The Denver Broncos didn’t kick off the season as planned after Sunday’s loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Mistakes ultimately cost them, but when will they stop? This was one of several questions asked for our latest mailbag.

Denver Broncos Mailbag ahead of Week 2 vs. Washington Commanders

The Denver Broncos are back on the practice field today in preparation for Sunday’s Week 2 action against the Washington Commanders.

This is the second installment of the season for our weekly mailbag. If you’d like to participate, be sure to send an email to [email protected] or on Twitter/X @CodyRoarkNFL.

How long will it take for the Denver Broncos to consistently minimize their mistakes? – @newtype_jk47

The answer to this is hopefully soon. Sean Payton was firm this offseason in addressing how undisciplined the team looked last season from a penalty standpoint.

He’s been consistently tough on them for committing penalties during practice. Some penalties happen in a game that is viewed subjectively, but there are preventable ones like presnap and unnecessary roughness.

Kareem Jackson’s penalty this past Sunday is an example of where I’ve grown to hate the NFL rules and their limitations on defensive players. Obviously, player safety is paramount, but Jackson’s play on a key third and seven was bang-bang. It didn’t help that Jakobi Meyers appeared to have slipped on his way down, lowering the aim point for Jackson.

Sometimes, those types of penalties aren’t avoidable at the speed at which this game is played, but late hits on the quarterback can be prevented.

Aside from penalties, mistakes like missed FGs and PATs are also correctable but can’t consistently occur. Knowing what I have seen from Payton, he won’t continue to allow the avoidable mistakes to continue to happen or else he’ll make changes.

With Caden Sterns lost for this season and Damarri Mathis’ rough showing on Sunday, what are your thoughts on the Broncos’ secondary? – @BleedsorangeB

In my opinion, Caden Sterns’ injury is a massive blow to Denver’s secondary. Coming into the season, we already knew that P.J. Locke and K’Waun Williams would miss some time, but we didn’t anticipate Denver would lose another key defensive back.

Locke and Williams will be eligible to return for Week 5, which means the Broncos will have to make do with what they have from a depth standpoint.

Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson will start at safety and are a very good one-two punch. The depth behind them is what concerns me from an experience standpoint.

Delarrin Turner-Yell is in his second season and has showcased valuable growth this offseason, in my opinion. Is he ready to step in if an injury happens? I don’t have the answer to that yet. JL Skinner was a gameday health scratch in Week 1 and might not be ready yet to play an expanded role on defense.

In regards to Damarri Mathis, I think he’ll be just fine. Playing cornerback is one of the toughest positions in football, and in more cases than not, you’re going to get got.

Mathis gave up two big back-shoulder throws in the game to Jakobi Meyers, which were well-placed and perfectly executed. That’s a tough play to defend.

The panic button from Broncos fans is quick and easy, but going through ups and downs is how young guys further their development. Mathis stepped up for the Broncos in a big-time way last season and has earned the right to bounce back here in Week 2.

His biggest key is getting back to the fundamentals and ensuring he doesn’t lose his confidence. I think we see him have a bounce-back game.

What was more concerning to you? The defense not getting a stop in the final five minutes, Lutz leaving four points on the field, or the offense scoring three points in the second half? – Joshua Hansen

I think there are some concerning aspects to each situation you mentioned, but let’s look at it a bit closer.

Defensively, the Broncos needed to find a way to get off the field and didn’t make enough plays on that final drive. If Jackson’s penalty doesn’t happen, Denver likely gets the ball back, but the penalty gave the Raiders a first down.

Lutz missing an extra point and a 55-yard field goal are tough because in hindsight, if he makes them, the Broncos and Raiders would have played each other differently in the fourth quarter.

Of course, you don’t want the offense to score three points in the second half, but they didn’t have as many drives collectively as most teams do around the NFL.

The missed FG came in the second half after Phillip Dorsett stepped out of bounds on that sideline seam Russell Wilson threw to him. Maybe Denver would come away with a touchdown on that drive if he didn’t step out; maybe they would still settle for a field goal. It’s tough to pinpoint.

Denver’s second possession of the second half resulted in the field goal that gave them the 16-14 lead. Everybody would have preferred a touchdown, but you must take what is given to you.

After rewatching the film, there’s so much they can do to adjust and fix some of the little things that impacted them, but I’d still expect it to take time.

Russell Wilson’s legs looked so much better on Sunday than last year. Could we see some designed runs for him like Payton did with Taysom Hill? – Joel Johnston

Wilson looked very mobile and able on Sunday. For Broncos fans, that was a promising sign to see from him.

We didn’t see any designed runs against the Raiders on Sunday, and I think that was primarily due to how Vegas plays their defensive front.

Maxx Crosby is a hard player to try and run a read option against because of how disciplined and dominant he is, but I think Payton will design some plays for Russ if he sees holes in some defenses Denver will face.

We saw him dial up a few in the preseason when Denver took on the San Francisco 49ers. His athleticism is right where it needs to be, but I think we’ll see it occasionally when Denver needs a big play. Payton’s playcalling will likely introduce it at the right time.