The confidence that Broncos’ Head Coach Josh McDaniels says has always resided in the hallways at team headquarters is now overflowing.
The Broncos are good.
No, they’re not a perfect team. And I don’t pretend to think they’ll go 16-0 in the regular season.
But my guess is they’re not going away, either.
Understandably, many people weren’t that impressed when the Broncos began the season with wins over the Bengals, Browns and Raiders.
Beat the Cowboys and people start to take notice.
I don’t believe for a second the Broncos are a flash-in-the-pan. Flukes don’t last four weeks in the NFL, a league in which everything gets exposed in a hurry.
The rest of the league can get used to the fact that the Broncos are going to be around a while. Here are a few reasons I think the Broncos will continue to be a more than dangerous team.
1 – They are running the football effectively. If they keep doing this, good things will happen for the offense. It’s not a secret that the offense still isn’t flowing like they want it too. The Broncos are committing too many penalties (6.5 per game), are struggling to convert on third down (36.7% this season), bogging down in the red zone and such.
But the Broncos are running the football. That is a really good sign. They average 148.0 rushing yards per game (4th in the NFL) and 4.7 yards per carry through one quarter of the season. That will help them control the clock, keep the defense rested, wear down the other team and more.
Yes, they’ll be facing better defenses in the weeks ahead. But they’re doing a good job in the run game to this point.
2 – The Broncos are stopping the run. The Cowboys came in averaging 193.7 yards per game on the ground. They only had 74 against the Broncos Sunday.
“Any time you can hold a team to under 100 yards rushing, of course that’s going to boost your confidence a little bit,” Broncos’ defensive lineman Kenny Peterson told me on Monday.
It is one thing for McDaniels to talk about his team playing tough. When you buckle down and stuff the run as the Broncos have, you are walking the talk. Great teams stop the run. Championship teams stop the run. Through four games, the Broncos are fifth in the NFL, allowing only 77.2 rushing yards per game and only 3.2 yards per rush.
The Broncos are off to a good start in that regard but does the effort against Dallas show them that they can be good throughout the season?
“They don’t pass out any Lombardi trophies in week four, do they?” Peterson asked. “Ask me that question in week 16 or week 17. Then we can go from there.”
I like the perspective. I also like the way they’re stuffing the run.
3 – The Broncos seem to be developing into a team that gets contributions from different players all the time. Against Dallas, Brandon Marshall went up and made a huge play; Champ Bailey came up big as well.
Against Oakland, Correll Buckhalter rushed for 108 yards and Knowshon Moreno added 90.
Go back to the game against Cleveland and think of Elvis Dumervil’s four sacks. Brandon Stokley was in the right spot against Cincinnati.
At every turn, it seems as if a different guy is making a play, or two. I can’t point to a statistic to prove my point; it is just something I’m noticing. We’ll have to see if the Broncos show this to be true throughout the course of the season, but so far,
Even though the Broncos are 4-0, they can play even better. I suspect they’ll continue to improve.
In my opinion, they’re not going anywhere…except maybe a lot farther than many thought they would before the season began.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to post your comments about the win over Dallas and what that showed you.