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Horse Tracks: Which Broncos player or unit has surprised you the most so far?

The Broncos are 3-1 after a quarter of the season. Which player or unit has surprised you the most so far?

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country.

The Denver Broncos are 3-1 at the quarter way mark of the season thanks to a rejuvenated running game and a dominant defense. To me, those are two of the most surprising headlines this early on in the year for a team who struggled to do both consistently last season. It’s really an unbelievable turn around that isn’t only a testament to John Elway, but the team’s coaches and players who have put in the long hours and work to make it happen.

If you would have asked me at the beginning of the season if I thought the Broncos’ defensive line would be performing as well as they are, I would have told you not a chance. For several seasons now, the hallmark of Denver’s vaunted defense has been the No Fly Zone, but the big men on the defensive front seven who have crushed opposing lineman and running backs week in and week out. Through four games, some of the league’s best rushers have been held to just 95 yards and zero touchdowns. That isn’t just good — it’s impeccable and easily one of the best stories to come out of the NFL this season.

Derek Wolfe has been his usual self in the trenches, but the rise of Adam Gotsis and the rebirth of Domata Peko on the defensive line are also deserve hefty praise. Undoubtedly, Gotsis has improved significantly since his rookie campaign and Peko, who struggled in his final seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, seems to have discovered the fountain of youth and is playing like he did early on in his career. Toss in the quality rotational play of Zach Kerr and preseason star Shelby Harris and the Broncos’ defensive line has quickly ascended to one of the most formidable and dangerous units in the league.

Whether or not the Broncos can keep up their top-flight rushing attack and ground control remains to be seen, but without question, it has been a pleasant and welcome surprise for a team who was one game away from making the playoffs in 2016. If their prowess continues in both regards, Denver will certainly cement themselves as one of the league’s best teams and a true Super Bowl contender for the rest of the season. Here is to hoping that happens.

As always, thank you for reading and here is today’s offering of Horse Tracks.

Horse Tracks

So far so good for Trevor Siemian, but the Broncos want more after bye
The Broncos are getting solid play from their QB, but he will be considered a work in progress until the passing attack meets Denver's standards.

Early returns say Denver Broncos may have answered biggest questions
A dramatically improved run defense -- coupled with better rushing on offense -- has helped fuel the Broncos' strong start.

NFL, NFLPA meet to discuss player social activism -
The NFL and NFL Players Association met Tuesday to discuss social activism by NFL players, the two groups announced in a joint statement.

Bucs' Jackson searching for chemistry with Winston -
Through three games, Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver DeSean Jackson has caught just nine of 20 targets from quarterback Jameis Winston.

Injuries: Saints place OT Zach Strief (knee) on IR -
The Saints got a major boost with their shutout win over the Dolphins on Sunday, but lost a key piece of their offense. Tackle Zach Strief has been placed on injured reserve, ending his season.

John Fox on move to Trubisky: 'It's about performance' -
John Fox needed just one month to move on from his bridge quarterback to his team's future. But is the new signal-caller ready for the limelight?

Big Ben on Antonio Brown tantrum: 'It's unfortunate' -
Ben Roethlisberger, who missed an open Antonio Brown on Sunday against the Ravens to trigger the receiver's tantrum, said he wished it would have gone down differently.

Danny Trevathan's suspension reduced to one game -
Danny Trevathan will miss one less game than expected. The Bears linebacker has had his suspension reduced to one game by appeals officer Derrick Brooks, NFL spokesperson Michael Signora announced.