Good morning, Broncos Country!
Coming off their bye week and staring down the harder part of their schedule, the Broncos have shown great improvement in a lot of areas the past few games.
“I feel like we’re a better team today than we were four or five weeks ago. You can see that in a lot of ways,” head coach Sean Payton said Monday. “I think we’re a lot further down the road, and because of that, you get that much more invested and recognize the next opportunity at hand.”
For Denver that’s a Monday Night Football game against a Bills team that is sliding but cannot be taken for granted.
Thankfully the spots Payton believes the Broncos have improved the most will be useful for beating the Bills.
“I think we’re defending the run better, No. 1,” the coach said. “I think our red zone defense has been much improved. I think offensively, we’ve been more efficient running the ball. We had better red zone numbers offensively last week. In the kicking game, week-to-week we’re winning most of those battles, which means a lot.”
Payton added that return game has also been much-improved to the point that it’s positively impacting the game.
“We’re doing a number of the things that are necessary to win games that I don’t think we were doing nearly as well at the start of the season,” he said.
As fans, we’ve watched the defense generally get stronger while the passing offense has seemingly struggled. But Payton believes quarterback Russell Wilson is doing a good job leading the offense as a whole - even if it’s primarily using his own legs or handing off the ball.
“Those numbers are all good. The most important thing is how we’re playing as a team and how we’re playing as an offense. The No. 1 job is to get us in the endzone,” Payton said. “The things we’ve seen that I’ve been encouraged with are the off-schedule plays. He does a great job of working the pocket, climbing the pocket.”
Payton added that continuing to reduce turnovers and manage the game properly are ongoing goals, but he likes where Wilson is right now - especially for a guy in his third offense in three years.
“Every day he’s working at it and working his tail off at it,” Payton said before not actually addressing the question of what he wants to still see from Wilson. “I would say, to answer your question, there are a lot of things that we’ve been impressed with and that he’s doing very well. There are some things that, obviously, he wants to improve on, and collectively, that we want to [improve on] offensively.”
But Payton was a little more transparent about his interests in getting Marvin Mims more involved in the offense the second half of the season.
“We really believe we have a good young talented player,” the coach said, almost admitting they haven’t done that well yet. “Obviously, there are other players on the offense that deserve the same type of attention relative to play design. We’re going to work our tails off to move that needle where he’s getting opportunities, not only in the passing game. He just does a lot of things well, and he’s really good with the ball in his hands.”
And Payton also praised another wide receiver - one who had been thought to be a highly likely trade candidate last week.
Although Payton acknowledged that they were listening to calls, Jerry Jeudy has always been “an important piece” of what he wants to do with the offense.
“When we’re talking about Jerry, shoot, he’s a guy that we think is dynamic,” Payton said, adding that it’s “a fickle game” so one game Brandon Johnson is getting three touchdowns and Jerry has none. “Sometimes that’s the nature of the passing game, but each week, there’s a lot that goes into what we’re game planning. He played extremely well last week, and we think he is going to be very important for us going forward.”
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