December 22, 2014

Tailgate Talk: Broncos

Here’s what we’re talking about heading into Sunday’s game against the Broncos:

-Who’s starting at quarterback? If it were me, I’d give Gradkowski the start. A rookie quarterback who has missed some practice time and it isn’t quite 100-percent doesn’t seem like a good option. Plus, Gradkowski should be somewhat familiar with the Broncos having played in Oakland.

-Who’s playing for Denver? Many of their best players missed practice Wednesday. If Champ Bailey, Elvis Dumervil, Brandon Lloyd, or Knowshon Moreno miss Sunday’s game, it will give the Bengals a boost.

-Can the running game duplicate the Raiders’ success? Darren McFadden ran for about 150 yards against Denver. It would be nice to see the Bengals put up a number like that as well.

-Will A.J. Green be a factor? Green wasn’t really a factor in Cleveland until the Browns got caught napping and the rookie raced into the endzone. It’d be nice to see him be more of a factor in Week 2.

-Can the defense stay hot? All in all, the Bengals D played rather well in Cleveland. Can Carlos Dunlap and company continue their upward trend? Kelly Jennings is also healthy and will play as the nickel corner, giving the Bengals a very solid trio of defensive backs.

-Will Bernard Scott be more involved? Scott only got one true series in Cleveland and was used like Ced Benson, which doesn’t suit his style. Will the Bengals find more ways to get him in open spaces in Denver?

-How will Brandon Tate do on returns? Tate was a bit overaggressive in Cleveland, will he tone it back in Denver?

-Will Mike Nugent hit a long field goal? The thin air in Denver is ideal for field goal kickers and Nugent has a fairly big leg to begin with. If there’s a chance to flirt with 60-yards, this may be it.

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Comments

  1. Bill says:

    Did you read the post by John Thornton that I linked to? His look from the inside at how much of a psychological and adrenaline letdown it is coming off of a MNF game, plus the short week, were interesting.

    I think this all comes down to the Bengals’ running game vs the Broncos’ passing game. Orton had a bad game in the rain last week, and he could certainly bounce back, but that will be hard to do if Lloyd is gimpy. But I think the Bengals’ D-line will rattle Orton’s cage enough to keep him from having a big game. (As a Purdue fan, I’ve been watching this guy for over a decade, and I can tell you that he is far more apt to fold in the face of pressure than to rise to the challenge.)

    Despite the protests of “John Elway” on my preview post, I don’t think that the Broncos can stop the Bengals from the running the ball. Run for 150+ and avoid turnovers, and I think the Bengals come home 2-0.

  2. John Elway says:

    While I agree with the short week logic, Im throwing the MNF idea out the window in this instance because Id argue that week 1 in the NFL is more of an adrenaline rush than MNF, and every team in the league is coming off that high. I completely agree with you that if the Bengals run for 150 and avoid turnovers they could win, but even if they do that its going to be close. Asking the Bengals to match what the Raiders did rushing wise is a tall order if you ask me. Oakland frequently had McFadden, Bush, and a TE in the backfield at the same time and still only averaged a little over 3 yds per carry until McFadden’s last attempt.

    You are absolutely correct though. It all comes down to stopping the run. Both ways. If Denver cant run then that means Orton will most likely be pressured by Cincy and our own fans….queue the circus music.

    • Number 1 Fan says:

      Hey horse mouth, you need to take the source into account also. Thornton played in the league and I thought his incite was good.

      What happens if the crowd chants for Tebow again?

      • John Elway says:

        I thought about that, but i bet if my point were brought to his attention he would agree. 15 out of 16 weeks its true..but im guessing he never thought about it being week 1 so the MNF logic may not apply. Also, Denver has a built-in short week defense called altitude. It can level things out quite well…

      • John Elway says:

        And, what do you mean IF the Tebow chants start? It WILL happen. Ill put it this way. Any Tebow chants prior to halftime I will ignore. If there are Tebow chants in the 2nd half then Orton isnt getting the job done. If Orton cannot play well or generate some spark against the Bengals (no offense, but unless we are playing a top tier team we should win games at home) then to me its time to let Tebow play. Why not? Whats the point of letting Orton lead us to 5 or 6 wins (less than that considering we lose first 2 games at home)? Why not find out what we got so we can prepare to draft a QB next year if need be? If he cant beat the Bengals at home then Im ready to watch Tebow sink or swim. I thought he swam just fine at the end of last season.

      • Number 1 Fan says:

        I hope they do put in Tebow. That could be good for the Bengals. Maybe we will spend some time this week preparing for the jump pass.

    • Bill says:

      Hey, Elway. Glad to see you are still checking in on us. You make a good point that the altitude can level things out a bit. It’s a good thing that the Bengals’ D-line is deep enough to compensate for that. The secondary though, that will be interesting to see what happens.

      The rumors around these parts are that Dumervil is out for the game, and that Bailey and Lloyd are probably out. Are you hearing the same? Those are some huge hits to the team.

  3. John Elway says:

    havent heard anything about Bailey, but LLoyd says he is playing. If Dumervil is out then that stinks, but he didnt really play vs the Raiders either so there isnt much drop off. he hurt himself in practice last Friday. He did sound like he was going to sit out though and that he probably should have sat out the other night. He said he will be fine in a week or 2. Bailey I have no idea. I hope he plays, but Im guessing that if he had to sit a game out this would be the one rather than risking it and being out a lot longer. No offense intended there, but sitting out vs a rookie qb/Gradkowski is probably the right choice. Besides, his services arent required if the other team doesnt have to throw the ball anyways. These hamstring and groin injuries are becoming a trend in Bronco Land..Even read some people suggesting firing the strength and conditioning coach. Big surprise coming from Broncos fans huh?

    All in all, I dont believe a word spoken about injury statuses. the practice report today and tomorrow will tell the story.

    • Bill says:

      None taken. I would use the same logic in the same position. And it is just as well IMO, because if there is a CB who could get into and ticker around with a rookie’s (A.J. Green’s) head, it’s Champ. I figured that the Bengals would have to pretty much write off whoever he was covering for the night, because neither QB was going to get through him.

      Losing Dumervil is huge because it will allow the Bengals to focus on Von Miller. He will make a some things happen, but it will be harder for him to do by himself. If he can’t create pressure on Gradkowski (who I expect to get the start), then blitzing will give the tight end and slot receiver shots at good days.

      I don’t know if the complaints about the S&C coach is valid, but I can tell you this. The Bengals were riddled with injuries every year for at least five years. Finally last year, after the whole Antonio Bryant fiasco, they cleared out most of the medical staff. This preseason there were very few injuries. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.