What The Broncos Need Is To Trust The Run Game

As we know this past Sunday – and from the past two games – the Broncos have struggled offensively, thanks in part (though not exclusively) to the struggles of Trevor Siemian.

Earlier this week, I shared with everyone a good article by Chad Jensen of Mile High Huddle, who wrote about how defenses have noted the issues with Siemian’s approach and, more importantly, that the Broncos abandoned the run in the two games they lost.

A quick check with Pro Football Reference shows that the Broncos had a balanced offense in terms of rushing attempts and passing attempts in their victories over the Chargers, Cowboys and Raiders. But in the losses to the Bills and Giants, the Broncos threw the ball far more times than they ran it.
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Gut Reaction: Denver, We Have A Problem

I know many of you folks here aren’t going to like what I’m here to tell you tonight.

But after watching the Broncos turn in a miserable performance against a Giants team that they were supposed to walk away with a victory over, it’s time to point out where the real problems are with the team.

No, it’s not that the defense has been proven to be a farce (though there were issues tonight). It’s not that the Broncos are snake bitten at the right tackle position (though it’s far from being solved). And it’s not that the Broncos don’t have an explosive playmaker at tight end (though they could use an upgrade — perhaps a healthy Jake Butt can be that guy?)

It starts with the real culprit for tonight’s struggles on offense and that’s the quarterback, Trevor Siemian.
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Midweek Musings: Evaluating After First Quarter of Season

Hello, Bronco fans! Four weeks have passed and now it’s becoming clearer where things stands with the Broncos (and other NFL teams, for that matter). The Broncos get a Week 5 bye, and while it stinks having an early bye, four weeks is still the time to evaluate where the Broncos are at, identifying what the strengths are and why they are strengths, and recognize what areas need improvement and who is really responsible.

Let’s start by looking at where the Broncos stack up in each aspect of the game (offense, defense, special teams) as measured by Football Outsiders, then get into each position and find out what’s really going on with particular players.
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Gut Reaction: Lessons To Be Learned

So what did we and the Denver Broncos learn about themselves and their opponent today? Plenty of things, as it turns out.

For starters, the Bills are not tanking. Furthermore, the Bills defense isn’t Marcel Dareus and a bunch of nobodies — if anything, quite a few players rank higher than Dareus in terms of their importance to the Bills D. Also, we saw that Rick Dennison can do some good things with his offense when he has personnel that are better fits for his schemes.

As for the Broncos, we found out that Trevor Siemian still has plenty to learn as a quarterback, that we shouldn’t focus solely on right tackle when it comes to pass protection, that Justin Simmons has plenty of room for improvement and that Chris Harris isn’t immune to a subpar outing (hey, he’s only human).

And while it’s easy to grumble about bad calls by the referees, they really aren’t the reason why the Broncos lost today. They still had plenty of things they could control and didn’t do it enough.

Let’s go over the key points about today’s game.
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Gut Reaction: Broncos Take Cowboys To The Woodshed

The Cowboys scored 17 points. They were down to three defensive backs, with others either inactive or injured. The Broncos turned the ball over twice. Von Miller had too many offsides penalties.

And, yeah, that’s about all the excuses Cowboys fans can make to cover up the fact that the Denver Broncos just flat out kicked the Cowboys’ butts.

Sure, it wasn’t a perfect game for the Broncos and we can point to a few concerns or deficiencies. But let’s face the facts: The Broncos faced one of the best teams in the NFL and never let that team dictate the pace.

It’s still early in the season, but one thing is certain: This Broncos team is going to make things tough for every opponent on the schedule. Anyone who was quick to write off the Broncos before the season began needs to rethink that assessment.

This wasn’t a pushover the Broncos took to the woodshed. This was a legitimate playoff contender.

Let’s review what we know from today’s game.
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Midweek Musings: What Might Be Trends After Week One

Hello, Bronco fans! It always feels good to come away with a win, but it’s understandable that there will be concerns, particularly with how the Broncos couldn’t put away the Chargers when leading 24-7 in the fourth quarter.

