You don’t get too high with the wins. You don’t get too low with the losses.
To use another cliche, you don’t let one game or loss define your season.
So it goes for the Denver Broncos (2-4) as they head into Week 8 against the Los Angeles Chargers (2-4). The goal is to put the disappointment of the 43-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs out of sight, out of mind.
To throw out another cliche: The season is now at a fork in the road, so which path will the Broncos take on Sunday? Denver enters as a 3-point underdog. At home. That tells you what the sportsbooks think of the Broncos right now.
On the MHR Radio Podcast, Adam Malnati and I previewed Sunday against the Chargers with our players to watch and keys to the game.
LA Chargers: Fourth in overall offense (405.8 yards per game), sixth in rushing (140.3), seventh in passing (276.7), ninth in scoring offense (29.2 points per game).
Denver: Twenty-eighth in overall offense (322.8 yards per game), 16th in rushing (113.7), 26th in passing (209.2), 28th in scoring offense (19.3 points per game).
LA Chargers: Nineteenth in overall defense (366.2 yards per game), 14th in rushing defense (113.0), 23rd in passing defense (253.2), 18th in scoring defense (25.7 points per game).
Denver: Eighth in overall in defense (339.2 yards per game), 10th in rushing defense (109.0), 13th in passing defense (230.2), tied for 16th in scoring defense (25.5 points per game).
Here are the MHR staff’s keys to Sunday’s game.
Put the Chiefs game behind them
This is more for Drew Lock. Use last Sunday as a learning experience to become the quarterback he expects. Not every game will turn out lollipops and rainbows but it’s how Lock responds that will set him on the course to success. Sunday against Los Angeles is the next step. — Ian St. Clair
Lock needs to go through his progressions
I’d like to see Drew Lock do a little less scrambling out of the pocket or chucking the ball of his back foot whenever his first read isn’t immediately open. Go through those progressions and find the open wide receivers without leaving the pocket unnecessarily. — Tim Lynch
Drew Lock this year on play action: 69%, 1 TD, 0 INT, 109 QB Rating.— Jeffrey Essary (@JeffreyEssary) October 28, 2020
Drew Lock this year non-play action: 51%, 0 TD, 4 INT, 50 QB Rating.
Drew Lock under center: 66%, 1 TD, 0 INT, 105 QB rating.
Drew Lock shotgun: 53%, 0 TD, 4 INT, 52 QB Rating.
Simplify the offense
Make things easy for Lock. More play action and half field reads. Less empty sets inviting the defense to blitz and making Drew Lock process too much information. We have to remember, Lock has only played 3 games in this new offense with no preseason. Pat Shurmur’s No. 1 priority needs to be settling him down and making him comfortable. — Jeff Essary
Change the though process
Lock has got to stop thinking he can will this team to a win with big plays. I’m all for a few deep throws. Like two. In a year with virtually no time in the offseason for the QB and his new receivers to gain chemistry, and a quarterback with not even 10 games under his belt, deep passes are not going to be there most of the time. Go through the progression, look for Noah Fant, look for KJ Hamler. And give the ball to Phillip Lindsay half the time. Then let the defense do its thing. — Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
Pressure the QB
Get to the QB. Get pressure on Herbert with Chubb and Reed on the edge, and also get a good push up the middle from Shelby Harris. — Adam Malnati