The pieces are coming together. The Broncos have composed nearly their entire coaching staff, which is set to meet for the first time at the Senior Bowl in eight days.
The key ingredient missing, however, is the oh-so important defensive coordinator. For the Broncos, that’s like omitting flour from a batch of pancakes.
The Broncos are considering one of John Fox’s former colleagues at Carolina and current Packers’ defensive line coach, Mike Trgovac. If the Packers lose on Sunday, the Broncos would be able to request permission to interview him on Sunday evening after the game. If the Packers win, the Broncos will have to wait until the Super Bowl is over to interview him.
Fox would like to have his coaching staff set in the next week so the group can meet with the team’s scouting department.
The fact that the Broncos don’t have a defensive coordinator yet is very bothersome. Let me throw some fun defensive facts out there for you prior to Championship weekend.
The four remaining teams left in title contention are playing this late in the season for one reason: Defense.
When the regular season ended, not one of the four teams finished worse than 6th in total defense. The Steelers were 1st, allowing just 14.5 points per game, the Packers were 2nd, the Bears were 4th, and the Jets were 6th. As we know the Broncos gave up 29.4 points per game which put them dead last in total defense.
The next interesting fact was that whether or not a team was strong in pass defense or rush defense, no team was ranked worse than 5th in their particular area of strength.
Chicago Bears – 2nd rush defense/20th pass defense
Green Bay Packers – 18th rush defense/5th pass defense
Pittsburgh Steelers – 1st rush defense/12th pass defense
New York Jets – 3rd rush defense/6th pass defense
To compare, the Broncos finished the season 31st in rush defense and 25th in pass defense.
The final piece of the puzzle for the Super Bowl contenders is their ability to make big plays in one way or another.
Chicago Bears – Ranked 2nd in forced fumbles (23), and ranked 5th in interceptions (21)
Green Bay Packers – Ranked 2nd in sacks (47), and ranked 2nd in interceptions (24)
Pittsburgh Steelers – Ranked 1st in sacks (48), 4th in forced fumbles (20), and 6th in interceptions (21)
New York Jets – Ranked 6th in forced fumbles (17), and ranked 8th in sacks (40)
Again to compare, the Broncos were ranked 32nd in sacks (23), and 31st in interceptions (10).
The season ending injury to Elvis Dumervil really dropped the big-play numbers at the line and in the secondary where quarterbacks are more likely to throw picks when pressured up front. However, the issues surrounding the Broncos defense run deeper than Dr. Doom’s absence.
The hiring of the right defensive coordinator is absolutely imperative to get the Broncos back on the winning track. The numbers don’t lie. There’s a reason why the Steelers, Bears, Packers, and Jets are still playing right now, and it comes down to defense.
Offense may win a game here and there, but it’s true what they say. Defense wins championships – or at least puts you in the position to win one.
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