Whether through the No Fly Zone making life impossible for opposing quarterbacks or Von Miller coming off the edge to make life impossible for opposing quarterbacks, the Denver Broncos defense have an incredible array of ways they can beat the team on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
Scott Kacsmar from Football Outsiders dug into the DVOA numbers for the NFL when it comes to generating pressure and their numbers without pressure. The results for the Broncos were amazing. Amazing is a word we are used to hearing when it comes to this defense.
Not only did Denver finish with the best pressure rate in the NFL last season (32.2%), they were the only team to post a negative DVOA when generating no pressure (-8.8%). And it was not even close to the next best team on the list.
For the second year in a row, Denver had the NFL's highest pressure rate. The 32.2 percent figure almost matched 2015's 32.7 percent, so it was another stellar year for Wade Phillips' unit in the coordinator's swansong with the team. We'll see how Joe Woods fares as a first-time coordinator, because Phillips has a long history of creating excellent pass-rushing defenses. Woods' background is coaching defensive backs, but he can feel good about his results with Denver's "No Fly Zone" secondary over the last two seasons. Perhaps the most impressive number in this table is the fact that Denver still produced negative DVOA (-8.8%) when there wasn't any pressure. The league average was 33.5%. That is a testament to how well the Broncos can cover with Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, Bradley Roby, Darian Stewart, and T.J. Ward in the secondary. The only other defenses to produce negative DVOA without pressure since 2010 were the 2012 Bears (-1.6%) and 2013 Bills (-0.3%), so Denver's pressure-less mark is the best over the last seven seasons.
It is time for this Broncos secondary to be put into the conversation as the greatest secondary of all-time. The only other two teams to post negative rankings when no pressure was generated barely made it. The Broncos dominated it.
I am a bit focused on the No Fly Zone, but the other half of this great breakdown from Kacsmar was the fact that Von Miller and the Broncos pass rush was again the best in the NFL at generating pressure.
I’ll pay homage to the Orange Crush of the 1970’s always, but with how much the game has changed to favor offenses, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that we are witnessing the greatest defensive unit in Broncos history take the field every week.
And 2017 might be the last time we see this group all together.
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