Finish strong is the theme of the week for the Broncos this week. Broncos still have MUCH to play for and thus there will be no rest for the weary. 1st and foremost is a win solidifies the Broncos the #2 seed in AFC and a first round bye no matter the outcome of the other games. With a Houston Loss and a Broncos win, the Broncos can secure a #1 seed and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Ironic note that we need to count on Peyton's replacement to help us with Seeding, funny how the NFL works sometimes. The 2nd reason we will be not resting players is the potential first round bye. The Broncos are an extremely healthy team all things considering this season. Two weeks of rest allow players to get rusty and does not allow for continued continuity of being mentaly and physically in the game. Last year Green Bay was 15-1, NFC #1 seed, Superbowl favorites and rested their starters even though they won, lost at home in the Divisional Round to the eventually SB champion Giants. Peyton is not going to allow anything remotely like that to happen. Could we rest starters towards the 3rd or 4th Quarter, absolutely, depending on the score. Score heavy and score early.
So what to make of this season, cause it's been a great one, one that we have not seen in a long time. So lets break it down:
1. The moment our season changed was the Monday night game where we were 2-3, YES 2-3, and came back to score 35 unanswered points on the road against San Diego. It was the point where the AFC west was one. At the beginning of the season, the Broncos have had the 2nd toughest schedule in the NFL according to last season's schedule with the Giants being 1st and the Patriots and Green Bay having the the easiest schedules. Re-watching many of the Broncos game ahead of this email, it's interesting to note the progression of the offense and defense. With the offense, as we all know, it's about timing and the ability of the Broncos receivers (including Running backs and TE) to anticipate where to be is almost astounding in this short of a time. It's not just being at the right place but its understand when a play breaks down, to understand how the offensive line is going to react and how Manning is going to react. With the defense, they are more aggressive, but competent. The have LEARNED HOW TO TACKLE, excellent in gap assignments and developed schemes for slot receivers and tight ends.
2. The offense for the season is ranked #4 in the league, being #2 in points scored with an average of 29.5, only behind the Patriots. The defense is #3 in the league. Speaking of Defense, during our 10 game win streak, here are some crazy stats. Total opponent QBR: 13.1 (NFL rank -- 1st) 3rd-down conversion: 21.3 (NFL rank -- 1st) Points per drive: 1.23 (NFL rank -- 1st) Yards per play: 4.6 (NFL rank -- 2nd) Opponent yards per drive:[masked]nd (NFL rank -- 2nd). In the 15 games we've played we have 48 sacks, 1st in the NFL and 20 forced fumbles, 4th in the NFL. hat is out of control people, with this defense being extremely reminiscent of the Orange Crush. They are the Kryptonite to any team' Superman.
3. Leadership. Nothing can be said more of the leadership in the locker room at Denver. It is quite of mix of Veteren players, of course starting with Manning, but really, many of the free agents are the unsung heros on the team. Stockley working very close with Decker and Thomas on how to read Peyton, how to prepare for his no huddle offense and to overall better receivers. Dumervil teachin Von Miller how to be a more complete player in pass coverage and an overall disruptive force, not just a sack artist. Jim Leonard and Mike Adams show Rahim Moore how to play the game with speed, effectiveness but also with his head, Moore has finally lived up to his 2nd round status as the starting safety and really has become a fundamental tackler. Lastly, no on in the locker room is satisfied. The broncos have weekly Players only meetings where they breakdown game film from the previous week and critique themselves and each other to get better. But nothing can be said more of how to lead then by Manning's work ethic as he continues to strive to be the best and adapt and all 53 players follow suit.
There is always more work to be done, but for now. Let us as supports bask in a successful regular season as one man among many has change the face of our franchise for the better in one season. The Broncos rank #1 is every NFL power poll out there including ESPN, CBS, Yahoo, Foxsports, bleacherreport, NFL.com, NBCsports etc... There has been no team all season that has been as consistent and consistently improved as the season went on. Many teams stumble and fell, especially towards the end but winning 10 games in a Row is something to behold. The Broncos have been brought back to national prominence, spotlight team, but recognize is there any Drama and has there been any throughout the season! Absolutely NOT. Not in Peyton's house. There is something to be said about a team has only positives and continues to improve on and off the field each an every week.
It has been my pleasure being with you all in this regular season and hopefully we will be ending this holiday and regular season with an epic win to go sprinting into the playoffs and hopefully into New Orleans. I will be there Sunday always bleeding orange and blue, but if not Sunday, definitely during January in the playoffs. Have a safe and Happy New Years and as always:
I am a Broncos fan and I believe. I believe in Mile High Magic and Bleed Orange and Blue. I celebrate the drive and the Mile High Salute. I create the THUNDER, share in the common dream and will forever be a proud citizen of BRONCOS COUNTRY!"
GB2 - Ron