ENGLEWOOD – They are flawed but also strikingly more talented.
Bradley Chubb, Jared Veldheer, Courtland Sutton, Phillip Lindsay, Jake Butt, Adam Jones, Royce Freeman – and, oh yes, Case Keenum -- are all talent upgrades for the 2018 Broncos.
From a pure talent standpoint, there may have been a drop-off with the loss of cornerback Aqib Talib. But ultimately the Broncos felt there are better ways to spend $11 million than on a 32-year-old cornerback.
Mix in holdovers like Von Miller, Emmanuel Sanders, Derek Wolfe, Chris Harris and Matt Paradis and talent overcame mistakes Sunday when the Broncos defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 27-24, in the season opener at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.
It is perhaps an early sign of a burgeoning playoff contender that with the suspect Oakland Raiders up next, the Broncos will spend the week talking more about their mistakes than their accomplishments.
“You can’t give a good football team three turnovers,’’ Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said at his day-after-game press conference Monday, referring to Keenum’s three interceptions. “In Pete Carroll’s (time) he’s been 24-3 with three-plus turnovers. Last year, I think teams that had three-plus turnovers lost 90 percent of the time. … So, you can’t do that.
“But that being said, I told our team about 10 minutes ago that stat is a team stat. That can’t be a Case stat. We gave them three, but we took three of them away. So, at the end of the day it’s even for our team and that’s what we look at.’’
Turnovers were one problem. Giving up the big play was another. The Broncos allowed a 66-yard catch-and-run to rookie tight end Will Dissly and a 51-yard touchdown to receiver Tyler Lockett.
Those two plays netted 117 yards. There were also 24-yard gains on a hurdling run by Seattle running back Chris Carson and another 24-yard catch-and-run by Dissly.
The Denver D otherwise allowed a mere 141 yards on Seattle’s other 51 plays.
“It’s good to win,’’ Joseph said. “Our standards can’t be measured by who we play. It’s got to be by how we play.
“So, I told my guys, I’m excited about the win, but we can play better. We have higher standards than that, especially defensively, not giving up four explosive plays. Yes, we’re satisfied to win but we understand it’s a long year, it’s only week one and we’re going to play good teams on the road, so we can’t play that way and expect to win.’’