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Denver Broncos Make Good Insurance Policy Through Michael Huff





The Denver Broncos placed their starting free safety, Rahim Moore, on the short-term injured reserve list, after injuring his thigh during the Kansas City Chiefs game, and signed in his stead, veteran safety Michael Huff.

An extremely highly-valued player coming out of the University of Texas in 2006, Huff reached his peak in 2010 with the Oakland Raiders, when he recorded 94 tackles, four sacks, three interceptions and three forced fumbles. However, these elite numbers have quickly dwindled in each year since, and Huff has evolved into more of a veteran presence for his teams, rather than a premier playmaker.

That being said, Huff is a great student of the game, extraordinarily athletic and very physical. While playing for the Raiders, the coaching staff utilized his athleticism by moving him from safety to corner, and even playing him at linebacker depending on the team’s health and depth. While he may no longer be the player who unanimously won the Jim Thorpe award in college, his immense experience and versatility is always a welcome addition to a team striving for a deep playoff run.

It is unlikely Huff will see a lot of playing time with the Broncos, especially since he has to become familiar with the Broncos’ defensive system first, and Mike Adams is a more than capable replacement who has been with the team for two years. However, Huff is a terrific insurance policy in case this injury bug continues to follow the Broncos and he could be a useful weapon during the playoffs coming off the bench – if he plays well enough during the next few weeks to make the Broncos’ playoff roster.

Written by John Spina. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter @jsspina24.

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Loss Of Rahim Moore To Drastically Affect Denver Broncos In Game Against New England Patriots





Rahim Moore, the Denver Broncos’ young and promising free safety, was pulled out at half time of the Kansas City Chiefs game due to severe pain in his thigh. After an examination and continued pain throughout the night, Moore was diagnosed with lateral compartment syndrome and went into emergency surgery on Monday night. The team has reported that the third year safety is out indefinitely, with no real timetable for return due to the freakish nature of the injury, but one thing is for sure, he will certainly be sidelined for the New England Patriots game this upcoming weekend.

Though Moore will likely never live down the last minute, game tying, Hail Mary pass he over played in the divisional round of last year’s playoffs, he has become an integral part of the Broncos’ defense this year, and will be sorely missed against this aggressive Patriots offense.

Moore is incredibly athletic and extremely versatile. Despite his small stature (6-foot-1, 195 pounds), he is very physical, especially in pursuit. Yet, because of his size, he also possesses the speed, quickness and cover skills of a corner back. Consequently, he ranks in the top five in tackles, passes defended and interceptions on the team. Not only does he directly affect the opposing team’s passing offense, but also their ability to effectively run the ball. This diverse skill set would have been incredibly pertinent against an unpredictable Patriots offense.

After the loss of almost their entire receiving corps last offseason, the Pats have tried to become more of a balanced offense this year by leaning heavily on their running game (ninth most rushing yards per game in the NFL), and taking pressure off of their unproven receivers by allowing them to run short underneath routes. However, the Pats are unquestionably more effective when Tom Brady is looking down field.

However, due to the inexperience and overall lack of elite talent in the receiving corps, Brady relies on the team’s veteran players at the tight end and running back positions, like Rob Gronkowski, Steven Ridley and Shane Vereen, to spread the field and run deep routes. They are, without a doubt, the key to this Patriots offense, and they will be more than likely covered by the Broncos’ safeties.

The most intriguing matchup problem for the Broncos during the absence of Moore is who, or how, they decide to cover Brady’s favorite target – Gronkowski. Gronkowski has only played in four games this year and is clearly being restricted by his coaching staff, however, he is becoming healthier each week, and the Pats will likely involve him very heavily in their game plan in order to keep up with the high scoring Broncos’ offense – especially after the loss of Moore.

