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Ultimate Fan: It’s simple - just stop Derrick Henry

Of course that’s not so simple, but our ultimate fan believes the Denver D-line will have more success than most teams against the standout back.

Tennessee Titans v Denver Broncos Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Grab your wristbands, Broncos Country, because it’s another “make you so happy you read this post before the Broncos play” kind of UFG.

KY Broncos Fan is a relatively young Broncos fan (e.g., his first main memory is Demaryius Thomas’ OT winning catch from Tim Tebow) but he’s astute enough to know the team’s history and would start his ROF tour with Floyd Little. There’s hope for the future, people!

But seriously, he’s got some fantastic insight this week plus the usual - almost required but not really - optimism for the Broncos this week.

Bring it on, I say!

Week 10: Broncos at Titans

MHR - A win! A win! A win??? What did Broncos do right against Jacksonville that they absolutely must do again?
KY Broncos Fan: Some semblance of consistency on offense. There were still too many possessions against Jacksonsville that were dead on arrival, but for the first time all season, Denver’s offense was able to answer the bell when they needed to. Continuing to build on that with even more consistency is key.

MHR - It seems like half the league has a torn hammy right now, including at least three Broncos. Do you have some magic elixir to fix all these hamstrings? Is this also a Loren Landow problem, or just a “too many players with tight muscles” problem?
KY Broncos Fan: I haven’t dug too much into this, but I’m inclined to think it has something to do with the shortened preseason and more teams prioritizing health of the players over increased workload in the preseason. The NFL season is an absolute marathon, and it takes some time for players’ bodies to adjust to the weekly wear and tear. There’s something to be said for controlled risk in the preseason allowing players to work up to game shape with live reps, but Denver is far from the only team that has adopted a more cautious approach to the preseason.

MHR - In 2021 Russell Wilson and the Seahawks lost to the Titans by 3, but Wilson had over 300 yards passing and two long-bomb TD passes. With the Titans’ No. 1 safety out, does that seem like a decent offensive game plan this week? How would you attack the Titans defense, which is tops in the league?
KY Broncos Fan: I think some altered version of that is a wise game plan. Tennessee will be vulnerable deep, but not having Hamler for this game takes away a prime deep threat, and Denver’s offensive line has not reliably given Wilson enough time to connect on deep shots. Sutton and Jeudy are far from being slouches in the deep game though, so as long as they do what they’re capable of and Wilson has enough time (and vision) in the pocket those matchups can be exploited for Denver’s benefit.

MHR - Three running backs. Can the Broncos take advantage of no Jeffrey Simmons on the Titans’ defensive line and find some success in the run game this weekend?
KY Broncos Fan: I sure hope so. I’m one of the biggest Javonte Williams fans out there, so I was beyond dismayed by his injury this season. That being said, Denver has a stable of three experienced NFL running backs in Gordon, Murray, and Mack that can find success against a depleted Tennessee defensive line as long as the offensive line plays well enough. Chase Edmonds has had some nice moments in the league as well, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he runs in the orange and blue and what his role and snap counts look like.

MHR - Greg Dulcich has been having a quietly amazing rookie year even after only playing a few games. How would you like to see him used more in the offense generally and on Sunday specifically?
KY Broncos Fan: The second he was cleared to play I picked him up in fantasy, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he continues to grow. For both the success of my fantasy team and the success of the Broncos, I want to see him used in the passing game as much as possible. I would be fine with 7-10 targets for him, because his unique blend of size and speed makes him a threat for any opposing defense in multiple ways. Until he improves as a blocker, his snap count is going to be limited, but I have full faith that he can grow into becoming a more well-rounded tight end as he gets more experience. The returns so far have been wonderful.

MHR - No KJ Hamler for the Broncos on Sunday and maybe no Kendall Hinton (due to “just an illness”). But with the Titans’ top safety out too, how can Denver take advantage of the semi-depleted Tennessee secondary?
KY Broncos Fan: KJ is the perfect receiver to take advantage of a depleted safety corps, but Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy are both premier wide receivers when they play to their potential. Sutton turns any 50/50 ball into an 80/20 ball, and Jeudy’s ability to get separation on his routes is a wonder to behold. Testing the Titans’ secondary early and often will give way to some chunk plays and draw some pass interference calls. If Denver finds success early and gets into the heads of the Tennessee secondary, it could turn into a long day for the Titans’ defense.

