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Ultimate Fan: O-line must protect QB to beat the Browns

Broncos need to protect their QB against Myles Garrett and the Browns’ defense, but the day can belong to Denver if Bolles & Co. do their jobs.

Denver Broncos v Cleveland Browns Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

FOUR WINS IN A ROW, ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

Oh it’s good to be one of the believers, is it not? Since we are in the week of Thanksgiving, let me just say how thankful I am for you, the Ultimate Fans here at MHR, who never give up on this team.

But just as Sean Payton would tell us, there’s too much bad tape to get unfocused now. Just because we’re 5-5 and somehow in the playoff hunt is no time to get cocky. And so the UFG will do no such thing. We are all business and focused on winning - and drtacp has done a phenomenal job getting us in the right frame of mind for another win.

Channel some John Elway “Drive” magic and LFG, BRONCOS!

Week 12: Browns at Broncos

MHR - Another hard-earned, slightly surprising win. What did you think of the Broncos’ Mile High performance against the Vikings last week and how does it feel to be .500?
Drtacp: I am usually such an optimist. What I saw from the offense vs. the Vikings was mostly dogshit. The defense held again with more unsustainable turnovers that the offense could not capitalize on. Courtland Sutton broke the rank with some highlight reel performance for that ever-so-narrow win. I had been down on him taking plays off by not even looking back for the ball during his execution of a perfect route.

Who does not like being at 0.500 after that 0-3 start and an almost historically bad defensive performance vs. the Dolphins? I will go so far as to say that Vance Joseph has redeemed himself. Being at .500 is now a nice foundation to launch from to reach the playoffs for the first time since Peyton Manning graced us with his presence.

That win over MIN is certainly due to the coaching of Sean Payton. His mark is increasingly evident and he knew before he arrived that this turnaround was inevitable but also not going to be immediate. I kinda think he is grateful that this turnaround took so little time. His choice of replacements for Mathis, Clark and Gregory are huge in the defensive turnaround. I just hope that his next moves improve our offense just as much.

MHR - Myles Garrett. Enough said. The Guardian recently called for him to be named the league MVP - a crown that usually goes to a QB - just because he has been so dominant in leading his defense atop the charts in every key metric. How does Russell Wilson & Co. beat this No. 1 defense led by the monster edge rusher?
Drtacp: It is sad to see Von fading while Myles is now basking. What team in the league has an answer to Myles? Wilson’s penchant for holding the ball too long irks his coaches, teammates and fans.

Fortunately for us all, the o-line has improved to the point of some saying it has gelled. The weakest link is still McGlinchey - so much so that I expect CLE defensive coordinator to put Myles on the RT. If I know that and you know that, then Vance Joseph knows that as well. Put Manhertz as tight end next to McGlinchey for the much-needed double team. If Myles is lined up left we should have whichever RB is taking the snap to run left to assist Bowles. He or Manhertz could even become the outlet receiver for Wilson on that play if they are successful.

MHR - I must retract one of my requests last week, which was to do away with the WR screen. Some how, some way, Wilson and the offense ran that play effectively multiple times to Jerry Jeudy, Jaleel McLaughlin, etc. Is that something that could work against this defense too?
Drtacp: It could work. The fact that its success made you change your mind is actually a testament to Sean Payton coaching up our players to execute this better. I say try it and then stop it if it doesn’t work. I see our team wasting so many plays by throwing the ball behind the chains. Every effective play is welcome imo. Maybe we have the screen play under our tool belt now.

MHR - Last week once again the offense struggled in the red zone, coming away with field goals on five of six trips there. Thankfully one TD was all we needed in the end, but are you concerned about our RZ production and how do the Broncos turn three points into six more often?
Drtacp: This problem is obviously better than the problem of not achieving entry into the red zone. I think Payton is progressing the team to the point where the execution of his game plan matches his actual game plan. I both miss and look forward to the days when the offense puts 31 points on the scoreboard. The better execution by DEN offense is going to be and has to be the difference maker. As much as I want a McGlinchey replacement, we all know it ain’t gonna happen as an upgrade.

MHR - For the most part, the Broncos O-line held up against the Vikings very stout D-line, and the offense handled the pressure effectively. Is that possible again against the Browns? Is running the ball going to be a good strategy this week?
Drtacp: Run away from Myles. DEN RBs are good. DEN O-line is good, but it is just smart to not run on whichever side Myles is on. If somehow CLE wants to use him out of position as an A gap run-stopper then I think we can still run outside. 60-40 (more of a prescription than a description) run pass ratio is a winning formula (among others) as it limits liabilities that Wilson often exhibits.

MHR - Even when we aren’t running the ball, the backs have been used a lot in the passing game (as evidenced by some key first downs from Samaje Perine last week in particular). Do you see that being helpful against the Browns?
Drtacp: The fact that we have 3 RBs who have proven that they not only take the hand-off, they also catch the pass is relevant here. Effective plays often start with misdirection to the defense in which pass-catching running backs can afford. I read an article about how effective Peyton Manning’s offense was in Indy that he could telegraph the offense’s intention to the defense but the play design was so effective that it did not matter if the defense knew exactly which play was coming at them. Does anyone miss PFM much?

