The Denver Broncos go into their week 6 matchup with rivals of AFC West, the Las Vegas Raiders, who urgently need to catch their break-in.
After a flawless 3-0 start, the Broncos found themselves 3-2 after two defeats against Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Despite their early season pace, the Broncos defense slowed against the pass against the Ravens in recent weeks before being hit to the ground by the Steelers. Rookie running back Najee Harris ran 23 times for 122 yards and one touchdown – an average of 5.3 yards per carry. All in all, Pittsburgh rushed for 147 yards, which was certainly a surprise for Broncos Country considering the average was driven 70 yards in four weeks.
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Former Broncos Super Bowl champion-turned-Fox Sports analyst Mark Schlereth revealed what Denver hadn’t done, which ultimately led to the loss.
“If you can’t defend the run or refuse to defend the run, you have to get out of that two-height safety look at some point,” Schlereth said on 104.3 The Fan. “You have to hire an extra guy if you don’t with your first seven, and that’s what the Broncos struggled with. You couldn’t stop this game in progress.
“If you can’t stop it, if they can do it on you that way, you know what you can’t do? You can’t rush the passerby. A sack of a ball that was really a cover bag … there were no real opportunities, no real opportunities to rush the passerby. “
Like many in Broncos Country, Schlereth was frustrated with the lack of changes to the sideline, particularly those related to the team’s defensive scheme and game statement.
“I think the biggest thing for me is the lack of doing anything else, the lack of saying, ‘Hey, what we’re doing isn’t working, so let’s change something, let’s start getting extra people on the running game, let’s start us You played man-to-man coverage and you just didn’t get much of it. “
Despite the grueling performance at Heinz Field, there were some positives from the 27-19 defeat, particularly in the form of a one-time Pro Bowl recipient.
“Talk to the coaches about Courtland Sutton and [him] not quite there yet, being medically in good shape and feeling good, but not yet completely overcoming this mental hurdle, said Schlereth on ‘The Fan’. “I think you saw him get more confident yesterday and that’s really good.”
Many have raised questions about where the Broncos team sits within the AFC. Are you a contender for the division, even a playoff team? Or was your good start all in all a mirage? Schlereth didn’t exactly answer his former team’s long-term prospects, but neither did he present the bleakest of images.
“I think this team is pretty good, I just think from the coach’s point of view, it has to get better and when things don’t work out, you have to be able to change things in the game and do things a little differently.
“I’m still encouraged, I think this team is probably a little better than I thought they would come.” [the season] and so this part is encouraging. Only if you wait three quarters before making some adjustments and putting some drives together is it difficult to win games that way.
“They’re bringing Jerry Jeudy back. I think that will make a big difference in putting opponents in danger and giving them another weapon to go to. I think that’s something this team lacks.”
Follow Patrick Djordjevic on Twitter: @Patdjordjevic