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Published on 09/28/2010 at Tue Sep 28 13:00.
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Wide receiver Brandon Marshall celebrates his first touchdown as a Miami Dolphin against the New York Jets during third quarter NFL football action in Miami, Florida September 26, 2010.   (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall celebrates his first touchdown as a Miami Dolphin against the New York Jets during third quarter NFL football action in Miami, Florida September 26, 2010. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Keeping tabs on key performers who once bled orange and blue.

Mike ShanahanMike Shanahan
Record: 1-2
Streak: Lost 2
Stat Line: Offense: 340.0 ypg (13th). Defense: 423.7 ypg (32nd)

It was a rough week for Mike Shanahan. Shanahan’s ‘Skins became the first team to lose to the St. Louis Rams in St. Louis’ Edward Jones Dome in nearly two calendar years. They mustered only three points in the second half and allowed the Rams to force the highest point total in Rams caoch Steve Spagnuolo‘s career.

Reality Check: Josh McDaniels — McDaniels is also 1-2, and while a loss is a loss, it’s a lot easier to look at yourself in the mirror having lost to an NFL powerhouse than a perennial bottom-feeder.

Jay CutlerJay Cutler
Record: 3-0
Streak: Won 3
Stat Line: 221 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT

Jay Cutler dodged about a half dozen bullets against the Green Bay Packers Monday night. Green Bay defenders dropped sure-fire interceptions at least twice, and at least two other Cutler picks were nullified by Packer penalties (Green Bay would commit a whopping 18 of them). The Bears are 3-0, but this latest victory might not have been as much Chicago dominance as Green Bay ineptitude.

Reality Check: Kyle Orton — Orton had a statistically magnificent day against Indy, but the numbers ring hollow due to his struggles in the red zone. Five trips behind Indy’s 20-yard line netted no touchdowns and all of six points, with Orton’s 4-of-13 mark in that area a big, deserving carrier of the blame.

Brandon MarshallBrandon Marshall
Record: 2-1
Streak: Lost 1
Stat Line: 10 rec, 166 yds, 1 TD

It was Marshall’s breakout game in Miami, with the former Bronco tallying Denver Broncos-like numbers. But much like his career in Denver, Marshall was unable to convert gaudy stat lines into a notch in his team’s win column. Not that Brandon is fully to blame — the Dolphins’ decision to not deploy Marshall on the game’s final play — a 4th down throw for the end zone from 20 yards out — was simply asinine.

Reality Check: Brandon Lloyd — Three weeks, three different receivers listed here as the player “replacing” Marshall’s production on the field. First it was Jabar Gaffney, then Demaryius Thomas, and now Lloyd. We’d wager that’s exactly the way McDaniels likes it.

Other Broncos: It’s worth mentioning that a few other high profile ex-Broncos had strong Week 3 showings; in the pursuit of fairness we’ll mention them week-to-week from now on as well.

  • Cleveland Browns RB Peyton Hillis put on a clinic against the Baltimore Ravens, tallying 180 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.  Do you think the Broncos could have used Hillis’ pounding presence in the red zone this week?  We do.
  • Detroit Lions TE Tony Scheffler had seven catches for 60 yards and a touchdown.
  • However, both the Browns and Lions lost this weekend, collectively falling to 0-6.

The Edge: There’s something about the collective performances, particularly of Orton, the defense, and the wide receivers, that has us optimistic moving forward.  Meanwhile, Shanahan is struggling, Marshall is being under-utilized, and Cutler’s Bears are lucky to be 3-0.  Despite the loss this week, we’re giving the edge to the current flock of Broncos with faith the losing tide is about to turn.

  • Ron

    Hillis was a yardage getter and an entertainment dynamo for us. I miss that guy more than Cutler & Marshall put together.

  • TheTroglodyte

    Great article Kyle. Fun read.

  • monto

    agreed, out-performing our RBs hands down at the moment

  • http://twitter.com/dxmanning Joshua Manning

    I totally argeed Ron. If Hills play for the Broncos on Sunday against the Colts, the game could've been closer than expected. And guess what we got for return??? A petty looking QB who was rejected in Cleveland after he play TERRIBLE with 10 TD and 9 INT's and only 3 wins as a starter who plays like JaMarcus Russell.

