The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
At the beginning of the season, after such a disastrous start to the playoffs in the previous year, the Denver Broncos defense faced challenges. Loss of Doom. Loss of coaches, namely Dennis Allen. New system under Del Rio. Loss of Miller.
And our opening game was against the Super Bowl Champion Ravens. A tall order. As EVERYONE on the planet knows, the Broncos won that game, and the subsequent three that followed.
By ranking of yards per Game, Broncos defense are ranked 25th with allowing 390. Points per game, Denver is ranked a median 16th in the league.
However math doesnt tell the entire story. More important to the situation is the TYPES of teams weve faced. In four games, weve faced two pocket passers (Flacco and Eli) and more importantly, two read option QBs. These are two VERY different types of teams presenting two VERY different skill sets needed to stop them.
It is my belief that the current incarnation of the Denver Broncos defense were designed to defeat read option teams. With the mobility of the QB giving the offense a decided advantage, Denver evolved. We got four HUGE defensive tackles in the middle of the field, with speedy linebackers behind them, and a secondary devoted to man coverage. The 49ers were exposed by Indy on how to defeat read option teams, rush four, man coverage, spy the qb.
Facing read option qbs is all about containment. You cannot pressure a running qb haphazardly. If you rush into the pocket, the Wilsons and Kapernicks of the league will just slip out the back door and run for daylight. You beat a read option guy with discipline, and one hell of a secondary.
This is the reason i believe the Broncos have a top three defense.
1. Were number one vs the run. The denver defensive line played on the GIANTS side of the ball all game long. Im still wiping coffee off the television for the number of spit takes i did when Knighton busted through the Giants defensive line and crushed the runner.
2. Were number one in passes defended. Denver is currently tied for first with 39 passes defended. This is a very important fact. Having faced quarterbacks like Pryor and Vick that can extend plays, the coverage downfield must be tight, or the corners have to be VERY FASTto close on the targeted receiver, and break up the play.
3. Interceptions. If Danny T didnt drop the ball off after his interception just before entering the endzone for the pick six, IF that had happened, only TWO TEAMS in the NFL would have more interceptions than the Broncos. Normally i dont play the WHAT IF game, but this situation was special. The play was EARNED by the defense. It wasnt called back on a penalty, it wasnt denied by anything the offense did, it was a mental mistake that, I ASSURE YOU, will never be repeated by Danny T after a few choice words with Del Rio. Denver EARNED that moment, and it was a rookie mistake that denied its affect on the stat sheets.
The math doesnt tell the story.
Denver has faced the worst possible four games in the NFL.
1. Defending world champs.
2. World Champs from the previous season.
3. Read option Raiders, in Raiderland.
4. Chip Kelleys new fangled offense where linemen are lining up with receivers on the outside, with a short week for the Broncos.
In all four situations, Denver evolved. Denver faced all the possible schemes in the NFL in the first four weeks In all four games, the Broncos tackled well, didnt blow coverages, and played disciplined football.
The true strength of this defense is its ability to play teams with such different styles, with equal efficiency.
Without Von Miller.