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Ultimate Fan: No matter who plays QB, Broncos must stick to their running game

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And if it does, our Ultimate Fan sees a close win over “The Rai-duhs!”

Oakland Raiders v Denver Bronco Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Whatever reservations you have about this Broncos team and its chances against the Raiders today - and whatever angst you have over this season - this Ultimate Fan Guide will get you in the proper game-day mood, I promise.

Jeffrod is not only a lifelong Broncos fan, he is a lifelong “Rai-duhs hat-uh” and he cannot wait to see the Broncos snap the six-game losing streak with a win today - if for no other reason than pride among players and the chance to play spoiler to his least-favorite team.

And I couldn’t be more on board with both of those sentiments. After a fabulous week vacation in Costa Rica where I got to avoid the Broncos/Dove Valley drama (mostly), I’m thrilled to feature a fan who loves this team the way I do and who can’t wait to cheer for a win every week no matter the odds. (*also, he has a VERY COOL connection to this team, so you’ll have to read on to find out!)

Week 12: Broncos at Rai-duhs

MHR – First, thoughts on the Broncos-Bengals game - was it what you expected?
jeffrod: I didn’t think it would be a high-scoring game. I did think it would be close and I did think the Broncos would come out on top. I felt overall the defense held up well and the offense was able to move the ball (and give the defense more of a rest). I was surprised at special teams played as well as it did despite the blocked 61 yd FG attempt (I didn’t think McMoney would get iced.

MHR - Play-calling has been suspect on both offense and defense...on a scale of 1-10, how would you rate both units in that regard last Sunday?
jeffrod: I would give the defense a 6 - I thought they played well overall despite the offensive turnovers giving them a short field to defend. I would give the offense a 3 - went away from the run game, and I knew who the pass was going to before Brent ever let the ball go.

MHR - How are you feeling about this team right now - does it look like a 3-7 team or does it seem more like a 7-3 team that just can’t find its way?
jeffrod: I feel the Broncos are a team in the middle. At times I feel they are playing hard and should be doing well but are falling due to just a couple of simple, little mistakes. I also see this team as one that is shooting itself in the foot as these are professionals, and the simple, little mistakes are just out of stupidity and should not happen at this level.

MHR - Coaching has been a major talking point. How do you think Vance Joseph is doing as a first-time head coach? Do you think it was wise to have so many inexperienced coordinators while having a first-year head coach?
jeffrod: Veteran head coaches get fired for a reason. Giving Joseph a chance is a good thing. He may become the next great HC or a bust. We won’t know until he’s given a shot. From what was posted on this site, Woods would have been gone to another team if not promoted to DC. So far, a mixed bag with that choice. Olivio is very frustrating right now, even after the Cincy game. He has some good talent but is just not using it correctly. Joseph needs to be more of a strong force in the locker room. With all the goings on from Thanksgiving practice being reported, it doesn’t sound good. Elway should not be getting involved directly with the players, it should be the head coach. Strong leadership from the HC will rub off onto the coordinators. This is really tough for a for a first-year head coach to project onto first-year coordinators.

MHR - Now the obvious question: Do you like the decision to get rid of Mike McCoy? Was he the main problem with the offense? And how do you expect Bill Musgrave to improve it (or not)?
jeffrod: Getting rid of McCoy was a little tough for me on a personal level. He was a redshirt quarterback (along with Terrell Davis as RB) at Long Beach State when I was in my second senior year there. The university disbanded football after that season. That was tough to see the football team go away. Regardless McCoy was not producing on the field. It was a little ironic considering what he did with Tebow (able to win a few games). I think the biggest problem was going away from the run so soon in a game, and the passing game was very predictable. I don’t recall either QB ever looking off a receiver. They always seemed to have a laser focus on the first receiver. If that guy was covered then all hell broke loose: INTs, sacks, etc. Musgrave will hopefully be a little more balanced in the game plan. With Lynch as his starting QB, I’m hoping to see more rollouts in order to get PL into space to either make the play with his arm or his legs.

