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(Graphic by K.J. Rigli/Bonneville Denver)
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Mile High Monday: Toothless defense, Bolles is Bolles, the Pats are trolls

(Graphic by K.J. Rigli/Bonneville Denver)

The Broncos are not off to a good start in 2019. They lost their home opener to the Bears on Sunday by a score of 16-14.

The lack of talent on this team is obvious – on both sides of the ball. I just don’t think the Broncos are good enough to be lucky. That’s the intersection of preparation and opportunity – and the Broncos are falling short in both categories overall.

I like the fire that some Broncos are showing – even in a loss. There are quality players on this team that hate to lose, but there’s simply not enough of them.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep TJ. The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

***

No Sacks, Big Problem

The Broncos defense is supposed to be better than this. One of the biggest surprises this year is the fact that this team does not have a single sack through two games. I thought for sure this defense would be elite in 2019, and I felt that both Bradley Chubb and Von Miller could each push for 12-plus sack seasons.

Instead, it seems like opponents have the Broncos defense figured out.

Chubb is not making excuses, but he did explain what has happened to the team’s pass rush.

“Watch the film. They’re getting the ball out fast and chipping us. A whole bunch of stuff is going on. We can’t control everything. We’re just trying to play to the best of our abilities. That’s the one thing that me and Von (Miller) come in every day and do, just be the best us and don’t try to count sack numbers like you all do. Just go out there and play football,” Chubb said.

Miller was down after the game, and he certainly takes the lack of production personally. He’s said before that he hates when he doesn’t do his job and he feels his primary job is getting after the passer and getting him to the ground.

“We’ve just got to keep playing. I’ve got to find a way to do my job. No matter how fast they throw it. It’s a double loss for Von today,” Miller said.

The Broncos are traveling to face the Packers in Week 3. Their quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, is one of the best in the game and he’s athletic enough to avoid the pass rush. Green Bay has allowed him to be sacked seven times this year through two weeks. Perhaps the Broncos can add to that total in Week 3. They need to get this defense on track, and hunting the quarterback should be what they’re best at.

***

Replacing Bolles Not an Option…Yet

Garett Bolles is not playing good football and he hasn’t for two-plus seasons as a starter. He had the worst game of his pro career against the Bears on Sunday with four holding calls that left him perplexed as to why. When the Broncos were at halftime, and Bolles only had three holding calls, I thought maybe the team would bench him for the second half.

Needless to say, that didn’t happen.

Instead, Bolles remained as the starting left tackle and continued to struggle against All-Pro Khalil Mack. After the game, Broncos head coach Vic Fangio had some startling comments about the much-maligned 2017 first-round pick.

“We have the best offensive line coach in the business here (Mike Munchak), and Garett’s going to learn from this game. They have some good players and he’s going to learn from it. He’ll move on, but he’s our left tackle and he’s going to be our left tackle and he needs to play without holding. Again, I haven’t seen the plays that he was called for, so my comments are a little bit of the ignorant nature right now,” Fangio said.

His comments are startling because Fangio seems bullish on keeping Bolles as the starter. I understand that he’s going to be a team-first guy and not blast on one of his players after just two weeks of football. However, it would be interesting and revealing if he said the team was going to look for upgrades at the position.

A team should always be looking to add better talent. There may not be an option for the Broncos on the roster to replace Bolles – mainly because right tackle Ja’Wuan James is hurt and backup Elijah Wilkinson is now starting there. Perhaps it’s time for the team to look outside the building to upgrade their left tackle.

***

Pay the Troll Toll

The Patriots might be the most hated team in the league. Sure, if you’re a New England fan, you love all the championships and you love the tears of the “haters” that think you’ve cheated your way to a few of those Super Bowl victories. However, if you’re like most non-Patriots fans who love football, you hate this team with the fire of 1,000 suns.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick doesn’t care about your feelings. On Sunday against the Dolphins, Belichick seemed to be trolling his opponent – and Patriots haters – with his early usage of controversial wide receiver Antonio Brown.

While the Patriots were drubbing the Dolphins by a score of 43-0, they were doing it mostly with the veteran receiver they signed last week after the Raiders let him go. Brown, accused of raping a woman with a civil court case pending, was allowed to play by the league and Belichick wasted no time in getting him involved.

It seemed like Tom Brady wanted to emphasize what Brown could be to this offense and targeted him on multiple occasions right at the start. As the game went on, Brown compiled eight targets from Brady. He turned those opportunities into a four-catch, 56-yard performance and scored a receiving touchdown.

The Patriots didn’t have to do much to beat the hapless and obviously-tanking Dolphins. They just wanted to use Brown early to show the rest of the league just how dangerous he could be in their system. In a way, the Patriots were trolling the entire league with their usage of Brown.

***

Dog Days

On Sunday, my family bought a dog. I was working most of the day, but we had been looking at Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden for a family pet.

I was so happy we found this new addition to our family. Growing up on a ranch, I understand how important a dog can be to your workforce and your household. Yes, I grew up with cow-dogs mostly, but we did have one house dog when I was little.

Having a pet is a big responsibility, but it is so rewarding because of the love and joy you get from each other. I’m glad my daughters will now be able to experience having a pet at home and getting used to what dog ownership is all about.

If you see my walking our new dog in Roxborough sometime, say hi!