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Ultimate Fan: Broncos’ D will punish Mariota and the Titans

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Our Bay Area fan sees a great opportunity for the Broncos defense to build on its success last week.

Denver Broncos v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Ah, the sun has been a little sunnier this week (even with the snow!) now that the Broncos have one in the win column and look poised for a few more (11 in fact would be great). But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This week the Broncos have the Titans, who sit at 2-3 but have one of the top defenses in the NFL, so it’s going to be a tall order for the Broncos’ offense.

But in true Ultimate Fan order, our Bay Area fan sees success for this team at Mile High this week - led by a threatening defense and a run-to-set-up-the-pass offense.

Here’s to win No. 2!

Week 6: Broncos v. Titans

MHR - WooHoo!!! A win!! What did you like about the Chargers game that gives you hope (aside from getting a win)? And what still might have you just a tiny bit concerned?
BayAreaUnitedInOrange: I liked our defense holding the Chargers to six points including the awesome goal line stand to end the first half. This was the run-stuffing defense I expected to see in Week 1, forcing teams into 2nd-and-long, 3rd-and-long and playing into the strength of Vic Fangio’s defense of pressure and turnovers. Oh by the way, we finally got some turnovers. I am concerned with our special teams; we are having coverage lapses, and McManus is unable to accurately kick a 50+ yard field goal anymore, which could cost us a game. And our offensive consistency from quarter to quarter and game to game is a concern too.

MHR - So much (negative) attention early on was with the offensive line, but an interview this week with Dalton Risner highlighted two things - how good of a position coach Mike Munchak really probably is and how important communication between the linemen is for executing a good offense. What do you think of the current line - is there hope that this unit will not be the main weakness on the team?
BayAreaUnitedInOrange: With Coach Munch, I expected this to be a run-first, WCO that dominates on the ground - the proverbial runs-setting-up-the-passes. I believe we still have the chance to gel and get this Oline group into shape, but we need James to get healthy, Leary to stay healthy, and Bolles to take another stride forward.

MHR - No matter how good (or not good) that line is, this week will be a gigantic test as it faces one of the top defenses in the league. With 17 sacks so far this season from the Titans, how can Scangarello and Munchak keep Joe Flacco upright and the offense moving the chains?
BayAreaUnitedInOrange: We do catch a break with Cameron Wake listed as OUT. Keeping Flacco upright is not as important as preventing turnovers. Joe needs to get his internal clock ticking and throw the ball away. The run game sets up the pass game, and with Jano back on the field, I believe we will see multiple two-back sets and two-TE sets to open up the run game and provide the protection needed.

MHR - Titans’ corner Logan Ryan has been playing elite football lately, and the entire secondary has been a threat with 7 takeaways so far this season. Is this going to be another big day for the running backs? How will Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders fare against this crew?
BayAreaUnitedInOrange: Stop me if you’ve heard this before - The run game will set up the passing game - hahahahaha. If we can get the Titans to respect the run, crowd the box with 8 defenders, and we stay out of 3rd-and-longs, we should be able to get a couple chunk pass plays to Eman and Sutton. I’m predicting one long TD pass for Denver this week.

MHR - Rich Scangarello noted on Thursday how difficult it is for a rookie tight end to get up to NFL speed because he has to learn so many different positions - blocking, route running, etc. What do you think of Noah Fant so far and what do you think he could mean for the offense’s play call diversity this season?
BayAreaUnitedInOrange: Fant appears to be just another guy at this time, one of 3 or 4 trying to make an impact at TE, trying to stand out and be the guy. I don’t think we will have that this year at TE. Next year for Fant.

MHR - The Broncos’ D last weekend finally looked in sync - even with several backups coming in. Putting Mike Purcell in the middle and shifting Shelby Harris outside proved to be a great combo. And even though Von Miller didn’t get a sack, he and Malik Reed were creating pressure. Should Marcus Mariota be afraid - very afraid - this week?
BayAreaUnitedInOrange: You do not have to read very far on any Titans Music City Miracles posts to understand the frustration with their offense. Earlier this week I read the commentary, summarizing: Titans O-line is trash (fire the O-line coach); giving up a league-leading 22 sacks; Mariota not helping by holding the ball too long on many occasions; 17 of the sacks came with Mariota in the pocket more than 2.5 seconds (where 2.5 is league average time (PFF)).

So I say yes, yes, and yes again to sacks this week.

MHR - Fun Fact from Music City Miracles: If the Titans offense avoids turning the ball over in Denver, it will be the first team in NFL history to not have an offensive turnover through the first six weeks of the season. How does that stat go this weekend?
BayAreaUnitedInOrange: I believe we will with the help of the Bronco faithful in full voice. With Titans’ O-line problems, and Mariota as an easy target, turnovers will start coming in bushels based on the law of averages, if nothing else.

MHR - With De’Vante Bausby out, Isaac Yiadom is still going to be in the game. His coach and even Chris Harris Jr. noted that playing with confidence is part of his issue and you gain confidence by going in and making plays. How would you help Yiadom when he goes against this offense?
BayAreaUnitedInOrange: I would help Yiadom the way Vic Fangio is famous for - giving the offense a lot of different looks, line of scrimmage changes and scheme switches. This may be part of the problem for Yiadom as this is a complicated defense to execute as scripted - and he is still learning.

