The Broncos Defense is special & here’s why

Von Miller leads a scary Broncos defense

By: Jordan Anders

The Denver Broncos are coming off their third straight win to open up the 2021 season, which hasn’t happened since 2016. Although the offense has played a big role in scoring, the defense has been quietly making its mark through shutting down opposing offenses and sealing victories.

This Broncos defense first showed their strength in pre-season allowing zero touchdowns from their opponents (the Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, and Seattle Seahawks). Last season, the Broncos only recorded 16 takeaways, as opposed to the past three weeks, the Broncos defense has recorded four interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Recapping the Broncos Defense the past 3 weeks

In week one against the New York Giants, the Broncos defense held quarterback Daniel Jones to 267 yards and 1 passing touchdown. The Giants’ offense was only able to put up 13 points on the board in comparison to the Broncos’ 27 points. Von Miller contributed by adding two quarterback sacks early in the game setting the tone.

Going into this season, the one main weakness in the Broncos’ defense was shutting down opposing teams’ run game. They certainly showed improvement in week one by holding Giants’ running back Shaquon Barkley to only 26 yards.

The most important stat however is in the first three games, the Broncos defense has allowed their opponent into the Red Zone just two times. These both came during the Giants game, one ending in a turnover on downs and one a touchdown. Since then, the Broncos’ defense has kept their opponent out of the Red Zone. This had led to the Broncos being ranked first in Red Zone defensive percentage through the first three weeks.

In week two, the Broncos were on the road again, this time traveling to Jacksonville to face rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Broncos safety Kareem Jackson and rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain recorded the first two interceptions of the season for the Denver defense during the game.

Jaguars’ offense only scored once as the Broncos’ defense held Trevor Lawrence to 118 yards and a 42% completion rate while holding Jacksonville’s rushing offense to just 75 yards. At this point, the Broncos’ defense were still not being underrated, that is until the defense led by star safety Justin Simmons would lead the way to a shutout the next week.

This past week, the Broncos were home to a packed crowd for the first time in two years and had the highest-attended NFL game on Sunday. Denver destroyed the New York Jets in a 26-0 shutout, their biggest shutout since 2005 where they beat the Jets 27-0. Broncos’ defense held quarterback Zach Wilson and the Jets to 162 total yards on 3.1 yards per play. On top of that, they kept the Jets out of the Red Zone the entire game, only allowing 11 first downs.

To add salt to injury, Broncos’ star safety Justin Simmons picked off Zach Wilson for his first interception of the season, shortly after rookie safety Caden Sterns would get his first NFL interception sealing the victory. The Broncos’ secondary weren’t the only ones who came to play on the Broncos’ defense, however. Von Miller, Shelby Harris, Malik Reed, and Alexander Johnson (2.0) all recorded sacks on Zach Wilson, four sacks coming from the first half alone.

Through the first three games, opposing quarterbacks are averaging 181.6 yards, a 53.4 completion %, .67 touchdowns, 1.3 interceptions, 2.67 sacks, and a 57.8 passer rating against the Broncos defense. Denver’s defense has given up 8.7 points per game which is the best in the NFL right now.

After three weeks, the Broncos have the number one ranked defense in the NFL. Von Miller became the AFC defensive player of the month for September with 8 tackles, 4 sacks, and 6 tackles for loss (most in the NFL) and currently sits at 23rd on the NFL’s all-time sack list. Patrick Surtain has a 10.7 passer rating allowed in man coverage, in other words, you’d have a higher passer rating if you threw the ball in the dirt every play (39.6), per PFF.

The Broncos defense have made a strong resumé so far this season, they rank fourth overall in defense and are first in coverage according to PFF rankings. The real test will come this week as they take on the offense-heavy Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson in their fourth game of the season.

The Broncos are sitting favorite for the game at a -1.5 spread and the Ravens are winless as 1.5-point underdogs or more on the road. Sunday’s game will be a battle between one of the league’s best offenses and arguably the best defense in the league.

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater returning to Pro Bowl form this season?

Can quarterback Teddy Bridgewater thrive in Denver?

By: Steven Johnson

Coming off of a spectacular start to the NFL season, all Bronco eyes are on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. After winning the competition at quarterback this offseason, Bridgewater threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns on 28 passing attempts in week one. These numbers helped the Broncos stamp a definitive win on their week one matchup against the New York Giants. Bridgewater finished with a 95.7 QBR, the highest of any quarterback in week one. This performance is exactly the type of play that many in the organization and fanbase needed to see from Teddy to put their faith in him as the face of this Broncos team.

Following up week one, this Sunday the Broncos headed to Florida to compete against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bridgewater once again was able to perform reminiscent of his pro bowl season in 2015. The Denver quarterback threw for another two touchdowns and 328 yards this time. Bridgewater was able to avoid any interceptions or fumbles and complete a positive 76% of his passes on the day. The average yards per pass attempt was higher this week as well, a 9.6 average compared to week one’s 7.3 average. Teddy was able to not only build off of his week one performance but put on an even better showing for Denver and its fanbase. So far, Bridgewater and these young receivers of the Broncos are pulling off a 592 yard-4 touchdown-ZERO interception effort through the first two weeks. These two weeks, while a small sample size, has given hope that Bridgewater can return to the youthful promise he showed early in his career.


