Kiz: If Broncos keep rolling out this same flimsy offensive line, I’m afraid the only answer at quarterback for the next home game is for coach Vic Fangio to go into the stands and grab a cardboard cutout of Kenny from “South Park.” This O-line, which has already gotten Drew Lock hurt, is dangerous to a QB’s health. Jeff Driskel isn’t the answer. Brett Rypien rhymes with journeyman. Once he learns the playbook, could Blake Bortles win games for the Broncos until Lock returns to the lineup?
O’Halloran: In our preseason magazine two weeks ago, I predicted 35 sacks allowed and you went with 39 sacks. That forecast looked pretty good … for a week. The Broncos allowed no sacks by Tennessee in Week 1, but since then, the flood gates have opened. Through Sunday’s games, their 13 allowed sacks were tied with Houston for second-most in the NFL. We were told athleticism was the reason why Driskel was signed in March. Well, he may run fast, but he looks way too indecisive in the pocket to stay upright. I would go with Bortles against the Jets and make Rypien the No. 2. The Broncos need a little gunslinger to get into the win column and Bortles checks that box.
Kiz: Wasn’t Mike Munchak touted as the Wonderful Wizard of Oz for offensive linemen? There’s no doubt injuries to everyone from Von Miller to Courtland Sutton have contributed to Denver’s 0-3 start. But this offensive line is sound physically, and from Garett Bolles to Graham Glasgow, the personnel is hand-picked by football operations director John Elway. But a plastic pocket protector would keep a quarterback safer than these guys. So, at the risk of getting too technical here, what’s the dang deal?
O’Halloran: A quick breakdown of the 13 sacks in the last two games reveals it’s a combination of scheme and physical errors. There are way too many unblocked rushers getting to the backfield (four sacks). Is that on the offensive tackles to fan out to block them or is it on the quarterback to make that defender miss and/or throw to the “hot” receiver? Who knows? Rookie center Lloyd Cushenberry is finding the going difficult — I’ve booked him for 2 1/ 2 sacks and 4 1/ 2 knockdowns in the last two games. On the scheme front, should the Broncos keep more players in protection? Well, on Sunday, five of the six sacks were against six-man protections.
Kiz: In a short week of preparation, the Broncos do catch one huge break. The stumbling, bumbling New York Jets probably have the worst roster in the NFL. They’re surrendering 31 points per game. No matter who plays QB, Denver should be good for at least three touchdowns on Thursday night. Am I right? But let me leave you with a tougher question: If the Broncos somehow lose to the Jets, isn’t it a real possibility that by the time Lock is ready to return to the huddle, the team’s record could be 0-7?
O’Halloran: The Broncos will score three touchdowns on Thursday — two on offense and one on defense. But absolutely, 0-7 is on the table if they lose to the Jets. After this week, the Broncos travel to New England (Cam Newton) and host Miami (Ryan Fitzpatrick looks like he’s 27, not 37) and Kansas City (the Broncos have never had an answer for Patrick Mahomes). Lock’s absence has been amplified because of the pass protection issues. He has the willingness to extend the play, which covers up a lot of warts. Lose to the Jets and it makes the Dolphins game in Week 6 the biggest of the season.