MHR - Alexander Johnson was one of the defensive heroes last week. Will his success continue? What did you like from him and how might he be useful against one of the better tight ends in the league in Delanie Walker and running backs in Derrick Henry?
BayAreaUnitedInOrange: Johnson was a beast out there last week. I read a comment earlier on MHR that he may not have a better game in his career, and that’s not to be disrespectful, rather THAT was how good he played. Can you imagine the hyperbole if he had made that second INT? Henry will be a test without a doubt, and it will take Shelby Harris and Mike Purcell as well to disrupt up front. Walker is a problem for whoever and whatever scheme we run, not a problem just for Johnson.

MHR - What do you make of the penalties and officiating this year? What can be done to fix this mess?
BayAreaUnitedInOrange: Don’t get me started. … But now that you got me started… coaches are 1 for 21 on PI challenges since Week 3. Offensive holding calls were rampant in the first few weeks to send a message. One area I would like to see penalized is offensive PI calls for pick plays, and this is not happening. It’s a real mess right now, no one knows what is PI and what is not PI, same as prior years actually, we’re just spending more time discussing it. One positive is the decision to eject players like Burfict, similar to college rules.

If I could wave a wand and fix the penalty mess, I would. Slow motion replay has made the job of replay review more precise than it has to be, looking at every pixel and watching blades of grass move from 14 camera angles. Here’s one rule I would make (same for NHL) - If you cannot determine an obvious bad call in the first 30 seconds, then go with the call on the field. Shut off the monitors and move on to the next play. Correcting the obvious incorrect calls and ignoring the time-consuming BS reviews would make 99 percent of the fans happier.

MHR - This weekend is the Ring of Fame ceremony, and the ever-awesome Champ Bailey will be enshrined. What was your favorite quality about Champ, and do you have a favorite game? Do you think Bailey’s skill at the height of his career is being matched in the NFL today?
BayAreaUnitedInOrange: Champ Bailey was the consummate professional and leader, a quiet, consistent leader, but leader nonetheless. It’s easy to call his pick-six in the playoff game against the Pats and Brady my favorite Champ game. Easy, because the highlight has been replayed a thousand times. But so much of what he did to turn games around were equally as sudden, almost unexpected since QBs seldom threw his way. Much like playing against Louis Wright in the Orange Crush era, teams just knew better than to throw in that direction.

Predictions

Stats for Joe Flacco? 15 of 24 for 225 and one long TD

Stats for each Broncos RB? Lindsay: 12 carries for 52 yards; Freeman 18 carries for 85 yards and a TD

Number of yards receiving/TDs for each receiver? Sanders: 45 yards; Sutton: 121 yards and a TD

Longest FG for McManus? 51. Yes, I went there

Number of sacks to Flacco? 4

Number of sacks to Marcus Mariota? 4

Broncos player with the most tackles? Alexander Johnson

Who gets the first sack for the Broncos? Von Miller sets the tone

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

How many penalties will the refs get wrong? About half

How many holding penalties for Garett Bolles? 1 but it saves Flacco’s life and is declined on 3rd-and-long

Final Score? Denver 24-16, I’m predicting a defensive TD for Denver

The Favorites

Favorite Broncos game EVER? One that I attended was the season opener on Thursday night against Carolina in 2016. That was back-to-back beat downs of Cam Newton and the Panthers, which I fully believe Cam has yet to recover from, three years later.

Where were you the day the Broncos beat the Packers in 1998 in SB 32? Watching with my best friend and his three-year-old son (who just got married last weekend). The son could tell how excited we were throughout the game, kept looking up at us, emulating our excitement, following our queues, and he had no clue what was happening on the TV. Great, great, memories; great game.

Team(s) you hate to lose to the most? Raiders

Team you love to beat? Raiders, and Pats for the past 15+ years

Favorite game this season? Let’s go with revenge against the Raiders at Mile High

Toughest game still on the schedule? At KC in December

Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Von Miller

Favorite Broncos player of all time? John Elway, although you can’t go wrong with Shannon Sharpe

Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? Our own RB-tossing Dalton Risner

Former Broncos player who most deserves HOF? I met Louis Wright once, he’s deserving

Least favorite game analyst/commentator? Monday Night Football crew of Boogs and Tessie and it’s not even close.

Favorite game-day snack? When watching games not on our local TV at sports bar, wings. At home, usually nothing special.

Superstitions on game day? None really, other than changing seats until the game starts going our way.

How did you become a Broncos fan?

I moved to Denver in early 80s. Coming from the sports-losing area known as Detroit in the 70s, I quickly became fascinated with the fan excitement and the Orange Crush defense. Now, 10 years removed from Denver, still a big fan.

Poll

In a totally unfair question - in his era, which Broncos’ cornerback is the best?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Louis Wright
    (34 votes)
  • 75%
    Champ Bailey
    (170 votes)
  • 3%
    Chris Harris Jr.
    (8 votes)
  • 2%
    "Shasta"
    (5 votes)
  • 3%
    "SaguaroBronco" (reject the premise of the question - lol)
    (9 votes)
226 votes total Vote Now