Thoughts about the Broncos are constantly swirling around in my head, especially this time of year. Anyone who has listened to MHR Radio knows this all too well. Often I consider writing about them right here. Most times my thoughts get covered by one of you guys and gals, the excellent members of MileHighReport.
Today, however, I figured I wanted to get some of this down on "paper". I get the sense that much of what I am thinking is being tossed around the heads of several of you so let's get it out in the open. With the Broncos on the doorstep of a divisional title, heading into another game week where the team has little chance of victory(or so we'll all hear all week) I figured now is as good a time as any to get some of these thoughts off my chest.
I'll break this up into several parts today. First, my thoughts on the loss of Peyton Hillis...
Hope is not lost because of the injury to Peyton Hillis
Before you all lynch me for saying it, hear me out. I loved what I was seeing from Hillis. I loved the fact the Broncos were re-focusing on the running game. I am a big proponenet of the running game, especially in the Mike Shanahan offense. That said, Hillis' unfortunate injury should not derail our season. We were winning games before and we should still be able to win games now. Our success as of late has been more about a committment to running the ball in general not just who was running it. The Oakland debacle is a prime example of that.
As a team, the Broncos are averaging 4.5 yards a carry. That's amazing considering the Broncos have yet to have a running back reach 100 carries. Injuries have obviously been a big part of that, but it shows the team has gotten production, when committed, from the running game. That shouldn't change with the loss of Hillis.
Hillis was also a target in the passing game, but even that had diminished as his role in the running game increased. After his 7 catch performance against the Dolphins, Hillis caight a total of 6 passes the next 4 games. It's fair to say he wasn't a big part of the passing game, at least with Daniel Graham and Tony Scheffler healthy.
I'm not saying the loss of Hillis isn't going to be felt, it will be. Anytime you lose talented football players it hurts. It isn't devastating, however. The Broncos need to continue to commit to the running game to keep defenses from dropping back and waiting for Jay Cutler passes. The personnel still exists on this team to get that done.