clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Finding the soul of this 2018 Broncos squad

New, comments

This team’s identity is coming from one player in particular.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country!

Every offseason/preseason, we like to talk about the “Broncos’ identity.”

Will it feature a run-first or pass-heavy offense? Will it be a defensive juggernaut? Will the offense be creative and entertaining or will it be solid and efficient? (because in the offseason, of course, we only talk about positive identities.)

And the evolution of that identity generally stems from the elite players making the greatest impact on the game. Often it’s the quarterback (a la Peyton Manning) or the superstars (a la Megatron). And sometimes it’s the game-changers (hello, Von Miller!)

I think many Broncos fans - myself included - expected the 2018 team identity to favor a gun-slinging quarterback with two Pro Bowl wideouts as well as two exciting new rookies. Or perhaps the identity would harken back to the good ol’ days of 2015 with two elite pass rushers terrorizing quarterbacks from both sides while a ball-hawking secondary took whatever was leftover.

Obviously neither of those scenarios took hold, but the team is finally starting to show what it is made of - and it turns out that what it is made of is a lot of grit and fight.

And do you know who made that identity a reality for this 2018 squad?

Rookie sensation Phillip Lindsay.

I believe he has single-handedly become the heart and soul of this team - its identity.

Sure there are plenty of players this season with a lot of fight in them - but I dare say it took a non-Combine-invited, undrafted rookie making 0.29 percent of the Broncos’ 2018 spending to remind them it should be on display at all times.

Because at “5-foot nothin’, 100 and nothin’” Lindsay has been the same electrifying player in every game - even when the rest of the offense or team fell flat.

Averaging 70 yards a game, and maintaining a 5.8 yards-per-carry average over the season, while also accruing six touchdowns, Lindsay has been nominated for NFL’s Rookie of the Week five times this season and is in the conversation for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

And his 780 total yards are better than some of the best running backs in the league right now, including Adrian Peterson (758), Christian McCaffrey (757), Alvin Kamara (706), David Johnson (692), Joe Mixon (673), Lamar Miller (611).

But it’s not even Lindsay’s stats that make him the heartbeat of this team.

It’s the moxie - which by definition means “the ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage.”

If that doesn’t define Lindsay, I don’t know what does.

And if it hasn’t defined this team the past few weeks - and not just the past two wins, but the valiant efforts against the Texans, the Rams and the Chiefs included - then I don’t what else would.

Lindsay has revived the spirit of the No. 30 like no other - even bringing back the Mile High Salute - and he, more than any other superstar or veteran on the team, is pulling this squad up one game at a time.

Whatever the Broncos record ends up, that’s an identity I can live with.

Horse Tracks - docllv’s pick of the day

The Peter King Podcast - Denver RB Phillip Lindsay, one of the season's breakout stars
Listen to Lindsay on his incredible story - his record-breaking high school career in Denver, his explosive career in college at Colorado, being snubbed from the NFL Scouting Combine, going undrafted, being overly bitter, then having 15 minutes to choose a team (Denver or Baltimore) as an undrafted free agent. And then what it feels like to run for 100 yards against Oakland and Pittsburgh as a rookie who wasn't supposed to make it.

Horse Tracks

6 reasons explaining Denver's O-line elevating its level of play
The patchwork Broncos' O-line is playing at a surprisingly high level suddenly. How can we explain this turnaround?

Broncos' defense has bent but not broken in last two wins
When they won the Super Bowl three years ago, the Broncos allowed an NFL-low 283.3 yards per game. Last season, while stumbling to a 5-11 record, they gave up 290 yards per game, third-fewest.

Shane Ray prepared to finish season strong with Broncos
When Broncos linebacker Shane Ray sustained a high ankle sprain in Week 6 against the Los Angeles Rams, it was Shaq Barrett’s time to assume a larger pass-rushing responsibility.

Denver Broncos: John Elway says team wants Jeff Heuerman back
John Elway acknowledged his past injuries but says the team has seen enough from TE Jeff Heuerman that they want him back in 2019...

Phillip Lindsay admits anger toward Broncos over draft snub
Phillip Lindsay almost didn't choose to sign with the Broncos after he went undrafted back in early May.

The Pro Bowl Push: Why Joe Jones deserves your vote as a special teamer
Why should Joe Jones be voted to the Pro Bowl? As his teammate Casey Kreiter says,

Showing their colors: The Broncos' My Cause My Cleats painting process
Take a behind-the-scenes look at the painting process for a few of the Broncos' cleats for the 2018 My Cause My Cleats campaign.

River Cracraft honors late friend Tyler Hilinski via cleat design
The Broncos receiver was teammates at Washington State with Hilinski, who took his own life in January.

Broncos Injury Report: Brandon Marshall returns to practice
The Broncos linebacker hasn't played since Week 8.

Browns vs. Bengals: 3 things we learned from Cincinnati’s 35-20 defeat - Cincy Jungle
Other than the usual mistakes the Bengals make every week, we learned a lot about the team after losing the first leg of the Battle of Ohio.

Bengals Weekly Lineman: Examining the drop-off from Cordy Glenn at left tackle - Cincy Jungle
Jake Fisher or Cedric Ogbuehi? You decide who was the better player against the Browns.

Baker Mayfield: 'I don't regret any' criticism of Hue - NFL.com
When asked if he regretted any of his pointed criticism of former coach Hue Jackson, Browns QB Baker Mayfield doubled down: "I didn't like the move and people don't have to care."

Playoff-clinching scenarios for Week 13 of NFL season - NFL.com
The New Orleans Saints can clinch the NFC South title this weekend and the Los Angeles Rams can claim the NFC West. The Kansas City Chiefs could clinch a playoff berth.

Gruden on Reuben Foster: No guarantee he ever plays - NFL.com
A day after the Redskins claimed Reuben Foster off waivers, coach Jay Gruden said there's no guarantee the former first-round draft pick ever sees the playing field for Washington.

Blake Bortles on benching: 'Didn't play good enough' - NFL.com
It seems likely that Blake Bortles' time as the Jaguars starting quarterback has reach its end. "I didn't play good enough. I didn't win football games," Bortles said Wednesday.

Bengals' A.J. Green says he'll play against Broncos - NFL.com
Is A.J. Green ready to return for the Cincinnati Bengals? The prolific wide receiver says he'll be on the field Sunday when the team plays the Denver Broncos.

Aaron Rodgers: Pack 'might as well let it all hang out' - NFL.com
With the Packers falling steadily out of playoff contention, the wolves are coming for Aaron Rodgers, who told reporters Wednesday that he might have to take a few more chances down the stretch.

Browns vs. Bengals: 3 things we learned from Cincinnati’s 35-20 defeat - Cincy Jungle
Other than the usual mistakes the Bengals make every week, we learned a lot about the team after losing the first leg of the Battle of Ohio.

Bengals Weekly Lineman: Examining the drop-off from Cordy Glenn at left tackle - Cincy Jungle
Jake Fisher or Cedric Ogbuehi? You decide who was the better player against the Browns.

Poll

Who is your favorite player THIS season, RIGHT NOW?

This poll is closed

  • 90%
    Phillip Lindsay
    (45 votes)
  • 4%
    Emmanuel Sanders
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Chris Harris Jr.
    (0 votes)
  • 4%
    Von Miller
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Domata Peko
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Derek Wolfe
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    "The O-Line"
    (0 votes)
  • 2%
    "Shasta"
    (1 vote)
50 votes total Vote Now