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Inside Enemy Territory: 5 Questions About the Denver Broncos

Inside Enemy Territory is a feature where I ask a blogger for the Patriots’ upcoming opponent questions about their team and the upcoming game. Today’s Q&A comes from Kim Constantinesco of the Denver Broncos blog, Predominantly Orange. Constantinesco discusses the Denver defense, whether the Broncos will try and exploit the Patriots’ pass defense, what makes Tim Tebow a leader, Denver’s playoff chances, and more. She also predicts the outcome of Sunday’s game. You can read my answers to her questions by clicking HERE.

Here’s our Q&A…

1. Many people seem to neglect the fact that if the Broncos defense couldn’t keep the game close, Tim Tebow wouldn’t have the opportunity to pull out those spectacular wins. What has made the Broncos defense so good this year?
It all started when John Fox was brought in as head coach. He’s a defensive minded coach and his first priority was to hire a great defensive coordinator. The Broncos hired Dennis Allen for the job and he brought with him an aggressive 4-3 scheme. The Broncos drafted a great pass rusher in Von Miller (he already has 11.5 sacks as a rookie), and the team got a healthy Elvis Dumervil back. Those two guys are players that most teams can’t handle one-on-one, so they’re forced to double one or the other and it leaves other guys like D.J. Williams or Robert Ayers open to make a play. The heavy pass rush up front has made the secondary’s jobs a lot easier as well. The Broncos are able to get the three and outs and the team’s first ranked rushing attack helps keep the defense’s legs fresh.
2. It’s no secret the Patriots’ pass defense is more porous than a screen door. While the passing game isn’t Tim Tebow’s strength at this point, can John Fox ignore this glaring weakness in the Patriots’ defense or will he try to exploit it?
It depends on field positioning for the Broncos. When the Broncos are forced to work 80+ yards they will lean towards the run at the beginning of the drive. It’s been their bread and butter. Once the Broncos make it to mid-field, they will probably go more read option. Once the Broncos enter Patriots territory, we will see the Broncos in a three receiver set and Tebow will throw more. Against the Vikings 31st ranked pass defense, Tebow threw for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns. They kept things conservative for 80% of their plays but then they would have Tebow throw the deep ball and let Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas (both big, strong receivers) go up and make a play on the ball. The Broncos coaching staff has been great at taking the offense’s strengths and tailoring them to opposing defenses, even if it has to be during the game. Expect Fox to exploit the Pats’ weak pass defense. He’s got the receivers to do it.
3. What leadership qualities has Tim Tebow brought to the Denver Broncos since taking over as starting QB?
Though young, Tebow is without a doubt a leader on and off the field for this team. Research has shown that people who are more compassionate and altruistic (like Tebow) are better motivators. He makes his teammates work harder, and he encourages them after mistakes. Tebow’s will to win has been injected into the entire organization. It’s not just Tebow making plays at the end of games. It’s everyone. The Broncos have five comeback wins this season including three wins in overtime. There’s a reason why this team has caught lightning in a bottle and it’s because of Tebow’s ability to earn the respect of his teammates and provide the kind of leadership that was missing in the past.
4. Other than Tebow, who should the Patriots worry about stopping on the Denver offense?
The Broncos have the best running attack in the league and the offensive line is a big reason for that. While Willis McGahee is a notable concern for the Patriots, the Broncos offensive line is a huge threat. They’ve not only created huge gaps for McGahee and Tebow to run, but they’ve given Tebow an eternity in the pocket to find his receivers. For the Patriots poor pass defense, that will spell trouble.
5. Do the Denver Broncos make the playoffs this season?
Yes. The AFC West is not a strong division at all and the Broncos have a two game lead over the Raiders who sit in second place. The team has two of their next three at home while the Raiders have to finish things out against the Lions and San Diego.
BONUS: Game prediction?
Broncos – 28 Patriots – 24

Topics: Denver Broncos, John Fox, New England Patriots, NFL, Tim Tebow, Willis McGahee

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