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Gray Matter Mailbag: Impressions of Week 1

Posted Sep 13, 2013

This week's fan questions cover the RB rotation, Eric Decker's performance and other takeaways from a Week 1 win.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The long-awaited return of the Gray Matter mailbag has arrived. My apologies for the lack of mailbags lately -- I'll try to make it up to you by getting to as many of your questions as I can every week.

As always, you can tweet me (@GrayCaldwell) your questions all week long for a chance to get yours in the mailbag on DenverBroncos.com.

Week 1 is in the books. The team travels to New York -- well, New Jersey -- today. Let's get to the questions.

I take it three seperate pass-catchers hauling in two touchdowns counts as part of Manning's performance, so I'll leave that out. Obviously Julius Thomas was impressive. I thought on defense the fact that Duke Ihenacho and Wesley Woodyard were the game's two leading tacklers was impressive. I thought holding Ray Rice to 36 yards and the Ravens in general to just 58 on the ground was impressive.

I guess what stands out to me the most is Denver picking up where it left off in second halves -- particularly the third quarter. Last season, the club outscored its opponents 153-62 in the third quarter. That trend continued last Thursday, when the Broncos blanked Baltimore 21-0 in the frame. That ultimately turned into a 49-27 win -- and does anyone really remember that the Broncos were trailing at halftime? Of course, the offense doesn't always want to have to cover for a slow first half with an explosive second half -- "We just need to find that rhythm early," Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase said. Still, this Broncos team has been fun to watch coming out of the tunnel after halftime.

No and no. They already finished filming the reality show and it hasn't aired yet, so it couldn't possibly be a distraction at the moment -- plus he got Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway's blessing before taking part in the show in the first place. As far as his play on the field, Decker himself said he wasn't pleased with his performance against the Ravens, calling it "embarrassing." But there certainly isn't a "concern" within the locker room.

Peyton Manning on Wednesday: "Sometimes those games happen. You will see me throwing the ball at Eric as many times this Sunday as I did Thursday. He’s a huge part of our offense, and we have great confidence in him. He’s going to be fine.”

Same plan. Knowshon Moreno, Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman all saw the field in Week 1, and Gase said "I don't see how that's going to change." It will be a by-committee backfield until further notice. Ball said that concept was "tough" at first and Hillman said "it's a little bit harder" with limited touches to get in a groove, but both noted that the league is all about adapting quickly, and that's what they're doing. Everyone across the offense maintained a desire to be more balanced between the run and pass, but it all depends on what the Giants defense gives them.

"We’re going in with a strong game plan that we expect to work," Ball said.

I'll let Head Coach John Fox take this one. From the 53-man cutdown day:

"We don’t play with a per se fullback like some teams, so those tight ends fit into that mold as well. So it’s just the style of play, and ours is such that our tight ends work as fullbacks."

Editor's Note: It appears @MrAmor24 has deleted all his tweets. Well, they were good questions, so they made it anyway.

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