Looking back at Bridgewater’s previous seasons there is hope for exceptional quarterback play. In his second season with the Minnesota Vikings in 2015, Bridgewater threw for 3400 yards and 17 touchdowns to earn his first Pro Bowl nod. This seemed to put Bridgwater firmly in view as the Vikings’ quarterback of the future. In the year that followed, Teddy’s major ACL injury kept him sidelined and almost ended his young career. After working his way back, injuries and bad luck played a part in keeping him off the field and away from competing. While playing for the New Orleans Saints in 2019, he seemed to have a resurgence as he stepped into the starting role, leading the team for an injured Drew Brees. Bridgewater led the team to a 5-0 record while throwing for 1300 yards and 9 touchdowns. The following season he would leave the Saints to play for the Carolina Panthers. Bridgewater dealt with an offense plagued by injuries. With an injured Christian McCaffrey, the offense became one-dimensional. Still, Bridgewater finished the season with a respectable 3700 yards and 15 touchdowns, although also throwing 11 interceptions.

This offseason after Leaving the Panthers to come to play for Denver, Bridgewater has stumbled into an offensive situation much more lucrative than he had during his time in Carolina. While he continues to grow with the Denver offense, he will undoubtedly become more comfortable and recognize the best way to utilize his weapons. If the Broncos’ offense gives their talented defense enough opportunities to rush the passer and close out games, it will be a very tough group for anyone to compete against this season.

Bridgewater’s most impressive feat early this season is his ability to stay cool in the pocket while showing enough mobility to extend plays for big impacts. Many who criticized Bridgewater cite a lack of aggressiveness in his play. Worried that Teddy will only take underneath throws or refuse to take shots downfield, Bridgewater showed that he will take chances and even went a stunning 5-5 on fourth down conversions so far this season. Bridgewater is showing poise and awareness in the pocket that brings a sense of confidence to the huddle. The ability to sit and take big hits while delivering the ball shows a veteran mindset and understanding of the game. While not known as a running quarterback, Bridgewater’s ability to extend plays so far this season has resulted in electric plays and success for the Denver offense as a whole. Losing Jerry Jeudy to injury in week one will hurt the overall playmaking ability of the offense, however, Courtland Sutton returning to form could be a formidable duo with Bridgewater building their chemistry.


As of week two, Bridgewater is on pace for over 5,000 yards, 43 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. While not realistic to sustain these numbers, it is an impressive comparison to start the season. If Bridgewater can channel anything similar to those averages throughout the entire NFL season, he would be in immediate contention. This goes not only for Pro Bowl consideration but league MVP as well. With the strong defense in the Broncos locker room and an offense full of young playmakers, the sky can be the limit for this team under “steady” Teddy Bridgewater.

Broncos Von Miller is an underlooked DPOY candidate & here’s why

Will Broncos Von Miller win DPOY this season?

By: Jordan Anders

The Super Bowl 50 MVP and eight-time pro bowler Von Miller is back and is already making a case for himself for defensive player of the year. Miller saw no real NFL action in over 600 days as he suffered a season-ending foot injury days before last season’s opener. This year, however, he is back and not only ready to make it back to the playoffs but make himself a prime candidate for the Associated Press NFL DPOY award.

Last week, the Denver Broncos opened up their season at MetLife Stadium to face the Giants where Von Miller would get his first start in nearly two years. Right off the bat, Miller looked like his old self with an early quarterback sack on Daniel Jones. With that sack, Von Miller entered the top 25 in NFL history in career sacks, he is currently sitting at #24 with 108.

Von Miller finished his first game back with three quarterback hits, three tackles for loss, and two sacks. These numbers, however, don’t go to show the impact Miller had on the game. With Miller putting pressure on quarterback Daniel Jones, Jones was only able to make one passing touchdown the entire game as well as a 59% completion rate.

Lots of minor details in Miller’s game are being overlooked since his injury last season, Pro Football Focus doesn’t even have Von Miller in their top 10 edge rushers for this season. Let’s not forget, Von Miller missed an entire season and is still the number one ranked active NFL sack leader. That’s not all, Von Miller is also the number one active player with the most seasons recording a 90+ PFF Grade.

Von Miller has been a one-of-a-kind player since he was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2011 and continues to prove he is one of the best edge rushers in the game and one of the top defensive players. His comeback season this year is a solid campaign for him to win Defensive Player of the Year if he keeps doing what he’s doing, that is sacking quarterbacks and putting pressure on their offense.

The only downside is his competition. His competition: 3x DPOY award winner Aaron Donald, defensive tackle for the Los Angeles Rams. Aaron Donald is one of the best in the game and there’s no arguing that, odds have him as a top favorite for this year’s award and that likely won’t change. Von Miller has his work cut out for him as he is also going against Browns’ edge rusher Myles Garrett, Steelers’ linebacker T.J. Watt, and Washington’s defensive end Chase Young.

Von Miller in terms of the Defensive Player of the year award is very underrated and has been for years. This year he isn’t even in the top 20 for player’s odds of winning the award. Right now, he is being overlooked but as the season goes on it shouldn’t come as a shock when and if the media recognizes Miller as a legitimate DPOY candidate. Expect the fine wine edge player to keep pace with his competition until the end of the last game of the year.

A look into the Broncos 2021 season: games 9-17

Will the Broncos make it into the playoffs?

By: Steven Johnson

How will the end of the season play out?

The Broncos are sitting at 6-2 coming into the last stretch according to previous articles. The last stretch of games provides more talented opponents and their bye-week as well.

