Going into yesterday's game at MetLife Stadium, nobody in the NFL really respected the Denver Broncos running game, including the New York Jets. And why should they have? That facet of the Broncos offense could have been summed up as a comedy of errors, before yesterday.
Peyton Manning said this about it:
"The way the Jets played us, my guess was, they didn’t think much of our running game coming into the game. When you take your two linebackers and walk them both out on your two receivers, they’re basically kind of laughing at your running game. Based on what we’ve been doing, it was probably a valid philosophy. It’s tough to throw the ball when they have eight guys in coverage every single play, they’re disrupting some of your receivers outside. It was good to get the running game kind of going today. I thought Ronnie (Hillman) ran the ball well. I thought Juwan (Thompson) had a couple of good runs. Like I said, if we can just eliminate those negative plays and those penalty plays where the run is a threat, then I think it’s important to have that balance."
I can't disagree with the Sheriff. Notice how he (in so man words) called out his offensive line? It was a savvy way of doing it. Let's face it, despite Montee Ball's struggles to start the season, the onus of blame for the lack of a running attack, before yesterday, lies on the shoulders of Ryan Clady, Orlando Franklin, Manuel Ramirez, Louis Vasquez and Chris Clark.
In yesterday's game, only one Broncos offensive lineman graded out in the positive, according to ProFootballFocus.com; right tackle, Chris Clark. Despite this, there was a marked improvement in the performance of this unit. Not by much, but it was there. With how few defenders the Jets kept in the box at times, it would have been shocking had they not been able to produce on the ground.
With the San Francisco 49ers next up on the schedule, the Broncos big boys up front will have to use yesterday's effort as a launching pad to improving, because the 49ers are one of the best coached defenses in the NFL.
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