Embarrassing losses have the tendency to magnify issues with a team. Super Bowl 43 taught the Broncos they would need better pass protection, someone besides Demaryius Thomas to stretch a secondary, and a smothering defense that could keep games close. The loss earlier to Seattle showed that the Broncos made strides on defense and to their receiving corps with the acquisition of Emmanuel Sanders. The loss to New England should have taught the Broncos an improvement needed to be made in the running game, and perhaps it did. After that game Paul Cornick (albeit injured) was replaced by Louis Vasquez, who was replaced by Manny Ramirez, who was replaced by Will Montgomery.
Here's what the Broncos can learn from their loss to the Rams.
The offense needs balance
This was a 13-7 game heading into halftime. They started off the game running the ball just twice in the first 15 plays.They would run the ball three more times on the next 16 plays for a grand total of 6 rushes (19%) and 31 passes (81%). By the end of the game, the Broncos would have 66 offensive plays with 10 rush plays and 56 pass plays (2 sacks included).
A run pass ratio of 15/85 is not going to help this team win tough games. Need more proof?
Loss to NE: 17 rushes, 57 passes (29/71)
Loss to SEA: 20 rushes, 50 passes (40/60)
Denver's most balanced win on the season probably came against San Francisco where they ran the ball 27 out of 56 plays (48/52).
Historically, the Manning-led Broncos offense has been most efficient and effective when the rush to pass ratio is no more than 60/40 in favor of the pass.
But the Offensive Line play has been terrible...
Sign Incognito and put people back where they belong
Incognito plays LG. Sign him, move Franklin back to RT, move Vasquez back to RG, and keep Clady and Montgomery in place.
If you're hesitant to sign an asshole, you know because assholes shouldn't be playing such an aggressive sport as football, take your pick on the next in shape, ready to play free agent LG. I'm not a pro scout so I'm not even sure if that guy exists.
Regardless, all the penalties, all the issues in pass protection, all the issues opening up running lanes would immediately start to get better because people won't be playing out of place.
The Broncos have 6 games to figure this issue out. If they stand pat or do nothing, this team will be one and done in the playoffs if they manage to get there.
Offense needs to scale back 11 personnel and make a real effort to run the ball
You don't build the running game off of draws and shotgun handoffs. Those are tools to exploit a defense, not something you should build your foundation upon.
Julius Thomas is banged up, Virgil Green is banged up, Tamme isn't a blocker, so use an extra linemen for the time being.
In the Patriots win against the Colts on Sunday night, they used an extra lineman on 37 snaps; Bill Barnwell himself couldn't recall another game where an extra lineman was used so often. From where I'm standing, Wes Welker is not adding much to the offense. The playaction game has suffered and this is a way to get it back on track. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders can beat coverages without the help of Wes Welker.
When Virgil and Jullius are ready to go, the Broncos need to be using their 12 package just as much as their 11 package, and they need to line Virgil up more to play the role of a true fullback.
11 personnel has effectively done what opposing defenses aim to do: make the Broncos one dimensional. So long as there is a pass rush, Peyton Manning can be neutralized.
Defense needs to stop using Talib as a zone corner
All we heard about when the Broncos signed Aqib Talib and TJ Ward was how much more physical our secondary would be. Del Rio bought in and even tried to make the Broncos a carbon copy of the Seattle defense running a lot of their base and early down coverage calls out of Cover 3. The issue is we don't have the safeties for it. This past week we saw a breakdown on deep coverage when Quinton Carter bit on an underneath route, leaving Roby one on one with Kenny Britt who earned a step on the rookie.
Bradley Roby has been burned for more big plays than any other defender in coverage, yet Aqib Talib has still allowed more yardage on his targets than the rookie. Both he and Harris need to be playing press man coverage.
If you're worried about big plays over the top, give help and make sure that Rahim the dream doesn't jump on anything underneath.
McManus needs to go
You know something is wrong when John Fox would rather go for it on 4th down rather than try a 50 yard field goal in a dome.
