Paul Klee’s three other thoughts on the Chargers’ visit to Empower Field at Mile High

Shoveling snow with Vic Fangio

Vic Fangio, a career-long renter, last week discovered the duties of homeownership. The Broncos coach was charged with shoveling snow at his Greenwood Village home. The real work begins if the Broncos roll with a rookie starter at quarterback, Drew Lock. First on the to-do list: patience. When Lock debuted in the preseason Fangio responded with a direct assessment: “I was hoping for more, but not surprised.” After Lock completed 7 of 11 passes for 34 yards, Fangio suggested Missouri’s spread scheme on offense does not translate to the NFL. Let’s see if the Broncos bend to fit Lock’s skillset and know-how instead of the other way around. Will they put him in the shotgun, even a pistol formation? It’s where Lock has the most experience. “I think he’s made progress each and every day,” Fangio said Friday, declining to make Lock’s NFL debut official.

What’s happened to Von Miller?

‘Tis the season for trimming Von Miller’s snap count. After experimenting with Miller playing at least 90 percent of the snaps over the first half of the season, he played 79, 82 and 80 percent of the snaps the past three weeks. Plus, Miller didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday of last week. “If he’s healthy enough to play and he feels good about it, he’ll play,” Fangio said. This won’t go down as one of Vonnie Football’s memorable seasons. He’s had more games without a sack than games with a sack. He’s on pace for his fewest sacks since 2013, when Miller was limited nine games due to a suspension and, later, a season-ending knee injury. This will also be the second season since Miller entered the NFL he doesn’t make the Pro Bowl (2013). If the Fangio era has any hope of turning successful, he must draw far more production out of Miller.

Drew Lock’s mission: Raise a low bar on offense

Perhaps it should comfort Drew Lock that the bar for good offense is so low. The Broncos are on track for their fewest points since 1992, when John Elway suffered a shoulder injury that derailed a promising 7-3 start to the season. (Denver lost four straight with rookie quarterback Tommy Maddox. Ahem.) The ticker right now shows 15.9 points per game. If that figure holds, the Broncos have scored fewer points only seven times in their history. What’s gone wrong? Ironic, but it’s been the death-by-inches mantra that Vic Fangio promised to prevent: Penalties, missed blocks, third-down struggles, dropped passes, on and on. “Those things have hurt us,” coordinator Rich Scangarello said. With a rookie quarterback, mistakes elsewhere must be trimmed down.

(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)


Load comments