Six games down, ten to go. What does the future hold?
Only time will tell. But to this point, the Broncos have indeed taken to the identity head coach Josh McDaniels envisioned: Tough, smart and versatile.
Just under two-thirds of the season remains to be played. The Broncos are well on their way to making it a season to remember.
Here are a few things that will go a long way to that end.
1 – CONTINUE TO KEEP EXPECTATIONS UNLIMITED. Before leaving for the bye week, head coach Josh McDaniels made what I thought was an interesting point about expectations.
A reporter asked Coach McDaniels if anything has exceeded his expectations.
“We get whatever we deserve in terms of the work we put in and the production we get in whatever phase it is,” McDaniels said. “We don’t set boundaries on anything and say, ‘Boy, we’re ahead of where we thought we’d be.’ We hope we’re at the top in a lot of areas and doing the best we can in every area.”
This tells me that the emphasis is more on the process instead of the result. The Broncos seem more focused on being prepared, working hard and executing on game day than they are thinking about how good they are or are not, or how their season might end up.
This approach also tells me that the Broncos have confidence that if they do things the right way, they will succeed.
If the Broncos can start this well, why can’t they keep it up? Don’t get me wrong, the Broncos aren’t a perfect team, and I’m not suggesting they’ll go undefeated. I just like the fact that they haven’t limited themselves by expectations that they might exceed. I hope that continues and I suspect it will.
2 – KEEP THINKING THEIR WORK ISN’T DONE. Many people are impressed by the Broncos’ start, and for good reason. The Broncos themselves have to know they are a good team. No team is 6-0 by mistake.
But the Broncos have done a great job of not getting caught up in what their record is. They continue to focus on the next opponent. They continue to prepare and practice as if their season is on the line that particular week. They continue to convince themselves that what they have done so far doesn’t mean anything.
I like that. I like that the Broncos know they have a lot of work left to do. Because the fact, they do have a lot of work left. Starting 6-0 is a tribute to how good this team is but the real test of this team’s talent is still to come.
Great teams play great football as the season wears on. Championship teams get it done in December and January. The Broncos have put themselves in position to have a memorable stretch run. Now they have to go out and get it done.
3 – START A LITTLE FASTER OFFENSIVELY. Coach McDaniels mentioned this heading into the bye week. To this point, the Broncos have primarily relied on coming back in the second half to win games. Certainly that is one way to get things done.
But it would help the Broncos to get off to better starts offensively. While they have outscored their opponents 76-10 in the second half and overtime, the Broncos only have a 57-56 edge in first half scoring.
Increased production in the first 30 minutes could take some pressure off the defense later on in the game. I believe the offensive production will improve in the first halves of games. As we have talked about, Kyle Orton has started six games in Coach McDaniels’ system. He will only get more comfortable.
4 – BE READY FOR TEAMS TO ADJUST TO WHAT THEY ARE DOING. I think the Broncos have a big edge in this department. In the NFL, teams figure out what other teams are doing and then build game plans that are designed to stop them.
The Broncos, however, custom-make their offensive and defensive game plans each week. They look at what other teams do and then try to tailor their plans to exploit what they perceive to be weaknesses.
Furthermore, the Broncos’ second half success this year tells me that they are a team that makes adjustments in the second half.
“One of the biggest keys to our success in the second half (is) not only have we been in good condition and been able to play hard for 60 minutes but we have smart players,” Coach McDaniels explained. “You can tell them something at halftime, not practice it and then go out there and execute it. We don’t’ need to have a walk-through in order to make it go right.”
Just as we said going into the season, we shall see what is ahead for the Broncos. It will be fun to watch it unfold each week. And remember not to limit your expectations.
What do you think lies ahead for the Broncos as they head to Baltimore? Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.