Let’s break this down to its simplest form.
The Broncos play a game of football.
Since the days of Walter Camp, there were two general rules to succeeding at this game.
One was to run the football. Two, was to stop the run.
Those Super Bowl 50 champs are so last season. These Denver Broncos are in serious trouble. The Broncos didn’t just get beat by the Oakland Raiders, 30-20, before a prime-time NBC audience on Sunday night. They got manhandled, managing a woeful 33 yards rushing while surrendering a horrific 218 yards on the ground.
“You’re not going to win in this league if those two issues are going on consistently,’’ said Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak.
Running the ball and stopping the run appeals to the manly-man aspect of football. And now one of their manliest of men, defensive end Derek Wolfe, will be out a while with a fractured elbow.
“We have the physicality,’’ said Broncos linebacker Todd Davis. “We’re all men. We’re tough when we’re out there on the field. We don’t give anything up. We play hard. I think it’s us playing our game. We have to be assignment sound. I think that’s what it was more than anything.’’
Better believe Broncos coaches challenged their players pride at their meetings today.
“Yes, they did,’’ said Broncos running back Devontae Booker, who gained 22 yards on 10 carries. “It’s always like that when you lose a game. We just have to make corrections and come back next week ready to play.’’
That great Broncos’ defense that brought the parade to Denver last year? This year that defense ranks 29th against the run. Twenty-ninth!
“That’s our No. 1 goal,’’ Davis said. “If you don’t stop the run, you don’t stop the play-action in the passing game. So first and foremost, we need to stop the run. That’s our mentality going forward.’’
The Broncos’ offensive running game, meanwhile, ranks 23rd.
Manning used to be a such sweet word around Broncos headquarters. But now that Peyton has retired, the Bronco have to start manning up.