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Going into the year, many speculated that Paxton Lynch would be a work in progress and have to sit out a half a year or even a full one to develop some more. At this point in the season, is Paxton Lynch ready enough to be handed the reins and take over on offense for the rest of the year or even into season to come?
-- Ethan Stanton
Given that he will start Sunday, he'd better be.
His second professional start will come against a team that can lean on a game and a half of footage to disseminate, culled from Lynch's work against the Buccaneers and Falcons. Further, Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley is a former Seahawks defensive coordinator, just like Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. Their schemes have similarities, particularly in the way they generate pressure up front. Bradley also now has former Broncos defensive lineman Malik Jackson playing at the havoc-wreaking level he hit last year; Jackson had two sacks last week.
Jacksonville could attack Lynch as the Falcons did. But at the same time, the Broncos will adjust based off what happened in Week 5.
"From a coaching perspective, it's more us seeing what he handled that day," Head Coach Gary Kubiak said Thursday. "What he could do -- his comfort level. That's what we have to look at."
A day later, Kubiak said that Lynch is "capable of doing all the things that we've been doing," but that the game plan had to allow him to play without constriction.
"The biggest thing is to try not to overload him too much and to let him be free and let him play," Kubiak said.
What do the Broncos miss with C.J. Anderson out of the lineup?
-- Andrew Butler
It isn't just the running, although that is obviously a huge part of the equation; Anderson's abilities to make a defender miss in space, drive through contact on inside runs and attack and hit a crease as it forms has been difficult to replace.
But his presence in the huddle is equally valuable. Anderson is meticulous in his attention to detail, having learned from countless conversations with Peyton Manning. No one picked Manning's brain quite as often or extensively as Anderson, and few players have his mental acumen.
Anderson's awareness and understanding of the sport, energetic play, guidance on the sideline and leadership are missed -- just as much as his abilities with the football.
Injuries could push up the timetable, but I would expect him to be in the mix pushing for playing time in the offseason and through training camp next year.
I see Broncos fans freaking out just a little right now about missing the playoffs but if the Broncos end up with the same overall and conference record as the Dolphins wouldn't we own the third tiebreaker (record against common opponents)?**
-- Ben Morgan
Potentially. The Broncos are in the driver's seat on a potential common-opponents tiebreaker; if they defeat Tennessee or New England, they would be assured of winning this tiebreaker, as the Dolphins are already 1-3 against common foes with only a Week 17 game against New England remaining.
Lifelong Broncos fan currently living in Australia. I watched the KC game this and l thought both teams played their hearts out. Obviously I was disappointed in the outcome, but more so because I think this game was decided by the refs and not the players. I thought 2 out of three defensive penalties were questionable. I was also confused by the call on the Chiefs TD. To me, Hill's knee was clearly down before the ball broke the plane. I thought the play was dead at that point and that if he didn't have complete control, then it should have been incomplete. Also, why was this play even reviewed. I thought only scoring plays and turnovers were automatically reviewed. As it was called short on the field and not a score, how was the play reviewable in the first place. Thanks for your input in advance.
-- Dusty Robins
First, don't blame the referees. The Broncos had plenty of chances to seize the game, and didn't take them. There were some bad calls, but the game was no more decided by the officials than any other.
Second, as to Tyreek Hill's knee being down and the location of the football -- it doesn't matter until he has control of the football. It was correctly ruled a touchdown because he did not establish control until the ball was over the plane of the end zone. Now, because his knee is down and contact from an opposing player was involved, he cannot advance the football. But the play is not dead until the catch has been completed, and the spot where the football is when the knee is down and the catch is completed will be the spot at the end of the play -- which, in this case, was over the goal line.
You say it should have been incomplete because his knee was down and he did not have complete control of the football. If that were to be the case, you would never be able to make a sliding catch if a defender had contact, because your knees would be down before having control of the football. That simply isn't happening, nor should it. The call was correct.
As for the replay: In the last two minutes of each half and during overtime, replay challenges are initiated by the replay official upstairs, not by a coach throwing his red flag. This was not an "automatic review," as is the case for scores and turnovers; this was a booth-initiated review, which covers the same spectrum of plays that is eligible for a coaches' challenge during the rest of the game. This, too, was administered correctly.
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The analysis, opinion and speculation in this story represents that of the author, gathered through research and reporting, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Denver Broncos organization.