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Kubiak not abandoning run-first philosophy - 'You work at it'

Despite little success running the ball the last two games, the Denver Broncos aren't suddenly going back to 50 passes a game. But like everything else with this offense, "it's a work in progress."

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country!

If there were any question about whether Gary Kubiak was going to suddenly scrap his run-focused offense, the Broncos head coach took care of that during Wednesday's presser.

You stay committed to what you believe in. You don't run away from something.You work at it. That's what we're going to do.  -Gary Kubiak

"You stay committed to what you believe in. We're going to get to where we want to go offensively if we stay committed to something. We believe in what we're going," he said, adding that the Broncos just need to get better at how they doing that. "You don't run away from something. You work at it, and that's what we're going to do."

And good justification for that plan came from what might be an unlikely supporter - a wide receiver.

But for Demaryius Thomas, the Kubiak run-first offense is just the smart thing to do - and he reminded everyone why in a clinic-like explanation.

"Being able to run the ball 50 percent or most of the time and then pass the ball, then guys can't really tee off on Peyton," Thomas said, adding that pass rushers and the secondary are hoping for a pass-heavy scheme. "If they know that we're going to pass the ball, all they're going to do is blitz. When they have to read the run and the pass, it's difficult."

But so far the Broncos offense has made it anything but difficult for opposing defenses who have found their way to sacking Peyton Manning seven times in just two games - barely under half as many sacks as he had all of last season.

One player who is taking some blame for those is running back C.J. Anderson.

"You have to blame yourself. I won't put anything on those big boys [offensive line]. It's on me," Anderson said. "Even if things are not looking clean, I believe that I'm the type of player that can make plays."

Anderson admitted he hasn't been doing enough to make necessary plays for the offense. The third-year running back averaged 4.7 yards per rushing attempt on his 849 yards last season. So far through two games Anderson has averaged a paltry 2.3 yards per carry, amassing only 56 yards so far.

"That's just something that I haven't been doing the last two weeks," Anderson said, vowing to do better. "I have the opportunity to do that, go out there, make plays and help my team win."

You have to blame yourself. I won't put anything on those big boys (O-line). It's on me.  -C.J. Anderson on his lack of running yards so far.

In fact, it was Mama Anderson who told her son to quit putting so much pressure on himself and enjoy the game. The running back agreed that could be a key to his performance moving forward.

"My mom had to call me and say, 'You're just not having fun.' I said, 'You know what? You're right. You're absolutely right,'" Anderson said. "We're going to change that. I had a great day today out there on the field."

A great day on Sunday by Anderson and the running game would be even better for the Broncos who will once again be facing a top-notch defense - and they'll be doing it on the road at the home-opener of a desperate 0-2 team. Sound familiar?

"I'm sure on the outside, the world's falling down for a team that's 0-2. It seems like it's falling down here, and we're 2-0," Manning said, laughing. "Everybody knows what we're going into. They've lost two close games on the road. The NFL didn't do them any scheduling favors having to go West Coast and then a division game on the road. We know that stadium will be rocking, and they'll be ready to go."

I'm sure on the outside the world is falling down for a team that's 0-2. It seems like it's falling down here and we're 2-0.   -Peyton Manning

Luckily, a bunch of Broncos playmakers love the prime-time spotlight that will welcome them on Sunday Night Football.

"You get the opportunity to showcase your talents on the grand stage, so you work your butt off for the opportunity," said Emmanuel Sanders, who has more than just a few times saved the offense with some critical first downs and big scores. "Hopefully we go out and make a lot of plays and, offensively, score a lot of points and we don't even make it close."

Yes, hopefully.

For Manning and his offense, the "it's a work in progress" mantra is still the phrase of the day, but the quarterback is not motivated by his critics to win this game. He's motivated because he is competitive.

"I'm motivated because I want to do my job to help my team win," Manning said. "That's plenty for me. That's what always keeps you going, keeps you driven to work in the offseason and prepare hard in season and to play as hard as you possibly can."

When pressed about how he likes reading defenses under center versus the shotgun, the QB dismissed the reporters in typical Manning fashion.

"That's a little more specific than I usually like to get into on Wednesday interviews," Manning said, recommending Kurt Warner at the NFL Network for better insight. "[Warner] could probably do a full segment on that. I'm sure he'd be very fascinating to all your listeners."

One thing the quarterback was happy to talk about was how effective big receivers like Demaryius Thomas - and of course, Calvin Johnson - are to a team.

"When you have a big body and you can put the ball in a place where he can use his body to get in between the ball and defender, you can only do that with a certain type of guy," Manning said, recalling a third down pass against the Chiefs that became a first down purely due to DT's will to get the ball. "With his size, with his ability to elevate, don't underestimate that. He is 6-4, but he can play match taller than that with his ability to jump. It's hard to overthrow him on the back shoulder because he has so much range. Obviously, Johnson's an outstanding player as well."

DT is hoping for more of those big plays this weekend, but if he only gets one and it's a touchdown to keep the Broncos in the game, he's fine with that too.

I know a lot of people are hitting the panic button right now. We're just going to keep working every single day.   -Emmanuel Sanders

"Once you get the ground game going, you'll see more big plays," Thomas said. "Once the guys keep coming up and trying to stop the run, and we get the safeties coming up to help, that's when we'll go over the top."

Run game or not, Sanders and DT will be a big part of the offensive game plan regardless.

"Coach Kubiak and Coach [Rick] Dennison really want to try to get Emmanuel the ball in different ways," Manning noted, pointing out how much Sanders has moved around. "We all know what he can do once he gets the ball in his hands. The more touches that he can get, the better chance you have of something good happening."

That's all Sanders - and Broncos fans - can ask for.

"I know that a lot of people are hitting the panic button right now," Sanders said, reassuring fans. "We're just going to keep working every single day and keep trying to complete these deep balls, so that when the game comes, it happens."

And in case the offense comes up short again?

The defense is ready to step up as much as it needs to - even with Megatron on the roster. Consider Stafford, Dan Orlovsky and the entire Lions offense on notice.

"We've got some great coverage stuff that we have in the plans," said Chris Harris, Jr. "We've got a mix of both. That's a good thing about playing with Wade [Phillips]. It's not going to be the same thing every week. We're going to switch it up a little bit."

But every Broncos fan's favorite cornerback knows this will be a fight on Sunday.

"It's going to be a good matchup Sunday night," Harris Jr. said. "You can't have a better group of skill players going at each other."

Bradley Roby, a second-year cornerback who hauled in the game-winning touchdown last week after a scoop-and-run following a forced fumble, says the defense can handle that.

"We don't want it to come down to the end every time, but if that's the case, we're going to keep it up," Roby said. "Defense wins championships, and we want to be known as a great defense."

No question about that.

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