The Denver Broncos lost to the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night and it will be the play of Peyton Manning that is the focus, but there are some issues on the other side of the ball as well. The defense does deserves some credit, especially early, for keeping the Broncos in the game while the offense was turning the ball over four times. However, they have to be better!
The defense for the Broncos is built on stopping the run and then getting after the quarterback. They’ve done very well with the first part of that equation, but the pass rush has been non-existent through the first two games of the season. Elvis Dumervil has been invisible during the first two weeks and Von Miller has not been much better. Outside of some late pressure versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, opposing quarterbacks have had all day to throw the football. Average quarterbacks will eat defenses alive if they have time to throw, guys like Ben Rothlisberger and Matt Ryan will put up career days with no pressure.
In addition to the pass rush, if the Broncos do not get better with their third down defense then it’s going to be really tough to play the way they want to play. It’s been two straight weeks now that the defense has played pretty well on the first two downs, but cannot get off the field on third down. Their inability to get off the field on those third downs is directly related to the lack of a pass rush. If the pass rush is fixed, then the third down defense will improve. Until that happens, however, the Broncos defense is going to really struggle.
It’s only the second week of the season and the Denver Broncos have a long way to go, but the pass rush had better show up soon. The schedule does not get any easier and neither do the quarterbacks they will be playing.
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