Tuesday, July 28, 2015

5 Broncos observations you may not have heard

I took a look at all three of the Broncos' games this year, and made some observations that perhaps you haven't heard just yet. 1) Peyton Manning is even more accurate than you think.

5 Broncos observations you may not have heard

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Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker (87) is congratulated bt Peyton Manning (18), and Knowshon Moreno (27) after scoring a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL football game on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker (87) is congratulated bt Peyton Manning (18), and Knowshon Moreno (27) after scoring a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL football game on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

I took a look at all three of the Broncos' games this year, and made some observations that perhaps you haven't heard just yet.

1) Peyton Manning is even more accurate than you think. 

Peyton Manning has a completion percentage of 73%, but he has been even more accurate than that. In watching the Broncos' 3 games, I noticed that his receivers have dropped a boatload of passes. I went to ProFootballFocus to see how many they saw. Here's what they came up with:

If you just took those drops away and subtracted them from Manning's pass attempt total, his completion percentage would be 82.4%. It's unlikely that the Broncos' receivers are going to keep dropping passing at that rate, which is bad news for the Eagles.

2) Broncos receivers do a great job of getting yards after the catch.

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While the Broncos' receivers have had their issues with drops, they do an outstanding job of getting yards after the catch. In my opinion, Demaryius Thomas is clearly among the 10 best wide receivers in the game, and might even be top 5. He has everything you want in a receiver: Size, speed, and the ability to break tackles and make plays once he has the ball in his hands. Take a look at his 78 yard TD reception Week 1 against the Ravens. For a guy who is 6'3 and 229 pounds, that kind of speed is special.

Meanwhile, Eric Decker is tied for the league lead among wide receivers in broken tackles, with 5, according to ProFootballFocus. Thomas is right behind him at 4. Obviously, the Eagles' safeties have had their tackling issues.

3) The Broncos have some fumblers.

Rookie Montee Ball has 2 already this season on just 31 carries. But more troubling for the Broncos is that his fumbles were of the careless variety. Ball didn't take a big hit on either of them. Defenders were simply able to jar the ball loose by swatting it out. 

Ball is the mark. If he's in the game, Eagle defenders need to be mindful to try to strip the football.

Demaryius Thomas has also had his issues with fumbles. Since 2012, Thomas has 114 catches. He fumbled after 4 of them.

4) KR/PR Trindon Holliday can either win a game for you, or lose it.

A guy who is often overlooked is the Broncos kick/punt returner, Trindon Holliday. Holliday had 4 return TDs last season, including 2 in the playoffs against the Ravens. He already has a punt return TD against the Giants this year. However, like some other players on this Broncos team, he's a fumbler. He had 6 fumbles on just 68 returns last year. That's a fumble for every 11.3 returns. Here they are:

Fortunately for Holliday, he only lost one of those fumbles above. If I were the Broncos, while I would like the playmaking ability Holliday gives me, I'd be terrified of him wrecking a game for me, especially if I know that more often than not I have the more talented team.

5) The Broncos secondary is overly aggressive.

The Broncos have had a high number of pass interference and defensive holding calls this year. In fact, They have the NFL's co-leader in defensive penalties, CB Tony Carter, and another player high on the list, S Rahim Moore. Here are the NFL's league leaders in defensive penalties, not including the Niners-Rams Thursday night game:

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and S Duke Ihanacho each have 2, while CB Chris Harris has 1. The Broncos secondary has 12 penalties, which leads the NFL. The Eagles need to use the Broncos over-aggressiveness against them and take shots down the field.

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