Think of the first six games as a gift.
Think of how the defense looked at this time. Look at where we are ranked. Remember Romo running around in the pocket for ten seconds when he finally got a receiver open enough to throw the ball. No pressure on the qb. Secondary picked apart.
Remember these times.
Remember them well.
Because Miller returns in two weeks. You will see what a player this is. You will see what Jack Del Rio sees in Miller when he returns. A wrecking machine. A game changer. A man who can draw the double team, and still sack quarterbacks. A man defensive coordinators plan against.
We have the rest of the parts. Man coverage speedsters in the secondary, just waiting for that errant throw, the throws that are a little off because the qb is under pressure. We rank third in interceptions as it is.
We have the linebackers, each fast enough to cover tight ends, and they hit like rams. Pryor knows. Number one against the run in the NFL. We have the men.
All we need is our Achilles. One man to create havoc in the middle. One man to unleash, to send in against their best, using up their resources to trying to stop this force. Using up their fight, as Sun Tzu would say.
Achilles is scheduled to arrive in about 14 days.
And all shall remember how the battle changed once he took the field.
Look, this defense is a HELL of a lot better than people are giving it credit for...
Lets look at this from a military perspective.
You are the General of the Denver Broncos. Your mission is to win the super bowl.
How do you do it?
One, you build the best offense in the history of the NFL. Check, done. It is the second most expensive offense as far as salary cap goes (66 million is this years price tag for the denver offense alone, second only to Carolina, who spent 69....) and its plugging away fine.
Now the Denver Defense.
A smart battlefield commander will choose where the battle occurrs, and how to fight the battle in regards to designing a defense to handle a specific foe.
Heres the question. Who do we EXPECT to play in the NFC for the Super Bowl?
There are three clear contenders at this time. San Francisco, New Orleans, Seattle.
Two of those three offenses are READ OPTION with fast quarterbacks.
Conclusion. We win the Super Bowl if we have a defense that is TAILOR MADE to stop the team we will most likely be facing, and at this point, there is a high order of probability that we will be playing a read option team.
And i think Del Rio has built a team SPECIFICALLY designed to shut down the read option. Look at the facts.
1. fat guys in the middle of the pile. We got HUGE defensive tackles to stuff the middle of the line.
2. Light fast linebackers. Danny Trevathan has intercepted TWO passes sitting in the middle of the box. He is a fast mean linebacker, just like Woodyard , Irving, and Johnson. They are also hitters, capeable of stopping the run AND coverage of tight ends. And breaking the occasional Raider Quarterback.
3. Man coverage defensive backs. Denver asks more of its defensive backs than any team in the NFL. Were usually in man coverage. Our defensive backs are asked to stay in man, because it affords us the ability to SPY the QB vs read option teams.
Evidence to support theory....
In five weeks, we faced two read option teams and 3 pocket passing teams. The read option teams (raiders and Eagles) were DESTROYED by the broncos. Why? Because Del Rio built a defense DESIGNED to shut down fast read option quarterbacks.
We employed man coverage in the secondary, a spy on the QB, (who just rushed the hell out of him and be it woodyard, travathan, Irving, whomever, ALL THREE were fast enough to catch Vick or Pryor) and rushing four defensive linemen, creating containment.
We, obviously, won both games.
Now look what the Raiders did to the Chargers. Chargers are a good team, raiders beat the hell out of them because the Chargers are STILL a prototypical pocket passing defeat defense. Large linebackers behind a large line, zone coverage in the secondary.
Pryor just scooted for the first down whenever he needed too. Why? Because the defense is too slow.
Look at what happened in the San Fran vs the TEXANS game. Again, the Texans have the NUMBER ONE DEFENSE in the NFL, and they were TROUNCED by the Niners. Why? Because the Texans were too slow in the defensive front eight. The niners had 180 yards rushing, and completed five passes the entire game. Against the best defense in the NFL. Eleven first downs by rushing, five by passing.
Del rio has put together a giant killer in Denver, a team specifically designed to shut down read option QBs. And with the return of Von Miller, we will shut down pocket passers as well.
There was one play in the Cowboys game where Romo was able to run around in the backfield for TEN FULL SECONDS (this is verifiable on NFL video, they put a clock on the play and it was FRIGGING A FULL TEN SECONDS.)
This tells me two things. One, the Cowboys game wouldnt have even been CLOSE if Von Miller, best pass rusher in the NFL, was in the game. But more importantly, our secondary kept the receivers covered for TEN SECONDS. That is a LIFETIME in a football game.
Denver is number ONE vs the run.
Denver is tied for third for interceptions.
Denver is tied for FIRST with passes defended.
And when Von Miller and Champ return, this defense will be something to behold.
And in conclusion, a word about money. Denver is currently spending 46 million on its defense, ranked 21st in cap monies devoted to that side of the ball. Champ Bailey is eating a full TEN MILLION of that amount, just this year. This means when Bailey isnt on the field, the defense that is operating out there amasses only 36 million in salary, the second lowest in the NFL (raiders are the lowest).
Pretty decent bang for the buck when you look at the fact that Bailey, who is due to retire soon, will open up TEN MILLION A YEAR in cap space. Coupled with the 9 million in cap space we CURRENTLY HAVE, denver is doing a very very good job vs cost here.
San Francisco AND the Seahawks only have a couple million in cap space each this year, and after next year... they will have to sign Kapernick and Wilson to ACTUAL CONTRACTS.
Kapernick and wilson are only making around 700 k each this year. After the 2014 season, they will need to be resigned to contracts reflecting their worth... and they will HAVE to cut valuable players to make room for these huge contracts.
Denver has already made room with Manning.
From a moneyball point of view, Denver is doing an amazing job not only in Gym Class....
but also in math.
DENVER DEFENSE FOR THE WIN.