On Saturday night my wife asked me, “Do we really have to get up early and watch another game at the Broncos?”
The weird thing here is that she loves the Denver Broncos as much as I do (she’s outdone my coverage in so many ways).
We were thankful that we set the alarm and were finally able to see our team score not 1, not 2, but 3 full points in the NFL.
It was magic.
The earth moved.
I know it was just Jacksonville Jaguars and they’re kind of bad. I get it. I’m just saying a little light shines on in the Broncos Country and every little bit helps when you have a very green head coach and a very weak insult.
This defensive week in and out week is playing great ball. Part of what makes this season so crazy is that if you are a football fan, you can tell that this defense plays football with playoff quality. One of my favorite things about defense is how much Ejiro Evo mixes up the schemes and trigger calls to keep opponents on guard. He creatively presses from a forward 7 (drops the OLB or line factor sometimes to dash into the ILB or safety) and it really creates delays for the opponent’s offense that helps them win the game.
We need to give a shout out to newbie Nick Bonito for his performance in this game. It shows why the Broncos put together some gentle rush and speed to fight for a big sack. He got a set of effective pressure as an impulsive. My only concern for him is his ability to put the edge on well against the lunge (hopefully this will be resolved in the off-season with some functional strength and muscle gain which is a typical need for most of the seven beginners).
It was so good to see Josie Jewell healthy and on the field again. His playing is a level above the other ILBs on our list and defense sounds more vocal with him on the field. He saved a huge on-screen play by making a superb backfield intervention on the field. He did it again late in the game for another yardage loss.
Dre’Mont Jones keeps tearing him up as a Broncos man with a bag, a 3 TFL, and a lot of inside pressure. He honestly looks like one of the best inside players in the league, and he’s a young player hungry for his pay. This is a player I would like to see Button closed sooner rather than later.
K’Waun Williams had a great day at Cornerback for us. His coverage has been consistently great and has led to a game seal interception that Trevor Lawrence has arguably had no business for. Let’s point out here that he did this as Pillar No. 3. Neither Patrick Sertin II nor Damarie Matisse were targeted much in the game.
Speaking of objections, how good is Justin Simmons picking on the goal line? This is the kind of gameplay we want to see from our pro-free safety and arguably the way it was played. He perfectly read QB’s eyes and made a great pass-catching sports game.
I haven’t mentioned Karim Jackson’s name much this year, but I will say his support in this game has been remarkable. He did a great job closing plays in the middle of the field. I think Caden Sterns health is an upgrade from a coverage standpoint, but Jackson still has the goods.
I really liked the gameplay design of this game. I’ve done better than anything all season because our players have performed well including Russell Wilson who trusts reading progress rather than ignoring it for the most part.
There is clearly more work to be done, although the team is still mostly bad at any semblance of consistent offensive production. They had 3 TD engines and a whole lot of awful.
One area that needs improvement is its implementation in the first place. I initially put together their plays and came up with the following (a “good” play gains 3 yards or more):
1 down plays
|good lane||good start||Ineffective pass||inactive operation|
|good lane||good start||Ineffective pass||inactive operation|
50/50 is not a good split and it fuels whatever crime does. Why do we suck third place down so badly? One issue is how much the team constantly needs (4 or more) storage space for conversion. If they can stick to the schedule, they will see more success.
After the first half ended, Wilson was finally walking through his lead. This resulted in quick passes to unlock players or a dump to take what the defense gave. This drive is something Hackett needs to specifically review with him as a perfect example of how Wilson needed to manage this crime. Prior to that, Wilson had a penchant for locking up on the road and throwing it no matter what led to his really bad interception.
I will mention it again: there is a lot that can be improved with our midfielder and he needs proper training. I still see a lot of this team trying to be pocket lane which isn’t what it used to be. If your insult is going to ask a player to do something they’re not good at, coaches should really help them develop. I’ve seen signs of growth in this area in this game, but if we don’t include tailored handouts with field readings to make better use of his skill set, you should continue to improve.
Linear gameplay was not very good in this game. But let’s be fair: Jacksonville’s defensive front is amazing. Also, the Broncos lost their starting position and had to dodge around interferences from outside as well.
I will say that the streak after Lloyd Kochenberry exit looked better by a large margin. I think you keep Graham Glasgow in center until the end of the season because it was a clear promotion.
I’ll say I miss Mike Manchak for being our O-line coach. I really feel that this streak would perform better considering all the injuries if they were trained at a higher level.
turn their backs
Honestly, there was nothing amazing about a running game. Yes, we hit a pair of TD’s (which they should be able to do). But when you look at the game, our top runners are the QB and a wide receiver on its end.
It’s not that we haven’t seen good runs from both Latavius Murray and Melvin Gordon III. We saw a lot of stuff and her good run was 9 yards at the most.
This game was a master class on how to use a speed freak like KJ Hamler to give your opponents an absolute headache. It wasn’t just his 47-yard bombshell in the fourth quarter, either. He was affecting a lot of plays just by being on the field. The Jaguars kept having to worry about him with a corner and a safety which resulted in choppy play behind him for easy wins.
Greg Dulcich is a novice who looks like a home run from the 2022 draft class. He’s fast, he’s in good hands, and he understands how to manage his road tree. In our opening lead of the third quarter, he had 3 assists for 78 yards. Crime must continue to use it because it is the ultimate weapon.
We also need to explain how effective Jerry Judy is in this game. He was the most targeted WR (for good reason) and really prided himself on his ability to create a class with his excellent trail management abilities. The most encouraging thing is that it seems to me that Wilson is finally starting to feel it.
The only notable thing here is that Jacksonville had some very effective returns against the starting units. It didn’t change the rules of the game, but there was one comeback that was a broken intervention from game-changing.
I really think Nathaniel Hackett saved his job for a few weeks with this win. The annoying thing for the head coach is that the team is still being reported a lot. The lack of discipline from the team in general says a lot.
Also, managing his game still boggles the mind at times. It looked as though the referee at one point had him bailed when he lost track of his playing clock and seemed to be signaling a time-out earlier than he should have.
The key will be how well the attack appears next week against the Titans. If we go back below 20 points, the bench is going to get hot again for Hackett.