Good Morning, Broncos Country.
After months of riding their Rocky Mountain High after their momentous Super Bowl 50 victory and tremendous start to the 2016 regular season, the Denver Broncos had a stark reality check when the Atlanta Falcons rolled into town and upset them at home 23-16 this past Sunday.
It wasn't a matter of if, only a question of when the defending world champions would suffer their first defeat of the year.
Losses are never an easy thing to handle, but the silver lining Denver's loss to the Atlanta is that it provides the team with the opportunity to recognize their deficiencies — and with hard work and diligence, overcome them and formulate a strategy that can minimize such issues from occurring so often on the gridiron.
Pass protection, arguably the lack thereof from second-year offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo was the largest issue on display in Denver's defeat. Since Sambrailo has returned to the field after suffering his torn labrum, I have noticed a lack of power, strength and leverage in his game at the point of attack. Moreover, I believe there is still a great deal of rawness and hesitance to his game in regard to engaging defenders off the edge at the line of scrimmage.
It may be too early to thrown in the towel on the former Colorado State product, but it certainly appears that his time as a starter unquestionably needs to end. Thankfully, free agent acquisition Donald Stephenson should resume play, perhaps as early as tomorrow against the San Diego Chargers. If Stephenson isn't able to go, expect Michael Schofield to kick back out to tackle, with the team inserting Darrion Weems in at right guard.
Another learning experience and challenge to overcome for the Broncos is the communicative and execution errors on defense, which were a primary reason for their struggles in shutting down Devontae Freeman, and in particular Tevin Coleman's production as a receiver out of the backfield.
Inside linebackers Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis had their worst outings of the year against Atlanta, and will be carrying a chip on their shoulder on the eve of their upcoming match-up with the Chargers. I am confident both linebackers will overcome their lackluster performance on Sunday and be more disciplined and cohesive in their defensive play on Thursday.
If there is anything we have learned in the short time of the Gary Kubiak and Wade Phillips led Broncos, it is that they have the coaching prowess and know-how to change game plans up and correct existing errors. They learn from their mistakes, and most always, their players are ready for battle on any given day.
With Kubiak recovering from flu-like symptoms, Interim Head Coach / Special Teams Coordinator Joe DeCamillis will be taking over for him on the sidelines against the Chargers. DeCamillis feels comfortable taking over for Kubiak tomorrow, due in part to Kubiak's on-point scheduling and tremendous preparation.
"The way that he does things from a week-to-week basis, the way that we practice, the way that we meet, the way that we do our restoration for the players and the way our strength coaches do it, it’s just an incredible schedule and I think we would be foolish to change it to be honest with you," stated DeCamillis.
The Broncos did the unthinkable and hoisted the Lombardi Trophy with Kubiak in his first year coaching the Broncos. Even with his absence, his presence will still be felt on the field and sidelines for Thursday's affair against the Chargers.
"He’s already set it up for us for success and we’ll keep doing it," DeCamillis added.
Keep your heads high Broncos Country, there is a lot of season left for our beloved team to improve and show demonstrable poise on their journey for a second straight Lombardi Trophy. I believe they will rise to the challenge one game at a time. That starts tomorrow against San Diego. Do you?
As always, thank you for reading and here is today's offering of Horse Tracks.
Interim head coach ‘Joe-D’ is the change of pace the Broncos needed
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