MHR - In your view, what “went wrong” this season to start out 3-1 and then end up where we are?
jeffrod: As mentioned above I think it was going away from the run game so soon in the game. The three-headed monster at RB can be very effective if given a chance. I just think going away from that so early is a bad thing. As much as I hate to say it, I think the No Fly Zone has regressed a bit. They only have 5 INTs for the season. They have been giving up too many yards and too many TDs. I don’t know if other teams have figured out how to beat the coverages or if their tendencies have gotten too predictable or if the NFZ has gotten lazy and have been resting on their laurels. I don’t think they are “soft,” but there’s something different in the water in the def backs film room.

MHR - How do you feel about the choice for QB this week for the Broncos?
jeffrod: I’ve always been in favor of the QB who will just go out and help win the game for us. I was not a big fan of Brent as I thought he was too greedy going to Houston for the $$$. I thought he improved last week but still not good enough. I really hope Paxton Lynch is the answer. If not, we should be looking hard at a QB in the draft but someone who runs a pro-system in college. He may not be the top QB in the draft but as long as he is the most ready to start, that should be the one we take.

MHR – The Broncos barely beat the Raiders in their first meeting - which was at home and against backup QB EJ Manuel in the final minutes. How do you think this Broncos team will fare against a Carr-led Raiders team at their place?
jeffrod: I think this will be a close game, especially with new OC for the Broncos and a new DC for the ray-duhs. I really liked Carr coming out of college and would not have been upset if the Broncos would have picked him. I think Carr is a good QB, but he does have his flaws, and I think the defense can do well against him. In the first game he was being held in check for most of the game until the injury. Manuel started off pretty well (I think due to lack of tape on him) but threw the pick to seal the game for us. It’ll be tough for PL starting in Jokeland. Overall it’ll be close.

MHR - The Raiders’ offensive strengths should play well into Denver’s defensive strengths in that their best weapons are receivers that Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. should be able to own. But the No Fly Zone hasn’t been so No Fly this season; how do you expect them to match up against Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper this weekend?
jeffrod: I’m hoping that the NFZ gets its swagger back this week. These four have some history, so it should be the best part of watching the game this week. In the end it will likely be a draw between the two groups. If this was the NFZ from the last 1-2 years, it would be a huge win for our guys no doubt.

MHR - The pass rush for the Broncos has suffered without much internal push up the middle from the defensive line as well as having Shane Ray instead of Shaq Barrett. How would you like to see Joe Woods better take advantage of our pass-rushing ability?
jeffrod: I would like to see the defensive front 7 get more aggressive on passing downs. The problem would be getting burned on a draw play. I’m OK with taking that chance. Seeing more of Ray, Barrett and Miller on the field at the same time would be great, especially having one of them getting a push up the middle.

MHR - How would you like to see the Broncos better use its running game - a unit that is averaging almost 4.5 yards per carry?
jeffrod: Just keep pounding it. When the Broncos stayed with the run game, it’s worked and looked good. Booker is coming along nicely. We know what we get with CJ (and it’s not bad at all). I’d like to see Charles get a few more touches since he has the ability to break a big one at any time, we just haven’t had a chance to see it yet.

MHR - What does this offense need to do to be good enough to keep the team in the game? Even with our suspect QB situation, do you think this team can be good enough to win out (or close) and actually make the playoffs? Or is this season “lost” already?
jeffrod: I’m the optimist you love to hate. I’d rather see the team go out strong every week. Even if the Broncos finish 9-7 and are out of the playoffs, I’d rather see that then going 4-12 again. I don’t “embrace the tank.” How has being a crappy team done for the Browns? They’ve been “tanking” for years and what has that got them? I think the Broncos lose the “classy” label as a franchise if the team tanks for a better draft pick. It will also have an affect on the possible free agents the Broncos can sign in the offseason. How many big name FAs want to go to a team that tanks it? Look at Cleveland if you think this is a good thing.

