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Broncos at Eagles: The No Bull Review

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The Denver Broncos played a stinker in Philadelphia against the league’s best team. Here are my thoughts, opinions and analysis on the Denver Broncos’ most recent game.

NFL: Denver Broncos-Vance Joseph Press Conference Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Acceptance.

Broncos Country, our team is a dumpster fire. Let’s be real.

Yes, we have talent. Yes, there are some glaring issues (QB, ILB) that could make us better instantly if we had answers. Sure, the coaches are a new crew.

But this is not good football we are seeing in 2017. We’re at the point half-way into the season where all I want to see as a fan is some fight from our team. In this game, the players didn’t bring it and it was a sad experience to see.

Defense

In a game where the Broncos were making a QB change in order to get a spark, I feel like the defense honestly let the whole team down in a really big way. Everything worked against them. The pass, the run, misdirection, timing routes, double moves, and even a bad offensive line pass blocking what is supposed to be a very good pass rushing team in Denver.

I get the defense being upset recently about the offense, but this week they were by far the bigger problem. I’d say they owe the offense an apology for this game, but looking back at the past 4, I don’t think we’re quite there yet.

Front 7

Shane Ray has no business being an NFL starter right now. I’ve talked about this fairly often this season, but it is worth hammering home. He got an offsides penalty on a hard count early in the game. Again later on a 3rd and 10 Ray jumps again costing the team 5 yards. He consistently fails to control his edge in run defense. This is the case of a guy starting because of when he was drafted and it is flat-out wrong. Joe Woods and Vance Joseph need to get a true NFL starting quality OLB in Shaquil Barrett to start and have this scrub earn his time on the field. He has done little to nothing to impact games in the past two weeks. The guy is all talk and no walk and the example of him starting is one facet that shows the real problems the Broncos have from a coaching / leadership standpoint.

Brandon Marshall is absolute trash in pass coverage. He was 3 steps off on a TD “catch” (because it wasn’t a catch...he was out of bounds before he ever had possession). The whole game he showed very lackadaisical play and looks like a player who has lost a step. Not that Denver has anything better behind him on the depth chart, but his play this season has been a disappointment. To be fair, he cleaned up a nice coverage sack in the 3rd quarter...though that was more of a right-place, right-time play more than anything. Same story for his TD fumble recovery...much like Shiloh Keo a few years back, this is a bad player who’s getting lucky more than anything else.

It is as plain as day to me that our very real issues in the front 7 have to do with a lack of pass rush ability from the line. We have some beastly players against the run, but when 3rd and longs come up, I don’t see the kind of penetration up front that help cause turnovers and sacks like what we saw in 2015. Von Miller still is an elite player and he still looks amazing, but when a QB has a big pocket to step up into, it makes it very easy to nullify his presence...doubly so when you have a poor option like Shane Ray across the way getting pushed upfield and out of the play almost every damn time he needs to cause pressure.

Secondary

Aqib Talib gets a holding penalty on 3rd down where the front 7 had Wentz scrambling. On the next play he gets burned by Jeffries for a TD. In the 3rd quarter, Talib gets toasted in the end zone on a crossing route to give up another TD. This was easily the worst game I’ve seen from Talib ever. He looked like a washed-up Champ Bailey on the field who was plodding through his coverage instead of attacking. It looked like a complete lack of hunger to me and like a guy who had just checked out this week instead of being dialed in and dialed up.

Bradley Roby on a 3rd down puts a big time hit on Jeffries to knock the ball loose and force a FG. I’m one of Roby’s biggest critics, but this is the second game in a row where he was a plus player for the Broncos.

I also loved what I saw from Chris Harris, Jr. and Justin Simmons. Both players were in position and doing their part on the back-end. Unfortunately, teams can pretty much ignore CHJ, deep throws, and the outside throws because the defense has such a soft underbelly.

Offense

This was another disappointing effort from our team in what seems to be a complete derp of a season for our Broncos offense. I do know that the quality of QB talent that is on the roster is awful. But at some point, you have to look at offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and start asking about that the common factor in every facet of our losing ways this season on offense. Why can’t this offense get clicking? How much of it has to do with the play calling and design? Do we have poor coaching, poor player talent, or both?

Quarterbacks

Brock Osweiler looked like a better quarterback than anything we’ve seen behind center for the Broncos in the past 4 games. Sadly, that’s not saying much. Coming into this game I had a lot of hope that Brock would be able to be a spark, but as the game wore on, it was apparent that that idea was folly.

On the 3rd drive in the game, he throws a slant route that was completely covered. It was easily one of the worst INTs of the season we’ve seen (and we’ve seen some really bad ones this year). On 3rd down on the next drive, Brock throws a deep ball into triple coverage that is almost picked as well. Later in the 3rd quarter when nothing is there a pass rush gets on him and he tosses up a jump ball badly that gets picked. He should have thrown it away.

On a positive note, at least this QB stepped into throws when about to be hit and also showed very good mobility to buy time to pass. He also showed some passion and energy which is a plus in my books. Sadly, I don’t think Osweiler was any kind of answer for the Broncos, but he is absolutely 2 steps better than the guy on the sidelines with a coat pocket full of Skittles.

