- Jeff Legwold, ESPN Staff Writer
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Bigger still better sometimes: It is certainly an odd quirk, and frankly not always logical at first blush, but a team built decidedly to be a three-wide affair on offense has now needed to go to two tight ends in each of its first two games to reset things when they have the ball. In the opener the Broncos waited 20 plays before they tried a two-tight end look, and on Sunday they didn’t do it until their first possession of the second half after they had run 40 snaps of three-wide in the first half. The result was slightly more pop in the run game and three consecutive touchdown drives to open the second half after they sprinkled it in. As quarterback Peyton Manning said, “It’s just one guy for another," but it keeps making a difference. And as Joel Dreessen gets closer to a return to the lineup after two offseason arthroscopic knee surgeries, it's something they will likely consider a little more from time to time, even as they quickly move back into a three-wide look when they feel they have a better flow.
Code yellow: Yes, referee Gene Steratore’s crew called a tight game in the secondary -- the Broncos had eight penalties called on defensive backs alone -- but Denver still has to be a more disciplined lot all around. A 132-yard penalty total is not always going to be camouflaged by an 18-point win. The taunting penalty on defensive tackle Terrance Knighton in the third quarter is part of a league push to dial down the post-play stuff. And like it or not -- and Broncos coach John Fox certainly made it clear during the game that he didn't agree with more than a few of the flags -- the Broncos have to adjust.
Confidence game: Running backs coach Eric Studesville will have some work to do with the Broncos' young backs to keep them engaged. Ronnie Hillman got just one carry against the Giants, likely a tough total to swallow for the guy who was the starter all through the offseason, and rookie Montee Ball is averaging just 2 yards a carry and lost a fumble against the Giants. The Broncos are going to need both of those players to produce when called upon, and they've had a bumpy ride in the early going.
Clady’s injury a question: A lot of what the Broncos want to do in the offensive front, especially in pass protection, is based on Ryan Clady being at left tackle. The Broncos have not shown the same pop on offense when he isn’t there. He suffered a left foot injury Sunday and was limping after the game. It will bear watching through the week, because the Broncos have a more difficult time opening up the formation when he's not in there.