Conversing with the Competition: Detroit Lions at Denver Broncos
By Zac Snyder
The Lions travel to Denver this week in hopes of getting back to their winning ways against the Broncos. This will be the second of four NFC West opponents the Lions will face this year, let’s hope they take care of the Broncos like they did the Chiefs.
In preparation of Sunday’s game, I sent some questions over to Kim Constantinesco, editor of Predominantly Orange. My thanks to Kim for answering my questions!
Zac Snyder: What is your reaction to Tim Tebow‘s first start and will anything he does ever change anyone’s opinion.
Kim Constantinesco: Tebow’s first start was like watching a car slide on ice down the wrong side of the freeway, but somehow escaping harm. It was hard to watch in the beginning, but you don’t want to take your eyes away from it because you know something big could happen. The first 57 minutes were frustrating for Tebow, his teammates, and every Broncos fan who witnessed it. The final three minutes were the best moments of the Broncos’ season. In the end, the win is all that mattered, but that result wouldn’t have had a chance of happening against a team like the Packers or the Patriots who know how to close out teams. Tebow’s will to win goes unmatched, but his confidence early in games needs work. At this point, Tebow is over thinking things in the beginning of games. He’s most threatening when he’s playing his natural way which is to play on the fly. That’s why his performance at the end of games brings the Broncos back. He plays to win as the clock winds down instead of playing to move the chains. Going through his offensive options, No. 1 receiver to No. 2 receiver to No. 3 receiver, in a short amount of time makes him anxious. That’s part of the reason why the Dolphins were able to sack him 7 times last week.
Only time will tell if people’s opinions will change. If he continues to win games, no matter how unorthodox his play is, his critics will die down. If he continues to struggle with the pass and not win, people will continue to say that he can’t be a successful NFL quarterback. It’s a performance based business, and that’s how Tebow will be judged.
ZS: How are the Broncos adjusting to John Fox and what still needs to be done before he has them in contention?
KC: The team has a lot more respect for Fox than they did for Josh McDaniels. With McDaniels there was always some kind of McDrama going on away from the football field. Fox is all business and you can tell that he’s been in the NFL for 23 years. The Broncos are in the process of going from a passing team to a running team, with defense being the No. 1 priority. They are getting the right personnel in place, but will need to do more rebuilding through the draft this year. It’s also a matter of time before the team pulls in wins consistently. This coaching staff only has six regular season games under their belt. It takes time to jell.
ZS: Update us on Von Miller and what we should expect to see out of him on Sunday.
KC: Miller is the Broncos No. 1 pass rusher with 6 sacks in six games. If he stays on pace, he will most likely win the Rookie of the Year award. He’s fast off the block and he’s strong enough to disengage right away. He was pulled from the base defense against the Chargers because he missed a couple of assignments, but it’s your typical rookie mistakes.
The Lions will be challenged by Miller on Sunday. With each game, he gets better. Expect an explosive pass rush out of him. He also gets to the backfield fast so he can get running backs down for a loss. Against the Dolphins, he had 5 tackles, two for a loss and a sack. No one has been able to contain him yet.
ZS: Where can the Broncos exploit the Lions?
KC: The Broncos can exploit the Lions on the ground. Even though team leading rusher Willis McGahee is likely out with a broken hand, the Lions will still have to honor the run with Tebow at quarterback. Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball will handle the carries if McGahee can’t go, and they should be able to take advantage of the Lions’ 28th rush defense.
ZS: What do you expect from the Lions and Broncos on Sunday and what is your predicted final score?
KC: This is going to be a slugfest. The Lions need to get back on the winning track and the Broncos need to get used to winning consecutive games. Tebow’s legs and the hometown crowd will make this game closer than it otherwise would have been. Lions – 28 Broncos – 24.
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