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Ultimate Fan: Expect Broncos’ defense to come in hot and help get a crucial win

Dondada64 believes the pass rush - even without Randy Gregory - can overpower Matt Ryan and the Colts to keep them off balance all game.

Cincinnati Bengals v Denver Broncos Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

It’s just Thursday but already a new week, new game.

Because tonight on prime time the Broncos get an excellent opportunity after a hugely disappointing loss to the Raiders to change the trajectory of their season with a big win over the Colts.

And the perfect Ultimate Fan to help us do that is Dondada64, a former lineman whose favorite Broncos game is the Tebow-DT walkoff win in Pittsburgh and whose fandom took off after the utter joy of The Drive.

Who can argue with that???

Certainly not me (even if he doesn’t agree with me to let Russ cook, but I’ll let Dondada64 explain!) And I’m definitely not arguing with someone who picks the Broncos to win tonight.

Let’s Ride, Broncos Country!

Week 5: Colts at Broncos

MHR - Ugh. That’s the question. Do with it what you can ;)
Dondada64: I feel like “Ugh” is an accurate summation of the season so far. We are a quarter of the way in with a 2-2 record that could just as easily be 4-0 or 0-4. Emotions are everywhere, expectations are up and down and envy from the quick success of other high profile QBs who have switched teams has Mile High in an uproar. “Ugh” is a perfect adjective for the first quarter of the season.

MHR - OK, for real. Losing to the Raiders sucks. But what did you see in that game that has you concerned? Encouraged?
Dondada64: CONCERN - I’m not confident we can match points with the top scoring offenses in the league without major philosophical changes. Also the injury to Javonte Williams, which literally could be career-ending brings up a litany of questions such as - Will the offense work without the two-headed beast of RBs? Can we really trust Gordon alone? Can Boone step up and make a difference? Do we draft another high-profile running back (Javonte possibly and probably won’t be ready next year and Gordon won’t be back)?

ENCOURAGED - By the leadership of Russell Wilson, the potential of the offense and the overall play of the defense. Wilson provides the right element that the team needed desperately, a real leader in the face of adversity. The timing of the offense literally takes time to gel and fit (not working together in preseason games clearly did not help expedite that gelling process). The offense has shown flashes of potential. Wilson will continue to get better and motivate the Broncos to better week by week. “The most valuable player is the player that makes the most players valuable” …that’s definitely Russell Wilson!

MHR - The defense. Hmmm. Last week I was calling for a parade and throwing roses to this side of the ball and then they did what I feared…they let a very experienced Derek Carr and $%&^@*$ Josh McDaniels outscheme them with a hurry-up offense that had our crew on its heels from the start! Matt Ryan could present the same problem; what does Ejiro Evero need to do to avoid a similar outcome?
Dondada64: Look for it to get hot, real hot as Evero will dial up the heat this week by blitzing the most he has all season. Evero will also need to disguise these blitzes and utilize unique player combinations. Watch for something different on a 3rd-and-long such Chubb and Bonitto on the same side with Baron on the other. The way to take a QB like Ryan out of the game is to not let them set their feet or get into a rhythm.

MHR - Matt Ryan had over 350 yards passing last week, throwing to 10 different targets, including 150 yards just to tight ends. Evero said Tuesday part of the defensive scheme includes linebackers in coverage (but always “with help,” he noted). Is our linebacker corps up for another tight-end attack?
Dondada64: I actually don’t think the LBs will be under attack very much because of the flow of the game. With Taylor out, the Broncos will not have to respect the run as much so the responsibility of the LBs will not be overbearing. With the lack of time Ryan will have to throw, mixed with assignment-sound football, the Broncos defense will thrive. Expect a turnover or three from the Defense this week.

MHR - The run defense had a bad day at the office against the Raiders (grrrrr) and even if Jonathan Taylor doesn’t play due to an ankle sprain, what does this defense need to do to avoid another “200 yards on the ground” kind of performance from the Colts. Which defensive lineman will be the biggest key to the Broncos’ stopping the run?
Dondada64: I focus on the line of scrimmage on the snap and then follow the ball so I see a lot most don’t. I have been pleasantly surprised by the addition of DJ Jones. Jones and Purcell are the perfect complement for each other. Our nose tackles are playing lights out football right now and should be recognized for their major contributions to the success of the Defense.

