Opponent: Denver Broncos

2010 record: 2-6, fourth place in the AFC West. The Broncos have beaten Seattle by 17 points and won at Tennessee by six points. They have dropped games to Jacksonville by 7, Indianapolis by 14, Baltimore by 14, the New York Jets by 4, Oakland by 45 points and San Francisco by 8 points. They are 1-3 at home this season.

Last year’s record: 8-8, second in the AFC West.

QB Kyle Orton (right) has been the only consistent player on the roster for the Broncos in the 2010 season.

Record for the last five seasons: 45-35, with one division title (2005), three second-place finishes and one year in third place.

Last appearance in the playoffs: 2005, when they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-17 in the AFC Championship Game. They won the first game in those playoffs, beating New England 27-13.

Owner: Patrick Bowlen and his family (two brothers and a sister) purchased the team from Edgar Kaiser in 1984 as Kaiser was headed for bankruptcy. Several times in the last 26 years, Bowlen and Kaiser have battled in court over terms of the sales agreement. When Bowlen tried to sell 10 percent of the team to John Elway in 2004, Kaiser sued saying the contract to sale gave him the right of first refusal to purchase any part of the Broncos that might become available. A lower court ruled in his favor, but an appellate court rules in Bowlen’s favor. At this point, there’s no public indication that the sale ever took place. Bowlen is a native of Wisconsin, who went to his father’s alma mater, the University of Oklahoma where he earned degrees in business and law. He was a successful lawyer in Canada and also helped run his father’s company Regent Drilling, which remains one of the largest oil drilling companies in the north country. There have been recent stories that Bowlen is dealing with medical issues that have affected his memory and he’s not part of the decision making process within the franchise any more. The Broncos organization has denied these stories, saying only that Bowlen has chosen to take a lower profile in the organization. Bowlen is 66 years old and in the past has participated in the Ironman Triathlon.

General Manager: Brian Xanders has the title, but head coach Josh McDaniels has the power with the Broncos. Xanders is 39 years old and was named GM in 2009. He joined Denver in 2008, after 14 years with the Atlanta Falcons where he served in various roles within the personnel department and football operations. His background with computers was his ticket into the NFL. Xanders played at Florida state and was part of four bowl winning teams while playing under Bobby Bowden.

Head coach: Josh McDaniels joined the Broncos as head coach in 2009, after spending eight seasons with the New England Patriots in personnel and coaching. He spent his last three years with the Patriots as offensive coordinator. McDaniels played college football at John Carroll University in suburban Cleveland, where he was a wide receiver. He played for his father, who was the head coach at Canton McKinley High School, one of Ohio’s legendary scholastic programs. McDaniels began his coaching career in 1999 as a graduate assistant for Nick Saban at Michigan State. His record as Broncos head coach is 10-14.

Coordinators: Mike McCoy, offensive coordinator; Wink Martindale, defensive coordinator; Mike Priefer, special teams.

Roster overview: In two seasons, McDaniels has led a major overhaul of the Broncos roster as only 14 players are left on the roster from those he inherited in January 2009. The current roster has 21 Broncos draft choices, including seven first rounders and 14 from the first three rounds. Only nine draft choices are starters. The roster includes 10 unrestricted free agents, seven players acquired through trades and two on waivers. There are seven street free agents and five college free agents. There are 11 rookies and 20 players who have two seasons or less in the league. They have 27 players who are 25 or younger and 10 players that are 30 or older. The vast majority of the roster is from major college football, with only four players coming out of Division 1-AA. Notre Dame is the favored college, with five former members of the Fighting Irish on the rosters.

Quarterback: Kyle Orton has thrown up some of the better passer numbers in the league over the first half of the 2010 season. He’s completing 61.7 percent of his passes and averaging 7.94 yards per attempt. Orton has thrown 12 TDs against 5 INTs. But he’s been sacked 21 times this season. He will tuck the ball and run, as he’s averaging five yards on 18 carries.

Offensive threats: Second-year RB Knowshon Moreno is the leading rusher, but he’s run for just 252 yards on 76 carries as he’s deal with injuries. They traded with New England for Laurence Maroney to provide some help, but there’s been little of that with 36 carries for 74 yards. The wide receiver trio of Jabar Gaffney, Brandon Lloyd and Eddie Royal are big producers with a combined 125 catches for 1,821 yards and seven touchdowns. Lloyd is averaging 20.9 yards per catch. TE Daniel Graham is not much of a factor in the passing game, with 12 catches for 94 yards.

