The Indianapolis Colts (0-1) will travel to Denver to face the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos (1-0) this Sunday for a 4:25 p.m. ET matchup, and it will pit Andrew Luck and Indy’s dangerous offense against Von Miller and Denver’s vaunted defense.
In order to understand more about the Broncos this year, we talked with Mile High Report’s sadaraine to learn more. Our questions are in bold, and then sadaraine’s answers follow - and of course, a big thanks to sadaraine for taking the time to answer our questions!
1. What's the deal at the quarterback situation for the Broncos? Trevor Siemian is the guy for now... but for how long? And what has been your impression of him early on?
The Broncos are in that "searching for an answer" phase that hasn't been an issue for them for 4 years. Trevor Siemian is a guy that (from what I've heard) Kubiak had a hand in scouting and really liked. Lynch is the guy that Elway went after this year.
What we are seeing in 2016 is two young guys trying to make it in the NFL. Siemian has a year's experience over Lynch and from everything we've seen has a much better handle on the offense.
Many of us think Lynch is the future for this offense and that he will be taking over somewhere down the line. How long until that happens is the question. With a great run game, a much improved offensive line, and a receiving corps that is as talented as any in the NFL, the offense doesn't need a super star QB, just a guy who can make decent reads, throw fairly accurately, and not turn the ball over. That last thing is the key...if Siemian continues turning the ball over, a change will be made later this season. We won in spite of the turnovers in week 1, but this is the NFL. You can't do that every week.
Siemian is a cool customer under center. He's just unflappable which is not something you see often in such a young QB. He has a good arm and can definitely hit all the throws you want to see an NFL QB make. Like many young QBs, he needs to get quicker on his decision making, but other than that, I've been pleased with his showing on the field so far.
2. Denver's defense is obviously still really good, but they lost some guys this offseason. What changes have there been to the Broncos defense, and are they for better or for worse?
The biggest loss to the defense was Malik Jackson at RDE. He was as good against the run as he was a pass rusher and a very disruptive force for us in 2015. He's replaced this year by Jared Crick who isn't as good against the run and a rotating rookie in Adam Gotsis who honestly needs seasoning (don't most 2nd round and later defensive linemen in their rookie year?).
The other noticeable loss was Danny Trevathan at ILB who so far hasn't been missed one bit. Todd Davis was waiting in the wings and has for a couple of years impressed me with his play off the bench. In week 1 he did and outstanding job and was the defensive player of the game for the Broncos in many of our eyes.
The only worry I've seen is that Carolina had more running success in week 1 than they had in the Super Bowl. Everything else looked like the dominant defense I've been seeing that earned us a Super Bowl championship. The good thing that has me not worrying much about the drop off in run defense is that Wade Phillips is great at making adjustments to his scheme and should be able to shore up that area sooner rather than later.
3. How is the injury/health situation looking for Denver?
The big worry this week is Demaryius Thomas. He's got a hip injury that is bothering him quite a bit and I've seen a lot of mixed signals as to his quality of health as far as playing on Sunday goes.
We also have a WR in Bennie Fowler with an elbow injury that is not practicing. He's a depth WR who is very good, but not a key part of the offense.
The last injury worth noting is Jeff Heuerman who is a young TE that the coaches really want on the field in this offense. He's been a big injury concern so far in his short NFL career.
4. What are the keys to the game for the Broncos on Sunday?
1 - Great coverage. Moreso than pass rush against Luck, I want our secondary to be in the hip pocket of every receiving option out there. Our pass rush will get home more often or not if we can just cover well for 3 seconds.
2 - Minimal turnovers on offense. This will be a key for every game the Denver Broncos play this year. Our team is built to win consistently in the long-term by out executing the other team play after play. If we can avoid big mistakes, the points will come naturally.
3 - The offensive line must keep winning in the trenches. This offense must have success up front to get rolling which happened in week 1 consistently. The run game helps set up the pass game which helps set up more of the run game. It all starts up front.
5. If you were the offensive and defensive coordinator for the Colts, how would you attack the Broncos on Sunday?
First off, attack the right side of the defense in the b and c gaps in the run game. Our personnel has yet to show they can win consistently there and you can cause a lot of havok if you get the run game working on offense.
Defensively you need to take away the quick-timing routes that the WCO loves to use. A lot of Siemian's game is predicated off of them so far and he has yet to prove anything about being able to throw the deep ball. I think your defense could cause a lot of trouble by squatting on the short stuff and being opportunistic.