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Minus Simmons, Broncos’ pass rush needs to deliver vs. Texans

With elite safety hitting IR, the front seven will have to double its efforts

NFL: Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning Broncos Country!

Good news! We are officially closer to Week 2 than Week 1, which means we can slowly start to put the ugliness of the loss at Seattle in the rearview mirror.

To have that happen, of course, a home opener victory over the Houston Texans needs to happen, and luckily, the Texans are a team the Broncos should be able to measure superior to at most positions.

The downside? They’ll be doing this without the help of 2-time All-Pro safety Justin Simmons, who, after a thigh injury, will miss at least the next four games.

Simmons is an integral part of the Broncos defense, and his absence could prove detrimental to the team’s hopes of bouncing back this weekend if the game plan isn’t properly executed.

The good news? The Broncos have the horses to offset Simmons’ brief (hopefully) hiatus from the playing field. No, this isn’t to say Caden Sterns is going to be the savior, as again, Simmons is one of a kind. While Sterns will be expected to elevate his game on Sunday, the real weight will be placed upon the front 7, most notably the pass rushing specialists.

One thing that allowed Seattle to move the ball early this past Sunday was the lack of pressure being placed on QB Geno Smith. In the first quarter and much of the second, he had a cushiony pocket and open receivers, a QB’s dream. The majority of the game after his immaculate start, however, was not as smooth.

OLBs Randy Gregory and Bradley Chubb (2 sacks) shook him back to reality, and as a result, the Seahawks only managed 34 yards of offense in the second half.

That’s good, even against a journeyman (who was riding high as he’ll ever ride).

The issue, though, is that the poor defensive start allowed Smith and the Seahawks’ offense to set the tone and play with confidence. Against Houston QB Davis Mills, they won’t be able to afford to come out with the same nonchalant attitude and will have to hit him early.

In Week 1, the Indianapolis Colts put up over 500 yards of offense on the Texans’ defense while QB Matt Ryan threw for 352 yards. The Broncos’ offense won’t have a problem if it can shake off the sloppy red zone woes. The defense, without Justin Simmons, will need to be ready to attack early, though, as Davis Mills, while no Patrick Mahomes, is no Geno Smith either.

If the Broncos hope to reset the clock this weekend, it will start with the front 7 making Mills on the Texans’ backfield uncomfortable early and often.

Broncos/NFL News

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