MHR - The patchwork offensive line held up decently against the Jags, but it’s still one injury away from needing to grab a fan out of the stands to fill in the position. How do you feel about this unit this weekend? How much does it help that Jeffrey Simmons isn’t on the Titans defensive line-up this weekend? And is Offensive Line priority No.1 in the offseason for Denver?
KY Broncos Fan: I’m more optimistic than I thought I would be. Outside of Jeffrey Simmons, the Tennessee defensive line isn’t exactly filled with game-breakers, and I think the Denver offensive line barring further injuries is pretty evenly matched. Graham Glasgow more than held his own at center last week after filling in for Cushenberry, so with another week to gel, I’m hoping they’ll have a solid week. As for the offseason, I would like nothing more than for Denver to aggressively address the right tackle spot and build some more depth. If the right guy falls, taking a right tackle with the newly-acquired first rounder would be a great investment. I’ll have to look into the top college prospects more in the next few weeks, but Paton is an excellent drafter, so I’m confident they’ll get some guys to improve the offensive line in the offseason.

MHR - This Titans defense almost beat the Chiefs and even prevented Mahomes & Co. from scoring on seven consecutive drives. What kind of chance does this sputtering Denver offense have? What is their best offensive game plan this week?
KY Broncos Fan: The Titans defense was able to consistently make Kansas City’s passing game difficult because there was zero threat from the run game. If Denver can establish success on the ground, Tennessee will have to respect the run and employ some personnels that will be more favorable for Denver’s passing game. Committing to running the ball with a healthy mix of play action and deep shots when they’re available and wise is key to Denver’s offensive success this week.

MHR - The elephant in the room - literally - is Derrick Henry. At 6-foot-4, 250, the guy seems impossible to bring down. How do the Broncos stop him?
KY Broncos Fan: I’ll probably eat my words after typing this, but Denver simply hasn’t had the same issues containing Derrick Henry that the rest of the league has for the past few seasons. D.J. Jones, Mike Purcell, Dre’Mont Jones, and the rest of the Denver defensive line are more than capable of making Henry work for every single yard. Limiting the run on early downs will be essential, and forcing Tennessee into must pass situations would be the best possible outcome. If Tennessee has to rely on their wide receivers to win the game, it’s going to be a great day for Denver.

MHR - Although the Broncos’ defense has been one of the best in the league - especially in the red zone and in points allowed - stopping the run has been its biggest weakness. How many yards does King Henry get on Sunday?
KY Broncos Fan: As I mentioned earlier, Denver seems to get to Derrick Henry in a way that other teams don’t. Obviously it was under a different coaching regime, but the last time these two teams faced in 2020, Denver held Henry to 3.7 yards per carry. He did muster 116 yards, but it was on 31 carries. Denver lost that game because Tannehill threw for 250 and a pair of touchdowns, but that defense didn’t have nearly the secondary Denver has now. I think Henry will get to around 100-110 yards, but his YPC will be under 3.5.

MHR - The Broncos’ pass rush could be suffering on Sunday, especially if Bonitto is out sick, but the Titans offense beyond Henry is pretty pathetic. What should be the game plan for minimizing Henry and not letting Tannehill get anything going through the air?
KY Broncos Fan: A.J. Brown’s not walking through that door. Tannehill is a safe QB option, but without great wide receivers he’s not going to elevate an offense. If Denver stops Henry on early downs and denies Tennesee the chance to consistently get into their play action game, it will allow Denver’s edge rushers the chance to feast on must pass situations and derail the Tennessee offense.

MHR - Dwayne Stukes joked that a player was eating a hot dog on the sideline and that’s why the Broncos got a delay of game penalty on a punt in London. If you were coach and found out a player was eating a hot dog on the sideline, what would you do to him? ;)
KY Broncos Fan: Given Denver’s history with players eating hot dogs in international games, I’d go ahead send his gold jacket measurements to Canton.

MHR - But seriously, what is going on with all these penalties? This is partly a coaching issue but also just a “don’t be an idiot” issue among players. Hackett keeps saying they’ll hold players accountable but every game there’s at least a couple lack-of-discipline penalties and a couple drive-killing penalties. How do the Broncos fix this?
KY Broncos Fan: I’ve heard Hackett say this all season, but I don’t see it happening yet. Hackett has the respect of the Denver locker room in a good way, but at some point, he has to draw the line and prioritize these things in practice until they’re fixed. Denver might have won two additional games this season if not for shooting themselves in the foot, and while we don’t know how much this is being emphasized in practice each week, we do know that this level of incompetency on the most fundamental levels of football is abnormal and unacceptable.

