Su’a Cravens grew up watching Philip Rivers at the former Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego - and even though the young safety has only been with Denver a few months, he is well aware that the only real flaw of the Chargers’ quarterback is getting flustered by a dominating defense.
And Cravens and his fellow defenders know that’s the key to a win on Sunday.
“Their quarterback is the general. The spirit of this team runs through Philip Rivers,” Cravens told the guys at First & 10 @ 10 on Monday. “If he’s hot, the team’s going to be hot. But if we can get to him and cause some pressure on him and get him off his game, hopefully that will knock the balance off of everybody else.”
Easier said than done, of course, as seven teams so far this season have learned. Currently the Chargers’ offense is 10th in points per game, eighth in total offensive yards and third in average yards gained per play at 6.9.
But one area they are actually weaker than the Broncos’ offense is in third-down conversion percentage - and that’s where Cravens sees potential.
If the Broncos’ defense can do three main things - tackle better, stop offenses on third down, and not make mental errors before the snap - then Denver can keep Rivers from marching down the field every time he gets the ball.
And, of course, the more pressure on No. 17, the better.
LB @VonMiller needs just 5.5 sacks to pass #BroncosROF LB Simon Fletcher for first place on the #Broncos' career sack list.— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) November 12, 2018
Milestones on the horizon » https://t.co/6LzX2p369R pic.twitter.com/KPpRqztigN
“We’ve got to tackle a lot better. That’s the most obvious,” Cravens said, noting that the Broncos did better against the Texans, holding them to just 60 yards rushing. “But we’ve got to keep that momentum going and make sure we get these guys down on the first helmet to the ball. These yards after contact are what’s keeping teams on the field.”
It is most definitely going to take the Broncos’ defense once again mitigating the scoring damage so our offense only has to do so much to win - as head coach Vance Joseph hinted in his Monday afternoon presser.
“I told the guys, hope can’t be your strategy. You can’t hope to win, you can’t luck-in to win an NFL game. It’s too hard. We have to play better football,” he said. “We have to score more points early and play dominant defense. That’s our brand of football. Hope can’t be your strategy. You’ve got to play better.”
Sitting at 3-6, Cravens said the locker room is tight-knit and always ready to hold teammates accountable. Although any kind of postseason play is a long-shot for the Broncos at this point, Cravens said he doesn’t have any personal playing goals, only to get a victory in the books.
“My main priority is to get the win,” he said. “As long as we escape with a W, I’m good with that.”
Can the Broncos beat the Chargers?
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Not this year.
Can they, or will they????