The Denver Broncos had one of the greatest single-season defensive performances in NFL history last year which culminated in the sweet taste of victory via one of the greatest single-game defensive performances on the NFL’s biggest stage.
Now that the star of that performance is locked up long-term, we turn our sites to the 2016 season and the burning question in everyone’s mind. Can we do it again?
"We were outstanding and one of the legendary defenses of our time. I told them, I said, ‘We want to get better, certainly, but you’re not going to get better than winning the Super Bowl.’ That’s the goal that you reached last year and you have to try and reach again. But you can get better as a player and you can get better scheme-wise. We can do those things better for them. I think individually you’re always trying to get better coaching-wise and playing-wise. That’s what our goal is."
Since we know (thanks to some expert analysis by our very own Joe Mahoney) that the Wade Phillip’s second year drop off is a myth, what specifically do we need to do in order to continue our success?
Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro discussed this on their show yesterday in the last few minutes of the segment below (around the 7:39 mark). Here is the question they discussed, and I want to throw it out their for our community as well to kick around in the comments. What is the key to the Broncos defense continuing their dominance this year?
Some of the players when asked about this have maintained that all they need to do is continue to go about their business and stay the course and their success will continue. Bradley Roby mentioned that when asked about it during OTAs:
"Just everybody get better individually and continue to work on their things, continue to work on their fundamentals. Don’t get complacent and just keep working, that’s all."
And Derek Wolfe recently alluded to it as well as highlighting chemistry as a key to continue their success.
"Ultimately defense is about effort. Our defense plays with a ton of effort. It doesn’t matter what adjustments people will make. We’re going to play hard. That’s what it comes down to. I think a lot of defense lose it not just because of people adjusting to what they do, but it’s because they lose guys to free agency. You lose that chemistry. You’ve got to keep that chemistry. That’s why we’re such a great defense. We care about each other. That’s why we’re such a good team because we all have each other’s back. The offense has the defense’s back. The defense has the offense’s back. As far as team chemistry, we’re not going to lose anything."
Eric Goodman says the number one key to continue the defense’s success is creating turnovers. For once I agree with him!
We had so many games swing in our favor on a key turnover. Heck, we probably wouldn’t have ever made it to the Super Bowl if it weren’t for a key forced fumble by Bradley Roby in the divisional round against Pittsburgh. And we saw how big of a key turnovers played in the Super Bowl as we dominated the Panthers forcing four giveaways.
We started the first half of the season on fire in the turnover department, but ended the season ranked 7th with 27 takeaways (Carolina was #1 with 39), so this is definitely an area we can improve upon.
TJ Ward agrees as well and said this during OTAs when asked about how the defense can improve:
"I think we can get more interceptions and make bigger plays on interceptions. We want to get our missed tackles down and less mental errors. Play the defenses the way they’re supposed to be played at all times. Knock out some of the mental errors; I think those are the three biggest things we can all get better at."
So what do you say Broncos Country? What is our biggest key to repeating our defensive dominance in 2016? Let the conversation begin!
Bonus Listen: The Afternoon Drive guys talk to former linebacker, Chad Brown, about a number of topics including Von Miller, the QB battle, and the NFL’s Rooney Rule.