DENVER - The Denver Broncos have a lot of kinks to work out. Who plays quarterback is chief among them all but on the other side of the ball they are certainly ready to go.
Saturday night, in a 17-9 Broncos victory, the Denver defense allowed just three field goals and doubled down on the attitude and physical play that they brought to the table last season. The team was flagged for two personal fouls and were flying around trying to take Rams’ players heads off before completing their tackles.
To them, it is just the way they do business.
“That’s how we play,” Aqib Talib said Saturday in reference to the team’s aggressiveness and two personal foul penalties. “That’s what [General Manager John Elway] brought us in for, to go out and play full-speed football. That’s what we’re going to do.”
Talib was the culprit on the most egregious display of their attitude Saturday, hitting quarterback Case Keenum as he trotted out of bounds. It was a theme that the entire night would encompass. It seemed to be a revival of their true nature, but also an answer to an uncharacteristically poor performance the week before.
The Broncos display against the Rams followed a game last Saturday in which they allowed 31 points and 400 net yards to the San Francisco 49ers. Versus the Los Angeles Rams, they returned to form, allowing just 270 net yards and only 120 through the air.
“We didn’t like that we gave up all those points,” linebacker Brandon Marshall said Saturday night when asked about the loss last week. “We had to bounce back. We bounced back and I think we played well.”
When asked if his defense is ready to play regular season games despite one more week of preseason Marshall’s face lit up.
“Absolutely. We ready man. We can’t wait. I can’t wait for Thursday night, September 8. It is going to be a good one.”
The Broncos tallied six sacks, six tackles for a loss, 10 quarterback hits, 12 passes defensed, one forced fumble and had multiple missed opportunities for interceptions in Saturday’s win. Many of the sacks came from players down the depth chart, a common theme throughout the preseason. Linebacker Shane Ray, a rookie last season, certainly likes what he sees from his teammates behind him.
“I think our depth is showing again how good we can be, ones, twos and threes," he explained. "You got Dekoda [Watson] go out and have three sacks, Sadat [Sulleyman] has two sacks. You see these guys playing on a high level and buying into what we want to do.”
Ray also commented on how the team cleaned up their play after a disappointing loss at the hands of the 49ers. They key for him was simple.
“We went back to the drawing board and looked at our mistakes and got on this game plan,” he declared. “It was just not enough communication. We have to talk better, make sure everybody is in the right spots and we corrected it.”
The Broncos proved to be a great defense last year. This year, the players are out to prove they are more than just a one-year aberration. To do so, it seems that they will do it with unapologetic style. Angry and nasty seems to be the way of this defense and Marshall, for one, thinks it's one of a kind.
“That’s just how we play," he declared. "We play faster than everybody. We run and hit. We are relentless man, it's what we do.”