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Broncos need to load up against the run

Manning Getty Images

As Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio attempts to reverse an 0-7 lifetime drought against the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady, Del Rio’s best chance to win may be to force Brady to beat him again.

Ludicrous as it sounds, the Broncos’ defense must pick a poison in Sunday’s AFC title game.  It can be slow death at the hands of a power running game, or a quicker demise by loading up against the run and giving the Pats no option but to throw.

Bill Belichick has employed for years a brilliantly simple defensive philosophy:  Take away what the other team does best.  Right now, the best thing that Patriots are doing is running the ball.  Against a team like the Broncos, who have a high-powered offense that can at any given moment put the pedal to the metal and points on the scoreboard, running the ball well means longer drives and fewer opportunities for Denver possessions.

So Del Rio and company will need to force the issue, drawing extra men into the box, hoping that the players will be able to execute well enough to get to the ball carriers quickly and make tackles for short gains or none at all, and daring Brady to throw to a collection of weapons that doesn’t include Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, or Wes Welker.

With Peyton Manning running the offense, the Broncos would be able to respond to the scoring drives that may result from making Brady pass.  But the drives will be shorter and the Denver defense won’t be slowly and methodically demoralized by LeGarrette Blount, who has more than 350 rushing yards in his last two games and eight rushing touchdowns in his last three.

If that’s what the Broncos do, the stage will be set for a back-and-forth, up-and-down shootout that will hinge on which defense can make the most stops and/or who makes the mistake at the worst possible time.

Still, that may be the best way for the Broncos to win.  Otherwise, the man who served as the winning defensive coordinator in Super Bowl XXV will do what the Giants did to the Bills nearly 23 years ago — pound the rock, control the clock, and make Peyton Manning hold his, um, horses.

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20 Responses to “Broncos need to load up against the run”
  1. The League's Crusade Against The Steelers Continues says: Jan 19, 2014 8:37 AM

    The Broncos were the #7 defense against the run this year. People are really quick to forget that. They’re beat up in the secondary. It would be negligent to commit to just the run or just the pass. The Broncos are pretty balanced on offense too.

  2. tvjules says: Jan 19, 2014 8:40 AM

    As soon as they play the run, Brady will launch from the air.
    Epic game!

  3. sfm073 says: Jan 19, 2014 8:46 AM

    Yeah and they’ll play right into Brady’s and Belichick’s hands. Belichick is one of the greatest game planners of all time and he’ll be prepared for whatever the broncos have in stored.

  4. nfloracle says: Jan 19, 2014 9:51 AM

    DelRio could get out there and play himself and it still wouldn’t matter. One and done for “Clutch” Manning in today’s game. You can put that in the bank.

  5. wheels579 says: Jan 19, 2014 10:14 AM

    Leave the strategy element to Dungy and Collinsworth before you try to match wits with Bill Belichick.

  6. skooter519 says: Jan 19, 2014 10:38 AM

    I think that Peyton has Tom Brady and their record in his head and it’s going to be his downfall.

  7. ichiganian says: Jan 19, 2014 11:32 AM

    And the flip side is: can Belichick’s scheme actually limit Denver’s passing attack?

    Should be a great game, glad the best four teams are playing for the SB for a change.

  8. richwizl says: Jan 19, 2014 12:02 PM

    Looking for the Pats’ pass-rush to be huge today and cause Peyton to get happy feet. He’ll throw a couple picks and NE will be grinding down their D with a lot of runs and screens. Pats won’t be denied.

  9. doubleogator says: Jan 19, 2014 12:03 PM

    New England vs San Fran in the Super Bowl…

  10. randomguy9999 says: Jan 19, 2014 1:04 PM

    The way to beat Brady is to get in his face… every time he gets real pressure, he throws a hissy and it goes downhill from there.

  11. j0esixpack says: Jan 19, 2014 1:09 PM

    They’re up against the 3 B’s – Belichick, Brady and Blount.

    If it’s just Belichick and Brady I still like their chances.

  12. listenup823 says: Jan 19, 2014 1:09 PM

    The Bronco are no New York Jets but they will win today’s game..

  13. leatherface2012 says: Jan 19, 2014 1:11 PM

    vikings will win it all

  14. gergie1957 says: Jan 19, 2014 1:17 PM

    “Load up for the run, annnnnnnd, Brady over the top.

  15. jrebar88 says: Jan 19, 2014 1:39 PM

    Thats funny because the Broncos have the #1 o-line in football and the Pats have the 30th ranked rush defense. Who should be worried about the run again?

  16. jrebar88 says: Jan 19, 2014 1:39 PM

    Thats funny because the Broncos have the #1 o-line in football and the Pats have the 30th ranked rush defense. Who should be worried about the run again?

  17. surfinbird1 says: Jan 19, 2014 1:41 PM

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pats bring 3 and drop eight a lot of the time and get physical with the receivers at thee line of scrimmage to try and throw off the timing but then the Broncos will run the ball at will. Hopefully it be a great game and nobody gets badly injured.

  18. brohamma says: Jan 19, 2014 1:46 PM

    Amendola is going to be a serious match-up problem for Denver. Everyone is going to be wondering how they didn’t remember him over the next couple of days.

  19. thelastbesthope says: Jan 19, 2014 2:54 PM

    LOL…derp

  20. Florio_Jr. says: Jan 20, 2014 2:22 AM

    Hall of Famer, best RB ever, LeGarrette Blount…5 carries for 6 yards. WOMP! WOMP! Poison that.

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