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Atwater: Broncos’ D needs to start doing the bullying

The Broncos’ defense was getting pushed around on Sunday, and Steve Atwater is over it. Time for the Broncos to do the bullying in the game.

Cleveland Browns v Denver Broncos Photo by Rob Leiter/Getty Images

Steve Atwater has some words about last week’s effort by the Broncos:

“It just wasn’t good football.”

To most of Broncos Country that was obvious. And to Atwater that was unacceptable.

“It didn’t really look like guys were playing hard or they weren’t doing the right things or they were getting pushed around. You can’t get pushed around - especially in your back yard.

“If you go to someone else’s back yard, they may push you around a little bit but eventually you want to win that battle,” he added. “I felt like we were getting bullied, and I want the opposite to happen. Kids, if you’re listening, I’m not for bullying. But in football when you’re on the field, you’ve got to bully or you’ll get bullied.”

Benjamin Allbright tried to twist the knife a little bit by pointing out that there’s nothing worse than losing to the Raiders at home on the day the Broncos were honoring Mike Shanahan, “Mr. Raider Hater.”

And while Atwater agreed, he noted that he’s been in games where as a defense, they just couldn’t keep an offense from scoring.

“Thats a terrible feeling,” Atwater said, adding that’s what it seemed like was happening Sunday. “Whatever we did, we couldn’t stop the Raiders. We had the wrong defense called, or we were out of position, or the guy was breaking tackles and running free, or we were just not in the right place.”

Atwater referred to comments by Von Miller and Justin Simmons who both said yesterday they were happy to play on a short game week so they could get back on the field to redeem themselves.

And the Hall-of-Famer agreed 100 percent they need to.

“They’ve got to come out and ball out on Thursday,” Atwater said, recalling Miller’s quote to the press yesterday:

“I’m going to have a great game. I’m going to go out there and play well and get a couple of sacks. If I can do that, then we will win. If you look at this season, in the first three games, I had a couple sacks, and we won those games. These last three games, I didn’t do as much. If I can play well, get sacks and find a way to disrupt the game, we’ll win. The pressure is on me to play well. I will play well. I don’t know who the tackle is that I’m going against, but I’m going to kill him (laughs). I’m going to kill him (laughs) and the other guy on the other side (laughs). I’m going to play extremely well. I’m going to make plays for my team. I’m going to set us up to win this game.”

And now, Atwater says, Miller has to do it. “He’s got to show up and ball out.”

So does Simmons and the secondary, which allowed seven plays longer than 20 yards to be completed. For a “bend-don’t-break” defense, there was a lot of breaking on Sunday.

And now teams could be thinking they don’t need to worry about throwing the deep ball on the Broncos’ safeties.

“Teams are going to try it - ‘Oh man, wow, we can throw the post whenever they’ve got a deep middle field safety,’” Atwater noted. “Until you stop it.”

But it’s not just the defense that has to step up big-time; it’s the whole team, Atwater said, including none other than the offensive line.

“Man, we’ve got to come out with a different mentality,” he said. “Whatever we’re doing, we’ve got to improve that. We cannot let our quarterback get hit 17 times.”

Bonus Listen

Javonte Williams, who also joined Ryan Edwards for a short interview Tuesday, has been one of the few bright spots this season.

The rookie running back told Edwards that his “tackle me if you can” running style has always been his thing.

“This is how I run. I always try to break at least one tackle when I get the ball,” he said, noting that it probably came from early days of playing linebacker. “I’m trying to fight for every yard.”

Although Williams acknowledged that he has seemingly had his biggest runs when he’s “bounced it outside,” he much prefers running inside.

“Sometimes I just bounce it. Definitely a lot more space on the outside, but I really like running inside more honestly,” he said. “Just because with gap scheme plays I feel like I read those bette.”

Growing up as a big fan of Todd Gurley, Williams is a strong believer in an all-around running back.

“You’ve got to do more than just one thing,” he saidl “You’ve got to be able to catch, run block and obviously be a good runner also.”

One thing Williams also tries to personally do is to pay attention to what the defense is doing against the Broncos’ offense whenever he isn’t on the field.

“I just try to watch the defense and see if the offense missed anything so I can take advantage when I go in,” he said, noting that he believes he and Melvin Gordon III have become a good dual threat and work well with each other. “That’s what I’ve always tried to do.”

As far as getting the offense back on track Thursday against an “all-star defense” for Cleveland, Williams said it’s just about getting back to basics.