While it is too early to panic for the Denver Broncos after their loss to the Houston Texans, there has to be some major concern on the defensive side of the ball. The Texans were able to run the ball in the first half, and that set up the play action which the Texans used to hit multiple big plays including two long touchdowns. If the Broncos are going to be the team they want to be, then the defense is going to have to make dramatic improvements.
The most concerning area continues to be the pass rush, or lack of a pass rush. That was thought to be the strength of the defense before the season started, but has been notably absent through the first three games. It was extremely apparent in the loss to the Texans, as Matt Schaub had all day to throw. The secondary for the Broncos also made some mistakes in coverage, but for the most part, it was the lack of a pass rush that did the Broncos defense in. There’s plenty of blame to go around but it is Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller that have to step up. Teams are game planning for those two players, but great players make plays even when they are being targeted. If the Broncos are going to improve on defense, it has to start with a pass rush.
In addition to the pass rush, the play in the secondary has to be better. It’s time to give up on the Rahim Moore experiment, and play Quinton Carter. Moore has the tools that should make him a good safety, but that has not translated onto the field. Maybe it well someday but right now, he is a liability and the Broncos cannot afford the mistakes that he is making. Tracy Porter had a rough day on Sunday but that’s the way he plays, and those days are going to happen. Porter left the game with an injury and if he’s out for an extended period of time, which will hurt. A couple of positives in the secondary include Champ Bailey and Chris Harris, who both played well on Sunday.
The defense does deserve some credit for making some adjustments at halftime, and playing better in the second half. As they did in the game with the Atlanta Falcons, they kept giving the ball back to the offense in the third quarter. However, also just like the game with the Falcons, the defense could not make that one last stop that would have given Peyton Manning and the offense a shot to win the game at the end.
At 1-2, the Denver Broncos are still in decent position in the AFC West but they must improve on the defensive side of the ball.