MHR - Randy Gregory has been a wrecking ball on the field but is out until possibly Week 10 with a knee injury. That leaves Bradley Chubb working with Baron Browning, and likely Nik Bonitto some, to be the second edge rusher. What kind of faith do you have in Browning and Bonitto to step up big-time and take Gregory’s place?
Dondada64: This is the element of football most people forget about - “INJURIES”. I personally don’t think we see Gregory again until week 14 when we play the Chiefs due to the Broncos' tendency toward “being safe” with the injured player. You must have depth in this league, and we have it because of a great job by Paton.

Getting Bonitto was an absolute steal in the draft, and after the first quarter of the season, the rookie edge rusher has seen the speed of the game and is ready to step in and contribute at a high level.

Browning in an increased role will now show he is the absolute truth and the switch of his position was one of, if not the, smartest move of the offseason.

MHR - The offense showed great life last week but still lost so much momentum to mistakes and penalties. And since that was the fourth week of some really costly mistakes (fumble by Gordon, holding by Bolles), what would you do - if you were the coach - to emphasize playing clean, playing smart and playing mistake-free?
Dondada64: With a short week you abandon heavy hitting to avoid injuries and keep everyone fresh. Instead you focus on the small stuff - getting out of the huddle, protecting the ball, red zone offense, two-minute drill, technique.

Offense is timing; 11 people moving in unison with one goal in mind. If you fix the timing of the little stuff, things like penalties decrease, third-down percentage goes up, turnovers go down, total first downs go up.

MHR - The offense seems to move best when Russell Wilson takes over. He even made a comment, “ I tried to do everything I could to help bring us back and we almost got it done.” Tim Jenkins in his film breakdown this week also noted that “every time the Broncos offense gets into an up-tempo (no-huddle) package it has been successful.” So WHY does Nathaniel Hackett keep trying to do ineffective screen plays, odd times for run v. pass calls, etc? Is Hackett part of our problem?
Dondada64: Sorry but not sorry, Hackett is the problem thus far. We could be 4-0 with better coaching and that is not a far-fetched reach. Our losses have come down to poor game planning, time management, discipline and lack of adjustments in game. Right now Hackett is running a scheme over team type of philosophy. It almost seems as if he thinks he still has Rodgers. He must be doing something halfway right, but it’s evident that even to the untrained eye Hackett flat out is not putting our athletes in the best position to be successful. The Broncos have a true identity problem where it’s obvious we are a better running team but the coach is trying to force the “let Russ cook” thought.

I honestly expected an offense that was similar to the Ravens when we first picked up Wilson. The offense was so bad in the 49ers game, I thought it was a Tebow game again. (*editor’s note: it was almost exactly a Tebow game...terrible until one touchdown!)

MHR - Losing Javonte Williams was a big blow, but now more pressure rests on Melvin Gordon, Mike Boone and new old guy Latavius Murray. Is this group up to the task? How much faith do you have in Gordon to fix his fumble woes?
Dondada64: Gordon doesn’t necessarily fumble more than a lot of greats, it’s the timing of his fumbles. This last game will prove to be the lesson where he finally figures it out. He really has all the qualities we want and before the injury to Javonte was the best pass blocker of the bunch, best hands out of the bunch, best nose for the goal line back we had. I fully expect to see him make changes immediately to his ball security. Look for examples in game such as coming through the hole wrapping up the ball with two hands before contact.

MHR - I asked this exact question last week, but for the Broncos it’s still a mystery how to use the tight ends effectively. It sounds like all three are fairly one-dimensional so using them regularly is tough. But how would you like to see Hackett and Wilson get the tight ends involved more to take advantage of the middle of the field?
Dondada64: I would love again to see an offense similar to the Ravens, or something with more Run Pass Option like the Eagles.

Tight end production can sometimes be directly related to the RBs production. Look how the Ravenss tight end is used -If we establish the run to where the backers are worried about it, it takes their focus off the tight ends and opens them up to the pass. From there we got tight ends open wherever we want.

