No one's deep-throating any shotguns following the Broncos' 30-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens yesterday. The Broncos had been lucky to be 6-0 -- hell, they were fortunate to be 1-0 -- and they were more than due for a reality check. But the way the game developed raises worries for the future. Specifically, the offense was so focused on not committing any more mistakes after Knowshon Moreno's early fumble that it never made anything happen -- or at least not nearly enough. As a result, the Broncos' much-improved defense was on the field for far too long, and it eventually it wore down.
The scenario raises chicken-and-egg kinds of questions. Is coach Josh McDaniels offense simply too rudimentary to break through against an elite defense like Baltimore's? And could quarterback Kyle Orton do more if given the chance? Or is the scheme so simple because McDaniels knows Orton doesn't have the skill level to handle anything more challenging, thereby dooming Denver whenever an opponent builds up a sizable lead? We won't have to wait long for more evidence. Next Monday, the Broncos take on the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team very much like the Ravens, only more so -- better offense, more consistent defense. So... will McDaniels open the playbook wider, giving Orton the chance to either win the game or lose it faster? Or will he stick with the basics and hope the defense can hold up even if the Steelers hold the ball two-thirds of the time or more?
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