Week 9: @ Dallas Cowboys

Coming into this week, the Broncos will have just faced off against another NFC East divisional team in the Washington Football Team. Having had their offense sidelined with the injury to quarterback Dak Prescott last season, the Cowboys’ play should look very different this season. Behind the trio of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup the Cowboys will look to lean on the passing game. The talented Ezekiel Elliot should be held to a modest game behind the Broncos line and a stacked box. This game should be decided by the Broncos’ secondary and the Cowboys’ receiving core in the air. Dallas on the defensive side should improve with the additions of linebacker Micah Parsons and Kentucky cornerback Kelvin Joseph. It will be up to Teddy Bridgewater and the Denver offense to be able to put points up to complement the defensive effort. As I am personally going to be in attendance for this game, my heart says a Broncos big win 32-17. Realistically as a writer, the score could very well swing Dallas’ way just as easily.

Week 10: Home vs Philadelphia Eagles


For the third consecutive week, the Broncos will be playing the NFC East in a matchup that brings them back to Mile High. The Eagles will travel to Denver to play, starting with second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts. The Denver defense will be able to disrupt the Eagles and their passing game with a young core of players. The Broncos will need to offensively take advantage of a weaker Philly defense that was ranked in the bottom third of the league last season.
The Broncos should walk out of this game with another definitive win. In the range of 27-13 seems plausible if the offense can get rolling. Letting the offense stretch its muscles against a team like Philly and producing should give them confidence heading into the last part of the season.

Week 11: Bye Week


The Broncos get a win this week. Late in the season they can rest up and nurse any nagging injuries they may have accrued. Any time to rest in the NFL is an automatic win.

Week 12: Home vs Los Angeles Chargers


This will be Denver’s first divisional opponent since the Raiders back in Week 6. As always, divisional games have a different air about them and this one could go either way. There is little doubt the Broncos have the defense to partially handle a rising star like Herbert and the chargers’ offense. The real question will be Denver’s ability to move the ball against the likes of Chris Harris Jr. Joey Bosa and Derwin James Jr. This will be undoubtedly another tough test for a young Broncos offense. Ultimately, the Broncos take care of business at home with a close win. 31-28.

Week 13: @ Kansas City Chiefs


A week after winning against one division rival, the Broncos must travel to Kansas City to take on Patrick Mahomes and the lighting Chiefs offense. While the Broncos were able to hold the chiefs to relatively low numbers for the offense overall, the nine consecutive losses have been due to offensive ineptitude on the Broncos’ side of the ball. Unfortunately, while the Denver offense should be showing signs of progress this season, it isn’t enough to beat the Chiefs at home in December. Kansas City takes this one 28-16.

Week 14: Home Vs Detroit Lions

With the addition of Jared Goff and the departure of Matthew Stafford, the Lions will look like a new team this season. What many are speculating is they will look worse without Stafford under center. The Lions are in an unofficial rebuild of the team that has lasted what seems like decades at this point. While individual players may be talented such as corner Jeff Okudah and running back D’andre Swift, this team doesn’t seem like contenders on paper. The Broncos have elevated to the point of beating teams that they should and put this one away early. Denver gets to pile it on and have themselves a day. The final score is a Broncos 40-18 win.

Week 15: Home Vs Cincinnati Bengals

The injury to Joe Burrow last season derailed any momentum Cincinnati hoped to build. This offseason, the Bengals focused on reuniting him with former LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase. The Bengals also took a lineman in round 2 of the draft, hoping to give Burrow more protection. While settled with their quarterback of the future, the Bengals are still in a rebuild. The defense features spots across the board with the most notable player being former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Chidobe Awuzie. The Denver Defense should get to Burrow enough to keep the score low while the Broncos offense gets in a rhythm. At home in Mile High, the Broncos should secure another win late in the playoff hunt.

Week 16: @ Las Vegas Raiders


The Broncos will travel to Vegas in week 16 at the start of three consecutive divisional games to end the season. At this point, the Broncos should be in the playoff hunt and all three will count huge towards results. The Raiders will be looking for revenge from the previous game and the divisional games are always the most challenging. Ultimately, not enough has changed throughout the season to warrant a change in the decision. The Broncos will sweep the Raiders and notch another win on their schedule 26-20.

Week 17: @ Los Angeles Chargers


Traveling for the second week in a row, the Broncos will face off with the chargers again within a mere six weeks since last time. Being in Los Angeles this time and the Chargers vying for wins as well, this game should be close. Fighting to play spoiler for the Broncos team this close to playoffs, the Chargers will come out fighting hard. Herbert has enough talent to keep the Chargers offense afloat and the Broncos offense will need to be firing on all cylinders to secure a win this time. Ultimately the Chargers will catch the Broncos on an off day and steal a win away in the last minutes. Broncos fall for the first time in several weeks, 23-20.

Week 18: Home vs Kansas City Chiefs


Leading into the last game of the season, the Broncos will play the Chiefs in Mile High for what likely is a playoff berth on the line. Denver will need everything they have to get the win against a potent offense with Mahomes. With everything on the line, the Chiefs will come in looking to either play spoiler or will already be resting their starters for their playoff run. The Chiefs will very well still be looking for one more win in playoff position seeding in the AFC. This last game could be a dogfight for Denver. Due to some Mile High magic and a roaring home crowd, Denver gets its first win against Kansas City in six years to cement a playoff berth for the first time in just as long. The chiefs still win the Division, but Denver has more to play for after the regular season ends.

