If fans could have pulled out their crystal ball at the beginning of the year, seeing that the Denver Broncos would be 4-2 six games into their campaign to defend their Super Bowl Championship, my guess would be that the vast majority would be pleasantly surprised.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1719434-go-premium-sports-illustr... In fact, knowing that the Broncos would get big wins against the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts at home, and the Cincinnati Bengals on the road to start the year, without Peyton Manning, would have been downright encouraging before the season started. The Broncos are still in command of the AFC West and in position to win their sixth-straight division crown and another high-seed in the playoffs heading into Week 7.
Seeing the No Fly Zone give up yet another touchdown on the opposition's opening drive, in combination with Denver's offense looking as inept as the early days of the Kyle Orton era, was a debacle. Gone is the optimism from the team’s 4-0 start. Many fans are beginning to get fidgety at the thought of seeing ex-Bronco quarterback Brock Osweiler return to Denver, looking to steal a win against his former teammates.
Sight-for-sore-eyes Coach Gary Kubiak was back in the building on Monday and gave his assessment on some of the issues that have been hampering the Broncos during their two game losing streak. He pinpointed three areas Denver must improve to turn the ship around.
“They’re very correctable," Kubiak said. "The biggest thing with our penalties, you look at our penalties and they hurt big plays. They affected the game a great deal, but they’re all correctable. It’s just detail and preparation. I talked about three things today with the players, preparation, detail and then its time to go put forth the effort and go play. We have to focus on those things starting with me and starting with us as coaches.”
Preparation. Detail. Effort.
Veteran cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. also isn’t ready to push the panic button. He pointed out on Monday that the team is disappointed with their most recent performances but are still confident that with some tweaks in those three key areas, they will return to the win column come Monday.
“It’s the NFL," Harris said. "We lost two back-to-back games last year so we’ve been in this situation before as a team so we know that we can be able to bounce back from that and still have a great season. There are things that we know that we have to fix. We know that we have to come out stronger in the first half and set the tempo for the rest of the game. It makes the offense’s job easier, if we can come out and get a three and out, it would help them out a lot.”
Silent-but-steady nose tackle Sylvester Williams has already put last week behind him and is unconcerned with the chatter that is blowing in the wind amidst the team's struggles as of late. Williams and his teammates are focused on improving internally going into the matchup with the Houston Texans.
“It’s a new season and at the end of the day, we know what type of team that we are," Williams said. "We’re 4-2, obviously we lost a big game, but we have a big game ahead of us and if we go ahead and take care of business, it’s right where we want to be. At the end of the day, we’re still one of the top teams in the NFL and we know where we stand. The inside of this building, that’s all that matters.”
It's the mark of a veteran team — they don’t get too high after wins, nor too low after losses. For as bad as the defense has been on opening drives and as inconsistent as the offense has performed, both games were still close going into the final moments of each contest. With one or two plays sprinkled in either game going in Denver’s favor, we could be looking at a 5-1 or 6-0 team.
It goes to show how difficult it is to win in the NFL and how on any given Sunday, the margin of victory is narrow. The Broncos know they can do better and are working diligently to try and correct the mistakes that have hamstrung them as of late.
With Coach Kubiak coming back into the frame and other veteran leaders like Harris and Williams doing their best to keep their teammates accountable, look for an improved and motivated effort Monday night in front of a national audience.
Adam Uribes is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @auribes37.
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