The Broncos already have a banged up secondary – Chris Harris, Champ Bailey, Duke Ihenacho and Kavon Webster have all already been hurt and are currently recovering. The loss of Moore, therefore, is especially bad at this point of the Broncos’ season. Moore will have to be replaced by either Mike Adams, David Bruton or a little bit of both. However, while Adams may be a very experienced veteran, he no longer possesses the athleticism and physicality to effectively disrupt Gronkowski, and Bruton has been strictly a special teams player for his entire five-year career and will likely struggle in coverage.

To aid the defense during Moore’s absence, the Broncos will likely use a number of different cover combinations in order to cover Gronkowski and the Patriots’ backs coming out of the backfield. Harris is perhaps the best slot corner in the league, and the Broncos’ linebackers are fast enough to cover the running backs on short routes. This strategy will limit the Broncos’ ability to bring pressure, but it will also limit Brady’s ability to be effective and keep up with Peyton Manning and the high scoring Broncos offense.

Written by John Spina. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter @jsspina24.

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Denver Broncos Should Use Better Pass Protection Methods To Beat Kansas City Chiefs





Through the first four games of the season, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos looked truly unstoppable. However, after the loss of All-Pro left tackle Ryan Clady, the team has shown glaring holes along the offensive line and appears to be barley clinging on to their Super Bowl hopes.

Starting this Sunday, the Broncos face a grueling three-week schedule against the New England Patriots in Foxboro and the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. Being a game behind the Chiefs, and only a game ahead of the Patriots, this tough stretch will inevitably determine the Broncos postseason future.

Entering this important stretch of their schedule, the most troublesome flaw in the Broncos’ game is protecting Manning. He did not have a single turnover in the first four games of the season, but since Clady’s injury, he has not played in single contest without a turnover, including fumbles in each of the last four, and has struggled with minor injuries.

The Chiefs have the most productive pass rush in the league this year and a very aggressive, ball hawking secondary. On paper, they match up perfectly with the Denver offense. The Chiefs are first in the NFL in sacks, tied for second in interceptions and have scored an astounding six defensive touchdowns. The only team in NFL history with 10 defensive touchdowns was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they won the Super Bowl in 2002.

If the Broncos’ offensive line continues to struggle against the pass rush, this opportunistic Chiefs’ defense could force Manning into a number of turnovers and run away with the game. With AFC West superiority on the line, the Broncos must find ways to better protect Manning — even if that means limiting their high-paced offense and keeping more players in to block.

Manning and the Broncos’ offense have shown the ability to be effective against aggressive defenses by spreading the field with numerous receivers and running short crossing routes, outs, comebacks and especially screen passes, but as we saw against the San Diego Chargers last week, they must be more careful to balance their game plan with a rushing attack and more jumbo sets with multiple tight ends and running backs in order to protect Manning.

While some have noted that the Broncos must stay true to their high-octane offensive identity in order to stay sharp, the Broncos were defeated last year due to the team’s minor weaknesses, not the potency of their strengths. By diversifying their offensive attack and focusing on their weaknesses, they not only become less predictable and more playoff ready, but they are also better prepared to protect Manning against elite pass-rushing defenses.

The Broncos have so many athletic playmakers on offense that using jumbo formations is not necessarily an offensive set back. The Broncos carry three very talented tight ends in Julius Thomas, Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen. All are able blockers as well as reliable receivers. If the Broncos used more two- and three-tight end sets, the offense could keep one or two in to block while the other runs passing routes. The beauty of the formation is that the defense will rarely know which tight end(s) is staying in to block and which is going out to run routes. Moreover, it’ll allow the running backs to run routes out of the back field – which has been extremely effective with Knowshon Moreno this year – and will greatly help creating holes in the run game.

The trademark of a great team is the ability to successfully adjust their game plan according to their opponent. If the Broncos can show versatility in this game, they can make a statement to the entire NFL, and force teams to alter their preparation for the Broncos not allowing them to focus on stopping Peyton Manning and the passing attack.

Written by John Spina. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter @jsspina24.

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