View Full Version : Running To Their Roots

09-27-2007, 07:05 PM
Running To Their Roots
by BBL

The Broncos reeling from a nine point loss are being brought back to the reality of NFL football. Stick to the fundamentals. Something the Broncos seemed to have a hard time grasping in last weeks game. From tackling to gap assignments to pure and simple execution, the Broncos struggled with the most basic principals entrusted to NFL players. What stuck out to almost every fan and coach alike, but was perhaps the most important of those essentials, was the lack of ball control by the Denver broncos on both sides of the gridiron.

Blame lies with both the offense and defense on this one. The most obvious being the Broncos lack of run D which allowed a huge day for the struggling Jaguars run offense. However blame is less of a concern now. In todayís NFL, players and coaches donít have the time to concentrate on the past. Thereís always next week to worry about, and this coming week will prove to be a big test with plenty of worry. The Broncos know their mistakes and they have been talked, written, analyzed, and chewed on till all were left with is something that vaguely resembles a dead horse. We all know the problems the Broncos faced in their most recent loss, what concerns me more is the cure, not the ailment.

So going into what may be the toughest stretch of the Broncos schedule, what can they do to win against a team that could be easily summarized as their kryptonite? The answer is perhaps more fundamental then you might expect. Control, control, control that clock (did I say control enough?). Anyone who has watched the Colts play will tell you the same. Keep Manning off the field, thatís how you win. In fact the last time the Broncos beat the Colts (2003), they controlled the ball for 44 minutes of a 60 minute game. Where should they begin though?

Return to your roots. It all starts with the run, something Denver has been known for since the arrival of Shanahan. Against the Jaguars it was a crucial piece missing from the Broncos offense. The Broncos attempted to run only 11 times with their top back Travis Henry (who accumulated only 35 yards last Sunday). In the Broncos two wins Henry tallied twice as many attempts and nearly four times the yards. While his lack of touches might be a testament to how poorly the Broncos controlled the clock, I think it was also a key to why the Broncos couldnít set the tone and retain possession. If the Broncos want to control the ball, they are going to have to pound it.

Itís not as if the Colts wonít be game planning for it though. Dungy is as good a coach as any, and they have plenty of experience against Travis Henry who came to Denver from one of their division rivals, the Titans. Expect Indyís young hard hitting safeties to swarm to the ball. Specifically Bob ďthe eraserĒ Sanders, who reads plays as well as any veteran on the field. For the Broncos to be successful they will have to rely not on only good play by their offensive line (which has struggled) but great blocking by their tight ends and full backs at the second level against the likes of Bethea and Sanders. Graham and Sapp cant do it alone, so having a healthy Paul Smith on the field after the injury to Mike Bell will be important. If he is not at 100% expect to see more two tight end sets, which may feature a newly healthy if not rusty Scheffler to help create mismatches against the Indy D.

Itís as tough a game as the Broncos have faced, and may face this season. One that will require all the pieces to finally come together, but if the Broncos can establish the run, they will have taken a big step toward doing what is necessary to upset what is being unanimously considered by most analysts a 4-0 start for the Colts.

09-28-2007, 02:26 PM
good article bro! in my last power ranking i said about the broncos "they aren't playing very good fundamental football right now," so i agree with you entirely. . . i just watched about three quarters of the JAX debacle last night, and there were even more examples of bad tackling and overpursuit than i'd previously thought-- particularly from the linebackers. . . . :mad:

but the problems with simple execution went even deeper-- the pass rushers failed to maintain their lane discipline and let garrard get free, we droppped several passes, and we killed ourselves with ill-timed penalties. . . and of course the fumbles. . . i actually thought our offense played pretty well when it wasn't shooting itself in the foot-- i think we're close to clicking on that side of the ball, and i expect some progress this week. . .

09-28-2007, 08:49 PM
While I do think that we can and SHOULD run against the Colts, we need to make sure that we make Bob Sanders pay for playing up in the box to try to stop us. Either try a bomb on the first play, or draw him in with a lot of run and then heave it. He has been pretty much their bell cow in getting the defense going, and if you make him pay for his aggression, you can "make some money' there.
Then again, you HAVE to hold serve against Indy, FG's will never do. TOP is a great weapon to use against a team like the Colts, but that time HAS to be meaningful and productive. Get some points, then play keep-away.

10-01-2007, 08:06 PM
So how do you think they did? They had them for a little bit, but Manning is good it is tough to stop him.

10-01-2007, 08:52 PM
So how do you think they did? They had them for a little bit, but Manning is good it is tough to stop him.

As far as what is covered in the article, the running game, I think they did very well. Run blocking was improved, and despite the beating he took, Henry made things happen with his ability to break tackles and make that great one cut Bobby Turner likes. I think the running game was executed to near prefection. It was the big highlight of the game.

As for everything else. I think the Broncos had a lot of big positives, and a lot of big negatives. After three games I think it's obvious that Marshall is the real deal. Graham made a splash that I liked to see, and Cutelr still looks impressive. Lepsis did a better job then expected shutting down Freeney, and PEars, besides one screw up on trying to stop Mathis, also did well IMO. Sapp also still looks very strong, and we got our TE's in gear IMO. We also had terrible tackling. The "DT's" we had in did a very poor job, and were smashed 3 - 5 yards off the LOS regularly, though what do you expect with neither of your starting DT's (even if only one does his job regularyl IMO).... Foxworth got burned several times, the offense didn;t finish drives, and the D let the Colts run us into the ground.

There is a lot of positive and negative to take from the game. Unfortuantely it is very one sided, with most of the postive coming from the offense and most of the negative concentrated on the defense. However against one of the NFL elite teams, I think the Broncos did admirably. Though admiration wont win you games. there is still a lot of ground for this Bronco team to make up, but every week I think the offense gets a little more insynch (if you don't watch that loss to Jacksonville :laugh:)

Personally I am hopefully apprehensive. Some good things came out of it, but there are some glaring weaknesses that week in and week out remain jsut as prominent.