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OK, Broncos. Show us you care enough to play to win

The inspired talk is fine. It’s important. It’s more important that you show us you’re doing everything you can to win.

Washington Football Team v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Von Miller is gone and the Broncos sit at 4-4 with seven of their nine remaining games against teams with winning records.

The four wins have come against some of the worst teams in the league. The four losses were against good teams having a down week that a “stronger-on-paper” Broncos team could not take advantage of and get the win.

And to watch the team play has been even more frustrating than reading the stats.

Some of the stats are even shockingly good. Joe Mahoney pointed out that in spite of all its missed tackles, poor run stopping and bad pass defense, the Broncos’ D is ranked second for points allowed to an opposing offense - just 17.1 points per game.

Against Washington Football Team the Broncos pass rush had 19 quarterback pressures and five sacks. The defense also turned in a blocked field goal, an interception and two red zone stands right at the end of the game (one thanks in part to total ineptitude by the offensive coordinator, but whatever).

But even the offense - as inept as it has seemed - has some interesting numbers to its stat sheet.

Andrew Mason pointed out that even though the offense is scoring fewer points per game than last season, it has actually improved in some key areas - more points per possession for one.

So the ability to win is not as hopeless as it might seem with this team (admittedly, watching them play does not inspire hope).

And George Paton claims to believe in this team’s ability to make a push in the second half of the season with the players on the roster (and apparently the coaches too).

“Moving forward with this team, I believe in the players here. I believe in the coaches here. We’re 4-4. It hasn’t been perfect,” he said following the trade of Von Miller to the Rams. “We have a long way to go, but I do believe in the players. We’re 4-4 and everything is in front of us. We’re still in the thick of it, but yes, we do have a long way to go. I really look forward to the second part of the season, and that starts Sunday with the Cowboys, a great football team.”

As usual the players are saying all the right things in their press conferences:

Kareem Jackson:

“We have a lot of games left, and we got a great group of guys. We still have a ton of leaders in this locker room. I watch these guys work on a day-to-day basis and I’m excited for things in front of us. ...It’s just approaching it week-to-week and just coming out and playing with some confidence and executing the game plan...I think we have the right guys here, the right mentality, and the right mindset to move forward. I look forward to all the possibilities for us.”

Justin Simmons:

“We realize the rest of the schedule. We’ve got a lot of tough teams left. Obviously, we play Dallas this week. We’ve still got to play the Chargers twice, and another game against the Raiders—the Chiefs. There’s a lot of tough games left on the schedule, but I think with the preparation that we’re having, I love the environment and the culture. It’s tough when you’re losing. You’re like, ‘None of that stuff really adds up.’ You find ways to win, like I talk about every week. It doesn’t really matter what you’re doing throughout the week. All it really matters is that you’re winning on Sunday. If we could just continually find ways to win on Sundays, I think we’re going to obviously be more than OK.”

Teddy Bridgewater on how the offense can get better:

“We’ve just got to be more consistent and have more explosive plays. If you look at us Sunday, those drives that we had those explosive plays, they led to points. That’s just how this league works. If you can get an explosive play each drive, you can put yourself in a position to get some points. We can be better in that aspect. I think we’re doing a good job of getting the ball to our guys and allowing them to make plays. Now it’s time to just put it all together—the explosives, the quicks, the screens, and being efficient on first and second down. Like last week, I think it might have been one of our best games on third down. We were better in the red zone. There were positives to take away from it, but I agree with [General Manager] George [Paton]. I think we can be better by putting our guys in the best position to not only make plays, but to make those explosive plays.”

OK, Broncos. It’s on you, then.

We’re tired of listening. We want to see it.

You say you have all the tools. You say you’re practicing hard. You say it’s just about “executing” the plays. You say the locker room culture is strong. That guys aren’t down on each other or their coaches, that the loss of Von Miller can be overcome - both on the field and in the locker room.

OK, then. Show us on Sunday. Dallas is the third-best scoring offense in the league at over 33 points a game, and its defense is only 16th in points allowed against it (23.1), but that’s still more points than you have scored most games so far.

So if you want to prove to Broncos Country that you haven’t given up, then show us.

Get on the field and show us that you care about tackling the guy with the ball.

Get on the field and show us that you can see the open receivers and connect with them.

Get on the field and show us you can stop the running back.

Get on the field and show us that you can block for your QB without a holding penalty.

Get on the field and show us that you can cover the receivers and prevent the big play.

Get on the field and show us that you can play through the whistle, give it your best football and do everything you can to win.

This isn’t a game you should win. Show us you care enough to try.

Horse Tracks

'Nobody’s surrendering here': Following Von Miller’s departure, Broncos’ goals have not changed for 2021 season
Plus, read about the connection between Pat Surtain II and Micah Parsons and about Courtland Sutton's trip home to Texas.

Injury Report: Noah Fant and Netane Muti remain on Reserve/COVID-19 list, statuses for #DENvsDAL still uncertain
Safety Caden Sterns, meanwhile, returned to practice for the Broncos.

HC Vic Fangio talks to team, S Kareem Jackson provides perspective in wake of fatal car crash caused by Henry Ruggs III
“First and foremost, the family that lost the young lady, my heart goes out to them," Jackson said.

Pat Surtain II, Ja’Marr Chase, Trevon Moehrig, Mac Jones and more: NFL midseason all-rookie team – The Athletic
This is a great opportunity, two months in, to survey this rookie class and identify the best first-year players at each position.

Randy Gregory has been a true difference maker on the Cowboys defense - Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys patience with Randy Gregory is finally paying off big time.

Cowboys news: “No, no, no” chance he was missing a second game, says Dak Prescott - Blogging The Boys
Plus other Cowboys news and analysis from around the team.

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Predicting the Cowboys Week 9 matchup against the Denver Broncos - Blogging The Boys
Eight years after Romo and Manning combined for 99 points, the Broncos travel to Dallas. So, what should we expect?

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (calf) practices fully Thursday, WR CeeDee Lamb (ankle) a DNP
The Cowboys offense could welcome Dak Prescott into the fold this week but injuries to key skill players threaten to dampen the hype surrounding the QB's return.

Cowboys to wear red-striped helmets in honor of U.S. military for Week 9 game vs. Broncos
For the first time in a decade, the Dallas Cowboys will don a red-striped helmet in honor of the United States' military for the NFL's Salute to Service game on Sunday against the Broncos.

Pat Surtain’s award chase, Vic Fangio’s future and a curse broken: 5 Broncos second-half predictions – The Athletic
The Broncos will finally beat the Chiefs but will experience their sixth straight season without making the playoffs.

NFL: God answered Von Miller’s prayer to compete for a 2nd Super Bowl
Von Miller prayed for a chance to compete for a Super Bowl again. He believes God answered that prayer, just not the way he expected.

Broncos add intriguing former Mr. Irrelevant to the practice squad
The Denver Broncos added an intriguing playmaker to the practice squad in 2019 7th-round pick Caleb Wilson, a tight end out of UCLA.

2021 NFL season, Week 9: What we learned from Colts' win over Jets on Thursday night
Carson Wentz and the Colts put up a season-high in points to best the Jets on "Thursday Night Football."