Englewood, Colorado. – When Justin Simmons talks about his experiences with the team, and especially his disappointments, he’s really one-sided.
Simmons is the only player left on the Broncos’ roster of the 2016 draft class. Denver hasn’t played the playoffs once during his tenure, the Broncos’ longest drought since the 1970s.
This is my seventh season [and] 9-7 is my best, no comma berths. “I wouldn’t say I hurt more than anyone else, but it hurts not to find ways to win.”
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The Fate of the Broncos: Addressing Four Major Issues
The Broncos (3-5) returned to US soil Sunday night after a much-needed 21-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. But after farewell week, if they want to avoid that seventh consecutive year without a post-season game, they will have to tackle some key elements in their last nine games.
First stop getting frustrated
The offensive battles are great. They are 31st in the league in terms of scoring (15.1 points per game), 31st in transfers from the third tier, and last in the league in the red zone when it comes to goalscoring and tied for 30th in the league in goal-scoring. Go positions.
Far from getting too deep into the game’s movie, one of the most glaring issues is fundamentally basic – the Falbroncos aren’t so good at first. For example, in an ugly Week 5 loss to the Indianapolis Colts (12-9 overtime), the Broncos faced second and 10 or more 11 times.
Coach Nathaniel Hackett has a deck of cards dedicated to “GBOT” plays – as in “Back on the Right Track.” Hackett had to spend a lot of shots working in this department, especially early in the games. Such was the case at Wembley on Sunday, where they faced a second and 8 or more in each of their first three possessions – kick, interception, kick.
325 yards flush in the first and 10 games of the season in the bottom league. The bad at first made them desperate in second place and one of the worst leagues in third place. It is no coincidence that gambler Corliss Whiteman is tied for the top of the league in balls (45).
“I think that was one of our enemies,” Hackett said. “The amount of ‘back to tracks’ that we have is very difficult.”
Share more KJ Hamler
Humler, who has been on vacation working his way back from an ACL injury and hip surgeries, has touched the ball only nine times this season, but has averaged 20.9 yards each time.
The Broncos have six passes for at least 45 yards this season, and Humler has made three of them. And if London is any indication, the Broncos found something worth exploring in assembling junior tight end Greg Dulcich and Hamler on the same side of the formation.
It creates defensive reluctance and results in cover matches with players too young to tackle Dulcich and too slow for Humler.
Humler’s 47-yard catch in Sunday’s award-winning Broncos campaign was the best game of the day.
“[Quarterback Russell Wilson] He called a play with my name on it… Ross put it where I could only get it and I had to go up and do a big play when it was time,” said Humler.
The pitch count works well given Humler’s efficiency. But for a team that needs more pop when attacking, it can be more efficient how to use Humler as they continue to increase their playing time.
The lights are off on the defense, but is there any concern about holding out for the run?
The Broncos’ defense has done nearly all the heavy lifting this season in their three wins. They fought in a poor field position due to crime shifts. They’re consistently late in single-score games, and they know any mistakes can be costly.
But the defense gave up 212 rushing yards for the Raiders in Week 4, 155 yards for the Jets in Week 7 and 191 for the Jaguars on Sunday. In each of those games, the Broncos gave up at least 45 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown run by Breece Hall run by the Jets and a 49-yard touchdown run by Jaguars’ Travis Etienne Jr. Sunday.
“Yeah, we have to clean that up,” Simmons said.
A lot of damage is done when the Broncos are in a nickel appearance (defensive five backs). The fouls pushed the ball into the periphery, especially around the left end where it created a fending advantage with numbers and volume.
The Broncos face the Las Vegas Raiders as well as two of the league’s best dashing teams — the Tennessee Titans and the Baltimore Ravens — after farewell. And in Week 14, they will face the Kansas City Chiefs, who won 13 consecutive wins over Denver and enjoyed a nickel appearance in the Broncos’ last game.
Maintain the composure they found in London
Despite the logistical difficulties of mobilizing a team and moving it to London for a week, this was exactly what the Broncos needed. They were confined to their environment and focused on themselves.
Hackett is a first-year coach who has been answering questions about his job security as early as week three, and although Wilson has consistently said “I don’t feel pressured” or that “ordeal is temporary” his actions in the pocket don’t always reflect that.
Everything the Broncos said, did, or didn’t do, was sliced, cubed, and plucked nonstop. London was a nice respite.
They showed great composure at Wembley when they trailed 10-0 early and 17-14 in the final minutes. They keep saying that they’re trying to rule out the “noise,” but it’s time to actually do it.
“I’ve always thought that when you win you have to train them stronger because we have a lot of things that we still have to correct and a lot of things that we still have to get to because we are not where we want to be,” said Hackett in London. In the right direction because we were able to play that big when we needed to. ”