From a fan’s perspective, the Denver Broncos are a well-oiled machine that is beautiful to watch. From a player’s perspective, there is apparently a lot to work on.
While the Broncos coaches and players realize that they are currently part of something that is not just special–it’s unheard of–they are also not ignorant to the fact that things could be tighter all around.
Specifically, in the Broncos’ 52-20 victory over the Eagles, you’d think you could find it difficult to find flaws in the team’s performance, but they were upset about giving up a fourth quarter touchdown to Nick Foles and the Eagles’ backups on offense. They also pointed out a drive that was pushed back and out of scoring range thanks to an unnecessary roughness penalty called on running back Knowshon Moreno.
As long as we’re nit-picking, there were also a couple of drops by Eric Decker, there was a sack allowed, and the defense did not force any turnovers while giving up 450 total yards to the Eagles’ offense.
So you see, the Broncos are dominating, but they are not yet perfect. And that’s what they are striving to be.
“Yeah, we’ve got a lot of things to work on,” said wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. “We talk about not getting any negative plays. We want to go out and keep the ball going forward — first down, second down, first down. When we can do that, it might be a perfect game.”
The scary thing for opposing teams is, the Broncos are missing their top two defenders right now on a defense that last year was among the best in the NFL. The Denver D has given up some garbage points, but they’ve also given up a lot of yards which hasn’t set really well with the team. The more yardage the defense is giving up, the less Peyton Manning has the ball. Two special teams touchdowns had something to do with it, but the Broncos had just 10 possessions against the Eagles offensively compared to 11 for the Eagles, which is also very scary.
When you consider the fact that Denver is missing not only departed Elvis Dumervil (11 tackles, 2 sacks in four games) but suspended Von Miller and injured Champ Bailey, it’s hard to believe the defense has had the success that it has through the first quarter of the season.
Incredibly–or maybe not–the Broncos have 11 sacks through four games compared to just five for their opponents, and are currently on pace to have two defensive players with 14 sacks on the season (Robert Ayers, Shaun Phillips).
The point of this whole rant is this — the Broncos can get better. Way better.
Adding Von Miller and Champ Bailey to this Denver defense is a remarkable prospect when you consider exactly what those two players bring to the table. Miller is arguably the best pass rusher in the NFL, and he completely changes things for the Denver defense as a whole. Champ Bailey, though heavily criticized for his performance in last year’s playoffs, is still a shut-down cornerback who will pair with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who has stepped into the #1 cornerback role more than admirably.
With the emergence of some young players on the Denver defense like Duke Ihenacho, Danny Trevathan, and even a guy like Robert Ayers, it’s clear that this team has room to grow. The Broncos haven’t scored 50 points but one time this year, but I wouldn’t discount it as the only time they’ll do so.
The Broncos realize the difficulty of scoring 50 points in an NFL game, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to be trying to do it again.
“You’re not going to put up 50 every week. But we’re definitely striving for it,” said cornerback Champ Bailey.
The pace the Broncos are on right now is astounding, and it’s pretty remarkable to think that it can get better from here.