  • anthony33

    Good stuff Kyle.

    Though not to think about how Cutler have been in McD's offense. You have ot wonder if he had the mental capacity and desire to read defenses like you need to.

    Hillis is the one the kills me, but at the same time we did need a backup QB (all pre Tebow).

  • http://nation.theorangepage.com/blog Ian Henson

    Here's the thing, Brandon Lloyd still leads the NFL in 25+ yard receptions, why don't we just stop on the 25 and throw it to Lloyd? I've got to email that to Bowlen's office on Wednesday.

  • areferee

    Stokley has signed with the Seahawks.

  • iskabibble

    Still pissed about Hillis… Not likely to get over that bonehead maneuver.

  • Kawike

    Trevor Pryce was released by Baltimore. Maybe the Broncos should pick him up, he is about the average age of the defensive line.

  • AtomicLeo

    Ravens cut Trevor Pryce.

    Cutler is many things: Unpleasant Interviewee, Surly Cur and a Jerk. He is not stupid. He can read defenses just fine. Couldn't run the Martz offense otherwise, see Alex Smith. He just assumes (Notice the word ass!) his arm can throw the ball anywhere and his footwork is lousy. Watched the Dallas game and the Green Bay game. In the Dallas game, his footwork was great. Not throwing off his back foot. He regressed in the Green Bay when the O-line allowed more hits. Martz (or someone) has been on him about it, because his footwork was always really sloppy and it has improved.

    Will be interesting to see if the CW/Fans/Media shift their opinion if Hillis and Cutler have decent years and the Broncos struggle. I think every INT Cutler threw last year bought cover for the Broncos troubles last year.

  • TheTroglodyte

    Cutler threw a few dropped INT's against both Detroit and Dallas and had about 5 dropped INT's against GB. Law of averages will eventually take over and the hits a QB takes in Martz system will keep piling up and he will turn into a pile of pudding.

    Albeit delicious vanilla chocolate swirl pudding.

  • Anonymous

    McDaniels > Shanahan (currently. But you have to disregard the 90′s, which doesn’t help us win games in 2010)
    Orton > Cutler (wins are a team thing, not a QB thing. Orton making way smarter reads and better throws for more yards than Cutler)
    Lloyd > Marshall
    Gaffney = Marshall
    Royal = Marshall
    Thomas ≥ Marshall (too early to be certain)
    any Denver RB <<< Hillis

    Seriously, Hillis is the only McDaniel move that I didn't like.
    With Pryce being released, maybe coach can exorcise the demon that Shanahan put on us when he released Pryce in the prime of his career.

  • 12508

    The players on this roster stink. No rb's, no lb's, no te, no fb, and no dline. GM is the worst in football. GM is the problem.

  • areferee

    I'm sorry, but a scathing, all inclusive, overly-generalized and hyper-critical remark like this can not go unanswered without a well thought out and equally intelligent retort:

    OH YEAH?

    I'm sorry, but you deserved that!

  • 12508

    keep drinking the kool-aid. This team stinks. GM trades good players for garbage and draft picks he uses to pick players like Alphonso Smith, Moreno, Tebow, and Ayers. Look around the league and find 3 GM's who have done a worse job than Xanders. Name 3

  • anthony33

    kerry… is that you?

  • 12508

    The players on this roster stink. No rb's, no lb's, no te, no fb, and no dline. GM is the worst in football. GM is the problem.

  • areferee

    I'm sorry, but a scathing, all inclusive, overly-generalized and hyper-critical remark like this can not go unanswered without a well thought out and equally intelligent retort:

    OH YEAH?

    I'm sorry, but you deserved that!

  • 12508

    keep drinking the kool-aid. This team stinks. GM trades good players for garbage and draft picks he uses to pick players like Alphonso Smith, Moreno, Tebow, and Ayers. Look around the league and find 3 GM's who have done a worse job than Xanders. Name 3

  • anthony33

    kerry… is that you?