Recap:

Finishing up with the game predictions, here is the win/loss recap for the 2021 Denver Broncos:

W: @NYG, @JAX, NYJ, @PIT, LV, WAS, PHI, LAC, DET, CIN, @LV, @KC

L: BAL, @CLE, @DAL, @KC, @LAC,

Coming to the end of the regular season, Denver has emerged as a dark horse contender in the playoffs. The Broncos have lost all but one of the games they have lost to teams on the road, showing an immense home-field advantage with fans back in the stadiums. With a solid defense and an offense that puts enough together to complement the team strength, they build a respectable record of 12-5. The Chiefs ultimately take the division title, but Denver is now in a Wild Card position for playoffs. Expectations are back to being high for Broncos Country. All this predicting is subject to change based on individuals play and the team’s overall health. Barring injuries like in previous seasons, this Broncos team is leagues ahead of last season’s and proves it with their play and overall record. Broncos Country should get excited for late-season drama and a chance at a postseason run for the first time since 2015.

Three surprising preseason standouts on Denver Broncos

Which Broncos shined in the pre-season?

By: Steven Johnson


This preseason, the Denver Broncos had plenty of young standout players shine in their limited action. This article will look at three of the players that may have secured a roster spot based on their breakout performance this preseason.

1. WR-Trinity Benson


Getting the obvious out of the way early, Trinity Benson was a superstar. Playing in all three games as a receiver and a returner for the team, Benson locked himself into a roster spot. He finished the preseason with 80 yards and 2 touchdowns on eight catches. While this stat line isn’t eye-popping, in the preseason with limited reps, it shows Benson as a reliable target. Only a rookie this season, Benson showed a connection with every quarterback at some point and also handled return duties. Special teams coach Tom McMahon spoke highly of Benson as well, suggesting if nothing else he could be kept on for special team duties. In a deep wide receiver room this season, Benson was able to make his name stand out beside the likes of Jerry Jeudy and K.J Hamler. Benson will be a good rotational piece for the Broncos as Hamler, Jeudy and Courtland Sutton need breaks and the season wears on player’s bodies. With how many receivers the Broncos have kept in the past, and Benson being a standout behind the top four or so receivers in front of him, it would be hard to imagine him not having playtime throughout the regular season.

2. OLB- Jonathon Cooper


Cooper was a wrecking ball this preseason in place of starters. Cooper enjoyed snaps While Von Miller was eased into action and Bradley Chubb and Malik Reed took limited reps. Cooper finished his preseason action with five solo tackles, one forced fumble, and one sack in three games. Coach Vic Fangio has spoken out about Cooper himself after Denver’s second preseason game. Fangio told the media “You know, we’re expecting him to be a rotational guy for us behind Bradley and Von, and hopefully, he did some good in the special team because we’re going to need him there.”

While praise for Cooper and seemingly a nod to a roster spot, this was only after the team’s second preseason game. Cooper went out the next week and continued to impress, only building on the hype the coaches have seemingly put around him. With his rookie season underway, it seems as if Cooper will enjoy plenty of rotational play behind Miller and Chubb for this fearsome Broncos defense this season. With both rushers previously missing time due to injury, it would be smart for the Broncos to invest in a young, explosive pass rusher like Cooper to have to wait in the wings. With how the Denver defensive line tends to rotate as well, one can expect Cooper to have an impact at some point in most games this season.

3. TE- Eric Saubert


While the tight end room is considered relatively solid with the return of a healthy Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam, Eric Saubert may have carved himself a role with the Broncos after a solid preseason outing. Unlike the others, Saubert has been in the league and has spent time on NFL rosters before. Playing for the Falcons, Bears, and Jaguars, Saubert knows what it takes to make it as a tight end in the NFL. While not having much production with teams before, Saubert had himself an impressive preseason with the Broncos. Providing utility on special teams and blocking on the line, Saubert is emerging as a utility tight end. His stats of five catches for 74 yards throughout the preseason shows a big, safe target who isn’t afraid to get in the trenches and block as well. I believe that his usefulness in the special teams game and his emergence as a target for the Denver quarterbacks may see him sneak onto the final roster this season. One last thing that may push the balance in Saubert’s favor is the injury history of the other Bronco tight ends coming into this season. If something were to happen, Saubert could step in immediately to try and fill the hole left.

This preseason, the Bronco players showcased the talent and spirit to compete across all three of their games. While many stood out, not all will find a space on the roster come final cutdown day. While unfortunate, it is good to see so many young and experienced players alike making the most of the opportunities to try and find themselves a spot on an NFL-caliber team. The likes of rookies such as Benson and Cooper took their chance and ran with it, while those vets such as Saubert came in with a willingness to compete and find a role that fits the team they are playing for. The competition of preseason football may not be as exciting for fans as the regular season but the intensity and the opportunity to find gems is equal to if not greater than any other time in football.

Which QB will hold the keys to the Broncos offense?

Will Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater start Week 1?

By: Steven Johnson

This offseason for the Denver Broncos has been dominated by questions surrounding the potential heir to the quarterback throne. Since bringing in former Carolina Panther’s quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, many fans brimmed with questions about what the team would look like this upcoming season. Many wondered if Bridgewater would be a veteran backup to Drew Lock or if he was here to take over the starting offense. All lights have been poised on the two quarterbacks throughout the start of the offseason program, training camp, and now through the first two preseason games, the Broncos have played. Lines for fandom have been drawn and many have moved from a competition standpoint to a fan club.

