In our second installment of “Know Your Packers Enemy,” we sat down with Sayre Bedinger of Mile High Report to breakdown the Green Bay Packers (3-0) upcoming contest with the Denver Broncos (1-2) in Week 4.
Here’s the Q&A:
ZACH KRUSE: The Broncos returned both Elvis Dumervil and Champ Bailey to practice on Wednesday. Do you think they’ll play on Sunday? And how important are these two to what the Broncos want to do on defense?
SAYRE BEDINGER: I know that Elvis Dumervil is playing, he said as much at practice yesterday. Champ is a little more uncertain to me just because straining a hamstring can take up to a month and a half to fully heal from, but he’s one of the toughest players on the team and if he feels like he can contribute at a high level, there is no way he is missing this game. When they are on the field, the whole defense is a different looking unit, and to be honest, they help us match up much better with the Packers who are primarily a passing offense. They are both such dynamic playmakers and I would argue they are the two best players on the entire team.
ZK: What’s the confidence level in Kyle Orton in Denver? We all heard the chants for Tim Tebow in Week 1, but I think the rest of the NFL understands Tebow’s limitations. Is there a trust level with Orton still?
SB: I threw out a figure on my radio show last week that the amount of Broncos fans still confident in Kyle Orton has gone from about 50-50 to maybe 85% of people no longer believing he can play at a high enough level consistently. You mention that the league knows Tebow’s limitations–I highly disagree. I don’t think anyone knows his limitations because he hasn’t seen extended time on the field. Due to him being a relative unknown, the fans are willing to place an enormous amount of pressure on Kyle to be perfect because we know there is at least an alternative. At this point, a majority of Broncos fans have already moved on from Kyle Orton and simply believe the coaching staff is delaying the inevitable, waiting for the season to be lost to put Tebow on the field.
ZK: The Broncos hired 39-year-old Dennis Allen to be the defensive coordinator in the offseason. He’s a disciple of Gregg Williams after serving as the secondary coach in New Orleans. Do you expect Allen and the Broncos to blitz Aaron Rodgers, as Williams did in Week 1? Or what’s the way you’d attack the Packers offense with the Broncos’ defensive personnel?
SB: Dennis Allen was a fantastic pickup for the Broncos because he understands how to utilize personnel. For example, there were a number of people who thought picking Von Miller was a mistake because he should be a 3-4 rush linebacker, but the Broncos are not married to the 4-3 and really mix it up defensively. Allen’s greatest quality is that with him calling the shots, the Broncos’ defense is no longer predictable. We have faced three straight run-oriented teams, and you can see how Allen’s game-plan worked out because Cincinnati and Tennessee were both stuffed at the line of scrimmage, but were able to air it out. The Packers are really the only pass-first team we have played, and with Champ Bailey and Elvis Dumervil back, Allen’s job is a lot easier the fewer linebackers he has to blitz. He likely will blitz every player on the field at one point or another throughout the game. Aaron Rodgers’ job is going to be to figure out who and when. If I were attacking the Packers, I would make sure to mix things up in terms of blitzing, but you have to bring pressure on every play. You also have to be careful because Rodgers gets rid of the ball so quickly and has so many targets in the passing game.
ZK: It looks like the Broncos really found a player in rookie linebacker Von Miller. Give us a little scouting report on him from what you’ve seen in three NFL games with Denver.
SB: Von Miller is the best young prospect to come to Denver since Carmelo Anthony or Troy Tulowitzki. He is versatile in that he can line up as an end in a three point stance, rush the quarterback out of a two point stance, or drop back in coverage. He’s a stud pass rusher with as quick–if not quicker–a first step than DeMarcus Ware of the Cowboys. He is a blue-collar type of player, a hard worker who approaches every day as if he were an undrafted rookie, not a top five pick. He hits like a ton of bricks, has phenomenal speed, and the sky is the limit for that guy. What a talent.
ZK: I’ve been following you on Twitter (@SayreBedinger) this week, and you seem optimistic that the Broncos can go to Lambeau Field and shock the defending champions. What’s your reasoning? Also, give us a quick prediction for the game.
- The Packers aren’t going to win them all.
- The Broncos always win some they shouldn’t.
- This is the healthiest (potentially) the Broncos have been since the lockout.
If the Broncos can keep the heat on, there is no doubt in my mind the defense will put them in position to win this game. It is going to be up to Orton and the offense to execute. The Broncos had given up quite a few sacks going into the Tennessee game, which bodes well for Green Bay’s attacking defense. Denver doesn’t fare well when they have to dink and dunk down the field, but that might be the best thing for them in a game where you want to keep the ball away from #12 as much as is possible.
I predict the Broncos’ defense comes up big in this game. With Champ Bailey their coverage is significantly better allowing that second or so for Miller/Dumervil and the crew to put pressure on Rodgers. Denver has to keep contain and make sure they don’t allow too many broken plays, and Kyle Orton has to start earning that $9 million raise he received.
I think the Broncos come in to Lambeau and either stun the Packers or get killed because of the offensive limitations.——————
Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.
You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.Follow @zachkruse2