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Mason's Mailbag: What the win over the Cardinals can mean

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@MasonEHartley

Should we be optimistic about the defense or was [Thursday's performance] just against an awful Arizona team? #AskMase

Why can't you be both?

Yes, Arizona appears destined for a disastrous season. It is just the third team since the 1978 rules changes to post fewer than 270 yards in each of their first seven regular-season games. The other two -- the 1992 Seahawks and the 2005 Texans -- both went 2-14. That doesn't augur well for the Cardinals' chances, even after they shook up their offensive staff Friday with the dismissal of coordinator Mike McCoy.

But the Seahawks, who played a tight game with the Broncos in Week 1, needed a last-second field goal to win at Arizona. The Bears, who sit in first place in the NFC North, escaped with a 16-14 win over the Cardinals. The Broncos were at their 2018 crest -- at least to this point -- on Thursday; the Cardinals were at their low tide, and what happened was a result of that.

Don't expect Denver's defense to outscore the opposing offense like it did Thursday. Do expect the Broncos to try and do more of what they do best: press coverage from the cornerbacks and pressure from up front. If the offense can help the defense play from ahead, the defense can use Thursday's win as a launch pad.

How many yards have the Broncos given up this year in situations of 3rd-and-10-plus yards?

-- Susan Frindt

Opponents have gained 177 yards -- or an average of 6.56 yards per play. On those 27 plays, opponents gained seven first downs -- a conversion rate of 25.9 percent that places the Broncos 27th in the league.

Chad Kelly seems to have the spark this team needs. We saw it in preseason, and when he touches the field he has the crowd behind him. The team needs that, so why not give the kid a chance to prove his worth? 

-- Steve Kellam

Kelly continues to make progress on the practice field, but he remains a developmental quarterback who does not give the Broncos the best chance to win at the moment. You need to look no further than at the Arizona Cardinals and their struggles with Josh Rosen to know that a young, inexperienced quarterback is rarely a cure-all for what ails a team. 

And as for the crowd being behind him ... how often is that not the case? The crowd is always behind a young, unproven quarterback who has played only against backups in the preseason because at that point, everything is about possibility and potential. It's all about boundless dreams until you get the ice-water wakeup that can be part of the reality of facing first-team defensive behemoths. Then it's a question of how the young quarterback responds.

Also, whoever plays quarterback for the Broncos should have the home crowd in Denver behind him, don't you think?

@KG_XV

#AskMase using different body parts and different traits from only players who have started at least one full season’s worth of games for Denver, construct your Frankenstein’s franchise QB.

Throwing arm and torso: John Elway

Mind: Peyton Manning

Accuracy: Manning

Footwork: Elway

Resilience: Elway

Swagger: Jake Plummer

Mobility: Elway (but you must tip your hat to Norris Weese, an outstanding scrambler who started seven games in the 1970s).

#AskMase football is much better when the Broncos win big. They should do that more often. Can you make sure that happens? 

-- Mike Birtwistle

I'll get right on that.

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