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Chiefs vs. Broncos: Five questions with the enemy

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We welcome in Mile High Report for five questions on the Broncos heading into the Chiefs game at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s note: We welcome in Denver Broncos writer Casey Barrett of Mile High Report for “Five questions with the enemy,” leading into the Kansas City Chiefs’ matchup with the Broncos on Sunday.


1) What’s the feeling in Denver about all the recent off-field distractions (Halloween party, Chad Kelly release, ownership struggle)?

BARRETT: Ugh. The feelings are all over the place. A majority have dismissed the Halloween party, mostly because this party is held every year. It’s held at a venue, with security, the whole nine yards (pun intended?). The costumes of two players fueled an unfortunate false headline. Now, the speculation around Chad Kelly is also all over the place. Rumors of incidents with players, security at the party, etc. I’ve seen lots of media heads tweet plenty of happenings, but I haven’t seen any corroboration from anyone that could clear up the message. That being said, Chad Kelly still screwed up. In a huge way. He was one bad Case Keenum game away from getting a starting chance with the Broncos and instead found himself in handcuffs. A lot of people within Broncos Country wanted to see him get a second chance, but had to be reminded that being drafted, even as “Mr. Irrelevant,” was his sixth or seventh “second chance” for his entire football career. There are plenty of murmurs about how upset the players and organization are with Chad Kelly, but that episode is over now—time to move on. Regarding the ownership situation... I’m not a lawyer. There are many in the media who have easily been able to find quite a few quotes and notes from Pat Bowlen (Mr. B) and his wishes for the future of the team. This is going to take much longer than I think most of us want it to, and it’s only just begun. After all that off-field stuff, the thing that really bothered me the most was the Demaryius Thomas trade rumors. Everyone was really high on how well the team played in their 45-10 win over the Cardinals, and they start off the week announcing that the number one receiver is on the trade block? That made zero sense to me, and still seems like a foolish time to make that knowledge public.

2) Denver is coming off quite a dominant performance over the Arizona Cardinals. Besides Arizona not being all that great, what was different?

NFL: Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

BARRETT: Attitude. Instead of reacting to how the Cardinals were trying to play, the team, especially the defense, was dictating to the Cardinals how they wanted to play. I felt like in the first matchup against Kansas City, the defense spent the entire game trying to react to what Patrick Mahomes and co. were doing, instead of letting loose and doing...anything. Granted, it apparently helped the Broncos defense wake up having Von Miller proclaim that they would “kick their ass.” He doesn’t talk like that much, but thankfully for him, the team, and Broncos Country, people listened. That being said, the Cardinals are still really, really bad.

3) Royce Freeman won’t play against Kansas City. Is there another running back who will step up for a time-share or do you anticipate it to be the Phillip Lindsay Show?

NFL: Denver Broncos at New York Jets Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

BARRETT: Well, we have Devontae Booker. Although I’m not too sure what that means. I expect the ‘Phillip Lindsay Show,’ but Booker has go to contribute more than good pass blocking to help the offense be productive. Booker has shown flashes of real creativity, and real power, but lacks consistency. But the man can throw a mean block. I also look for Andy Janovich to be a bigger contributor, especially with the Broncos TE situation being, well, we’re not sure what the TE situation is even supposed to look like. We know what we’d like it to look like.... cough Travis Kelce-ish... cough.... ahem, pardon me.

4) Case Keenum has throw an interception in every game this season. Has it been more because of bad decisions or bad luck?

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

BARRETT: Both. There’s very little doubt about that. He has made some poor decisions, but he’s also made some great decisions, with poor throws (recall WAY, WAY overthrowing DT for a score late against the Chiefs). To me, Case Keenum hasn’t looked relaxed like he was last year with the Vikings. His body language appears more uptight. I wish I knew why, but we at Mile High Report have all speculated on the reasons: Is it coming to Denver with high expectations? Is it playing under John Elway, who also carries high standards? Is it having the starting role handed over to him, whereas in Minnesota he really didn’t have much to lose coming in from the back up position? Or was last season just a fluke? I’d like to think it’s just a mental hurdle he needs to get over. One thing I do know, is that patience is in short supply in Denver.

5) We know about Von Miller, but who is another lesser known player on the Broncos defense to watch? Why?

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

BARRETT: For this week, I’ll give you two to watch. DB Tramaine Brock (No. 22) and S Will Parks (No. 34). Brock has missed four games this season due to a nagging groin injury. There are a few out there that are still high on this guy—it would be great for him to play well enough to get me on his bandwagon. Will Parks will be the main guy at safety this week, filling in for the injured Darian Stewart. This is another player that has shown some really good stuff. But, he also shown some not so good stuff. He’s another guy on this roster that needs to find consistency within his play. I’m hoping that with Adam Jones returning to the lineup, he’ll be able to lay down some veteran wisdom for Parks to step up and have an outstanding game.

Bonus: score prediction

BARRETT: The Broncos will have to play a next to perfect game to have a shot at this. The Chiefs will also have to make some mistakes that Denver will have to capitalize on, and not just getting a turn over to kick a field goal. The teams that are in the second season are the ones that can turn takeaways into six points, not three. I felt like that four short weeks ago, Denver played well, but there were moments of being out coached. These kinds of mistakes, or miscues, or mis-whatevers cannot occur if the Broncos want to keep this a close game. They’re not in Denver this time, maybe that will help. My real fear is, I have yet to see the Broncos play perfectly. Perfection was almost there last week against a dismal Cardinals team, but that’s not going to cut it against this high powered and creative Chief’s offense. They have to be better, and I haven’t seen that yet. With that in mind, unless perfection finds it’s way into Arrowhead, the Chiefs win 37-24.