Oh Broncos Country, you’re in for a treat (probably should have saved that for Halloween week, eh?) Nahhh.
DailyDose is no happier than the rest of us about this 1-5 situation, but rather than sulk or turn off his TV, he’s turned any rage into thoughtful, introspective answers on what this team needs to do to get better (and brace yourself...it means some rebuilding again in 2024 but with the promise of an upward trajectory).
And who doesn’t want that?
Once again a huge mile high salute to all our UFG contributors and everyone here who reads it. Greg Penner and Sean Payton would do well to read it too ;)
Week 7: Packers at Broncos
MHR - It’s been a minute since that Chiefs game, but what were your thoughts about the loss that was more on the offense instead of the defense for once this season?
DailyDose: The Chiefs’ 2023 defense has been better than past years. After the Broncos’ game, they rank 2nd in points allowed and 5th in yards allowed. Unfortunately the Broncos’ performance improved both those averages for the Chiefs. So you could say the Broncos just had a bad week due to playing a strong defense. But I personally think it’s the strong defenses that show you your true colors, and I think the Chiefs basically gave a blueprint on how to stymie the Broncos’ offense. Not that the Broncos’ offense is setting the world ablaze, but they’ve obviously scored more points six games into the season than they did last year. That’s just to say, I’m concerned whatever schemes Payton came up with to hide the Broncos’ weaknesses might all be exposed at this point. It reminds me of Josh McDaniels’ first season where he somehow managed to get the Broncos to a 6-0 start with Kyle Orton at the helm. Then, it went downhill from there, and very quickly. This last game against the Chiefs, the offense got all of 82 passing yards with 4 passes getting batted at the line and Russ throwing 2 INTs. It’s hard to blow that off as JUST a bad game. That’s a team knowing, understanding, and exploiting your weaknesses.
MHR - Moving on to the Packers…what would be your offensive game plan if you were Sean Payton?
DailyDose: Run. The. Ball. The Packers currently rank 28th in rushing yards allowed, but are ranked 9th in passing yards. The Broncos managed 115 rushing yards against the Chiefs who now rank 12th in rushing yards allowed (the Chiefs were better ranked before playing Broncos). Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine, Jaleel McLaughlin – all three do a great job pounding the rock. I fully expect a McLaughlin TD on a screen pass. I fully expect Perine and Williams punching it up the middle early and often. Do this effectively and maybe the passing game loosens up a bit allowing a deep shot or two.
MHR - Jerry Jeudy seems…disgruntled ;) Do you agree with his point about a lot of things not working right for him to be successful here? Do you think it would be good for the Broncos to move on from him? And if so, what is the lowest draft pick they should accept?
DailyDose: I absolutely see Jeudy’s point of view. I can recall a few plays where he’s clearly wide open and Russ just… doesn’t throw it to him. I don’t know if Russ doesn’t see him or just doesn’t want to throw to him or hesitated for a brief moment which wound up being too long since it’s the NFL. The absolutely aggravating thing for Jeudy is I would have pegged his talent set as a WR who runs quick crosses and utilizes his speed for YAC plays. Russ just cannot throw those. This is not to say Jeudy is completely innocent. The frustration clearly gets to him. Ongoing failure, ongoing routes and not seeing the ball, it piles and wears on you. Athletes are humans who experience emotions and more so while on the field. But you’ve got to overcome those intrusive negative thoughts that bring your game down due to what’s going on around you. And you absolutely don’t give in to the media calling you out publicly (granted, a very hard task). I think the Broncos should move on from him. Not because of him or recent events, but because of the Broncos’ current cap situation. They did exercise his 2024 option, but are currently $10 million over the cap for 2024. Trade him and you free up $13million. At this stage in the game, I don’t know if the Broncos can do better than a third for Jeudy - and even that might be wishful thinking. But that’s what I’d be fishing for right now.
MHR - Payton says good teams have to be good at running the ball. Yet somehow Payton and the Broncos keep abandoning the run despite decent success. In your opinion, is that just because we’re playing from behind or because Payton gets antsy?