However, we must always remember that Week One is the week in which you should be careful not to jump to conclusions about everything. There are a few things you can reasonably conclude after Week One, but the overwhelming majority can’t be concluded, because there are always going to be players who take time to develop or get comfortable alongside new teammates.

With that in mind, I’ll examine a few points about how the Broncos looked in their Monday night opener and which ones I think are indicative of how things will go this season and which ones I wouldn’t read too much into based on one game.
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The 2017 Season’s Impact On 2018 Personnel Decisions

We know that with a new football season comes questions about how certain personnel will hold up during the course of the season and the Denver Broncos are no exception. We are curious to see how Trevor Siemian will do in his second season as the starting quarterback, how the offensive line will look this year, how the running backs will hold up and how well the defense plays with some new personnel in the starting lineup.

But this season will also be about evaluating personnel who are either on contracts or tenders that expire after the season or who might be considered for a future extension.

The Broncos enter the season with $12.3M in cap space and are estimated to have $22.9M more in 2018 (Over the Cap’s 2018 estimates don’t include carryover from 2017) and have quite a few decisions to make about potential free agents that may be more significant than you may realize – and there’s at least one that could give the Broncos a more difficult decision than perhaps any free agent decision they’ve faced yet.

No, that isn’t a potential extension for Trevor Siemian (though it will be discussed later on).

But let’s take a look at any decisions that involve either a potential unrestricted free agent, restricted free agent or player entering the final year of his contract.
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Gut Reaction: Something Happen Today?

I’ll bet you Bronco fans thought the final cutdown to 53 players was going to be a ho-hum affair, didn’t you?

Seriously, we did know that a couple of moves might be made that weren’t going to be popular, but the one that likely has all of your heads spinning is the one that nobody talked about earlier this week.

So let’s sort out of everything that’s gone down thus far as it pertains to the Broncos 53-man roster, starting out with the expected move that nobody could have ever thought possible.

As you should know by now, these thoughts are mine and mine alone.
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Making Sense Of The TJ Ward Trade Talk

The other day, we had a lengthy discussion about the Broncos reportedly talking to other teams about trading safety TJ Ward. It led to a couple of people sharing some rather ridiculous claims regarding what such a move means for the season.

Let’s be clear about one thing: The decision to part ways with Ward is not about the team’s thoughts regarding what will happen this season or what they think about their quarterbacks, but what their overall roster needs are at this point and whether or not they believe they can safely slip younger players through waivers and onto the practice squad.

Allow me to follow up on my post the other day regarding the tough decisions the Broncos will have to make when finalizing the 53-man roster, which will lead to the bigger picture as to why TJ Ward might be traded.
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Tough Calls For The 53-Man Roster Ahead

As we approach the final preseason game and the roster cutdown to 53, I wanted to examine the roster cutdowns to 53 in a different manner than just projecting the final 53.

Rather, I want to look at each position in terms of who is a lock to make the roster and the more difficult decisions the Broncos will have to make considering injuries and other factors.

The thing to keep in mind with each position is that the Broncos aren’t going to just sign or trade for any veteran at this point just to “win now.” They’ll only consider veterans at this point if there is not only a significant upgrade, but if it’s justifiable to take the player’s contract. If they want an upgrade over a younger player, they’ll look at the waiver wire for players who were caught in other position battles and just couldn’t get past others on the roster.

On the latter part, bear in mind that just about every team goes through this situation. A team that is lacking at one position can have a lot of depth at another, just like the Broncos have. So keep in mind that somebody who just couldn’t make the cut on a team that had lots of talent at one position might result in a player who provides an upgrade for the Broncos.

In some cases, we will probably find that certain players just aren’t going to make the cut for a reason based on what the coaches are looking for. I’ll do my best to explain that at certain positions. Also, I won’t go deeply into practice squad candidates, though a few of the players for whom tough decisions await are eligible and you’ll no doubt see some players who you would want to add there, should they not make the active roster.

With that in mind, let’s consider what the Broncos will look at with each position.
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