Those calling for Bridgewater enjoy the familiarity of his play and cite that the Broncos will know what to expect from him. Bridgewater fans explain the need for a quarterback that takes care of the ball and lets the defense put the team in favorable positions with the talent they have on that side of the ball. Many are upset with the lack of consistency the Denver quarterback room has shown over the past few seasons and believe that a “game-manager” quarterback is simply all that the team needs to see success in the upcoming season. Critics for Bridgewater explain that he is too conservative with his decisions. With the talent that the Broncos possess, fans have voiced concerns that Bridgewater can’t capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves. These fans believe that Bridgewater simply doesn’t possess the needed instinct to put points on the board and take shots downfield to keep the Broncos in high-scoring games. Playing in the AFC West, many fans see the success of Patrick Mahomes II and rising star Justin Herbert and wish for the same type of performance. Coming off of Bridgewater’s last season with the Panthers he threw 15 touchdown passes to 11 interceptions. This leads critics to point to a lack of ability to carry a team to wins and leaves doubt as to him taking over the starting role with the talent of the offense around him.


Those advocating for Lock to take over the starting role preach potential and consistency within the system. Fans claim Lock has the ability and physical tools necessary for the Broncos to compete with the likes of the Chiefs and Mahomes. Lock is shown as being the quarterback with higher ceiling potential for his skill and supporters say he needs time in the system to feel comfortable and flourish. Lock fans acknowledge while underperforming in seasons past, they still believe he presents the Broncos with the best opportunity to reach the top of the division and compete for a title for the first time since 2015. Critiques of Drew Lock include that his lack of progression regarding the reading of defenses is worrying and cite his lack of productivity outside of play-action and broken plays. Fans say Lock is dependent on vanilla defensive play and rolling out of the pocket to make something happen. With a stat line of 16 touchdowns to 15 interceptions last season as the starter, critics claim that he does not take care of the ball enough to give the Broncos a chance to compete in games. Many will say that the only quarterback a dominant defense like Denver will need is one that takes care of the football and limits mistakes, pointing to Teddy Bridgewater as a safe, viable option instead. Since watching the competition unfold, many will undoubtedly decide to veer to one of the quarterback options the Broncos are evaluating for the position. With that being said, the decision fans should make is simple.


The fanbase should get behind whoever the Broncos decide to lead the team. This whole offseason has been dominated by both sides rallying for a specific person to take over. Instead of supporting the team and being excited about young growth and returning players, fans have been obsessed with being right in their assumptions about “their guy” and how they perform. Too often have articles and posts been sent out in hopes of swaying people to take their side of the quarterback debate. While okay to have opinions and preferences, I think Broncos Country needs to step back and breathe. The logo of the team will always be more important than the individuals wearing it. The Broncos and the fans already saw the mania that one individual can bring with the emergence of Tim Tebow at quarterback. When Peyton Manning came to Denver, he was supported because of what he brought to the team as a whole. Fans need to stop putting personal preference above the success and values of the team that they support. The Denver Broncos as an organization will be around long after both of these quarterbacks are no longer playing, and fans need to realize that personal agendas aren’t needed when they divide the fanbase. The support of fans should be behind all of the men wearing that orange and blue uniform, not an individual who just so happens to be a Denver Bronco.

Three Broncos players that have stood out thus far

Drew Lock is on a mission

By: Jordan Anders

The Denver Broncos had their first preseason game on Saturday against the Minnesota Vikings. The Broncos only started two regular-season starters: quarterback Drew Lock and wide receiver KJ Hamler. The Broncos offense started off hot in the first half scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter and defense holding the Vikings to only 6 points at the half. Big plays by the rookies in the second half held the Vikings at 6 points until the end of the game. Broncos won 33-6, all players played a role in them winning however three, in particular, shined this week.

Drew Lock

We have to give credit where it’s due, Drew Lock did not have an easy off-season with new rumors every week of the Broncos looking for a new quarterback. Not a lot of people had faith in the kid after a rough 2020 season, he didn’t let the noise stop him though. He put in the work and it certainly showed in this game. In the first 5 minutes, Drew Lock threw a deep pass up the middle to wide receiver KJ Hamler, 80 yards to be exact for a touchdown. Later that same quarter, Drew Lock had a short pass to Trinity Benson for a touchdown.

Teddy Bridgewater came in to take over after that. Lock finished with 151 yards and 2 touchdowns on just five completions and had 0 interceptions. Overall, it’s looking up for the Broncos’ offense and being able to put this whole “who’s going to be the quarterback?” situation to rest for now. Drew Lock on Saturday got an 84.3 PFF offensive grade and a 153.3 passer rating.

Patrick Surtain II

Patrick Surtain made his rookie debut during the Vikings game on Saturday and he did not disappoint. He played 11 coverage snaps and allowed 0 catches. But that’s not the only thing exciting thing that happened. In the second quarter, Vikings quarterback Jake Browning intended a short pass to Ihmir Smith-Marsette but it was picked off by Surtain at the 30-yard line. Patrick ran it in for a touchdown putting the Broncos up 26-3.

Patrick Surtain received a 94.5 PFF Grade, which was the highest amongst all cornerbacks. After the game, teammate Teddy Bridgewater talked about Surtain and said, “he doesn’t play no games.” Might be too soon to say, but Patrick Surtain is already making a great case for rookie defensive player of the year.

Caden Sterns

With rookie safety Caden Sterns, he was already a great player but he’s also in great hands working with one of the best safeties in the league, Justin Simmons. Sterns played 54 snaps on Saturday, which was the most by any Broncos rookie out there. Caden finished with 6 solo tackles including a big one late in the third quarter.

Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond stepped out of the pocket and passed the ball to an open Whop Philyor, who was looking for his first career NFL pass for a touchdown. Too bad Caden Sterns had other ideas, as he hit Philyor forcing him to drop the ball and Vikings were forced to kick a field goal. Which ended in a turnover on downs and the Vikings would not score again the rest of the game.

Five takeaways from the Denver Broncos first preseason game

the Denver Broncos defense is legit

By: Steven Johnson


With NFL football being non-existent since the Super Bowl in January, many fans flock to see their first action in several months in the first week of preseason football. Not only does it give a tantalizing taste of how fast the regular season is approaching, but it also gives coaches and staff chances to evaluate young players. These games will help shape the 53-man roster and force coaches to decide who they would like to keep and who may need to look for a spot elsewhere in the league. While only the first game of the preseason where many starters did not take the field, I think there are still some significant take-aways from this game against Minnesota.

This Broncos defense is going to cause problems


Regardless of who the personnel is this season, this Broncos defense will be a scary unit. Like in years prior, the RedZone defense seems to be on track in staying one of the best in the NFL. The coverage and overall cohesiveness of the secondary will allow Denver’s pass rush to cause issues for opposing offensive lines. In the Vikings’ three total RedZone trips on the day, the Broncos were able to hold them to just two field-goal attempts and one failed Fourth Down conversion that turned the ball back to the Broncos. The defense seems to have picked up where it left off last year in holding teams to minimal point opportunities. In general, for the Broncos’ defense, there were stars all over the field.

A holding penalty in the Endzone gave the Broncos the first points of the game with a safety.

A “Surtain” rookie corner housed a pick-6 to give the Broncos further points.

A young safety duo showed good glimpses of what life without Kareem Jackson could be in the next couple of years as well.

Denver’s young defensive players stood up to a challenge of other NFL caliber players, starters or not. Not only did they compete, but they also flat out dictated the game by only allowing a total of SIX points in four quarters of football. It did not matter who was at quarterback for the Vikings, the defense was able to cause problems and flew around the field for 60 minutes of play. While some of these players may not work out ultimately, you have to give them props for the performance they put together in the first game action of the season.
Without Von Miller, Bradly Chubb, Justin Simmons, and other key players, the Broncos showed they have the depth to compete and cause trouble for opposing offenses.

Patrick Surtain II was the right pick

Since he was drafted, Surtain was put under a microscope and compared to potential draft pick QB Justin Fields. Many clamored for Fields and insisted that Surtain was essentially a “wasted pick” compared to a Quarterback who many believed to be Denver’s savior at the position. After his performance yesterday, many more should warm up to him staying in Denver for a long time to come.


Surtain finished his day with the highest grade of any Cornerback after displaying very impressive skills and a feel for the game. Not only did he get his first interception, but it also turned into a house call when he was able to return it for a touchdown as well. Surtain was only thrown at twice but allowed zero catches. The only other pass his way was broken up and defended rather well. There very well were other plays in which he was covering, but the quarterbacks knew not to look his way again. In what is turning into a ridiculously deep Corner room, Patrick Surtain II seems to be ready to make his mark on the field with the rest of the starters.

The Running back room looks good

Coming into the game while missing starter Melvin Gordon with a groin injury, all eyes seemed to be on the rest of the running back room to decide who would make their case for a roster spot. Before the game, Mike Boone was ruled out with an injury, leaving the first reps to rookie Javonte Williams and veteran Royce Freeman.

Williams looked the part from his college tape, being a physical back who can make people miss. While only getting five carries for 29 yards, Williams was credited with three avoided tackles. With an average of just under 6 Yards Per Carry, this slight workload was enough from coaches to shut him down for the day. Williams also had a 4-yard run go for a touchdown but was nullified by a holding penalty. This performance shows that the coaches have seen enough in Williams to save him for real game action and should expect to see a healthy dose of him next week when the starters play.

Royce Freeman was originally a running back that many believed would be on the outside looking in on the Broncos’ running back room. With the injuries to Mike Boone and Melvin Gordon, Freeman may cement a spot on the week one roster due to reliability and a good preseason. Freeman matched Williams in carries with five but went for 33 yards on his runs. With an average of 6.6 Yards Per Carry, that is the kind of production many in Denver thought he would enjoy when taking him in the 2018 draft. He added to his versatility on a couple of catches for 14 yards as well. While never living up to the hype, Freeman could earn a spot as a solid role player due to injury if luck doesn’t go the Broncos’ way.

The Receiver room may be deeper than we think

Some of Denver’s top receiving talent was benched to avoid injury this game. Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, and Albert Okuwuegbunam all did not participate in the game against Minnesota. These absences left plenty of opportunity for the receivers on the bubble to showcase their talent and give the coaching staff a reason to keep them on the roster.

One such receiver was camp standout Trinity Benson. Regardless of which quarterback was playing, Benson was a favorite target and frequently found success. Benson caught all four balls thrown his way and amassed 36 yards and two touchdowns on the day. With this first performance, if Benson can stay consistent with this type of production throughout the rest of the preseason he very well may find a roster spot to start the year.

Wide Receivers K.J Hamler and Jerry Jeudy got playing time at the beginning of the game as well, with the big play being Hamler’s 80-yard touchdown bomb in the first quarter. When the regular season begins, the Broncos will find a formidable Wide Receiver room with the likes of Sutton, Jeudy, Hamler, and Patrick all having experience in this offense. Behind the first four or so Receivers, the spots behind them seem to be wide open, and the decision will be up to those fighting for those last couple spots to impress in the remaining preseason games to secure their roster spot.

