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Broncos defense running on empty

Are you tired Broncos Country? I can tell you who is tired. The defense is tired, and fatigue can be the back breaker for NFL players. Ian St. Clair and I discuss that and more on this weeks edition of Mile High Report Radio.

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No coincidence, that term back breaker. As Ian and I discussed on MHR Radio, Aqib Talib will be sidelined for another week with back spasms. Back spasms are the sign of a beat up body. With the amount of time the defense has spent on the field this year, there is no surprise the injuries are mounting up.

Talib is on the shelf with the back spasms, and Brandon Marshall has another fatigue injury in a bad hamstring. That’s two guys hurting from being tired. Derek Wolfe is down with a hairline fracture in the elbow. Just regular wear and tear on a guy who is on the field for almost three full quarters of a game.

It might feel like the 1940s to a lot of the defense. Not that they play on both sides of the ball. Bradley Roby is not taking a handoff from Trevor Siemian (nobody is in the first few plays, apparently). Von Miller isn’t catching passes down on the goal line (because the offense can’t get down there). But injuries start to build up on teams that spend too much time on the field.

Another issue with all that time spent trying to defend? Penalties. They mount up, because fatigue leads to mistakes, and mistakes force penalties. Just think about the last few series in the Raiders game. Chris Harris Jr. was so tired he was made to look mediocre.

Should we start pointing fingers? Probably not. Roby hinted at frustration on the defensive side of the ball. The ineptitude of the offense can only lead to the defense starting to look on the offense with contempt. The question may become, will Gary Kubiak lose the defensive side of the locker room?

The Saints will not be any easier on the Broncos defense. With all the injuries, the travel to New Orleans, playing on the road in the Dome, the likelihood of the Broncos coming away with a win is small. The Super Dome has historically been unkind to Denver. If the defense is asked to spend more than 40 minutes on the field again, there is zero chance at a win.

The shine of winning a Super Bowl only lasts so long. 2016 started out looking a lot like 2015. The season is far from over, but that 2015 dream is starting to look a lot like a 2016 nightmare. I know the defense must be getting pretty tired of carrying the load.