Takeaways will be crucial for the Denver Broncos getting to the postseason in 2020.
In examining the 2019 Broncos and another season without a playoff berth, one key statistic sticks out to me that separates the playoff teams from the rest: Takeaways.
The Broncos were in a three-way tie for 25th in takeaways last season with just 17. They were among 15 other teams ranked in the bottom half of the takeaway standings none of which made the playoffs. They had the fifth-fewest interceptions with 10 and seventh-fewest fumble recoveries with seven.
The fact that takeaways place every team ranked 16th or worse outside the playoffs last season would suggest that the Broncos must improve. There is reason to believe that Denver can improve in this category. In 2018 the Broncos were fifth-best in takeaways with 28 and Vic Fangio's Bears defense came in first with 36. So what held last year's defense back in terms of forcing turnovers and what can or have they done to improve?
How the Broncos can create takeaways in 2020
Clearly injuries and lack of depth in the defensive backfield can be to blame for much of their lack of production. Losing Bradley Chubb early in the season and never getting the services of Bryce Callahan was clearly not part of the gameplan.
Going into this season the Broncos are hoping to have Chubb and Callahan back to full health and they added AJ Bouye and Jurrell Casey via free agency.
The fact that the offense struggled to put up points and force their opponents to play with a sense of urgency allows the opponent to play within their comfort zone meaning fewer bad decisions and mistakes.
The additions of Melvin Gordon, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler, and the rest of the draft class provide many new options along with Sutton and Fant for Drew Lock. Graham Glasgow should provide stability to the offensive line.
Question marks still abound in terms of how complete the secondary is and how they'll perform, but the hope is that the Broncos can put more pressure on the opponent with a healthy pass rush and that a revamped offense can push the pace.
Those factors should result in more takeaways and if they do statistics show the Broncos will win more games.