Ho Ho Ho, Ultimate Fans!
After a disappointing performance against the Chiefs, the Broncos have an excellent chance for a bounce-back game as they face a rare sight this season - a weak team. Hopefully a wonderful Christmas gift has been pre-wrapped by the Broncos this weekend with a check in the Win column.
By all measures the Broncos should win this, even with the multitude of injuries and setbacks the team has had, and our ultimate fan believes this should be an excellent opportunity for some young guys to get experience while giving the stars another chance to shine.
Quick shout out to “mad horses” for taking this on super last-minute and an apology to ManCalledHorse for not getting this done before his holiday vacation. I owe you both one!
But for now, let’s talk Broncos and talk winning!
Week 16: Lions at Broncos
MHR - What do you think went wrong against KC - Weather? Game plan? Or just plain being outmatched?
Mad horses: A combination of everything. KC had everything at stake with a potential bye in the playoff schedule … Denver was clearly outmatched. The weather may have been a factor, KC’s game plan was aggressive, and played into Denver’s obvious weaknesses and injuries. Hate to state it, but KC is, and has been, the better team.
MHR - Much of the talk this week has centered around Von Miller’s post-game comments. What did you think of his obvious frustration Sunday versus his “clarification” of those comments on Thursday? How much of a hole would be left if Miller were not a Bronco, in your opinion?
Mad horses: I thought that the post-game comments were overplayed by the media and by us fans. Von is clearly frustrated with seeing another losing season, after all this change. After he cooled down, we saw a more balanced perspective from him. I look for him to be a factor today, by the way. As to the thought of him leaving, I shudder at the possibility. Von was a huge factor in Denver’s winning seasons, and the 2015 SB victory. He needs to stay a Bronco.
MHR - The defense has dealt with a multitude of injuries and replacements, including Bryce Callahan, De’Vante Bausby, Bradley Chubb, Derek Wolfe, Joe Jones and now also Adam Gotsis. Yet the defense has time and again held tough against even high-power offenses thanks to Miller, Justin Simmons, Alexander Johnson and Kareem Jackson. What does this tell you about Vic Fangio’s system and the potential next season?
Mad horses: It tells me that we are in a “wait and see” mode. While the defense has been respectable this year, I cannot wait to see what can happen when we have a healthy roster and a year of familiarity with Fangio’s scheme. It’s not unrealistic to think that Denver can be an elite defense again, especially if we can retain a couple of our free agents (with Simmons topping that list).
MHR - With a depleted secondary what opportunity could that give a guy like Will Parks?
Mad horses: Parks has a great opportunity to prove that he belongs on the roster. His season has been good, in my opinion, but these last two games should enable him to really showcase his talents. Would love to see a pick.
MHR - Chris Harris Jr. has been exposed more this season, despite still playing at a high level. And even he admitted he didn’t deserve a Pro Bowl nod. What do you think the future with the Broncos will be for CHJ, and what do you want it to be?
Mad horses: Being a big fan of CHJ through the years, I hope he stays with the Broncos. I do feel, however, that he may be best suited to return to the slot. His high level of play is still there, but his best days may be behind him. Denver clearly needs some help in the secondary, and we should see some significant acquisitions in the draft or free agency.
MHR - The Detroit Free Press is giving the edge to the Lions’ running game over the Broncos’ run defense (despite a semi beat-up running corps) and the Broncos’ pass defense the edge to the Lions’ pass offense largely due to the quarterback situation and despite a Pro Bowl-caliber year from wide receiver Kenny Golladay. Do you agree with those assessments?
Mad horses: I agree that Detroit’s only real chance in this game will be on the ground. While Golladay is a beast, it’s not likely that the back-up QB will be able to take advantage of that, especially if Denver can bring some heat. All said, Denver should win this game by every measure.
MHR - After the initial hype over Drew Lock and his big win in Houston, the rookie QB was brought back to earth a little bit against the Chiefs. OC Rich Scangarello noted that Lock is “fearless” and has a “gunslinger” mentality gives him confidence to take some gutsy throws. He also said the young QB has to learn that it’s not college football anymore. What do you hope to see from Lock this weekend?
Mad horses: Progression. I hope to see Lock continue to develop his technique and his football IQ. I love watching this guy … he has brought excitement back to the Broncos. No question of his abilities … he just needs to continue his development and minimize his mistakes (maybe a few less gutsy throws).
