It is hardly surprising that the Broncos’ offense is starting to hit its stride. Peyton Manning at quarterback has that effect.
What is encouraging, however, is the progress that the Broncos defense is making under first-year defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.
“We’ll never use excuses, but it’s a new scheme, what Jack Del Rio brought in here, so it’s guys just becoming more familiar with the scheme and their responsibilities and playing fast,” linebacker Keith Brooking said. “I think as the season progresses, you’re going to see everyone, all 11 guys out on the field, depending on the personnel [and] what defense is out there, just being more comfortable in their position, what they’re doing, and just their ability to play fast, so it’s a progression there and we’re getting better every week.”
It’s one thing to say they need to get accustomed to the system; it’s another thing to show it is happening. The Broncos’ defense is starting to show it in a big-time way.
They have allowed only 14 points in the last six quarters and that is merely the tip of the statistical iceberg.
The Broncos defense held Saints quarterback Drew Brees to a season-low 213 passing yards and New Orleans scored only 14 points, just under half of its season average entering the game.
Linebacker Wesley Woodyard turned in an effort that earned him the AFC Defensive Player of the Week award. He had 13 tackles, a sack, an interception, a forced fumble and two passes defensed.
“It’s one of those things where we’re more comfortable,” Woodyard said of the defense. “We’re starting to settle in and we have a lot of players rolling in fresh off the sideline ready to make plays. Whenever you have a hungry defense, there’s always going to be a lot of positive things (that) happen.”
Soon, this hungry defense will get some reinforcements, too.
Cornerbacks Chris Harris and Tony Carter are forcing a tough decision on the coaching staff once Tracy Porter is healthy enough to play. Will Porter get his starting job back? Where exactly will he fit in?
“That’s great problem to have,” head coach John Fox said on Monday. “You let them compete and see who does the best, like we do everywhere.”
What was once a unit with many questions to answer is turning into, at the very least, a really solid group that is confident the next big play is just around the corner.
Certainly the Broncos have more work to do. If the defense does that work, then this team could be on its way to being special.
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Tags: Mike Rice