The Denver Post
DEFENSE EMPHASIZES TAKEAWAYS
As the Broncos look to bounce back from a disappointing loss, their preparation for the Chargers and 10 games thereafter includes an emphasis on creating takeaways. Last season, the Broncos tied for seventh in the 32-team NFL with 27 total takeaways — 14 interceptions and 13 fumble recoveries. Of their 333 total points, 117 were scored off takeaways.
Through five games this season, the Broncos have only four interceptions and zero forced fumbles.
“We actually had a turnover circuit in practice,” defensive coordinator Joe Woods said. “I made a cut-up tape of guys creating takeaways, just different teams throughout the NFL. But in terms of turnovers, the thing for us is we’re doing a lot of different things to try to create matchups for Von Miller and others guys on defense, a lot of different pressure packages, things we’re doing with our stunts, how we’re moving guys around. And the way the teams are playing us, they’re getting rid of the ball.
Since the start of the 2015 season, the Broncos’ defense has been their greatest weapon and often their safety net. Though they lead the league in total yards (261.8 per game) this season and had the NFL’s top run defense before Sunday’s loss to the Giants, they have made takeaways a priority.
“It’s got to be a conscious effort to really go out there and try to strip the ball,” Miller said. “There were a couple plays there I feel like, on the sack in Oakland game, I felt like I should have had a chance to get the ball out and it didn’t happen. I felt like this last past week when Eli (Manning) came down on it and it just didn’t happen. Even the sack on (Dallas’) Dak (Prescott), my second sack of the season on Dak, I tried to get the ball out and it just didn’t go. We just haven’t had our break yet, but we’re definitely working on it. It’s definitely a priority of ours. Hey, if we can play the same defense we’ve been playing and add on some turnovers, we’ll be more than good.”
Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (calf bruise) and linebacker Brandon Marshall (shoulder) returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday’s workout. Offensive tackle Menelik Watson didn’t practice again but remains day to day for a calf strain. The Broncos have been working Allen Barbre and Donald Stephenson at right tackle, should Watson be unable to play this weekend, but the team isn’t ready to rule out their starting tackle.
Cornerback Aqib Talib, running back Jamaal Charles and nose tackle Domata Peko returned after taking their usual veteran day off. Tight end A.J. Derby was back too, a day after his wife gave birth to their first child, a girl.
“Six hours at a time.”
As the Broncos prepare for a threegame road stretch against the Chargers, Kansas City and Philadelphia, Miller says he can look only a day ahead — or less.
“We have three road games in a row?” he asked. “I hadn’t really thought about it like that. I knew it was at some point in the season, I just didn’t think we were there. For me, it’s day to day. To be consistent in the National Football League, you can’t really think about it like this month of football coming up. It’s too competitive; there are too many moving parts. Things happen so fast. Actually you’ve got to really go about it six hours at a time. If you’re able to do that, you’ll be good.”