The Denver Broncos defense played decent in their season opening win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, but there were some obvious areas of concern. Anyone who watched the game knows that the Broncos third-down defense was the most alarming aspect of the defense. There’s no question that area of the defense has to get better, but it is not the only area.
Going into the season, a lot of people thought the linebacker position was going to be the weak spot of the defense and through one week that appears to be the case. The group that includes; Joe Mays, Wesley Woodyard and Von Miller were very good versus the run but struggled in pass coverage. Steelers tight end, Heath Miller was open all night over the middle of the field and beat Woodyard badly on a third and 18 that resulted in a big first down. What was really disturbing about that play was that Woodyrard bit hard on a fake by H. Miller that allowed the tight-end to get open down the field. Woodyard must have a better understanding of the game situation in that instance; a five yard completion does not hurt the Broncos. Let H. Miller catch the five yard out, make the tackle and force the Steelers to punt.
In addition to Miller, the linebackers for the Broncos also struggled in their pass drops. A number of receivers for the Steelers were able to find soft spots behind the linebackers and in front of the safeties and the safeties do share some of the blame but the linebackers have to be better in their drops. The pass coverage on the outside was good all night but if teams can throw over the middle, then they don’t even have to test Champ Bailey and Tracy Porter.
Every team, starting with the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night, is going to test the linebackers of the Denver Broncos. The defense has a chance to be a very good unit but the linebackers have to play better.
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