DailyDose: I think this has more to do with teams adjusting than Payton just straight up abandoning. And with that blueprint the Chiefs offered from earlier… I’m not sure what to expect from here on out. Again, they did still manage to rush for over 100 yards against the Chiefs, but that 80 yards passing…maybe it is a combination of playing from behind and the defenses adjusting.
MHR - Should we be seeing more Marvin Mims? How would you utilize him better?
DailyDose: So I’m not personally as high on Mims as others might be. His punt return for a TD was pretty epic. But when we drafted him, I, like everyone else, went straight to the highlight reels to see what we just drafted. Now, I’m a tackle bro (I like to think more of a trenches bro) so I likely watched with a bias, but I walked away with these thoughts: he’s just a straight line WR. Can certainly catch 50/50 balls and we want that. But if we don’t have time to actually throw it deep, what good is that? From what we’ve seen so far this year, that opinion has not changed. I still think he’s only a straight line WR who can catch 50/50. But Russ isn’t getting the time to let Mims fly. And assuming opposing defenses see him the same way, the minute he walks onto the field, you already know exactly what he’ll do cuz it’s all he can do. So I guess… run the ball effectively with Mims on the field. Have him run drag routes and out routes (even if you don’t throw the ball to him). Get DBs to play him more than just one way.
MHR - Russell Wilson and the offense struggled against the Chiefs to actually score despite moving the ball. What is the problem? Obviously Red Zone defenses tighten up but Payton’s play calls down there leave something to be desired. How do we get the ball in the end zone?
DailyDose: This is a bit of a unique problem. We say “redzone defenses tighten up” but I believe the Broncos’ problem is more related to the field tightening up. I saw a Russ target chart and I gotta say… it’s bad. It’s really bad. There’s a massive hole in the middle of the field that hardly gets targeted. Russ goes sides and deep mid. I think those 4 batted passes were a big reason why there’s a hole (not the batted passes, the fact the throws are just too low). So as the field shrinks, at some point all you’re left with is the hole you don’t target and the sides, thus making you easier to defend. Absolute testament to the team they’ve been able to score despite this. I think Payton is discovering why Hackett kicked the FG.
MHR - Jordan Love sometimes looks like a seasoned veteran and other times like a rookie. What is the key to getting him off balance on Sunday?
DailyDose: Pressure. Pressure. And some more pressure. Just wish we could guarantee that pressure. David Bakhtiari, Packers’ LT, is on IR and I would say Jordan Love’s results definitely seem to be directly linked to Bakhtiari’s availability. So Cooper and Bonitto do have opportunity before them. Other than that, DBs stick close to Watson and Doubs and they should be fine. Just give the impression that they’re covered to cause that half second hesitation.
MHR - If Aaron Jones plays on Sunday (which would be perfect because we always seem to be the team where the star decided to come back, aka Travis Kelce) - how confident are you in the defense to stop him? And is he more of a threat in the run game or passing game with our defense?
DailyDose: I think “Insert Running Back here” will be a threat in the run game against the Broncos. Aaron Jones has proved to be a good back. And even if he doesn’t play, A.J. Dillon’s legs remind me of Maurice Jones Drew so he could feast. But let’s not forget, Isiah Pacheco didn’t have a huge game against Denver. Maybe Broncos have improved their running game defense. I’ll go out on a limb here and say the Broncos won’t allow another Miami type game…
MHR - Vance Joseph said our OLB group is a “young, hungry room.” Do you think this is a good young group to build from - Nik Bonitto, Baron Browning, Jonathan Cooper?
DailyDose: I think so. I would love to see Baron Browning back out there. Bonitto and Cooper are proving to be great rotational players. But I wouldn’t call either of them full time starters. Still seem to have more drive than Gregory did, though.
MHR - Which defensive unit needs to wreak the most havoc on Sunday - pass rush? Run D? Secondary?
DailyDose: I want to see this team stop the run. But I think if you can get to Jordan Love, get him flustered, then you create defensive opportunities.
MHR - At this point in our 1-5 season, what is the best case scenario for how this team finishes (both in predicted record but also just what is your best case for the way the team finishes the season)?
