Friday, June 8, 2012

San Diego Chargers: A Devil's Advocate View on the Division Opponents - Bleacher Report

Peyton Manning looking to get another ring to add to his already HOF career.
Peyton Manning looking to get another ring to add to his already HOF career.
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Let's be honest here, the Denver Broncos are the toast of the town.  They have been the toast of the town since highly-recruited free agent, and future HOFer, Peyton Manning signed with the team. 

Fast-forward to the present, Manning made a mistake, in my opinion, regarding coming into the AFC West.  Besides the point, the Broncos do not resemble anything of the team that took the AFC West crown last season.  Here are my takes on things they did wrong and concerns they should have moving forward.

1.  Peyton Manning, as a QB, is 1-5 against Norv Turner as Chargers' head coach.  Manning is also 1-6 against Philip Rivers, QB of the San Diego Chargers.  Playing against Romeo Crennel's defense when Crennel is either a HC or DC, Manning is 3-6 against Crennel's defense. 

The reason why I'm bringing this up is the fact that both coaches that Manning struggles against are HC's in the AFC West.  The AFC West is not going to be a walk in the park like these NFL analyst make it out to be.

2.  With the addition of Peyton Manning and the loss of Tim Tebow, one has to ask, where will the running game be?  Sure Manning can put up points.  The question is whether or not they can close out games with a lead.  Having a running game will be an important part of winning games. 

With the loss of Tim Tebow and the run base spread-option offense that they employed last season, the Broncos are bringing back the same players that put out a 22nd ranked rushing attack performance last season when the team was 1-4.  The Broncos did not do anything to add to the rushing attack and I believe they will be average at best or possibly in the 20s in terms of rankings for the running game.

3.  Everyone is expecting big things from Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas.  My only issue is, no one can know for sure how well they will perform as none of them have done anything significant in terms of a conventional offense in the NFL. 

Demaryius Thomas had a good season last year.  The problem I have is that he faced single coverage all season with nearly every defense keying in on the run game with Tim Tebow at the helm.  We all know Thomas can beat single coverage but that will not be the case, even with Manning at QB, as most defenses will now cater towards defending the pass putting more than one person on him. 

The question is, can he be that guy that Manning can rely on to beat double coverage, much like what Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison was to Manning in Indy?

4.  The Broncos are returning a very promising group of defenders next season.  My only issue is, the Broncos' pass defense will continue to improve, but their run defense is still a liability.  Despite drafting a DT in the second round of the draft, Derek Wolfe is still not a strong run defender as he is a promising pass rushing interior defensive lineman. 

The X-factor is the defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio, who had a great run defense as a HC for the Jaguars and as a DC for the Panthers in 2002.  The problem is, the Broncos front seven does not look anything like the front seven that Del Rio had in any of his previous teams. 

The Broncos front seven are undersized against the run and it hurt them last season.  It will be interesting to see whether or not Del Rio can scheme his way to stopping the run because as of right now, he will not be able to stop anything other than hope for turnovers. 

You have to remember that for the Broncos' run defense, they will be facing a healthy dose of some of the top young RBs in the league with Ryan Mathews, Jamaal Chargers/Peyton Hillis, and Darren McFadden.

In conclusion, the Broncos look nothing more than the Indianapolis Colts of the AFC West.  It is not really a bad thing.  Problem for them is what I mentioned above in my first point, Manning historically struggles against Norv Turner as the HC of the Chargers and Romeo Crennel's defense. 

The only way I see the Broncos winning the division is if the Chargers, Chiefs, and Raiders all go 8-8 with the Broncos going 11-5, losing games against the division opponents.  Seeing how strong each team got, I believe an 8-8 season is not going to happen to the Chargers or the Chiefs as of right now.

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