Oct 5, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Juwan Thompson (40) scores a touchdown during the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 41-20. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
For the first time all season, the running game has life.
I just thought of the scene from “Frankenstein.” “It’s alive. It’s alive.”
How or why that life happened for the Denver Broncos doesn’t matter. With as awful as it was for 3 3/4 games, you don’t have the luxury of being picky.
Still, who would have thought Ronnie Hillman would be the lifeblood to the Broncos rushing attack? Juwan Thompson also had success when he got the chance, capped off by the undrafted rookie’s first-career touchdown.
What does that mean going forward?
Montee Ball is out at least a few weeks with a groin injury. Does that mean he’s done in the Mile High City? Denver worked out a few backs, Mikel LeShoure and LaRod Stephens-Howling, but won’t sign them. With the success the Broncos had, why would they? It’s the first time all season they’ve walked off the field feeling good about the ground game. You don’t mess with that mojo.
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It’s huge for this team and offense to have life in an aspect of its game that was nonexistent. The Broncos offensive line can now see what it did right but also what it can improve upon to get even better. Since Hillman and Thompson had success when they got the chance, they can fine-tune certain aspects with the offensive line. They can find out what works, what needs to improve and then do it in practice. That’s where the continued success will come from. Now Denver has the motivation to do that.
Whether that means Hillman remains the guy remains to be seen. The success he had has to help his confidence as well. All he’s heard since the Indianapolis Colts game last season is how much of a bum he is.
From the interviews I’ve heard Thompson conduct with various outlets across Denver, he will eventually become the guy for the Broncos. Don’t be surprised if that happens this Sunday against the New York Jets.
Thompson has a great head on his shoulders. He’s bright and he gets it. But most of all, he wants to be the best and he knows it will take work to make that happen.
Despite what some think, Thompson is a great blocker. He’s strong on special teams. Heck, if it comes to it, Thompson can play linebacker as he did in college at Duke. One aspect to consider when it comes to Thompson is who coached him in college. David Cutcliffe, the man who was Peyton Manning’s offensive coordinator at Tennessee and the man he still trusts to this day when it comes to his play. Talk about a huge in for Thompson.
As I’ve said before, the best comparison for his running style is Terrell Davis. I’m not saying and have never said Thompson will be Davis. That’s simply how he plays and runs.
Thompson has the vision, first-step cut, quickness, speed and power that Davis had. Thompson also has the desire to be great. He knows he has to get better. To earn the trust of PFM that’s a huge first step. Over time he will develop into that lead back for Denver.
It could happen this Sunday against the Jets.
Time will tell if this success in the ground game continues. Here’s saying it does and Thompson takes control.
For now, at least the Broncos rushing attack has life.
Oct 5, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (23) is tackled by Arizona Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson (22) during the second half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 41-20. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports