One off season removed from Josh McDaniels, an NFL lockout, and what was one of the worst seasons in recent memories finds this year’s team in what appears to be a similar situation. The Broncos have shown some signs of improvement early in the season, but have also shown that they are very much a team struggling to find their identity.
Through the first 3 weeks of the season the defense appears to have taken on a much more physical nature than last year’s defense, which consisted of politely asking the opposing offense to “take it easy on us.” Denver’s first round draft pick Von Miller has played very well in his 3 starts and has shown that unlike most of the draft picks during McDaniel’s tenure, he should be a quality starter for many years to come. With arguably one of the most talented line backing cores since the Al Wilson era, a patchwork D-Line that through three games is holding their ground, the secondary is where the main concerns lie for the Broncos. A couple of good draft picks at the safety position have helped, but the injury to Champ Bailey has led to the Denver Broncos starting cornerbacks, that would struggle to even make the roster of some other NFL teams. All in all the defense is what has kept the team in games this year, but they aren’t good enough to shoulder the load all year.
The offense however is an entirely different story and for a large contingent of Bronco fans it’s a story they wish would have a main character change. For leading this story is a character of little significance, a main character who does little more than exist. The face of the Broncos offense is of course Kyle Orton, a 4th round draft choice, a Chicago Bears throw away, a minor piece of an offseason trade, and the greatest obstacle that Tim Tebow has ever had to overcome. As a result the Denver Broncos offense has taken on the personality of its leader. The Denver Broncos offense merely exists. They are neither good nor terrible, nothing much to talk about, and not very exciting to watch. In fact, if it weren’t for the backup quarterback on the Denver Broncos roster there would probably be little mention of their offense at all. When the front office pleaded with its season ticket holders to forgive the team for a terrible season and promised them better things to come, Kyle Orton was not part of the strategy. There were no flyers covered in Kyle Orton’s face promoting, “The 2011 Denver Broncos, we’re taking mediocrity to the extreme.” Rather the team promoted Tim Tebow whose ability as an NFL quarterback remains to be seen, but is undeniably exciting to watch and for that very reason he led the NFL in jersey sales before ever having played a game.
Three weeks into the 2011 NFL season the Broncos find themselves with a 1-2 record. A record that could just as easily be 0-3 or 3-0 as all three of their games have been decided by 3 points or less. It will take more than a slightly improved defense and a mediocre offense to keep this Sunday’s game with the defending super bowl champion Green Bay Packers within a 3 point margin. In fact the odds makers have Green Bay favored by nearly 2 touchdowns for this weekend’s matchup. The beauty of the NFL is that it is anybody’s game this weekend and all Bronco’s fans really want is a win. No matter the results though, Kyle Orton stands no chance of growing large enough in popularity to completely escape the shadow of his backup. Oddly enough if Kyle Orton were to play his best game ever and lead the Denver Broncos to a win over the Packers, the best that he could hope for is what he really desires, an escape of the spotlight. Only in greatness will Kyle Orton even have a chance to continue to be average. Kyle Orton will not be on the Denver Bronco’s roster in 2012 and unless he can lead this team to victory in the 2 difficult games ahead, the fans will get to see whether the replacement of the main character is just that or a different story all together.