Two weeks into the regular season, the Broncos’ rush defense has been stout. Their opponent on Sunday, the Houston Texans, aren’t overlooking it.
In a conference call on Wednesday with Denver media, Texans running back Arian Foster called the Denver defense “one of the best in the NFL.”
“They’re so quick,” said Foster, who ran for 110 yards last week against Jacksonville and scored his third touchdown of the year. “They’re fast. They run to the ball and they’re just — honestly, they’re exciting to watch.”
The Broncos have allowed just 2.6 yards per carry this year on 54 attempts, which is the fourth-lowest per-carry average in the league.
Foster and the Texans saw plenty of Broncos Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio when was the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars — a divisional rival of Houston — from 2003-2011.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Jack Del Rio,” Foster said. “He was in our division for years. I’ve played against him and I’ve got a lot of respect for what he does and how he carries himself. Obviously, his defenses have always been good.”
Foster isn’t alone in the Texans’ rushing attack, though. With the help of fellow running back Ben Tate, Houston tied for second in the league last year in rushing.
“You can’t get every carry as a running back, so it’s great to have a capable (backup) running back that can be efficient,” Foster said. “There’s not a lot of drop off when you leave the field. It’s always good as an offense.”
Splitting carries among the backs could be one way the Texans can combat the effects of playing at a higher altitude, which is part of Denver’s home field advantage.
Hailing from a city that is even higher than Denver, Foster might not feel the effects as much as other ball carries. Still, it has an impact.
“It’s always going to be a factor,” Foster said. “I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and that’s actually higher elevation than Denver. Coming from there, I know that elevation is a factor.”
On the other side of the ball, Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak addressed the challenge in facing quarterback Peyton Manning — a task he and the Texans are very familiar with. Kubiak saw Manning twice a year when the quarterback was with Indianapolis.
“He’s got some fine weapons on his football team, some good young players, and they’re running the ball extremely well too,” Kubiak said. “It’s the same challenge. Obviously, we’ve had that challenge many times in Houston with him in Indy. Now it just comes with a different uniform on. It will be a tremendous challenge to find a way to get some stops defensively.”