Oct 6, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Danny Trevathan (59) intercepts a pass in front of Dallas Cowboys tight end Gavin Escobar (89) in the fourth quarter of the game at AT&T Stadium. The Denver Broncos beat the Dallas Cowboys 51-48. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Broncos Country is in for a special show.
For a change, this one will not star Peyton Manning.
Come this Sunday, the Denver Broncos will have a completely healthy defense with the return of linebacker Danny Trevathan. To this point, the defense has been fun to watch. And that was without its leader.
The defense isn’t the Orange Crush, but there is reason to feel excitement about this unit. DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller have combined for five sacks. The secondary is the best it’s been in a long time. The linebackers have been effective, led by Brandon Marshall and Nate Irving.
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The best thing we can say about this defense is it’s not holding the Broncos back. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The defense won two games and kept Denver in a third against the Seattle Seahawks to have a puncher’s chance.
That’s a great sign for the Broncos.
Two seasons ago, Denver had a top five defense to go with that offense. Last year, for a myriad of reasons, the defense was awful. This defense is better and is more on par with that unit from two seasons ago.
Just how good the Broncos defense is remains to be seen, but I think it could be special. Orange Crush special? No, but if it’s even close, Denver will return to the Super Bowl.
The fact Broncos Country can talk about defense in a positive manner is a pleasant change.
What should make Broncos fans smile brightest is the talk of bringing back the Orange Crush.
Sep 21, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Denver Broncos middle linebacker Nate Irving (56) rushes the passer against the Seattle Seahawks during the fourth quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
What amps the excitement up a few more notches is the return of Trevathan. He’s the emotional leader. He’s the quarterback of the defense. And he will play with a huge chip on his shoulder since he had to miss the first three weeks of the season.
It’s unrealistic to think Trevathan will step in and play at a Pro Bowl-level. Though I wouldn’t bet against him. The influence he will have is with the guys on defense. His return will motivate his teammates to play just a skosh harder and with more enthusiasm.
This organization is known for defense and one of the greatest defenses in history (even if the rest of the country still refuses to acknowledge that fact). The Orange Crush stacks up against any of the great units to play in the NFL.
The most recent defense for people to include in that discussion is last year’s Seattle Seahawks. That unit allowed 231 points for 14.4 per game. The San Francisco 49ers from a season ago gave up 241 for 15.1 per game.
The 1985 Chicago Bears allowed 12.4 per game. The 2000 Baltimore Ravens 10.3. The 2002 Tampa Buccaneers 9.4. The 1977 Broncos gave up 6.6. The 1978 Broncos allowed 6.
If this year’s Denver team can get the points per game close to or at 17, Manning won’t lose. In his career, he’s 99-3 when his defense holds the opposition to 17 points. With the Broncos, he’s 14-0.
Given how the defense has played the first three games, and with the return of Trevathan, there’s no reason the defense can’t and won’t make that happen. The first test comes Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
Get ready, Broncos Country. The show is about to start.
Dec 22, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (8) is sacked during the third quarter by Denver Broncos outside linebacker Danny Trevathan (59) at Reliant Stadium. The Broncos defeated the Texans 37-13. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports