ENGLEWOOD – As he met the media for his weekly day-after-game sit-down Monday, Broncos coach John Fox wasn’t terribly concerned about the team’s 1-2 start — in which his team has become the only one in the league to play a pair of undefeated teams.
“There’s no panic, no ‘the sky’s falling,’” Fox said Monday.
But there are concerns about the timing and communication — both on offense and defense. The offensive issues are well-documented; Denver’s receivers dropped six passes Sunday and Manning’s completion percentage of 50 percent was his lowest in nearly three years, and three of his passes could easily have been intercepted.
But on defense, the Broncos gave up two touchdowns because the defender in coverage should have had help. On the 60-yard first-quarter pass from Matt Schaub to Andre Johnson, cornerback Tracy Porter should have been assisted by a safety coming over, but after Rahim Moore bit on the playfake, Mike Adams was too far from the play to provide any coverage help.
The same was also true when defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson got isolated on Houston running back Arian Foster in the second quarter. When Foster broke into the right flat, Vickerson should have been aided, but instead found himself in a one-on-one mismatch against a runner 100 pounds lighter.
“That guy (Vickerson) was supposed to have help,” Fox said. “It was one of our mental errors in the game. He wasn’t the lone guy in coverage on it. He almost got it, though.”
CHRIS KUPER? CALL HIM ‘MAYBE’: Denver’s first-team right guard will get a “look-see” this week, but Fox added a reminder that Kuper has yet to practice since he fractured his forearm in training camp, which means he could face a week of easing back into the routine before he returns to action.
The Broncos desperately need Kuper; Houston stunted J.J. Watt inside to attack Ramirez Sunday and he crumbled, and was a part of three sacks allowed. He also drew a holding penalty while trying to prevent another sack; the hold allowed Manning to escape and complete a 36-yard pass to Eric Decker, but the penalty nullified it.
PORTER HAD HIS INJURY BEFORE: The knee injury that sidelined cornerback Tracy Porter from the midway point of the second quarter onward Sunday was a bruise that he incurred earlier, Fox said.
“It’s an old injury that got re-tweaked,” Fox said. “He either hit the ground real hard, or something hit the knee hard.”
Fox specified three injuries: the hamstring injury to wide receiver Matt Willis (strain), the rib injury to running back Willis McGahee (cartilage) and the groin injury to tight end Jacob Tamme (strain).
Linebacker Nate Irving has “cleared up very well” after suffering a concussion Sunday, Fox said. “They’ll go through all the proper tests, and much like everybody else, he’ll be day-to-day.”