Ahead of the Ravens’ game Sunday against the Denver Broncos, The Baltimore Sun and Denver Post traded five questions worth considering.
1. Demaryius Thomas has long been the big name among the Broncos' wide receivers, but Emmanuel Sanders seems like he's stepped up his game as Thomas' has fallen off some. Whom do you think defensive coordinators should be more worried about this season?
Sanders … and then rookie Courtland Sutton because of his ability to win on the deep routes. Thomas is a starter and plays starter-level snaps, but I’ve charted him with five drops (plus two penalties) in two games. Sanders struggled with an ankle injury last year, but he’s healthy and clearly has a connection with quarterback Case Keenum.
2. If he plays Sunday, Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley probably won't be 100 percent. James Hurst was somewhat underwhelming at right tackle Thursday. How long does it normally take for Von Miller to "figure out" the pass protection and start getting to the quarterback?
As a veteran, Miller has undoubtedly spent the week lining up which moves he’s going to use at which time. The guessing game for teams is where Miller will be at the snap. Against Seattle, he worked over right tackle Germain Ifedi. Against Oakland, he beat right tackle Donald Penn for a sack.
3. What do you think is the greatest threat that running back Phillip Lindsay poses to a defense?
Whom do you assign to cover him? A linebacker or a safety? Lindsay would have the advantage over a linebacker because of his speed and shiftiness. Put a safety on him, and that could make a defense vulnerable in another matchup. What has been surprising about Lindsay is his ability to gain yards within the basic game plan. He’s not just a change-of-pace guy. He can give you 5 to 6 yards on first-and-10.
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4. The Broncos offense has been among the league's most productive through two games, even with Case Keenum's four interceptions. Do you think Denver's offense will end up among the NFL's best, or is it too small a sample size to fairly judge?
They’re probably in the middle — I think I predicted them in the Nos. 12-15 range heading into the season. Keenum had three touchdowns against Seattle (but also three interceptions), and then one interception and no touchdowns against Oakland. If he can be more efficient in limiting turnovers, this offense has a chance to be dynamic.
5. Who's a Broncos player Ravens fans should be monitoring Sunday?
— Running back Phillip Lindsay: Undrafted rookie free agent has been one of the NFL’s biggest surprises.
— Tight end Jake Butt: Missed last year with an ACL injury sustained in the 2016 Orange Bowl but is effective after the catch.
— Outside linebacker Von Miller: Do like opponents do for Terrell Suggs and watch where he lines up on every play.
— Cornerback Chris Harris: The Broncos’ best cornerback, he traditionally moves into the slot in sub-package defense.