MHR - Phillip Lindsay has 856 yards through 14 games and has a chance for a second 1,000-yard season, which would be a huge milestone for the undrafted back. What are his chances running against a Lions’ defense that has held five of its last six opponents to under 90 yards rushing total?
Mad horses: His chances are very good over the next two games. Let’s forget the stats on Detroit … Lindsay is a baller and playing at home. I hope that Scangarello plans accordingly.
MHR - On the end of the spectrum, the Lions are ranked 31st in pass defense and have Courtland Sutton plus Noah Fant to deal with. Could this also be a day Lock and Scangarello take advantage of this and spread the ball around again?
Mad horses: It’s definitely where the mismatch is for this game. The underlying question is whether the OL can offer up enough protection to allow Lock some time to throw. If so, then yes!
MHR - The offensive line had a rough day against the Chiefs last weekend, allowing two sacks. But even without Ja’Wuan James (again), this patchwork line is going up against a rather weak pass rush. How do you expect the line to do this weekend?
Mad horses: It seems that the OL must be getting tired of all the rhetoric these days. They are definitely in need of upgrades, but I may be of a minority viewpoint that they are holding up better than can be expected with the injuries and lack of depth. We can attribute that to good coaching. I expect the line to hold its own today.
MHR - Kyle Sloter may play and Matt Prater will certainly play. Do either of these former Broncos have enough of an axe to grind to make this a revenge game?
Mad horses: I don’t think so. Matt Prater had a great run here and Sloter was well liked. This game is more about trying to end the season on a positive note. Both teams have something to prove here.
MHR - There are several defensive players who may not be here next season - Chris Harris Jr., Shelby Harris, Derek Wolfe, Adam Gotsis. In order of priority, who should Elway try to keep?
Mad horses: Simmons, not listed, should be retained by either franchise tag or contract extension. As to the free agents, Derek Wolfe should be a priority, and CHJ if he could back off the demands for a top-tiered salary.
Kareem Jackson has been suspended for the last two games but his KJackTV is still the best. So I’ll pick up the slack for his absence and continue doing our own version:
Which Bronco is most likely to drink hot cocoa with big marshmallows? Which one drinks egg nog? Which one drinks straight rum?
Which Bronco totally dresses up as Santa to put presents under the tree?
Which Bronco believed in Santa the longest as a kid?
Which Bronco got the most “coal” as a kid?
Which Bronco knows the most Christmas carols?
Which Bronco might still believe in Santa?
Mad horses: Von is most likely to break out the big marshmallows, and I would not put it past him to don the Santa suit. I bet that Justin Simmons knows alot of Christmas carols. Shelby Harris, the true badass, probably got the most coal as a kid. The coach is probably the most able to hit the egg nog at this juncture!
Stats for Drew Lock? Drew Lock will come close to 300 yards with two TDs, and … wait for it … no interceptions!
Stats for each Broncos RB? Lindsay runs for 85 yards and sets the stage to break 1000 next week. Freeman has a combined 30 yards.
Number of yards receiving/TDs for each receiver? Fant scores a TD as does Sutton. Sutton breaks 100 yards.
Longest FG for McManus? McManus hits one from 52 yards
Number of sacks to David Blough? How many to Sloter? Von, in the aftermath of all the hype this week, lands two sacks, one for each QB.
Defense? Simmons has the most tackles, Von records the first sack, and Denver has two takeaways.
How many PI calls will the refs miss? The refs miss 3 PI calls, in typical fashion. Final Score? Denver 27, Detroit 17.
Favorite Broncos game EVER? First SB win against Greenbay.
Where were you the day the Broncos won
the AFC West in 1977? College at CSU (go Rams)
SB32? Driving on I-70 trying to get home for the second half, which I did.
SB50? Watching the game in Telluride.
Team(s) you hate to lose to the most? KC
Teams you love to beat? KC, NE, and Raiders
Favorite game this season? Cleveland (I was there at the game with my son)
Toughest game still on the schedule? Raiders.
Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Sutton. Have his jersey.
Favorite Broncos player of all time? The Duke.
Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? Let me think … OK, Drew Lock!
Former Broncos player who most deserves HOF? Rod Smith.
Least favorite game analyst/commentator? Boomer.
Favorite Christmas present as a kid? Signed football by the Washington Redskins team.
Superstitions on game day? I clean the garage. A lot.
How did you become a Broncos fan?
Denver used to hold their training camps up north … I attended CSU. Became a legit fan during the 77 run and have been a diehard fan ever since, through the good times AND the bad! Go Broncos!