Though there are mitigating circumstances behind the move from Prater to McManus, this has the chance at becoming a move every bit as bad as McDaniels cutting Brett Kern for Mitch Berger midseason back in '09.
McManus was a mistake, he cost you a 7th round pick, oh well. Move on.
Special Teams should enhance a team's chances of winning not hinder them.
There might be a tough game where you need a clutch kick from 40-50 yards out.
These are the most glaring issues with the Broncos, and until they are fixed, the Broncos are not a team that can contend for a Super Bowl. You're stacking the deck so far in other teams' favor that you're asking for a miracle run to lift the Lombardi Trophy.
Broncos coach John Fox on loss to Rams: "I'm sure fans are upset" - The Denver Post
Broncos' John Fox: "I am sure fans are upset. I promise you we're upset"
Zac Dysert leaves Broncos after mother is killed in Ohio car crash - The Denver Post
Zac Dysert, a quarterback on the Broncos' practice squad, took a leave from the team Monday after his mother, Carla Dysert, was killed in a car accident in his hometown of Ada, Ohio.
Emmanuel Sanders hit troubles Peyton Manning: "I feel a part of that" - The Denver Post
Denver Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders was hit and concussed in Sunday's loss at the St. Louis Rams, and fans took to the Internet to share sentiments.
Briefs: Broncos' Marvin Austin upset about Rams guard's extra effort - The Denver Post
Broncos' Marvin Austin blows whistle on Rams offensive lineman
Post's Power Rankings: AFC shaken in Week 11; Cardinals roll in NFC - The Denver Post
Embarrassing losses to AFC teams including the Broncos caused a Week 11 shake-up, while the Cardinals jumped to the top of the NFC.
Next Day Notebook: Lack of turnovers highlighted against Rams, Thomas continues streak
The Broncos’ pass rush got to Shaun Hill on multiple occasions but they couldn’t force the Rams quarterback into a turnover to help spark Denver’s offense. On the other side, Demaryius Thomas continued his run of historic play.
Day-after takeaways from Broncos-Rams
Brandon Marshall continues to be a tackling machine ... and more notes from the weekend are in the Week 11 observations.
Injury updates: Montee Ball, Emmanuel Sanders and Julius Thomas
Emmanuel Sanders will go through the post-concussion protocol after Rodney McLeod's flag-drawing hit on him in the third quarter Sunday.
Report: Montee Ball to miss 2-3 weeks for Broncos - NFL.com
Montee Ball will reportedly miss the next two or three weeks after aggravating his groin injury on Sunday. How can the Broncos get their ground attack back on track?
Time for Denver Broncos to show if loss is blip or trend - ESPN
The Denver Broncos have not been very good on the road and now must show if Sunday's loss to the St. Louis Rams was a blip or a trend.
John Fox says Broncos are just as mad as the fans - AFC West Blog - ESPN
Broncos know fans are upset with Sunday's result. They're upset, too.
Emmanuel Sanders says some rumors greatly exaggerated - AFC West Blog - ESPN
The Broncos went through their day-after medical evaluations for three high-profile players who left Sunday's loss with injuries.
Great article on New England's dismantling of the Colts and Broncos fall in St. Louis
Chris Borland emerging as star for San Francisco 49ers - NFL.com
Linebacker Chris Borland has entered the Defensive Rookie of the Year conversation after one month as a starter. Is he good enough for the 49ers to consider cutting ties with Patrick Willis or NaVorro Bowman?
Le'Veon Bell's 200-yard day powers Steelers to win - NFL.com
The Steelers can thank Le'Veon Bell for preventing a Monday night disaster in Nashville. The running back's career day led Pittsburgh to a come-from-behind 27-24 win over the Titans.
Chiefs' defense winds up getting the job done - AFC West Blog - ESPN
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Toward the end of a tiring day often futilely spent chasing Russell Wilson around the Arrowhead Stadium playing field, the Ka
Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr passes for 2,000 yards in first 10 games - ESPN
Derek Carr's passing yards are more than any of the three quarterbacks drafted ahead of him, and that's a great thing for the Raiders.