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Broncos undefeated, but offense must improve 20th ranking in red zone

Denver averaging 3.83 points per red zone visit
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Posted at 5:10 PM, Sep 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-19 19:11:13-04

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Trevor Siemian boasts an interesting launch to his career. By coach Gary Kubiak's measure, the seventh-rounder has put the Broncos in position to score on 13 drives in two weeks.

Denver punted twice against the Colts, an "amazing" statistic, Kubiak said. Yet, unnerving numbers exist that demand improvement if the Broncos are to remain undefeated.

Entering Sunday's first road game at Cincinnati, the Broncos rank 20th in red zone scoring with 23 points. Only five teams are scoring less per visit than the Broncos' average of 3.83. Siemian has shown accuracy and poise, but has been unable to covert inside the 20. The Broncos are one of four teams without a passing score in the red zone, joining the Cowboys, Rams and Bengals. 

"We threw the heck out of the ball, but there are plays that we have to make that are the difference in putting points on the board and not putting points on the board. There has to be some growth there from his standpoint and our standpoint as coaches," Kubiak said. 

As the field shrinks, challenges grow for quarterbacks. The windows become tighter, the defenses more aggressive. Siemian's command at the line of scrimmage belies his youth. But he understandably makes plays that show his inexperience. The Broncos options against the Colts became more limited after the ground game failed on third-and-1 twice.

"That kills drives right there," Kubiak said. "We're struggling in the red zone on both sides of the ball. Our defense is at the bottom of the barrel in the league and offensively we're 2-for-6, which is not good. That's very important for us to improve upon."

Siemian has connected on 40 of 59 passes, ranking seventh in the NFL in completion percentage. The Broncos are moving the ball. But to continue moving forward, they need to cross the finish line, er, goal line.

"There is some stuff we need to clean up and get better at," said Siemian, who is only the fourth drafted Broncos quarterback to win his first two starts. "We need to make it a little easier on our defense. I think we have a chance to be a heck of a group."

 

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