Line

Really this offensive line looked like it took a step back in this game. The Eagles spent much of the game in the backfield of the Broncos. I’m not sure I put that completely on our guys though...the Eagles have arguably the best front-7 in the NFL.

Garrett Bolles had a drive killing holding penalty on our opening drive. On the 2nd drive, he got a false start on a 3rd and 8. I dug to look into his personal foul call late in the 4th quarter, but whatever happened was cut out of the broadcast and coach’s film. Needless to say, the guy needs to learn to be a more disciplined player. I do know that the play he got flagged for, he got beat badly. Suck less and keep your calm. We didn’t need that penalty.

Ron Leary adds to the fun with a key holding penalty on a converted 3rd and 1. He absolutely got his tail whipped in this game. Fletcher Cox straight up wore Leary out like a torn rag. I’d say we should have schemed more help his way, but honestly across the line everyone had trouble with their assignments.

Running Backs

C.J. Anderson looked good early running the ball against a very stout run defense. He kept making positive yards out of early contact to keep the offense on schedule.

Davontae Booker had a pretty decent day with a lot of good effort and positive play. I loved his play as he caught a pass in the flat and made at least 3 guys miss to get a nice 10+ yard play out of nothing.

Receivers

Demaryius Thomas finally got involved as the game wore on, but I was getting quite frustrated with how often he was stutter-stepping or falling down without contact trying to be fancy instead of just running hard upfield to get yards. I’m very happy the dude finally got a passing touchdown. He’s too talented to not get looks especially in the red zone. I’m still waiting on seeing a fade route thrown his way in the red zone, though.

With Emmanuel Sanders having a dinged-up ankle, it has really exposed our team’s lack of talent at the WR position. Bennie Fowler, Cody Latimer (who had a fairly decent game honestly), and Jordan Taylor are all average NFL guys at best (and that’s probably a bit generous of me). None of the 3 are able to get separation consistently, lack route running ability, and don’t have the quicks.

Special Teams

Brandon McManus nailed a big time 52 yard field go with plenty to spare to take the early lead. As a bright spot in the game, he went on to be perfect from the field with 2 long FGs and a 1 short.

We also saw a big time return by Isaiah McKenzie. Sadly, he wasn’t able to keep his feet and take it home, but if the guy can clean up his lack of consistent hands, he’s got the look of a real return weapon for us.

Final Thoughts

Let me start by saying this - the Broncos just played the best team in the NFL today in every facet of the game. I mean that in all honesty. The Eagles offense, defense, and special teams are absolutely nails in every way. Some of the awfulness we dealt with in this game was being matched up as a completely mediocre NFL team with no weapon at QB against a team that is kicking on all cylinders with a big-time NFL QB and coaches who are absolutely on top of their game.

But at the end of the day, this is the NFL, and I expect a helluva lot more out of our team than 51-23. Our defense looked silly. Our offense looked just shy of inept. Our special teams had no impact on the game. And most definitely, our coaches looked completely outmatched in every way.

The funny thing is that the team deserves this in all honesty. Too many guys have the look of guys who have their contracts and now have put it on cruise a little. I’m not a head coach in front of a press conference, so let me be the one to name names and get real with Broncos Country (because that is, after all, what the fans deserve but will NEVER see from the coaches or front office of the Broncos organization). Brandon Marshall, Aqib Talib, Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas, and C.J. Anderson are all not living up to the Broncos standard I’ve heard guys talk about for years since Elway has taken over. And I don’t necessarily mean they have checked their heads out. I mean they aren’t playing up to the weapon potential that their big-money contracts represent. I’m tired of excuses. Make plays. Work harder. Life is tough right now at 3 - 5. Bronco the hell up and help this team get right, or get the hell out of that Orange and Blue uniform.

Also, what ever happened to “kicking and screaming?” Are you guys out there in Broncos Country feeling OK about what the coaches and the front office are doing? I’m not at all. I think John Elway has sold us a swamp in Arizona with the QB situation since Manning retired. I also think he’s surrounded himself with familiar “yes” men who have done a disservice to the team, and I see too many examples of “his guys” getting way too much slack and time on the field.

Why also have the mainstream media in Denver gone along with this schtick for over a year and a half? This whole charade about this great story of a seventh-round draft pick developing was frankly horse shit shoveled from the PR machine in Dove Valley right onto the plates of the media, which they were absolutely more than happy to talk up and go along with instead of calling it a turd from day one. Let me tell you the No Bull truth - bad scouting led to Elway trading up to make a splashy move in a desperate situation to take a scrub who is too immature to play NFL football while Gary Kubiak was allowed to pick up his very own prodigal son, play favorites with development and help a no talent “brainy” guy play at NFL football for over a year and a half. All this while the PR department of the Broncos spun one of the biggest jokes of a story to Broncos Country, covering up that this team is in all ways lost without the star power of one Peyton Manning masking all the wrongs of a team that doesn’t know how to draft NFL talent, develop NFL o-linemen, or find anything close to an NFL quarterback in free agency or the draft.

Stop buying it, Broncos Country. You’ve been lied to, and it is time that you start holding the GM, coaches and players accountable just like we did with the Josh McDaniels fiasco.

There’s a Broncos Standard in Denver, Colo. Time to start kicking and screaming John Elway, Vance Joseph, Joe Woods, Mike McCoy, Brock Olivo, players, the PR machine, and Denver media.