Good day, Who Dats and the EOSB legion.
It’s time again for that one thing I know you all can’t wait for each week. In fact, you probably wake up early on Friday morning’s because you know it’s coming.
View from the Other Side is back and this week, we welcome in Lindsay H. Jones
As of this week, Jones is a Denver-based NFL reporter for USA TODAY Sports. She’s coming off a 4 ½-year stint covering the Broncos for the Denver Post. You can follow her coverage on USA Today’s site. She also tweets from @ByLindsayHJones
Please give your undivided attention to Lindsay, who was kind enough to answer questions this week.
WWLTV.com: “Obviously the big story coming into the season in Denver was about Peyton Manning and his health. So far, he has shown that he’s A-OK health-wise. But health or not, his past three games have been special. What has changed for him from the opening three games?”
Lindsay H. Jones: “Take away the first quarter of the Atlanta game, when he threw three interceptions, and Manning is an MVP candidate. Even with that one bad quarter, he still should be in the discussion. His numbers are just that good. But as far as a change from early September till now, I think it's just a progressive thing as he continues to learn this new offense and improve along with his new teammates. Assuming he can stay healthy, I think we'll be talking next month about Manning being better in November than he was in October, which is a result of an increased comfort level with the players around him and how Broncos' coaches are going to call the game."
WWLTV.com: “Tracy Porter is a well-known entity in these parts. What has he added to the Broncos defensive backfield that they hadn’t had in the past few years?”
Jones: “First of all, there are no guarantees that Porter will play Sunday against his former team. He was a late scratch from Denver's last game when team doctors decided he couldn't travel to San Diego because of an illness. He was limited in practice on Wednesday and not at the start of practice on Thursday. That said, Porter has been one of the most interesting Broncos this year. He was Denver's defensive MVP in Week 1, when he broke up five passes, had eight tackles and a game-sealing pick six against Pittsburgh. Two weeks later against Houston, he was burned for two long touchdowns. It is fair to say he has been an improvement for the Broncos at right corner (where he replaced Andre' Goodman), but he has not been as consistent as anyone would have liked."
WWLTV.com: “Denver head coach John Fox played down his knowledge of the Saints from his days in Carolina this week. Saints acting head coach Joe Vitt played up Fox’s knowledge of the Saints from that period. In your eyes, which one is correct?”
Jones: “Fox likes to play down just about everything at his press conferences. He did have fairly consistent success against the Saints during his tenure in Carolina. He has coached enough against Drew Brees to not be surprised by him. But, it's been more than two years since Fox last coached against the Saints, and these Saints -- outside of Brees -- don't look that similar to the guys Fox remembers. I think the familiarity angle can be overplayed."
WWLTV.com: “How much was Denver’s 35-24 come-from-behind win over San Diego about the Broncos playing great football as opposed to the Chargers imploding?”
Jones: “It is a little bit of both. It is easy to argue that the only reason the Chargers were up 24-0 in the first place was because the Broncos imploded in the first half, with two special teams fumbles in the red zone and a Manning pick-six (after Eric Decker's inexplicable fall that prevented a touchdown). The Broncos did all the things right in the second half that they haven't done consistently in the previous first five games. They found their pass rush. They forced turnovers. They put together long drives on offense. They had good balance running and passing. The Chargers made it look easy, but I think the Broncos deserve plenty of credit for making it happen.”
WWLTV.com: “Why have the Broncos been able to outscore opponents by an astounding 79-6 in the fourth quarter this season?”
Jones: “There certainly could be an element of defenses playing differently late with a large lead, and that helping. But the Broncos seem to have this sense that, with Manning, they should always be able to score. The "never-quit" attitude was here last year with Tebow, but the true belief seems to be different this year. And football-wise, as Joe Vitt noted this week, the Broncos do seem to make good halftime adjustments. My question has been why they can't make adjustments earlier, or just play cleaner football early in games.