The Quarterbacks started on the right foot

Both Quarterbacks for Denver came into the game needing to put on solid performances against the Vikings. Both Lock and Bridgewater focused on putting good drives together to gain an advantage in the quarterback competition going back to camp. Happily, for everyone following the Broncos, both QB prospects had great starting games.

First and foremost, preseason or not, Drew Lock looked good. Lock finished the day 5-7-151 and had two touchdown throws on the day, one of which being the 80-yard throw to Hamler. Lock consistently was able to find the open man and to control the pocket, buying time with his legs and knowing when to tuck and run. If Lock can put together multiple performances like this in the following weeks, it would be hard to imagine him not taking the starting spot. Lock finished the day with only two passes not caught and a passer rating of 153.3 before taking a seat for the other Quarterback competing for the starting job. While a great start, Lock will be watched closely to see if he has found the consistency that has been lacking in his previous play.


Teddy Bridgewater entered for the second part of the game, and also found success with the offense that remained on the field. While not as flashy as the Lock at the start, Bridgewater finished the day with success as he accumulated 74 yards on seven attempts and one touchdown as well. Bridgewater also had a rushing touchdown on the day but was called back because of a flag. Bridgewater was brought in because of his safe attitude and tendency to take safe throws as a counter to Lock’s erratic play. For him to win the starting job, he must show he can be aggressive when needed and push the ball downfield instead of taking the safe throws. Next week, Bridgewater will start with the first-team offense and will be put under the spotlight to show what he has learned throughout the offseason.

While both Lock and Bridgewater put on solid showings, they must build off of their performances and show that they are ready to make the jump to being the full-time starter for this loaded Denver offense. The next couple of weeks and game prep will be essential to naming the Denver Broncos 2021 starting Quarterback.

Recap

While this was only a preseason game in the first week of the season, there was plenty of excitement to go around. Broncos Country saw a competent offense and a defense that lived up to the hype of the off-season. The attention will now focus on the next two preseason games as evidence to decide who needs to be on the roster and who needs more time on the practice squad to hone their skills. Building off of the success of this game will be the challenge coach Vic Fangio will have to ensure his team performs at upcoming practice. There is plenty of opportunity for excitement in the upcoming week for the Denver Broncos.

A look into the Denver Broncos 2021 season: games 6 through 8

A unique look at the Denver Broncos schedule in 2021

By: Steven Johnson


The last article in this series looked into the first five games of the Denver Broncos season for the coming year. After looking over these games, Denver took wins against the Giants, Jaguars, Jets, and Steelers. The Broncos did lose to the Baltimore Ravens, giving them a 4-1 start to the upcoming season. This article will look into the next three games, coming against their first divisional foe, a resurgent Browns team, and a Washington team struggling with many facets, including a name.

Week 6: Home against Las Vegas Raiders


Since leaving Oakland in 2017 to migrate the team to Las Vegas, The Raiders have been in the same mediocrity the Broncos have been fighting regarding winning games. The Raiders have seen several veteran players retire this offseason. Because of this, they look to lean on young talent that they have been building the team around. Last year after finishing with an 8-8 record, the Las Vegas defense took much of the blame for the losses. The raiders sat at 10th in the NFL for points scored, but a league bottom 30th in points allowed. While the offense was holding its own, the defense told a different story.


The defensive side of Las Vegas will look different this season as the Raiders drafted three safeties, a corner, and an Edge rusher in this latest draft alone. Coming into week 6, the Raiders will have established their game plan for their new defense to be successful. By this time, the young Denver offense will be settling into their identity as well. This game represents a chance for the Denver defense to show off against a competent Las Vegas offense. Touting high draft pick WR Henry Ruggs III and free-agent acquisitions John Brown and Willie Snead, they look to make up for the lost production of their departed leading receiver Nelson Agholor.


Ultimately, I believe this contest will boil down to Denver and its young offensive playmakers putting together consistent drives against an untested defense for Las Vegas. Look for deep bombs to receivers to open up the game and test the new secondary Las Vegas has put together. If the defensive side for the Broncos is as fearsome as told, then it will be up to the offense to support them and make the most of the opportunities they receive. In the end, I believe the Broncos come into their first divisional game ready and fired up against an age-old rival, putting the rest of the AFC West on notice with a dominant victory somewhere in the range of 37-20.

Week 7: @Cleveland Browns

The Browns had a resurgence in talent this past season as Baker Mayfield found his rhythm and led Cleveland to a competent offense. Behind a strong running game in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, the team flourished. Pushing to their first playoff appearance since 2002 and their first WIN since 1994, the Browns seemed to have broken their mediocrity streak of the past twenty years. The Browns were able to shock the Pittsburgh Steelers in back-to-back weeks at the very end of the season. After finishing the regular season with a win and eliminating them in the Wildcard round of the playoffs, the Browns showed the NFL they were ready to compete again.

Going into last NFL season the Browns’ offense seemed to have a deadly receiving core, including Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. before Beckham went down early on with an ACL tear that ended his season. Besides the Ravens, which are also a part of the AFC North, Cleveland’s offense presents the best opportunity at this point in the season to push the defensive side of the ball for Denver. While injury concerns may hover, a healthy Nick Chubb and Beckham Jr. throughout the season instantly turn this offense into an even more impressive lineup that should see the Browns have equal or better success in games this season.