MHR - What does it say to you if the Broncos lose this one (other than the obvious)? Is this a must-win game for the Broncos to keep the locker room? To keep fans?
KY Broncos Fan: Any real momentum for the rest of the season starts tomorrow. If they win then the tide has begun to turn, and if they lose in a similar fashion to other losses this season we’ll know the Jacksonville game was just a fluke. I think the locker room is more cohesive than some of the national media have implied, but this is certainly a must-win to convince fans that Denver is on the right track. At the very least, a deflating loss tomorrow might have George Paton wishing he’d made a few more trades for draft capital.


Stats for RUSSELL “CAN WE STILL RIDE” WILSON? 24/30, 258 yds, 2 TDs

Stats for Brett “Let it Ryp” Rypien? Ideally, zeros across the board

Stats for each Broncos RB? Gordon, 10 carries, 46 yds, 1 TD; Murray, 13 carries, 53 yds; Edmonds, 3 carries, 16 yds; Mack, 1 carry, 4 yds

Number of yards receiving/TDs for the receivers? Sutton, 8 catches, 78 yards; Jeudy, 7 catches, 89 yards, 1 TD, Dulcich, 5 catches, 72 yards, 1 TD

Longest FG for McManus? 53 yarder

Number of sacks to Ryan Tannehill? Or Malik Willis? 4 sacks

Broncos player with the most tackles? Josey Jewell

Who gets the first sack of the game for the Broncos? Dre’Mont Jones

Who gets the most sacks? Dre’Mont Jones

How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos D? 1 INT, 2 FF, 1 FR

How many wristbands will Russell Wilson wear? Depends on how many it takes for him to see the reflection of open receivers across the middle of the field in them.

How many “go for it” on fourth down calls does Hackett make this week? 3

Final Score? Broncos 24, Titans 16

The Favorites

Favorite John Elway win outside of the Super Bowls? After admitting I hadn’t watched many Elway games in last year’s UFG, some awesome fans recommended games to me in the comments and I was able to watch a few. The Broncos 20-19 win over the Chiefs in 1992 thanks to Elway throwing 2 TDs in the last 2 minutes is one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen.

Favorite Broncos win ever? 2015 AFC Championship Game against the Patriots.

Favorite Peyton Manning win? 2015 AFC Championship Game

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

Coach you laugh at the most in the NFL? Josh McDaniels

Coach you most want to throw an egg at? Also Josh McDaniels

Team you hate to lose to the most in the rest of the AFC? Patriots

NFC team you could cheer for in the Super Bowl? Eagles, Jalen Hurts is such a great story

NFC team you want to face more than any other in the Super Bowl? A revenge Super Bowl win against the Seahawks for both 2012 and Russ feels like poetic justice.

Favorite game looking forward to this season? Chiefs in Denver on December 11th. The Chiefs seem vulnerable, and regardless of how the rest of the season goes I’m hoping Denver can finally snap its losing streak.

Easiest game left on the schedule? Cardinals

Toughest game left on the schedule? Either at Baltimore or at Kansas City

Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Pat Surtain II

Favorite Broncos player of all time not named John Elway? Von Miller

Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? Greg Dulcich

Food/Snack you have to eat on game day? Popcorn

Favorite game analyst/commentator? Tony Romo

Which sports cliche best describes the Broncos? It’s a game of inches.

If YOU were giving a tour of the Ring of Fame at Mile High, which players would you make sure to highlight in your talk? Floyd Little is likely the reason the Broncos stayed in Denver all those years ago, and he is still severely underappreciated and not mentioned enough in the history of the NFL. Rod Smith is another underappreciated guy, and since I’m a UofL fan, I’d have to pay respect to the legendary Tom Jackson.

How did you become a Broncos fan?

The first NFL game I fully remember watching is the Broncos-Steelers wildcard game in 2011. When Demaryius Thomas took Tebow’s pass to the house, I was hooked. My first jersey was a Tim Tebow jersey, though in retrospect it would’ve been a wiser investment to get a Thomas jersey. Soon after that, Peyton Manning came to town, and I’ve been a Broncos fan ever since, through thick and thin (though there has been far too much thin recently).


How many yards does Derrick Henry gain on Sunday?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Over 200
    (8 votes)
  • 35%
    (28 votes)
  • 43%
    (34 votes)
  • 10%
    Broncos are ready for this...49
    (8 votes)
78 votes total Vote Now