Ronnie Hillman seems pretty transformed this season, does he continue looking more like his SDSU self or do you think he will start to regress and look more like last year?
If by "this season" you mean "the last two games," yes, Ronnie Hillman looks to have transformed into someone of significance to the Broncos of late. Can it be sustained? That's the big question.
I have enough cynicism/realism to recognize that a two-game hot stretch for Hillman does not make him the next Jamaal Charles; he needs to keep it going. But I was certainly impressed enough by his 30-plus-yard touchdown run a week ago, where he weaved through the first line of Niners defenders and then dodged more Niners defenders in the secondary, where I'm eager to see him again this week. That was the best run of his career; hopefully it's a sign of things to come, and not an early apex.
I would say that I'm confident in Hillman this week, and I think that spells trouble for the Chargers. Am I confident in Hillman five weeks from now? No, not yet. But I'm happy with Hillman as long as he has this hot hand of his.
With Brandon Flowers being out, and our other top corner, rookie Jason Verrett, questionable, do you see the many talented Broncos WR's taking advantage of a depleted Chargers secondary?
In a word, yes. But the Chargers benefit from having backups that still have experience against Peyton Manning and this mostly same group of WRs a year ago in Richard Marshall and Shareece Wright. I'm not counting out the Chargers defense simply because they're banged up. They've given Manning trouble in the past with this mostly same group of guys.
Are there any weak points in the Broncos game that you are worried about the Chargers exploiting?
The offensive line. Dwight Freeney wants to sack his old buddy Peyton Manning for some reason - I mean, Peyton Manning is such a nice guy, what gives Dwight? - and with Denver replacing shaky right tackle Chris Clark with shakier right tackle Paul Cornick last week (and presumably this week), it could be trouble for the Broncos' offense.
Luckily Manning is good enough to offset this with quick throws, and his receivers are talented enough to gain separation quickly, but if the Chargers find a way to exploit Denver's weak link it could be a long day.
Philip Rivers has improved his pocket presence this year and gotten pretty good at avoiding sacks, how many sacks do you think Demarcus Ware and Von Miller get combined in this game?
The Broncos' sacking duo are on a staunch pace right now, and I believe it will continue this week against a depleted Chargers OL and Rivers. The Broncos have often had success sacking Rivers in the past. The thing is, that doesn't disrupt his game too much.
Even though I see Miller and Ware combining for at least two sacks (they have 15 combined in six games, and they're hotter now than they were early in the year), I'm perfectly aware that won't disrupt Rivers' passing game too much. Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby (at nickel) need to be ready for Rivers every single play.
Why do most Broncos fans hate Philip Rivers so much?
This. This. And this. What other quarterback talks smack to fans? What other quarterback has a mouth bigger than his arm? Plus, he beats you with his weird side-armed rainbow throws that touch the bottom edge of the stratosphere, take 78 seconds of game clock to reach their targets, but still somehow are perfectly timed and indefensible. It's like losing a game of chess to a kid. You recognize that your opponent is probably pretty good, but man, screw that kid.
Thanks again to Kyle for taking the time today to answer some questions.
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