On the opposite side of the ball, the Broncos line will be staring down a Von Miller type player on the defense in Miles Garret and will reunite with former Bronco Malik Jackson as well. The Browns secondary is formidable with the likes of Greedy Williams, Grant Delpit, and Denzel Ward as well. The Broncos’ offense might have a hard time moving the ball and will need a sound game plan for both the offense and defense. Both sides of the ball must play great if they wish to have success against a Browns team back on track. Ultimately, I believe the Broncos lose this game, not for lack of talent but simply because the Browns are moving into the higher ranks of teams in the NFL after years of struggling. The Browns seem to be a team putting all the pieces together, and the Broncos cannot pull enough together to salvage a win, losing 38-17.

Week 8: Home VS Washington Football Team

The Washington Football Team is coming off a playoff berth season from last year after winning out of a decimated NFC East division. Taking advantage of the floundering Dallas Cowboys without quarterback Dak Prescott and the Giants without star running back Saquon Barkley, Washington was able to slip into playoffs without a real quarterback at the end of last season. Cycling through Dwayne Haskins, Alex Smith, and new fan-favorite Taylor Heinicke, Washington was eliminated in the first round by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Coming into the 2021 season, Washington has recruited journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and hopes to use him to get the most out of their receiving core with speedster Terry McLaurin and former Titan Adam Humphries. This Washington offense is severely untested, and while there very well might be some Fitzpatrick magic to go around, one may have questions about their ability to perform.

The one bright spot on the Washington Football Team is its defense, especially along the line. Star Chase Young has settled into a force in the NFL, and Montez Sweat helped Young along the line to combine for sixteen-and-a-half sacks this past season. The secondary boasts former Giants’ star Landon Collins and a solid corner in Kendall Fuller. Washington had its defense ranked number two overall last year, giving high hopes for the franchise on one side of the ball. If the offense can settle into a safe complementary role, the defense could do more than enough to keep them competitive.

For this game, the Broncos will have to keep the quarterback clean and avoid negative plays if they want to take advantage of this Washington team. This means that passes will be quick to avoid giving Young and company time to get in the backfield, and runs will be designed away from the brunt of the line. One would expect the Broncos to take advantage of their speedy receivers in K.J Hamler and Jerry Jeudy. Also, look for mismatches with tight end Noah Fant to spread the field and make room in the box for running backs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams. The Denver defense should take advantage of a young offense that has yet to find its quarterback, and it will be up to the offense to put up enough points to let the defense close it out. I believe this game might be closer than some would think, maybe due to doses of Fitzmagic, but ultimately the Broncos and their defensive prowess win the day, 26-20.

At this point in the season, Denver would be looking at a strong 6-2 record sitting at the halfway point of the season. a strong record bodes miles better for the team than their previous starts, no longer having to make up ground after starting at a sub .500 record. This could be crucial for the second half of the season, where games will get closer and teams more established as playoff implications become bigger and teams adapt to the typical season injuries and rotations.

3 surprise standouts from Broncos training camp

Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy is impressing early on

By: Jordan Anders

After 10 days of the Denver Broncos training camp, there have been some clear standout players in practice. The Broncos will lean on star players to compete for glory in the AFC West, but they will need x-factors to eke out big-time victories and ultimately put themselves in a position to earn a fresh playoff birth.

As we know, this is a big year for many Broncos players including Von Miller and Courtland Sutton who were both injured at the start of last season. Others like Safety Justin Simmons, who is coming off his first pro-bowl season, and tackle Garett Bolles, who is also coming off his best season yet. Then you have wide receiver Jerry Jeudy going into his second year and ready to prove the haters wrong. We know who the household names are, but the question asks: who will rise out of the shadow and be a reliable force heading into the season? Well, let’s see who’s surging in the training camp, pre-season period.

3 surprise standouts from Broncos Camp

Patrick Surtain ll

Cornerback Patrick Surtain ll, who the Broncos drafted in the first round this offseason has been fitting in perfectly to the stacked Broncos secondary in camp. Surtain got his first interception in camp on day 5 picking off Drew Lock at the 7-second mark. That’s not all, players and even Coach Vic Fangio have talked very highly of Patrick and how fast he has fit into this Broncos defense.

Teammate Tim Patrick had some big praise for Patrick Surtain after practice, “He’s filled out, and he’s smart. You really don’t expect rookie DBs to know the whole defense already. He’s fitting right in with an already talented defense. It’s remarkable to see. He’s locked me up a couple of times.” Bradley Chubb added that Surtain is “picking up stuff like he’s a vet.”

Caden Sterns

Safety Caden Sterns, who the Broncos also drafted this offseason alongside Patrick Surtain has also been a standout at camp. Caden Sterns was surely going to be great especially learning from one of the best safety duos in the league: Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson.

After the 10th practice, Kareem Jackson spoke very highly of Caden to the media, “Man, Caden been doing some great stuff. He’s picking up the defense really well, he’s spitting out the terminology, he’s getting guys that he’s in with lined up and he’s making a ton of plays.” Even Coach Fangio expressed that Sterns is picking up the defense extremely well and advancing it quicker than your average rookie can at his position.

Jerry Jeudy

This one shouldn’t come as really a surprise if you watched Jeudy last season. All rookies have errors in games as Jeudy struggled with dropped passes last season and received a lot of hate for it. That didn’t stop him though, in camp he’s shown to be one of the best players right now. Jeudy has even stayed after practice to catch a trashcan full of footballs.

On top of that cornerback’s Kyle Fuller and Patrick, Surtain has not had an easy time guarding Jeudy, this comes as no surprise if you’ve seen Jerry Jeudy run routes. Quarterback Drew Lock spoke to the media about Jeudy and expressed, “He is something different. He is making big, big strides.”

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