|10-23-2009, 11:14 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: in the present moment
Denver Broncos Bye Week Pt II: Stats, Pluses, Minuses, and the Outlook
Denver Broncos Bye Week Pt II: Stats, Pluses, Minuses, and the Outlook
by Chaz Mattson Scribe
Certainly the talk of this early 2009 season has been the strength of the Broncos defense. Even after facing a San Diego team that scored more than any other team on the Broncos, the orange and blue still has the first rated scoring defense. The team has only yielded 11.00 points per game, an astounding number through six games and against good offensive threats like Cincinnati, Dallas, New England, and San Diego.
The Broncos defense is also rated second in total yards allowed, yielding 262.5 yards per game, which certainly is saying something. The Broncos are also tied for first with the Minnesota Vikings in total sacks with 21. Who would have thought that coming into this season?
The Broncos have also forced ten fumbles and recovered six of them on defense while getting six interceptions. That works out to two turnovers per game in the Broncos favor.
The Broncos have also one other amazing stat keeping them in ball games. That being the best thing that Kyle Orton has done thus far. Through six games Kyle Orton has only thrown one interception, which came at the end of the first half against the Patriots to wide receiver turned DB Randy Moss.
Think about that, one interception through six games, an amazing statistic for a starting quarterback to have. Now that is not to say Orton hasnít thrown a few ball that should have been picked off, oh contraire he has put the ball in danger a number of times. Yet somehow, Kyle has been fortunate and careful and has made taking care of the ball a somewhat conscious venture.
Orton is also ranked seventh in total yards and eleventh in average yards per game. Not great, but serviceable. Kyle is also tied with Matt Ryan of Atlanta for tenth in touchdown passes with a total of nine through six games. Matt Schaub of Houston has fourteen for his first place ranking, but his team is struggling to make a playoff run.
Things in the Broncos Favor (Pluses)
Certainly the statistics prove out how good the Broncos defense is playing and how few turnovers the team is committing on the offensive side of the ball. Underneath the surface however are a handful of things that are lending strong thought to the fact that this team can be even better than whatís been seen so far. To this date in the season the Denver Broncos coaching, execution, attitude, and health of the team are standing paramount to their streak of success. Now all of these attributes donít entirely make the stat sheet in it of themselves, however they are making their impact on this team and in turn making this team very dangerous indeed.
Coaching perhaps was viewed in a poor light by some, or overlooked by others coming into the 2009 NFL season. Yet the Broncos through all the turmoil and media frenzy in the off season have occupied the minds of football fans for the first six weeks of the season. Many may have been tempted to think that this defense was not going anywhere, and others probably thought how are they doing so well without Jay Cutler? This team is filled with surprising responses for the mainstream talking heads and they owe a great debt of gratitude to their coaching staff.
Consider the fact that this staff released over half of the previous regime, integrated new ideas and terminology, and traded a franchise quarterback with a calm cool demeanor to bring on Kyle Orton as the new leader on offense. Itís amazing. Moreover, the Broncos coaches went the distance to ensure that this was going to be a physical football team.
Without a doubt, the Broncos greatest off-season acquisition was future football Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins who not only is a physical presence but calls upon his teammates to be that way as well. He is like a coach on the field but more importantly his mere presence has influenced an entire team to take it higher and to literally sell out and make the sacrifices for the sake of the team. That is something that canít entirely be coached, it has to be lived out on the field and in that is one of the greatest teaching tools for this team to use as a template for being a more physical football team.
With the character the coaching staff insisted on in its players, the amazing and improbable has started to take shape with a vengeance.
In all phases of the game itís about execution while being cerebral on the field. Itís a forgone conclusion before it happens. This team knows what itís doing on the field; they have purpose and humility within their swagger to get the job done right. They believe in themselves on a much deeper level than most teams. Couple that belief with intent to prove others wrong, its fuel enough to last an entire season. Historically speaking that is the point in time when teams become dangerous and take things from their opponents and wind up in a special place at the end of the season.
That is exactly why this team is dangerous.
The Broncos execute, but itís also the way in which they execute. It is with an attitude where failure is not an option. It might not be a new attitude in Dove Valley, but the blade of supremacy has been sharpened and has new dimensions for the Broncos organization. When they do fail they bounce right back like a prize fighter who will see it through to his opponents TKO.
Take for instance the end of the Dallas or New England games when they had to have it, they got it from Brandon Marshall probably the last guy to buy in to the new regime. Just two months ago the talk was that Marshall wanted out of Denver and now heís realizing his contributions matter to this team and yet the Broncos are focused on rounding out the arsenal.
The Broncos are a very fast team on defense and that is posing problems for teams while they control the ball on offense. Think about last years Pittsburgh team and the ways in which the Steelers defense flew to the ball out of their similar 3-4 schemes. That is what the coachesí saw in the Broncos talent and a large part of why they switched things up defensively. The attitude to fly around the ball and trust the coaching staff to scheme in such a way to slow down the opposition and take away their best offensive threats is what has kept this team at the top.
Finally the Broncos have their lucky stars to thank. It seems the most banged up member of the team has been their heart and soul, Brian Dawkins. He broke a finger in the pre-season and had to play with a cast, and then he tweaked or pulled an apparent hamstring against San Diego on Monday night. In true super hero fashion he later returned to the game to help finish off the Chargers. Make no mistake, the Broncos really need Brian Dawkins healthy, and so far he has at least been there to answer the call. Additionally the team has been healthy on both sides of the ball to remain dynamic in their attack on teams.
Things Needing Work (Minuses)
This teams current Achilles heal is not getting early leads and not finding a way to build big leads to take the opposition out of the game early. If the Broncos focus on locking things down, they can potentially kill two birds with one stone by getting on teams early and improving their scoring offense.
Currently the New Orleans Saints are averaging 38.4 points on offense while the Broncos are at 22.2 points per game. With both teams undefeated at this point what stands out is that the Saints have been dominating on offense while Denver has dominated on defense. If the Broncos can elevate their offensive output and not squander red zone opportunities, turning them into touchdowns not field goals the Broncos can become the dominating team in the NFL.
The Broncos have been fortunate in not turning the ball over a great deal as well; however they need to be prepared to execute in case they do.
The Broncos run game still could use some help as well. The Broncos are currently sixth overall with nearly 800 yards rushing with only three touchdowns. As physical as this team has been, they need to be more physical and successful in the rush game to create the right balance against the opposition. Failure in this area will probably lead to predictability and more defenses attacking the Broncos pass routes creating turnovers and more sacks.
Remaining Season Outlook
Obviously the outlook for this team is bright for the remainder of the 2009 NFL season. They should make the playoffs as a division winner and will in all likelihood get there as one of the top two seeds in the AFC giving them a first round bye and at least one home playoff game.
|10-23-2009, 02:23 PM||#3|
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: The People's Republic Of California
"If the Broncos can elevate their offensive output and not squander red zone opportunities, turning them into touchdowns not field goals the Broncos can become the dominating team in the NFL."
Just wanted to see that again. Looks really, really good.
|10-24-2009, 10:24 AM||#5|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Colorado Springs
|10-24-2009, 11:33 AM||#7|
Some days it's not worth
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Portland, OR
My best guess, anyhow.
|10-24-2009, 12:12 PM||#8|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: In the Tetons!