The Denver Broncos can take a breath this weekend. They have bolted out to a 6-0 start and shown themselves to be one of the best teams in the NFL.
Clearly there is plenty of football left. But there is no doubt they deserve to enjoy their start.
The best part of it all is that no one who follows the team expected this. Most people thought the Broncos would struggle. Few, if any, thought they would be undefeated. That’s why they play the games.
Here are my top three reasons the Broncos are 6-0:
1 – COACHING. It’s probably true that coaches get too much credit and too much blame but Josh McDaniels and his staff have simply done a marvelous job. Their personnel decisions have been spot on. Their work ethic and attention to detail are incredible. Their ability to enjoy the moment is refreshing.
It has been clear from the beginning that Coach McDaniels has a plan, a system and the ability to implement them in ways that bring the best out of not only the players, but also his assistant coaches.
For instance, McDaniels said this week that he and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan talk about general ideas is developing the game plan each week.
“We talk about what we want to do each week and how we want to approach it and how we want to use our players and how we want to try to beat the offense this week or stop certain players,” McDaniels shared.
“The staff does a great job of taking those ideas, which are more general, and say, ‘Alright, here are the things we want to try to do to stop those players, get pressure or whatever it may be.’ I think we have a really good working relationship on our staff as a whole.”
It is no wonder the Broncos have had a good working relationship on the field, too.
2 – QUARTERBACK KYLE ORTON. Orton is showing himself to be more than able to handle McDaniels’ offensive system. And the scary part is that Orton has only played in six games. One would think there is still plenty of room for him to get even better and for him to feel even more comfortable as the guy who makes it happen.
Orton’s good decisions on the field contribute to his consistent play. Labeled by some as merely a “game manager,” Orton has also come up with big drives and big plays.
“The quarterback (in our system) has to be smart,” McDaniels said. “He has to understand what we’re asking him to do, which is a lot. We ask him to try to really know the defense each week. We ask him to do a considerable amount of the running game and be accurate, take care of the football, finish drives in the red zone and get it (the ball) to guys we think need to have it. Are we really happy with Kyle? Yeah, because Kyle does those things.”
But beyond his play, Orton’s humble, low-key and focused approach has been a perfect fit for this team. Emotionally, he is even-keeled. He enjoys winning but doesn’t soak in it too long. He is quick to deflect attention and compliment his teammates. I have to believe that it is easy to play hard for him.
3 – SAFETY BRIAN DAWKINS. Those who doubted Dawkins’ ability to play every down have to admit they were wrong, at least through six games. The guy is everywhere. On the first play against the Chargers, Dawkins stuck his nose into the run game, took on an All-Pro guard and then tackled All-pro running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
We have seen Dawkins race back in pass coverage to make plays; we have seen him blitz and disrupt or sack the quarterback. At 36 years old, Dawkins is playing with a full tank.
Dawkins’ impact, however, goes beyond how he plays during games. He is the leader that Broncos’ defense has been missing since linebacker Al Wilson retired.
Off the field, Dawkins is humble. He is polite. He is a man of faith and a man who treasures his family.
On the field, Dawkins is driven. He is passionate. He is all about winning and inspiring others to do everything they can to contribute to that cause.
“He’s a different breed,” McDaniels said of Dawkins. “He’s amazing as a person and as a player. I’ve said this before and most people look at me with a puzzled look on their face but he’s got a spirit that I don’t know that I’ve ever been around.”
We all know there are still ten games remaining in the season. But barring a rash of injuries, the Broncos aren’t going anywhere…except possibly to places well beyond all of our expectations.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to post your thoughts about the Broncos’ performance to this point. I hope you enjoy the bye week and I’ll have some thoughts about the remaining schedule this week.