Defensive stars: The best players on the Denver defense are in the back eight with LB D.J. Williams, CB Champ Bailey and FS Brian Dawkins. Williams leads the team in tackles with 72 and he’s added 3.5 sacks and that also leads the team. Bailey has 20 tackles and one interception. Dawkins has 33 tackles, one sack and an interception. This year, they added big nose tackle Jamal Williams from the Chargers.

Special teamers: Eddie Royal has great potential as a returner, as he had punt and kickoff returns for scores last season. This year, he’s averaging 11.1 yards on punt returns and draft choice Demaryius Thomas is handling the kickoff returns, with a 25.6-yard average. K Matt Prater has made 12 of 13 FGs, missing only from 49 yards. He has two FGs over 50 yards, including a 59-yard kick. P Britton Colquitt has a 44.4-yard average on his punts and a 37.5-yard net average. They’ve given up a kick return for a touchdown.

By the numbers: Denver is No. 8 in offensive yards, gaining 363.5 yards per game. That’s last in the league in rushing with an average of just 67.3 yards per game. With 538 yards, the Broncos total is less than the individual totals of both Jamaal Charles (719 yards) and Thomas Jones (570 yards); there are 17 individual runners with more yards. But they are No. 3 in passing yards per game with 296.3. Defensively, they are No. 23 allowing an average of 359 yards per game. That’s 31st against the run, giving up an average of 154.6 per game and eighth vs. the pass. The Broncos are minus-69 in the point differential, minus-4 in the turnover ratio, minus-12 in the sack differential and they are plus-3 in the penalty ratio.

Top ’10 draft picks: 1.) WR Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech, has played in 7 games with one start and has caught 16 passes for 215 yards and 2 TDs, along with averaging 25.6 yards on 11 kickoff returns. 1.) QB Tim Tebow, Florida, has played in 3 games with no extensive play time. He’s run the ball 10 times for 26 yards and has not thrown a pass. 2.) OT Zane Beadles, Utah, has played in all 8 games and made 6 starts at RT. 3.) C J.D. Walton, Baylor, has started all 8 games at center. 3.) WR Eric Decker, Minnesota, has played in six games, but does not have a catch and he returns one kickoff for 23 yards. 5.) CB Perrish Cox, Oklahoma State, has played in seven games with four starts. He had an interception, and returned four kickoffs for an 18.3-yard average.

Familiar faces: WR Brandon Lloyd was born in K.C., grew up in Blue Springs and played at Blue Springs High School before heading off to the University of Illinois. Broncos special teams coach Mike Priefer spent three years coaching the kicking game for the Chiefs (2006-08). Denver punter Britton Colquitt is the younger brother of Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt.

Overview: Since starting last season 6-0, the Broncos have gone 4-14 and that’s one of the worst records in the league. McDaniels and Xanders appear over their heads in the personnel department. For instance, they traded RB Peyton Hillis to the Browns for QB Brady Quinn, who has not played this year. Hillis has run for 644 yards and seven touchdowns. That’s more rushing yards and rushing TDs than the entire Broncos team. They traded away both QB Jay Cutler and WR Brandon Marshall, and were then forced to use a pair of first-round picks in the 2010 NFL Draft on a wide receiver and quarterback. Denver was always able to run the ball under Mike Shanahan, but now the Broncos are No. 32 in the league in rushing yards per game, with just 67 yards. They also used to be unbeatable at home, but under McDaniels they are 5-7.

4 Responses to “Opponent: Denver Broncos”

  • November 10, 2010  - Nathan says:

    Wink Martindale is their DC? No wonder they can’t stop the run.

  • November 10, 2010  - el cid says:

    The betting line is the Chiefs by 1. Not a gambler so not real sure what that means. But the Chiefs record is so much better than Denver, something wrong here.

  • November 10, 2010  - Edward says:

    I said before season start they would be worst team in the divison. You don’t get rid of Cutler, Marshall, and a number of other good players and coordinators and think you’re still going to win. Along with injury to Dumervill I figure this team would be right about where they are now. Their front seven is one of the worst in the league. They have no run game no matter who lines up at running back. Right now they’re a 4 to 5 win team and we need to take care of business against these guys. McDaniels is a bright guy but his own arrogance gets in the way when it comes to dealing with players. Oh well will take the W Sunday.

  • November 11, 2010  - Tracy says:

    Is this a trap game? Yeah, we won there last December, this year’s version of the Broncos is worse than last year’s and they have not even met the lowered expectations most people felt were appropriate. But this is a division rival and look what happened last Sunday against a division rival.

    Realistically the Chiefs should be so on top of Denver that attendance after half time will resemble a pep rally for root canal lovers, but Todd Haley won’t let a “piece of cake” attitude materialize. After last week, there is not likely to an easy going approach by the players anyway so we can probably count on a full bore effort from start to finish.

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