Les Shapiro and Eric Goodman of The Afternoon Drive talked with Donald Stephenson after the game, highlighting the improved O-line and running game on Monday night.
“We definitely wanted to come out here and put some yards up on the ground for Book and C.J. All week we just had more intensity, more focus on it,” said Stephenson, noting that it may have been their best game up front. “Definitely felt good. ...We just want to build on it, keep chip on our shoulder, block out the doubters and keep pounding.”
Despite early penalties, the linemen regrouped, kept playing and eventually got into a groove.
“Our attitude was we don’t care what happens, we’re going to keep playing,” said the right tackle, adding that both running backs C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker had big nights. “The tandem showed up tonight. Both came in, hit the right gaps. Even when didn’t look good, they made some special plays. Coach Kubes said he needed something special from the running backs, and he got it.”
So we all know what happened next - the passing game opened up and suddenly the Texans had to account for both our Pro Bowl wide receivers but also our duo threat in the running game.
“Being good on first down is huge,” Stephenson added. “It opened up the play-action. Trevor got going. Running the ball is what we have to do. It’s what we have to do to win.”
Goodman and Shapiro debated how the Broncos need to implement this running game moving forward.
“You have to run the ball and you have to keep running it, 30-35 times a game,” Shapiro said, arguing that the defense will have to account for the running game and can leave DT and Sanders to beat only one guy. “If they can’t run the ball, going to be two guys on Emmanuel Sanders.”
But Goodman argued continuing to run the ball without success is stubborn.
“Do you run 30 times a game when the defense is stacking eight in the box? No. You have to work with what the defense gives you.”
Obviously both boiled it down to way-too-simplistic scenarios, but it begs a better question from all you (yes, this is a quiz in case you read Shasta’s outstanding post yesterday about the Broncos’ play-calling during the two losses):
Personally, I think it has a lot to do with using Booker to change up the speed and wear down the defense while also...using more and more Andy Janovich. That guy makes big running plays happen.
There were a lot of good elements from the Monday night beatdown over the Texans, but a little anecdote that went under the radar was Derek Wolfe’s momentary injury.
Broncos D-line, already compromised by the preseason injury to Vance Walker, can not afford to lose Derek Wolfe. Being treated on the field.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) October 25, 2016
Turns out Wolfe had a couple of things to take care of before he could walk off the field.
“I went to jump over [Jared] Crick, and my calf locked up on me and then I dislocated my finger on his helmet,” Wolfe said. “So I was like, I’m just going to sit here a minute and let my calf calm down and pop my finger back in. Then I was good.”
Holy dislocated finger Batman! And then I was good.
Wow. Not like we needed more reasons to know Wolfe is a beast, but well, he is a beast.