DailyDose: The Best Case scenario? They win every game from here on out on their way to a Super Bowl Championship. The more realistic best case scenario? The Broncos accept that 2024 is also doomed due to significant cap and depth problems and we fans embrace that 2024 will be a learning year for our new QB. We also trade Sean Payton away for two firsts (sorry…)
Stats for RUSSELL WILSON? 230 passing yards, 2TDs
Stats for each Broncos RB? McLauglin - 50 yds receiving, 40 yds rushing, 1 receiving TD; Williams, 70 yards rushing, 20 yards receiving; Perine 30 yards rushing, 25 yards receiving
Number of yards receiving/TDs for the receivers? Mims - 2 catches for 50 yards, 1 TD; Sutton - 4 catches, 35 yards; Jeudy - 6 catches 30 yds
Longest FG for Lutz? 42 yards
How many seconds too long, on average, does Wilson hold onto the ball? 2.7
Number of sacks to Jordan Love? 2
Number of times Love barely misses getting sacked? 5
Broncos player with the most tackles? Alex Singleton
Who gets the first sack of the game for the Broncos? Cooper
Who gets any sacks? Cooper 1.5, Bonitto .5
How many INTs/FF/FR for the Chiefs D? The Chiefs’ D, in this game!? I hope none.
LOL, how many for the Packers D? 1/0/0
How many penalties between the two teams? 17
Final Score? Broncos 23, Packers 20
Favorite Broncos win ever? Right now, the Broncos beating Pittsburgh in the playoffs behind Tim Tebow. Only cuz of how much of an epic journey all of that was. I love Dave Logan’s call of the Demaryius Thomas TD.
Favorite Peyton Manning win? Spanking the Ravens in the 2013 opener - that revenge was needed
Favorite John Elway win? SBXXXII - easily
Favorite memory of SBXXXII’s win over the Packers? Dave Logans’ Call, “Davis, into the endzone - Walking, standing up!”
Team you love to beat the most in the AFC West? Okay… my significant other, whom I love, we made our relationship official not too long after Sept. 17, 2015. Just so happens… she’s from KC and is a “Chiefs fan.” The Broncos have not beaten that D*** team since we started being together. I WOULD LOVE IF THEY WOULD DO THAT!
Coach you despise most in the NFL? I think it might be Sean Payton now. I know… what kind of Broncos fan… It’s just… we traded for this guy. After he bailed (“retired”) on the Saints just when they were about to be $90 million in salary cap hell and Brees left. Then he comes to Denver at the cost of a first and a second and we’re 1-5. All the other coaches in the league, including Josh McDaniels, I’m indifferent to right now. Except for Kyle Shanahan.
Team you hate to lose to the most in the rest of the AFC (outside AFC West)? The Seahawks. Losing to them is embarrassing.
NFC team you could cheer for in the Super Bowl? The Niners. There’s just too much Broncos nostalgia.
NFC team you’d want to face more than any other in the Super Bowl? The Seahawks. Need that revenge.
Toughest game left on the schedule? The Patriots. Wait… what? Because we all know what’s coming. The loser will be the winner.
Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Jaleel McLaughlin
Favorite Broncos player of all time not named John Elway? Terrell Davis
Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? Well, that was easy. Jaleel McLaughlin
Food/Snack you have to eat on game day? Chipotle! Nourishment of any Denver native.
Favorite game analyst/commentator? Dave Logan, easily.
If YOU were giving a tour of the Ring of Fame, who do you highlight?
I would want to highlight the SB XXXII - XXXIII guys, but I would also want very much to explore and explain the great Champ Bailey. Without having gotten to see him play, how can anyone truly appreciate how amazing he was? So I would try to guide them.
How did you become a Broncos fan?
SB XXXII and SB XXXIII seasons happened when I was a kid and very impressionable. And getting to watch them with my dad, my brother, my friends, at parties, at the Super Bowl parties… and having people like TD, Eddy Mac, Rod Smith - all people you could properly look up to. Huge impact.