One of the golden rules you always hear about: Never field a punt inside your 10-yard line. Since Diontae Spencer has had the job though, it seems he does this on almost a weekly basis. Does he have the green light from the coaches? Has no one said anything because to my memory nothing bad has happened yet? I know Spencer is explosive but he’s no Dante Hall or Devin Hester.
Also, why did Vic Fangio give up with a minute-and-a-half left? Was his two-minute strategy really to hope Stephen Gostkowski missed a fifth kick? Can you coach? Can I coach?
— Steve, Forks, Wash.
Two questions from Steve to start off the mailbag.
Spencer: He caught a punt Monday night at his 3-yard line, which is careless even though it’s a guy trying to make a play. Because he tried to return it, the Broncos had to block and P.J. Locke committed a penalty that forced the offense to start at their 6-yard line. When KJ Hamler gets healthy, he could challenge Spencer for the return job, and if he takes over, that creates roster flexibility (one fewer receiver active).
Fangio: This has been the hot topic in Broncos Country since the Titans marched down the field unfettered to kick the winning field goal. After the game, Fangio was steadfast in his strategy to not use any of his timeouts and it basically sounded like he was banking on Stephen Gostkowski missing his fourth field goal and fifth kick overall. On Tuesday, though, he said he should have called a timeout with 1:28 remaining.
Why was Noah Fant not used in the second half? Also what the heck was that game? That’s as nice as I can put the second question.
— Nate Mulder, Rock Island, Ill.
Fant led the Broncos with five catches for 81 yards and a touchdown in the first half — great news for the offense. Problem was, those were also his final numbers.
Part of the second-half problem was the Broncos didn’t have the ball much (26 plays). The other part of the problem is the Titans likely adjusted to account for Fant.
It felt like Vic Fangio made strides as a head coach last year as the season continued, but he fell back into his clock management problems on Monday night. Is this just jitters from not having a preseason or a bigger issue us Broncos fans have to worry about?
— Thomas P., Arvada
Thomas follows up with a Vic Time Mismanagement Question. If I’m a Broncos fan, I would really hope Fangio didn’t have Week 1 jitters because it’s not like he’s new to the NFL.
Concerning about Fangio’s comments on Tuesday were that his focus was squarely on calling the defensive plays, that he “missed” the chance to call timeout. A head coach should be able to juggle both of those duties even if he has to lean on an assistant coach to alert him of timeout and clock decisions.
What’s Courtland Sutton’s status for Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh? We need him back to get this offense working.
— Sue, Aurora
Sutton missed Monday’s game because of a shoulder injury sustained in practice last Thursday. Fangio simply said Sutton was inactive for Tennessee because he wasn’t medically cleared.
The issue for Sutton is making sure when he does start playing, he doesn’t have to stop and start and stop because the shoulder isn’t fully healed and is barking.
Ryan, I thought Jerry Jeudy certainly had moments of brilliance in his debut. Did he have a problem with drops in college or do you just chalk this up as an issue of nerves due to being on a bigger stage? — Owen Roberts, Salt Lake City
I’ll say this about Jeudy: He wasn’t boring. He caught four passes for 56 yards and on a few of those catches he was lightning-like in trying to get more yards.
The flip side were two dropped passes on routes over the middle. Drops weren’t a problem for Jeudy at Alabama so I would expect him to clean that up. It’s understandable if he had jitters for his NFL debut, but his second drop would have likely sealed the game.
Any update on A.J. Bouye’s injury? The defense takes a huge hit if he’s gone for a while. That said, Michael Ojemudia looks like the real deal. What do you think?
— Kyle, Pueblo
Bouye dislocated his right shoulder when he fell on it while breaking up a first-half pass. Per a league source, the shoulder popped back into place, which means a quicker return to play.
I liked what I saw from Ojemudia. I had been hearing all camp that once healthy from a quad injury, he would be the No. 3 cornerback. And that turned out to be true. He should have had an interception, but it was wiped out by a careless Alexander Johnson penalty.