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Chat Highlights with the Mile High Report

In lieu of our weekly five Q & As with opposing teams' bloggers, John Bena from SBN's Mile Hile Report was kind enough to answer questions regarding the Broncos in a FanPost here on BTB. This generated some great, hardcore football analysis of Sunday's Dallas @ Denver matchup.

To provide an overview of the discussion, we pulled five of your questions along with Bena's answers to create this post.

Make the jump for the five Q&As.

NDCowboy8: Much of the credit for the Broncos going 3-0 this season goes to the defense. Who has really stepped up on defense and really boosted the unit's play? I was also curious how much of an impact Brian Dawkins is having on the D?

MHR: There has been improvement on all three levels of the defense. Up front, Ronald Fields, along with Kenny Peterson and Ryan McBean, have been what they need to be as 3 down-linemen. They are taking up space, holding the line of scrimmage, and not allowing the OL to get to the Broncos linebackers.

There are a ton of ‘star’ players, but each of these guys is a professional that knows how to do their job. So far, it’s working.

In my mind, however, the defensive backs have been the biggest upgrades, especially at safety. Brian dawkins looks to be playing as well as ever, and Renaldo Hill and Andre Goodman were instant upgrades coming in from Miami. Then, of course, there’s Champ Bailey.

At linebacker, all the publicity goes to Elvis Dumervil because of his hot start, but Andra Davis has been a huge surprise in the middle next to D.J. Williams. He seems to be rejuvenated by getting out of Cleveland and is playing the run better than I have ever seen him. D.J. Williams is a tackling machine, and Mario Haggan was voted a caption by his teammates – which shows the type of respect he has earned.

DoomsdayD75: How is Elvis Dumervil being used in the new Broncos defense? I haven’t been able to watch him this year, but looking at the stats, he’s off to a great start (much better than Ware).

Any analysis on how Moreno is progressing would be great as well.

One last thing, where the hell is Royal? He seemed perfect for the Welker-type role in McD’s offense, but he has been non existent so far.

MHR: Dumervil – When Elvis was drafted by the Broncos I was a bit surprised because I thought he was a better fit as an OLB because his strength was his speed and long arm-reach. While only 5-10, Dumervil’s reach is that of a man 6-4 or so. When he played DE, it was a lot easier for offensive linemen to engage him, using their size to overpower him at the point of attack. Now, since he is standing up, Dumervil gets a good push, allowing him to gain leverage on his opposition.

Royal – He is perfect, but to give credit to opposing defenses they are doing a good job of doubling him, and chucking him off the line, making it tough for him to get into his routes. The Broncos have gone to the matchups that are left over – usually getting the ball to Brandon Stokley and Jabar Gaffney. Now, with Brandon Marshall coming on, I expect things to open up for Royal a bit.

Moreno - You can see with Knowshon it is only a matter of time. The injury in the pre-season, coupled with his 7 days hold out, slowed his progress but he is making up for lost time fast. Knowshon still relies on his athleticism a bit too often, but he is a load to bring down and his ‘pass pro’ is really improving each week. Knowshon, along with Correll Buckhalter, combined for 35 carries and 198 yards last week.

What has impressed me most about Dumervil is how quickly he has picked up the other facets of playing OLB – pass coverage and run defense. He has been able to quickly and effectively switch from a pass rusher to tackler in the middle of a play. He is also in great condition which allows him to play at a high level for 60 minutes.

BishopWest: The Cowboys are leading the league right now with 193.7 rushing yards per game. I know that Felix Jones is out for the Denver game, which hurts us and helps you. But even with M.Barber, T.Choice and our mauling OL, the Cowboys are very formidable in the run game.

If our OC Garrett was looking for a weak spot to run against your front seven, in your opinion, where would that weakness be?

MHR: All along I would have said right up the middle, but the Broncos have been solid inside. I still think that is your best bet, and biggest strength. With the size advantage up front, it would be smart of the ’Boys to attack the Broncos straight on instead of trying to string them out. The strength of the defense is the speed, and the best way to neutralize speed is to run right at it.

Mandmeisterx: How are the Broncos special teams? This has been one of our weaknesses for years, but it is finally starting to become a strength for us. If this game is close, as I expect it will be, special teams could be the key. Who wins the battle here?

MHR:That is a great question. From a kicking standpoint, Matt Prater was just named the Special Team Player of the Month, which bodes well. Not only has Prater been solid with long-range FGs, he is tied for the league-lead in touchbacks. The best coverage unit is one that watches the return-team kneel down in the endzone.

As for the return game, the Broncos are still searching for someone to grab that role by the horns. Peyton Hillis, Eddie Royal and LaMont Jordan have returned kicks this year, and Royal has been returning punts.

sportsfan900: Who do think will win? Yeah, I know you will say Broncos but be honest and say who might win. I'm a bit nervous about the Cowboys; this will be important to me because I want us to be in a nice position of 3-1.

MHR: For the Broncos to win, the recipe is pretty simple -

1 – Limit the Run – The Cowboys are #1 in the NFL in rushing, so this a no-brainer. Notice I said ‘limit the run’. If the Cowboys are as good a running team as they have showed so far then stopping the run completely is out of the question. What the Broncos need to do then is force the Cowboys to earn every yard. Keep the yards per carry to around 4.5 yards, instead of the 6.8 the ’Boys are averaging now.

2. No Mistakes – That has been the Broncos strength so far. They have turned the ball over only twice this season(2 fumbles) and Kyle Orton has yet to throw a pick. It is imperative that the Broncos not give the Cowboys a short field or easy points.

3. Force Mistakes – Conversely, the Broncos need to force a couple of turnovers themselves.

One thing I will say, I feel as confident as you do if the Broncos force the Cowboys to pass. The strength of the Broncos defense is the DBs. If you feel good about taking Marshall and Royal out of the game I feel the same about Bailey and Goodman taking Williams and Crayton out as well.

That leaves Witten, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Broncos double him(under-over) to try and limit him.

Thanks again to John Bena and all the MHR bloggers for your participation and insight into this game. It made for a fun week and we wish you well in all your AFC dreams. Good luck and...

...Go Cowboys!