game illuminated a wide spectrum of problems, but these are the biggest ones.
The O-Line is troublingly inconsistent
When Denver signed Menelik Watson in the offseason, they did so with the intention of beefing up a shallow offensive line. In retrospect however, the move was comparable to throwing whiskey at a fire to put it out. Watson was atrocious against LA and looked almost unplayable at times. His pass protection was shabby at best which led to Trevor Siemian routinely facing big pressure.
The troubling part of this is that Watson didn’t look good at all in the preseason. The next guy up is Donald Stephenson but as it’s been stated time and time again, you never really know what you’re getting from him. Sometimes he can more than hold his own and sometimes he looks completely out of it on the field.
Denver media spent quite a bit of time this past offseason severely blowing over the quarterback competition, but that’s not nearly as big a problem as the guys tasked with protecting the quarterback.
Running back durability
Nothing really happened at a micro level looking at this game, but at a macro level, the RB situation is nerve-racking. The combined injury history of the two best backs on this team (Charles and Anderson) should scare the hell out of Broncos fans.
Before this season, Charles hadn’t played since 2014 and CJ Anderson has always battled injuries. Yes, they aren’t the only two RBs on the depth chart and DeAngelo Henderson looked really good in preseason. However, Henderson is still an undersized rookie and DeVontae Booker is still out.
The running game against the Chargers was really good but the longevity of that unit is at least a tad worrisome.
Where’s Emmanuel Sanders?
Outside of one incredible first down, Emmanuel Sanders wasn’t really to be seen on Monday night. He had 3 catches for 26 yards but ultimately didn’t look like himself. Maybe this is a one-off and it just wasn’t there between him and Trevor, but it is important that Trevor gets Sanders involved.
Emmanuel can just do things that other receivers can’t. He’s proven to be one of the most durable receivers in the league and he also can be incredibly explosive with the ball in his hands. Having another weapon like him to pair with Demaryius Thomas can unleash a lot of things for this offense but it doesn’t mean much if Siemian doesn’t capitalize.