Nov 16, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey (12) is tackled by Denver Broncos outside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) and strong safety Quinton Carter (38) during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams won 22-7. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
There has been a trend when it comes to the Denver Broncos three losses this season. The teams they were playing were more physical and pushing them around. Even going back to the dreaded Super Bowl last February, the Seattle Seahawks pushed Peyton Manning and company around. They did show signs of life and physicality in the rematch to an extent, but looking at the two losses to the New England Patriots and St. Louis Rams, they basically cloned the Seahawks Super Bowl strategy and used it to push the Broncos around and really have their way with them.
While the Broncos are still one of the favorites to reach the Super Bowl and win it, I question how physical the team can get when their backs are up against a wall. They have yet to show that fight or flight response when they are down during a game. This team just looks like they want to give up when the opponent becomes more physical with them. They lose their will to stage a comeback and come out on top. They used this response quite well the first two weeks of the season when both the Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs were trying to come back, but the Broncos stopped them when it matter most because they had the will to do what they could to come out of the game with a win.
Now I am not saying the linemen need to commit bad penalties or the receivers get called for offensive pass interference, but perhaps growing thicker skin and proving to their opponent that they are not easily intimidated would be a start.
They can begin by addressing the issue at offensive line. The shuffle a few weeks ago proved to help to some extent, but they are still getting pushed around in pass protection and in the running game. As much as I do not want to admit this, but perhaps it would be in the best interest for the Broncos to look at Richie Incognito. I know he had the whole scandal with the Dolphins and his character is questionable at best, but he is a physical linemen who would do whatever it takes to protect his quarterback. If he was asked to protect perhaps one of the best quarterbacks to play in today’s game, he would accept without any question.
Next on the agenda is the running back situation. While Ronnie Hillman, according to reports, has at least one week left on the sidelines they should fully utilize C.J. Anderson. He was perhaps the most effective offensive player the entire game when he had his opportunities. And I say this without any hesitation, but put the ball in C.J. Anderson’s hands and see what he can do carrying the football for you. He showed he can do a lot against Oakland, but was not given many chances against St. Louis. And if you want to get even more physical, perhaps adding a dash of Juwan Thompson would not hurt either. He is that bruiser that can lay a beatdown when he carries the football and truck opponents to clear space. He could be that vital third down and short back to help the team get the first down instead of running these ridiculous pass plays on third and short. With the injuries, we might see a bit of Kapri Bibbs in the matchup with Miami. He can provide the speed that Hillman has.
My final point on how the Broncos can get more physical is to place Andre Caldwell on the sidelines and put in Cody Latimer. He can be a huge physical threat in the receiving game, especially in the red zone. It completely baffles me that the Broncos have not used him in these types of situations yet. Have a first and goal at the five? Have Manning throw the ball in Latimer’s direction and let him fight for the ball.
If the Broncos are serious about wanting to win another Super Bowl, it is time to drop the conservative, playing it safe game and time to play some real smash mouth football and get into their opponents faces, use the Orange Crush defense, and show the league that they are men ready for battle instead of scared little boys.