Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the guys who are doing the dirty work.
The Broncos defense deserves some big-time kudos.
The unit that was much-maligned earlier in the season has turned things around and is now a major reason the Broncos have won three of their last four games.
What has changed? Several things.
1) THE DEFENSE IS GETTING HEALTHY. Injuries are often an excuse but the fact is, the defense was hit hard early in the season. Ty Warren and Kevin Vickerson, gone from the defensive line. Champ Bailey was on the sideline for three games. So was D.J. Williams. Elvis Dumervil was not at full strength and is still being bothered by a high ankle sprain. Brian Dawkins has been dinged up at times. Those are all crucial players for the Broncos. There is no getting around that.
Now, many of those guys are healthy and making huge contributions. The key guys simply have to make plays and the Broncos’ key defensive guys are starting to do just that. Plus, when frontline players are in the lineup, other players often play better. That has happened with the Broncos. This is a unit that held Kansas City to 258 yards of total offense. That is a whale of a day no matter who you’re playing.
2) THE TOUGHNESS FACTOR IS KICKING IN. I see a meaner, nastier and more determined defense the past couple of weeks. Early in the season, I was waiting for the opposing offense to gash the Broncos’ defense with a big play. Not so much any more. Instead, I’m getting to the place where I expect the Broncos to be the ones who make a big play. More and more, I’m expecting the Broncos to be the ones who force the issue with the opposing offense.
One guy who exemplifies this for me is linebacker Joe Mays. Talk about one tough dude. My goodness, he’ll stick his nose into a beehive and tell the bees just how things are going to be…and not flinch a bit doing it. Mays had eight tackles and a pass breakup against the Chiefs and was in the thick of everything.
What a refreshing change to see a Broncos’ defense start to be tough, instead of simply talking about being tough. Sure, the D still has a ways to go but I see that unit developing an attitude and backing it up on the field. I like it. I like it a lot.
3) MORE GUYS ARE STARTING TO CONTRIBUTE. I love how CB Chris Harris has stepped up when the opportunity to play more has come his way. He isn’t perfect. But I love his competitiveness. I love how he seems to have a short memory when he does make a mistake. In addition, he is showing himself to be a good open field tackler and a guy that is around the ball. He also had eight tackles and a pass breakup against the Chiefs. When an undrafted free agent starts playing like Harris is starting to play, it’s probably fair to say that some teams missed on the guy.
How about guys like Quinton Carter or Ryan McBean? They, and others, are seemingly playing better the past few weeks. The supporting cast seems more confident and that is crucial.
Teams need guys to raise their level of play and contribute, when maybe it wasn’t necessarily expected of them. The Broncos’ defense is getting more guys making more plays.
I know there are plenty of games left. There is no denying, however, that the defense has taken some major steps forward. That’s a huge reason why the Broncos have started to win more consistently.
It’s a short week before the Jets come to town. What are your thoughts on the game?
Thanks for reading and sharing.