Good morning, Broncos Country!
If you're thinking the Broncos defense is getting tired of bailing out the offense, think again.
Having their "backs against the wall" and being put in a position to have to find/create the way to win is what is keeping this defense sharp, says Chris Harris, Jr.
"All games have been nail-biters. I kind of like it like that because in the past, we've been able to blow people out and still play well, but then you start really feeling good about yourself and getting comfortable," said the cornerback, admitting it was easy to be complacent with Peyton Manning at QB. "Now, when our games are down to the wire, you can't really be happy about that. You've just got to know that we won the game, but we still could have lost."
Following Aqib Talib's pick six on Sunday, the second-year Bronco tied Tyrone Braxton and Mike Harden as franchise leaders in interceptions-run-back-for-a-touchdown.
The Pro-Bowler told reporters on Monday he didn't think of his performance as particularly special, but rather what he is supposed to do.
"It feels good, feels great," Talib said. "I feel like I'm doing my job."
For Talib and his fellow "employees" part of that job now includes aiming to be on one of the best defenses in NFL history.
"That's what we want to be," Harris Jr. said. "I remember watching Monday Night Football Countdown and hearing Ray Lewis say that we're just good, we're not great. That's something that motivates us on the defense to be great. We want to go down as one of the top defenses ever. We know that we have the potential to do that."
But the main goal is for the team to win each week, and the way this defense is having to create big plays to get those wins, is just making it stronger, Harris says.
"People are saying that we're not the best 6-0 team or that we just kind of skated by," Harris Jr. said. "When our backs are against the wall, we end up turning up another level and making a play, a huge play every time. If we can kind of have that mentality like our backs are against the wall the whole game, there is no telling how much better we can play."
Given how the offense has sputtered, it's reasonable to think the upcoming games after the bye against powerhouse offenses like the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts could fall to the defense once again.
"It's a huge game. People keep thinking that our team is just a fluke and we haven't played anybody," Harris Jr. said. "It's a good game to kind of see where we're at."
As good as this revised Orange Crush has been, beating the Packers and Colts will require its best games yet. CHJ and his NoFlyZone teammates understand this.
"There are still a lot of things we can do," Harris Jr. said of improvement needed. "We keep giving people extra downs on third downs. We get off the field and then we get a penalty. We have to stop with the dumb penalties. Everything else has been pretty tight."
In fact, maintaining that "backs-against-the-wall" mentality the whole game is Harris Jr.'s goal: "We could probably get teams to go backwards the whole game."
That would be especially nice to see when Tom Brady and the Patriots come to town, wouldn't it?
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