MHR - Kareem Jackson was back from the principal’s office for one game before getting sent to the superintendent’s office for four more. Do you agree with calling his hit on Dobbs penalty/suspension-worthy or do you think he’s targeted now that he’s been labeled a problem in this area? Get into this issue all you want with your thoughts on the fairness of the NFL’s punishment v.KJack needing to get better with modern-day football rules.
Drtacp: KJack pleaded down his 4-game suspensions to two. I think that partial suspension lift required him to say things that sounded like he was contrite. His contrition statement sounded like he was willing to play in this NFL’s flag football game. He had been ridiculously fined for his pants not covering his knees and he blew up on X about it. I think that he rightfully hates too many things about the modern ‘safety-conscious’ NFL for his own sake. As I saw the hit, it was legal but it wasn’t the ‘flag football’ that he promised the NFL in order to mitigate his previous suspension. The wording in the NFL ruling on this latest suspension reads that he launched headfirst into the ball carrier. I have mentioned in comments to articles that players being of a lighter frame especially the backfield defenders makes them use all extra effort to improve their chances of making an effective tackle. I think that is KJack’s mindset. But this rule hampers ALL defenders in the modern NFL. Fans claim that Bolles was targeted for penalties and he was willing to learn, comply and play cleaner football. KJack is probably being targeted for these penalties, but he is not yet (or ever?) willing to learn, comply and play cleaner football.

MHR - The Broncos’ defense has had a massive turnaround since Miami, but it still feels a little premature to call it dominant when too many running backs find a lot of daylight and tackling overall is an issue. Are Jerome Ford and David Njoku going to be a problem for this defense or is this defense and its ability to take away the ball up to the task?
Drtacp: Number 85 is a great athlete but barely better than a JAG as a football player in the NFL. He is on pace to have 4 receiving TDs this year which is his pro-career high. This DEN D should be able to easily keep him out of the end zone. If Ford is Cleveland’s best at RB (because Kareem Hunt is now less than a JAG) then DEN D can contain him as well. The tackling has been the worst thing about the 2023 Broncos to watch. I am quite certain to feel that the coaching is doing everything to make my viewing experience better. Watching the first half of SF at SEA was making me wish that our team could be up to the level that the 49ers were playing. SF was dominant while DEN has been merely eking it out in our favour. That doesn’t play in the playoffs. Relying upon our defense to continue to dominate in the turnover ratio is unsustainable and until this offense is able to put up those coveted 31 points per game, we are playing on borrowed time.

MHR - The Browns have had a weird season at QB - and it could get weirder if Joe Flacco ends up playing. But despite talent across the Broncos' defense, the Browns believe there are major weaknesses to exploit - primarily the fact that the Broncos have the worst rushing defense in the league and give up a lot of passing yards. Can the Broncos keep Dorian Thompson-Robinson from getting his first touchdown pass?
Drtacp: Great Q. Flacco is stated as being a competitive spur to his QB teammates and a veteran example. Thompson-Robinson is starting, and I think that he will get his due with a TD completion. This is an ordinary case of movable object meets movable force. But until DTR gets his ‘sea legs’ we are going to be ahead of his curve this week. Maybe if we matched up next week with CLE then not so much. We face them at home at the right time in my opinion.

MHR - There have been a few emerging stars on the defense this year, including Ja’Quan McMillian who has gotten a turnover on the opposing offense’s first play of the game two weeks in a row. Can he make it three? Even if not, how much of a factor will he and the rest of the secondary need to be in that turnover-margin advantage?
Drtacp: Benching Mathis and bringing on both Moreau and McMillian have our secondary rocking as good as ever. The secondary is no longer deep. The starters right now if P.J. Locke returns are turnover machines. DTY has almost proven that he was a wasted pick. KJack promised that he would play flag football and launches on the third play of the first drive upon his initial return from his NFL suspension. I do not expect him to suit up for us again unless we are in the playoffs. The answer is based upon how well the offense has improved. If the improvement to the offense is noticeable then the onus on the D for turnovers in order to win the game becomes a lesser commodity. If the O continues its sucktitude then it is time to release the Kraken! (i.e., secondary turnovers).

MHR - This is an historic matchup with so many good memories in the 80s when John Elway’s Broncos would battle the Bernie Kosar Browns for the AFC Championship. If you could take something from those gritty Elway teams to add to the current team/roster, what or who would it be?
Drtacp: Didn’t we take the Browns D-line? Maybe that was later. We did treat them like AFC West rivals moreso than just AFC rivals. My memory is hazy as I was not yet a Bronco fan in the 80s. All I can go on is hearsay and internet research. I would say that our coaching in 2023 is light years ahead of that era. What scares me is the total amount of QB ineptitude the Browns have endured ever since—it has become a meme. Denver was on that road until this very year since PFM retired. DEN this year has proven that coaching is just as, if not more, important than QB. In light of KJack’s plight I would think for us to now bring the NFL rules in effect back then would make our defense actually scary. I am sorry that I could not answer this question better.