MHR - How ‘bout KJ Hamler last week? With him back, plus Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, should this passing offense be more explosive? Why isn’t it and what needs to happen? (*editor’s note: this is my backhanded way of forcing you to say Russ just needs to cook more, lol)
Dondada64: This offense absolutely should be more explosive. Our expectations for the first half of the season have to simmer down. When we lose the identity and mantra that Russ needs to cook we will be successful. Russell can’t cook because his cook book doesn’t fit the ingredients in his pantry currently.

Our offense cannot be explosive because it’s predictable and plain. Where’s the innovation and creativity that puts players in the position to utilize their specific talents? The red zone offense must get better as well. The red zone struggles are inexcusable, especially with a route runner like Jeudy, a jump ball specialist like Sutton, a goal line back like Gordon and a mismatch nightmare tight end.

MHR - I’m not a fan of a Thursday night game because of the short week. But after a loss, the team seems to think it’s a great remedy. What do you think of them and do you believe this team is up to the mental challenge of being angry, hungry and ready to win
Dondada64: This season I think the Thursday game benefits us. First it gets the taste of the Raiders' loss out of our mouths and off our minds faster. Second, it gives us a long week going into the game with the Chargers, which we need. I consider these next two games basically “must wins” if you consider the back end of the schedule, so extra time to prepare for a division game is a competitive advantage.


Stats for RUSSELL “LET’S RIDE” WILSON? 24/32 for 345 yards, 2 touchdowns

Number of scramble plays for Wilson? 4

Stats for each Broncos RB? Gordon, 18 rushes 95 yards 3 catches 22 yards receiving ; Boone, 3 rushes 14 yards 2 catches 17 yards receiving

Number of yards receiving/TDs for all 187 receivers? Sutton 115 yards 1 touchdown 8 catches; Juedy 6 catches 86 yards; Hamler 2 catches 64 yards; Albert O 3 catches 75 yards 1 touchdown

Longest FG for McManus? 48

Number of sacks to Wilson? 2

Number of sacks to Matt Ryan? 5

Broncos player with the most tackles? Josey Jewel, 13 tackles

Who gets the first sack of the game for the Broncos? Chubb

Who gets the most sacks? Tie: Chubb/ Jones

How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos D? 3/3/3

Average yards on kick/punt returns? 28 kickoff and 23 for punt

Final Score? Broncos 28-13

The Favorites

Favorite Broncos win ever? Broncos over Steelers, playoff walk off OT win

Team you love to beat the most in the AFC West? Raiders

Coach you laugh at the most in the NFL? Dan Campbell

Coach you most want to throw an egg at? Bill Belichick

Team you hate to lose to the most outside the AFC West? Patriots

NFC team you could cheer for in the Super Bowl? Philly

NFC team you want to face more than any other in the Super Bowl? Packers

Favorite game looking forward to this season? Chiefs (we’re ready for a win)

Easiest game on the schedule? Panthers

Toughest game left on the schedule? Rams

Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Ps2

Favorite Broncos player of all time? Vance Johnson

Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? Washington

Superstitions on game day? Just to make sure I watch, support and send my good vibes to the team

Favorite game analyst/commentator? old school John Madden

Which sports cliche best describes the Broncos? One game at a time

What is the meaning behind your MHR handle? A nickname given to me by a friend who respected my prediction skills and insight as that of a Don from ‘The Godfather’ mixed with dadda, which if looked up Dondadda is the head of all Dons, someone in the community with high regard or responsibility.

If YOU were giving a tour of the Ring of Fame at Mile High, which players get mentioned first? Simon Fletcher. Almost 100 sacks (97.5) never missed a game franchise mark of 172 games in a row. The best ability is availability and he was available for 11 years straight at a very high level.

How did you become a Broncos fan?

Passed down by my uncle’s passion for the Broncos, mixed with memories of “The Drive” with family all around screaming in Joy. Good times!



This poll is closed

  • 92%
    The Drive
    (23 votes)
  • 8%
    Tebow to DT
    (2 votes)
25 votes total Vote Now