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Even more onus on Broncos’ defense now with backup QB playing

Todd Davis joined the Broncos Country Tonight crew Monday night to talk about the improving defense that still needs to do more.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Broncos will be heading into the second half of a disappointing season behind a backup quarterback - this week Brandon Allen, after the bye, who knows - linebacker Todd Davis says it’s even more important for the defense to be able to “win the game.”

“It’s on us as a defense to create great opportunities and situations for [Allen],” Davis said regarding news that starting QB Joe Flacco is out indefinitely with a herniated disc in his neck. “We have to give him a short field to play off of, get some interceptions, put him in the red zone so he can be the best he can be.”

Hanging out with the Broncos Country Tonight crew for the usual live Monday night show at Buffalo Wild Wings, Davis added that the Broncos defense believes it was the unit that needed to step up and win the game against the Colts.

“We knew they were a very talented offensive line, so we put things together to attack them, and at the end of the day, it came together pretty well,” Davis said of a defense that held the Colts to 15 points, got four sacks on Jacoby Brissett, and limited T.Y. Hilton to 54 yards (that was boosted after a 35-yard play at the end of the game).

But when the final stat is a check in the “L” column, Davis said it’s not enough.

“We feel like we could do more,” Davis said about helping the Broncos offense when it’s struggling to get points. “If we need to get more turnovers, then we need to do that. We feel like the weight is on our shoulders, and we have to find a way to win games.”

It’s hard to put too much blame on a defense that is currently ranked fourth-best for yards allowed per play and eighth-best for points allowed per game - plus a No. 5 DVOA ranking (prior to the Colts game).

But the team is 2-6, so no one gets a pass.

And that’s how Davis feels. When Allbright asked if he had any guidance for the Browns on handling adversity, the linebacker was to quick to point out that the Broncos aren’t really ones to hand out advice right now.

“We’re having our own bit of struggle right now and trying to turn it around. After we beat them, I’ll have some advice,” he laughed.

But it’s nice to see the positive outlook about winning.

“Every game is an opportunity to win, whether a team is playing good or bad,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who it is against, if we play the way we can as a defense, we can get a win.”

The Broncos may have one of their best opportunities of the season for a win this Sunday, given that they’ll face a 2-5 Browns team. But that 2-5 team did score 13 points against the Patriots, who own the top-ranked defense in the NFL.

When you realize that the Broncos’ offense scored 13 against a defense with a 26 DVOA ranking, that means even more weight on the Broncos defense this coming weekend.

“I feel like it’s on us to close out the game,” Davis said, specifically talking about the final drive in the Colts game in which the defense gave up a game-winning field goal. “No matter how they get the ball, when [the opponent] has the ball, they’re not supposed to score and that was on us.”

Despite the losing record and the disappointing loss, Davis is still all in with the defensive scheme and the coaches. Asked to compare Vic Fangio’s defense to Wade Phillips’ defense, Davis pointed to Fangio’s complexity.

“With Wade, you knew what plays you were going to run every game,” Davis said. “With Vic, he’s going to change it up every week. You’ve got to be on your toes. You’ve got to be mentally sound in your play book. And you’ve got to be ready to roll.”

A 2-6 record may be too late to salvage for much this season, but Davis believes the progress on defense is really setting up the team for future success.

“We have a lot of great things ahead of us. These games are going to make us who we are the next three or four years,” he said. “These losses, close games, fighting our butts off...these are the things that’ll make us go 14-2 next year.”


What will be the biggest key for the defense against Baker Mayfield and the Browns?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Pressure on the QB
    (146 votes)
  • 31%
    Stopping Nick Chubb
    (160 votes)
  • 4%
    Keeping the Landry/OBJ duo quiet
    (23 votes)
  • 35%
    Getting turnovers
    (181 votes)
510 votes total Vote Now