MHR - Last week Sunaveil ended up predicting the exact thing that happened - “This could be a huge week for Courtland Sutton.” Boy was he right. So let’s continue the UFG magic and guess who could - or should - have a huge game this week?
Drtacp: WE NEED Garett Bolles to be the man in order to give slow-poke Wilson the time he needs to process what he is seeing from the defense. I have seen the coaches put Williams in play after play without relief. Coaches putting Perine and McLaughlin in more often to spell Williams and to be change of pace would do well imo to make our rushing attack even more unstoppable. Of course the mentioned CS should play huge. Jeudy needs to play huge, as Payton has stated this as being his expectation for Jeudy. I would bet that Juedy is ready to be huge more than anyone else.

MHR - I am a superstitious fan, so like they say in “Ted Lasso,” don’t ever talk about a streak. And I won’t. But I will talk about how exciting it is to watch the Broncos now. The games have been fun to watch (and still frustratingly heart-attack inducing, but that’s been Broncos football since I can remember, so whatever). Are you having fun watching this team again?
Drtacp: I so gladly spend $100 at BWW to see the game not televised in my area. I have made many new friends this year because I am a fountain of joy while watching Broncos games even when my new friends are not watching the Broncos. I just watched the San Fran 9ers put on a clinic in the first half of doing what an offense should look like. I actually expect Sean Payton to have US there doing that before the end of this season.

MHR - We just finished Thanksgiving, so what are you most thankful for when it comes to this team/franchise?
Drtacp: I just purchased a white PSII jersey from the Denver Broncos store because I did not have any white Broncos apparel. I am thankful that I now have hope that no matter what color the team is wearing, I can now match and we can win.

Thanksgiving is limitless. I am thankful for new, stable and rich ownership. I am thankful for the winning culture that the great coach Sean Payton has inculcated. I am thankful for us being on the hottest win streak in all of the NFL. I am thankful for the eternal optimists such as yourself who have buoyed us MHR fans through the last six years of less than .500.

Predictions

Stats for RUSSELL WILSON? 219 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 3 sacks - damn you Myles Garrett.

Stats for each Broncos RB? JW 67 yards on 12 carries/catches; SP 35 yards on 7 carries/catches, 1 TD; JMc 16 yards on 3 carries/catches.

Number of yards receiving/TDs for the receivers? CS 112 yards, 1 TD; JJ, 59 yards, 1 TD; MM 12 yards.

Longest FG for Lutz? 49 yards

Number of sacks to … who is the Browns’ QB again? Yeah Baby! 4, and at the most opportune times.

Broncos player with the most tackles? Jewel

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

How many times will Wilson get sacked because he holds onto the ball

too f-ing long? 3 overall and 2 for his non-quick release.

How many times does Myles Garrett piss us off? If he gets 50 snaps then that is 50 times.

How many INTs/FF/FR for the Browns D? 2

How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos’ D? 4

How many holding penalties for the Broncos? 6

Final Score? 27-20, OUR favor

The Favorites

Favorite John Elway win outside of the Super Bowls? All wins. Fave loss was Elway vs. Montana.

Favorite Broncos win ever? SB50

Favorite Peyton Manning win? SB50

Which AFC Championship win over the Browns was better - The Drive or The Fumble? The Drive

Team you love to beat the most in the AFC West? There is more joy in winning against KC than LV but not much.

Coach you laugh at the most in the NFL? NH

Coach you most want to throw an egg at? NH

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

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

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

Favorite game looking forward to this season? This one.

Easiest game left on the schedule? I don’t wanna bet, but the Lions looked like dogshit.

Toughest game left on the schedule? This one.

Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? PSII. I just bought his jersey, duh.

Favorite Broncos player of all time not named John Elway? I flipped a coin and it is Von Miller. I am so sad that it wasn’t PFM, but I would be sad either way.

Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? I predicted Sanders before the season, but Mims is the obvious choice now.

Food/Snack you have to eat on game day? At home or work it is whatever is on hand. At BWW I order double cheeseburger and upgrade to onion rings. If we are winning I might choose to add the dirty tots appetizer late in the game. I have earned the right to blow my glycemic index.

Favorite game analyst/commentator? Al Michaels and now Tony Romo. Have you noticed that he is always hoarse?

How did you choose your MHR handle? Don Rogers, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle.

If YOU were giving a tour of the Ring of Fame, who do you highlight? Once again everyone but John Lynch. But I am a fan of how he runs his team now.

How did you become a Broncos fan?

I rejected KC’s front office bullshit in the 2011 offseason. I reverted to being a DEN fan ever since. (*editor’s note: that was some excellent timing!)

Poll

The Drive or The Fumble?

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    The Drive, obvi!!!
    (74 votes)
  • 7%
    The Fumble...it was more unlikely!
    (6 votes)
80 votes total Vote Now