Denver Broncos Defense: Improvement Starts on Third Down
The defense for the Denver Broncos is struggling through the first five game of the season, and the questions are how can they get better? There are some things they can do but they are not going to turn into a top ten defense overnight. The primary thing to remember is that the Broncos have played three of the best offensive teams in the NFL through the first part of the season. That’s not an excuse but a lot of teams are going to give up a ton of points to the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans and New England Patriots. Having said though, they have to be better in one key area.
The obvious one is third down defense, it gets overlooked because of the problems on third down but the Broncos are playing decent defense on the first two downs. The Patriots were 4 for 5 on third down conversions of 10 yards or more, that can’t happen. The league average in that situation is 20%. There were two situations last Sunday when the Broncos had just scored and were staring to grab the momentum, and the defense gave up a first down on a third and long. We will never know what would have happened but a stop on any one of those could have changed the game.
What can the Broncos do to improve their third down defense? The first thing is obvious and something we have harped on for weeks now, and that’s the pass rush. The Broncos simply are not getting enough pressure on the quarterback on big third down plays. That has to change, whether it is scheme or players just playing better.
The second and most simple thing is everyone just needs to do their job. The Broncos gave up an 18 yard run on third and 17 in large part because people were out of their lanes, trying to do too much. The players, in that case, have to trust the defense.
The defense for the Denver Broncos is probably going to get at least a little better as the season goes along. The schedule lightens up some and they are still getting use to a new defensive coordinator in, Jack Del Rio and a new defense. As with Peyton Manning and the offense, it’s a process. Painful to watch sometimes but a process nonetheless.
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