As the Denver Broncos prepare for their toughest task yet against a fellow AFC team in the 2-0 Miami Dolphins, the pressure rises for head coach Sean Payton to rally his team to avoid an atrocious 0-3 record start to the new campaign. As of the first two games of the season, Denver's defense under new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph has been especially lackluster despite high hopes entering the season. However, on the offensive side of the ball, the Broncos look like a brand-new unit as opposed to the previous season.
Since 1979, only three NFL teams have started the season with an 0-3 record and proceeded to make the postseason meaning there is a lot of panic at stake if Denver is not able to go out and grab a win on Sunday. If the season is going to turn around at any point relatively soon, now is the time for the Broncos to flip the script against a tough AFC opponent.
1. Create interior pressure on Tua Tagovailoa
With the Broncos matching up against the considered league MVP front-runner on Sunday, the defense is going to need to be prepared from top to bottom in regards to how they approach their game plan against Miami's passing attack. Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa is playing the best football of his career through two weeks and looks to be unstoppable as of now however, there are weaknesses the Broncos can expose and it begins with their playmakers up front.
Tagovailoa's 91.2 PFF passing grade when blitzed ranks first in the entire NFL but is not the greatest passer when receiving pressure up the middle. Like Broncos QB Russell Wilson, Tagovailoa is certainly not the tallest QB being listed at 6 foot 1 inches of height. Therefore, if Denver's interior defensive linemen including DJ Jones, Mike Purcell, Zach Allen, and Jonathan Harris can cause pressure directly in front of the fourth-year QB to force him to evade the pocket, the Broncos will have a much better chance at creating turnovers and limiting points on the board.
Tagovailoa does have leniency to anticipate throws very well, especially outside the numbers, but if Denver wishes to shake the Pro-Bowl QB on key situations, they'll have to take advantage of a weak interior offensive line and distort his vision of the middle of the field.