A huge reason why the Denver Broncos have lost their first three games of the season is because of their defense. The Broncos defense was top-tier in the 2022-23 season with Ejiro Evero as the defensive coordinator. They were 7th-best in total yards per game (320.0), they allowed 109.80 rushing yards, 210.20 passing yards per game respectively, and 21.0 points per game. So far this season with Vance Joseph, the defense has been awful. On average, they have allowed 40.61 points, 291.67 passing yards, and 177.67 rushing yards per game.
There were not many changes to the defense regarding the players. It is almost the same as last season, and so far in 2023, something very noticeable that has led to the defensive struggles is tackling.
Just for you to get an idea, the Broncos' defense had eight missed tackles against the Las Vegas Raiders in week 1, 11 missed tackles in week 2 against the Washington Commanders, and 24 missed tackles in week 3 against the Miami Dolphins.
These missed tackles led to big plays for the opposing's team offense, obviously. I do not know exactly why this happens, but it seems that the defensive players have a lack of effort and timing. Just for you to get an idea of the importance of tackling, the Broncos' defense is 20th in the league in tackles with 124, and if the 43 previously mentioned were not missed tackles, Denver's defense could have had them 2nd-best in the NFL with 167, just behind the New York Jets (171). Obviously, every team has missed tackles, but it is a hypothetical case...
Missing tackles can obviously lead to the opposing offense scoring points, and they are also missed opportunities for sacks.
Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton talked about the missed tackles from the defense and said the following ...
""I think it’s a byproduct of a couple things: leverage, speed. When you’re a half-step behind ... we haven’t even talked about causing turnovers. When you’re a half-step behind, the last thing you’re thinking about is stripping the ball carrier. You’re thinking about just getting them down. It felt like with each run ... it felt that way when we watched the game live and then watching the tape this morning. There were a number of them. They were nine or 10 yards, but a tackle away from it being a 30-yard touchdown. When you’re a half-step or a half-gap behind, you’re going to be more arms and not in control. Your balance ... you’re not in a position to tackle properly.""- Sean Payton (via Broncos PR)
Another problem for the Broncos defense is turnovers. The Broncos' defense only has one defensive turnover, yes one, and it was in week one against the Raiders thanks to a deflected pass by Alex Singleton, which ended up in a Kareem Jackson interception in the red zone. Since then, they have had zero turnovers.