Ian St. Clair from The Mile High Report joins us for his latest weekly feature on DenverBroncosUK.com, ahead of week 7.
Some have said that this was the toughest game the LA Rams have played. Color me sceptical of pleasantries like, “The Denver Broncos gave us, the Los Angeles Rams, the best game plan we faced.” I would then retort with: Did you guys watch Todd Gurley? Had Sean McVay not stopped running the ball in the second and third quarter, this game isn’t close. The Broncos gave up 270 yards rushing, but, hey, they had a great plan.
Leaky Run Defense
Denver is the first defense in NFL history to allow back-to-back 200-yard games to running backs. Over the last three weeks, the Broncos have allowed 735 yards on the ground. It’s beyond a concern at this point, it’s a giant hole — like the ones running backs have to run through on this defense. Denver has to go back to what it did in the first three weeks of the season when it allowed 233 rushing yards, in terms of scheme and play. That also means Vance Joseph gets out of the way and stops mingling. If he is going to do that, it needs to happen on offense with Bill Musgrave and his incompetent play calling. Going back three weeks: 125 passes to 54 runs. The Broncos are passing the ball 70 percent of the time with a quarterback that currently ranks 27th in the NFL in passer rating.
The biggest reason for the rise of Bradley Chubb is he’s figuring out the NFL. It isn’t just one reason for that either. Chubb is opposite of Von Miller and that is a huge luxury, Chubb has been learning from and working with DeMarcus Ware, and Chubb is just a really, really good football player. What should excite Broncos Country is this is only the start for Chubb. He will continue to get better and better and better as his career moves forward.
Offensive Struggles Remain
As noted above, there is one reason and one reason alone for Denver’s struggles on offense: Musgrave. The job of a coach is to put their players in the best situation to have success. For the Broncos, that means running the football. Everyone who watches this offense and looks at the numbers can see it, yet Musgrave refuses to adapt or change. That highlights extreme stubbornness or incompetence, and neither speaks well of Musgrave. It’s an even bigger indictment on the head coach, who should have stepped in by now and told Musgrave, “Run the damn ball. I don’t care about anything else, it’s what we do well. Run the damn ball.” The fact that Joseph hasn’t, highlights his extreme incompetence.
Hopeful, or Hopeless?
The fact that fans and media are pondering whether Thursday night’s game against the Cardinals is the last chance to save the season and Joseph, speaks to how far this franchise has fallen. Even if the Broncos find a way to win on the road and on a short week, it doesn’t change the fact the season is still over and Joseph and his staff need to be removed. A win on Thursday gives John Elway and the franchise false hope, and it will just delay the inevitable. The moves that need to be made will still need to be made even if Denver wins.
In the 10 road games Joseph has been the head coach, his team is 1-9. The Broncos can’t win on the road on a normal week, yet somehow they’ll get it figured out on a short week? For Denver to win this game, the coaches have to do what they’ve proven incapable of — put their players in the best situation to have success. Run the ball on offense and stop the run on defense. But the players have to play with pride. To steal a line from Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, just do your job.
The Broncos should win this game. In the words of Miller, they should kick Arizona’s ass. But as I have said before, how many times have we said that the last two seasons only to come away angered and shocked at the outcome? Nothing changes on Thursday, even with Miller’s proclamation. Cardinals 23, Broncos 18.