Thursday, October 21, 2021

Kiszla vs. O’Halloran: At 2-0, are the undefeated Broncos the real deal or fool’s gold?

Kies: For the first time that ever seems to you, me, and linebacker Von Miller, there’s a pleasant orange glow in Broncos Country. Everything is going according to plan for Coach Vic Fangio and the gang. After two weeks, the Broncos are not only undefeated and ranked first of the AFC West, but they are one game ahead of Kansas City in the standings. Is it too early to start selling playoff tickets as soon as the team returns to Denver for the home opener?

O’Halloran: As long as they are refundable, why not? In 2018, my first year covering the Broncos, he started 2-0, but I remember it being an overwhelming excitement. In Week 1, the defense stood tall after three Case Keenum (remember him?) to defeat Seattle, 27–24. In Week 2, he overcame Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (29 out of 32) with almost 100% accuracy and went on to win 20–19 with six seconds remaining. Fell down in Baltimore the next week. This team looks different. They faced two teams they should have defeated and once they went late in the first half, they won both by double digits.

Kies: Maybe it wasn’t particularly fair or particularly wise for Miller to compare quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. While no one expected Bridgewater to be installed in the canton, this comparison is apt in one important case. Under the unrelenting spotlight of playing QB in a city where John Elway set impossibly high standards, Bridgewater is the first player since Manning not to be bothered by unreasonable expectations for the position at Broncos Country.

O’Halloran: Spot on both the field and the podium about Bridgewater. On the field, he never rattles. Pass Rush breaks up? Mayhem. Is the first receiver covered? Go to the second or third option. Face the third and long? Check out the called play and hand Jevont Williams to run back for the conversion. On the podium, he is insightful, critical and entertaining, all rolled into a No. 5 jersey. Vic’s decision to go with Teddy has been the right one so far.

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