As the world brings in a new year, the NFL brings in a new season, the post-season; the only season that counts for the Broncos. So as the world decides what they are going to do better in 2014, what better time to do the same for the Broncos.
Protect the rock:
For some, New Years is all about the dropping of the ball, for the Broncos in the new year, its all about holding on to it. Denver’s turnover differential is sitting at an even zero overall, but they are minus seven in the fumble part of that category, and as the Broncos head in to the playoffs, turnovers can be all the more deadly.
While Denver’s differential of zero, sitting at 6th in the conference in that category, sounds pretty good, that is only good enough for 9th out of the 12 teams remaining. As that shows, the teams who hold on to the ball and take it away from the other team, rise to the top, and if the Broncos want to be the last team standing, they almost certainly have to be positive in turnover differential in the playoffs.
What’s more? Have a look at the Broncos three losses:
@ Indianapolis: Broncos- three turnovers, Colts- one.
@ New England: Broncos- four turnovers, Patriots- three.
Vs San Diego: Broncos- one turnover, Chargers- zero.
As you can see, the Broncos lost the turnover battle in each of their losses.
The reality is, there are few things that can stop the Broncos offense, and number one on that list is giving the ball away (followed by bad play calling, and then being stopped by the opposing defense).
The first step to a winning a Lombardi trophy, is protecting the ball.
A healthy diet of Montee:
What would a New Years resolution be without a diet? Luckily for the Broncos, their diet isn’t about less feeding, its about more feeding, feeding of their young running back that is.
Montee Ball has been outstanding since his breakout performance in Kansas City, where he went for 117 yards on just 13 carries. With that game included, Ball has average an astronomical 6.6 yards per carry over the last 5 games. Yet in those games, Ball is only getting an average of nine carries.
Of course, starting running back Knowshon Moreno has been a stud himself this season, and his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield has been extremely valuable. But Montee is in a serious groove right now, it’s time to get him more carries.
Ball has also proven that he can be trusted now, fumbling the ball a total of zero times in the final five games. This is a sign the early-season fumbling issues were more of a fluke, especially considering his impeccable record of protecting the ball during his college days.
Get the ball to Ball.
You’ve heard it a million times since the offseason, “It’s Super Bowl or bust for the Broncos,” “The window is small for Denver,” and the Broncos are aware of this. Going all the way back to the signings in the off season of Wes Welker, Shaun Phillips, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and more, it’s no secret the Broncos are in win-now mode. But now that it’s win or go home; the Broncos have to start acting like it on the field.
This may be the most far-fetched of the resolutions considering who is at the helm for the Broncos, but it is time to start taking some more risks. You have one of the greatest football minds ever at the quarterback position, with the most prolific offense of all time around him, when it’s fourth-and-one around midfield, you should either have a play, or trust Manning to get you in to a play that can get you one yard. You have, according to the record book, the strongest leg in football history, as well as the most accurate leg from 50 or more yards in football history; let him kick the ball from distance.
Don’t spend all of 2014, like the 2013 offseason was spent, wondering what could have been if you didn’t take a knee with plenty of time on the clock. Take some risks, and if you go down, know you went down without leaving anything out there.
2014 has a chance to be a great great year for the blue and orange, and these few resolutions might just be the changes the Broncos need to make it that way.
Follow Ryan on Twitter (@RyanKoenigsberg).
Like this? Read why Adam Gase deserves credit for the Broncos awesome offense.