The defensive turnaround by the Denver Broncos has been one of the more interesting stories of the 2023 NFL season. From dropping a 70-burger in Week 3 to dominating opposing offenses by Week 14, Vance Joseph’s unit has evolved into one of the NFL’s top defenses this season.
According to DVOA, they were 32nd in overall defensive DVOA through the first five games. However, in their last four, they are 6th overall in defensive DVOA.
Denver #BroncosCountry defense by DVOA— Aaron Schatz (@ASchatzNFL) December 12, 2023
Weeks 1-5: +39.8%, 32nd
Weeks 6-10: -6.7%, 9th
Weeks 11-14: -14.1%, 6th
The post about by Aaron Schatz really hammers home how the Broncos defense started, then began to right the ship, and finally settling in as one of the league’s best defenses.
If DVOA isn’t your thing, a good way to split these stretches up and how the unit improved over time is by looking at points per game.
- Weeks 1-5: 36.2 PPG
- Weeks 6-10: 17.25 PPG
- Weeks 11-14: 15.25 PPG
Another stat shows the Broncos defensive EPA per play and they have climbed to fourth-best in the NFL since giving up that 70-burger to the Miami Dolphins.
There was once a time this season when all of Broncos Country was calling for the firing of Joseph, but he has performed one of the greatest coaching jobs by a defensive coordinator in recent memory - maybe even NFL history. You just don’t see a unit turn things around like this during a season. Typically what you see if what you get and any improvement is usually marginal like from 32nd to 24th for example. Not 32nd to 6th.
If the Broncos do end up making a playoff run, we will have Joseph to thank more so than Sean Payton, because it has been the defense carrying this team to victory after victory. Although, to Payton’s credit, the offense is doing what it needs to do as well. After 7+ years of wandering, us fans finally have something to look forward to in December. I’m here for it!