MHR - How would you assess John Elway’s time as GM? Do you think his drafts have been great, good, average, below average? Do you think he should share more responsibility for the state the Broncos find themselves right now?
jeffrod: His drafts have been good but they need to be great. To “win from now on” that also means winning the game and the drafts. The Broncos have good talent on the team, but they also need an infusion of great, new, young talent to be a top contender.

MHR - In your opinion, what is the best-case scenario for how this season plays out?
jeffrod: I would be happy if the team goes all out for the rest of the season, playing hard and winning games. I know that the playoffs are a huge long-shot and not likely for this season. I would love to be that spoiler though. If the Broncos winning could really screw up other teams possible playoff positions, that would be great (looking at the P*ts and the Chefs especially).

Predictions

Stats for Paxton Lynch? 20/28, 270 yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT

Stats for each Broncos RB? C.J. 24/96, Booker 8/45, Charles 8/36

Number of yards receiving for each Broncos receiver? Demaryius Thomas 110, Emmanuel Sanders 90, Sunshine 40, “place your name here” TE 30

Longest FG? MC$ 48 yds

Number of sacks to Lynch? 2

Number of sacks to Derek Carr? 4

Broncos player with the most tackles? BMarsh, 7

How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos D? 2/2/1

How many muffed punts for the Broncos? 0

Final Score? Broncos 24, ray-duhs 17

The Favorites

Favorite Broncos game EVER? SB XXXII (I cried just a little after, my wife was shocked)

Team you hate to lose to the most? Ray-duhs (I grew up in the SF Bay Area and now live in Southern Cal, so I see ray-duhs stuff everywhere I go)

Team you love to beat? Ray-duhs (even after the 6-10 season in 1999, two of those wins were against the ray-duhs which still brings a smile to my face)

Favorite game this season? Broncos at the Chargers (they are only now 20 minutes from my home, and it was the first Broncos game I got to take my son to. Great time, crappy game)

Game you think will break the Broncos losing streak? Has to be this week in Jokeland

Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Chris Harris (feels like he has that Rod Smith attitude)

Favorite Broncos player of all time? TD (same alma mater, at least for 1 year) and Rod Smith (such a great work attitude).

Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? Domata Peko (he needs to pass that nasty streak to the rest of the D-line when he retires)

Superstitions on game day? Sit in the same chair and tell my wife and kids to let me mumble to myself for the 3+ hours

Least favorite game analyst/commentator? Fouts. Didn’t like him in SD and even worse on TV

Favorite sports cliche? The refs are so against us

Favorite sports movie? The Sandlot

How did you become a Broncos fan?

In high school my father was a running back and his QB and kicker was Jim Turner. Jim went on to college in Utah and my dad stayed in the SF Bay Area and played for SF State. When I was growing up and getting to know what football was all I remember watching was the Broncos as my dad would watch them just to watch Jim. He was a 49ers fan but this was before the Joe Montana era. I became a Broncos fan because all I remember watching was the Broncos. My mother told my grandmother that I liked football so that Christmas my grandmother got me a sweatshirt. It was a ray-duhs sweatshirt. I cried that day saying, “I hate them.” She didn’t know how strong of a fan I was back in 1977 at 9 years old. We have laughed about that for years in our family. For better or worse, I will always be a diehard Broncos fan!

Poll

What "other team’s gear" have you been given for a gift that you had to feign appreciation (or not!)?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Raiders
    (2 votes)
  • 4%
    Niners
    (3 votes)
  • 6%
    Cowboys
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    Seahawks
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Chargers
    (0 votes)
  • 75%
    ONLY BRONCOS - my friends/family KNOW this
    (48 votes)
  • 9%
    Another team?
    (6 votes)
64 votes total Vote Now