Rookie Phillip Lindsay rare bright spot for mistake-prone Broncos

The Denver Broncos finished the first half of the season with a 3-6 record. Here's a look at how they have fared and what's ahead:

First-half rewind: The Broncos' decisions during free agency haven't panned out. Injured defensive end Clinton McDonald was released in training camp, safety Su'a Cravens spent the first half of the year on injured reserve before playing in Week 9 against the Houston Texans, punter Marquette King is on injured reserve and the Broncos are expected to release him as soon as he's healthy, cornerbacks Tramaine Brock and Adam Jones have missed time with injuries. The biggest addition, quarterback Case Keenum, hasn't played like he did with the Vikings in 2017. Grade: Below average

What needs the most improvement? The Broncos' biggest problem is getting out of their own way. They consistently play out of three-wide receiver sets on offense when they can't protect the passer and their penalties routinely stymie their efforts and negate their biggest plays. The Broncos need to fix the mistakes and stop the self-inflicted wounds.

MVP: Linebacker Von Miller has had plenty of moments when he has looked every bit the perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate he is -- he had nine sacks after nine games and center Matt Paradis had consistently played at a high level until he fractured his right fibula against the Texans. But running back Phillip Lindsay is the pick to this point given he has done so much of the heavy lifting in the season's first half and has been one of the bright spots for a team that hasn't played close to even its own preseason expectations. After nine games Lindsay leads the team in rushing, is tied for fifth in catches and has been used as a punt and kickoff returner.